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Jon Horton

Monday, December 19, 2005

Where Did all the Talented White Guys Go?

jackson hole blog

by j.r. horton

july 2005

let’s go back to the new digital paradigm that is changing the world right under the noses of the establishment publishing giants.

here’s a question for you: where did all the talented white christian men who ran the media world for generations go?

the present publishing world in New York is run by women for women. Hollywood is now the stomping ground of the little men who came after the giants like Louis Mayer, Samuel Goldwyn and Lew Adler, the Young Turk Jews who have brought you boundless horror, explicit sex and perversion, hedonism, adolescent playground potty humor, pessimism, angst — all packaged for the lowest puerile interest. Any significant Christian or spiritual work has had to find its own way to the screen, e.g. The Passion that was funded with Mel Gibson’s own money. luckily, he had over 200 million smackeroonies in the bank.

so what are the prospects for someone who wants to break into the world of commercial publishing? Approximately 2 million different titles are currently in print and available to the market. the industry says that about 50,000 new books come on the market each year under their auspices. with the advent of easy electronic publishing a like amount is probably produced, making it about 100,000 new titles that come to light each year! that means that the little guys, like myself, have to create quality books and promote the heck out of them. but what about the ones who get contracts with the publishing giants? Joni Evans, a publisher for Random House says that only 10% of the books published by any house earn out their advance. that means that 90% of the mainstream publishers’ books fail, and all the writer will ever receive is a paltry advance of a few thousand dollars for years of work! it also means that if size really mattered dinosaurs would still rule the earth. Instead, the inheritors of the earth turned out to stem from a little shrew-like mammal scurrying through the grass.

self-publishing is newly respectable, in stark contrast to the reception i got in 1995. i was snubbed by the writing community in Jackson Hole and a lot of them even sneered at my books, without even having read them. now it’s becoming more and more apparent that Print On Demand coupled with the Internet offers profound opportunities to the little guy with a unique, quality product. and here is a partial list of writers who began their careers by self-publishing their first, seminal, work: Ben Franklin, Tom Paine, Mark Twain (Huckleberry Finn) , Zane Grey, Anaîs Nin, Walt Whitman, Virginia Wolff, Gertrude Stein, Edgar Allen Poe, Mary Baker Eddy, James Joyce (Ulysses), Carl Sandburg, D.H. Lawrence (Lady Chatterly’s Lover), Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan) and many, many more. if you think about the titles mentioned you will see that each one was a great leap into the dark, something publishers aren’t famous for. as a matter of fact, they are cowardly thralls of the bean counters and marketers who really decide which books get made — 90% of which are utter failures.

there is something else afoot that deserves mentioning. now that the feds are getting ready to make a very large segment of the electromagnetic spectrum (e.g. broadband) available for licensed use, it is possible that every person with an interest, a talent, and a copyrighted product can apply for their personal video channel where they can present any product that they come up with! More about that later. But back to books.

There are now five huge international conglomerates that account for 80% of all book revenues. They are Random House, Inc., Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin Putnam Inc., and Warner Books/Little Brown. They make hundred of millions of dollars each year — from only 10% of the books they publish! to me, that means that there has to be more than a few nuggets and a lot of golddust falling through the cracks in the floor of the whorehouses.

as the author of several screenplays, one of which is making the rounds of American theatres at this very moment but with another guy’s credits up there on the screen, i say the same thing is true of the monster film production companies. they are churning out tides of dreck while all the good movies are the products of independent producers.

Here is a poem that i dedicate to New York, as well as Hollywood.


Look on my works, ye mighty
And despair

— Percy Bysse Shelley—

I see

A horse fair there
Under the tumbled overhead
Traffic exchange
Near where the air machines
Used to go

Horses fair and foul
Dickering horsemen
Do business in the dozens
While their bickering drovers
Wager drink and strut
On their one day a month in town

Along a track
Tall-wheeled carretas lumber and squeak
One carrying the gap-toothed produce man
His corn
His worn wife
His wary children
To the market on Fairfax road

A relict overpass has been bricked up
With scavenged cinderblock
Turned to tenements where
Two peasant gossips
Rest their milk-damp bosoms
On plump and dimpled arms
And stop their chat
To wave at the carretero's wife

Back down that track
The Santa Monica Trace ends
At the wrecked pier
Where coastal lighters carrying oranges
Nuts and livestock
Avocados and dope
Bump against stumped pilings

A straw-hatted captain
Bullies barefoot stevedores
Who hump their burlap burdens up the plankway
While their epicanthic compadres
Give him the finger behind his back

And atop the bluffs
Among the shifted and tumbled
Tiers of scavenged buildings
The exotics
English ivy

Down a lane
That wanders 'round the wrecks
There is a cleared place park-of-sorts
Grassy and green
Bordered by wildflowers
Where children shout and laugh
Unwary and unafraid
Innocent again at last
Playing tag beneath the hangman's tree

Across the coastal campana
On a hillside
Overlooking the Cahuenga pass
Which leads
To a waterless abandoned valley
To scorched interior hills
Carpe diem
A bloom-cheeked gal
Ravenhaired and horny
Works her soft belly against her wine-drunk
Sparkling youth
His codpiece skewed
As they laze in the shade
Next to the wicker-covered jug
While their horse switches his tail
Stomps a hoof
Ripples his hide at the flies

And above them on the hillside
Giant tumbled letters lie
Gripped by ivy
Meaning nothing



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