Thursday, March 27, 2008

A George W. Bush Movie in Theaters in 2008?

Oliver Stone's planned biopic of George W. Bush is moving forward at lightning speed. Word is it will be "available for distribution" before the November elections, and will definitely be released before Bush goes out of office, so this one's going to happen quick. Yesterday Stone's choice for the role of Laura Bush was announced, and today the actors who will play George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush were announced.

First, here's W:

A choice Bush ought to be flattered by, but not much in common physically. It'll be interesting to see whether Brolin opts to do an immersive, quasi-Method approach to the role a la Anthony Hopkins' portrayal of Nixon, or more of a version of Bush that will be recognizable enough for audiences to suspend disbelief -- kinda like Travolta playing a Clinton-like character in "Primary Colors." That inevitable first photograph of Brolin in his W getup is going to be very telling on this score.

Now, the long-suffering Laura:

If it were anyone but Laura Bush, I might wonder whether Elizabeth Banks had enough range to portray a living person, but I don't think there's a whole lot going on beneath the surface with Laura Bush, so hiring a Meryl Streep-quality actress to take on the role doesn't seem necessary. Banks should do fine.

And no Bush family would be complete without its matriarch. Here's Barb:

Ellen Burstyn is, for my money, the best actress of her generation. Her performance in "Requiem for a Dream" is all heartbreaking and tragic and scary and all that stuff that makes acting good. The only thing I don't think she can do as an actress is a southern accent (for evidence, please review "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood." On second though, don't do that.) This is great casting. Almost as good as...

Stone's choice for Bush the Elder:

James Cromwell's played a version of H.W. Bush in "The Sum of all Fears" (and he also happens to bear a distinct physical resemblance to the guy), and he's accustomed to playing cranky patriarchs, so this is a natural choice. I'm sure he'll be great.

Here's an excerpt from an interview Stone gave to Variety about the movie, which actually does shed light on some of the questions I asked above:

"It's a behind-the-scenes approach, similar to 'Nixon,' to give a sense of what it's like to be in his skin," Stone told Daily Variety. "But if 'Nixon' was a symphony, this is more like a chamber piece, and not as dark in tone. People have turned my political ideas into a cliche, but that is superficial. I'm a dramatist who is interested in people, and I have empathy for Bush as a human being, much the same as I did for Castro, Nixon, Jim Morrison, Jim Garrison and Alexander the Great."

Stone declined to give his personal opinion of the president.

"I can't give you that, because the filmmaker has to hide in the work," Stone said. "Here, I'm the referee, and I want a fair, true portrait of the man. How did Bush go from an alcoholic bum to the most powerful figure in the world? It's like Frank Capra territory on one hand, but I'll also cover the demons in his private life, his bouts with his dad and his conversion to Christianity, which explains a lot of where he is coming from. It includes his belief that God personally chose him to be president of the United States, and his coming into his own with the stunning, preemptive attack on Iraq. It will contain surprises for Bush supporters and his detractors."
Sounds like Stone understands something about what makes Bush's story interesting, but "Frank Capra territory" seems way too whimsical a way to describe a film about a guy's rise from coddled trust-fund manchild to president and war criminal; I know Stone's trying to be careful not to get the wingnuts telling people to avoid the movie before he's even shot a foot of film, but seriously. Frank Capra?

Obviously I'm hoping the film (tentatively titled "W") is closer in quality to "Nixon" than "Alexander," but I think it's going to make big money at the box office no matter what. As much as the guy repulses about 3/4 of the country, I think most Americans, whether they care to admit it or not, find him fascinating. Repugnant, yes, but fascinating.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Indiana Jones Trading Cards

From time to time I like to just straight up steal blog posts from other blogs. Today is one of those times. So feast your eyes on some cool Indiana Jones trading cards Topps is putting out. If you follow that link you'll find 4 sheets of cards. From the illustrator's blog: "They are one of a kind original sketches that will be inserted in every box of cards (one per box), along with autographed cards by Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and others who worked on the films." I'm not a 12-year old kid, so I'm not going to drop any money on these things, but what is impressive is how perfectly the artist, Patrick Schoenmaker, captures the essence of these characters with just a few well-placed lines.

My personal favorite: Melty-Face Nazi at the top.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Even Chris Wallace Thinks "Fox and Friends" Is Creepy

Sometimes, Fox News is so nakedly a propaganda arm of the Republican party, it even makes other Fox News employees uncomfortable. One of them anyway. Watch as an uncomfortable Chris Wallace, moderator of Fox News Sunday, takes the Republican mouthpieces that host "Fox and Friends" to the woodshed for spending two hours bashing Obama on the basis of a quote they'd misleadingly truncated.

It's squirmy but also hilarious. Chris Wallace comes on to tease his show tomorrow, tells the hosts they're being bad, and then each of the three hosts has to explain themselves to Wallace. Like children. Awesome. It's clear Steve Doocey (or however you spell it) is the worst of the lot, but the lady host is the most embarrassingly defensive, saying, and I'm paraphrasing, "if [Obama] wants to have conversation about race, then let's talk about the double standard for certain phrases and words." I'm not sure what she's talking about here, but it sounds like she's one of these white people who still don't quite get why they can't use the n-word. For her, that's what a "real discussion of race" is all about.

Best moment: Doocey at the end saying, "You sure got a weird way of showing it."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Shai-Hulud Will Not be Denied--Will Get Big-Screen Treatment Again in 2010; Also, Mighella; Also, Obama and Race

Frank Herbert's epic science-fiction novel "Dune" is once again getting the big-budget studio treatment. The director who's been lobbying hard behind the scenes for many a month to get the gig is Peter Berg, the actor/director who brought us "Very Bad Things," "Friday Night Lights," and, most recently, "The Kingdom." I haven't seen most of Berg's oeuvre, so admittedly I'm not the best guy to judge whether or not he's got the chops to remake "Dune," but you can color me hopeful about the result, though not really optimistic. I'm hoping his apparent passion for the novel will translate to the most faithful adaptation of Herbert's classic yet, but I have my doubts that the guy who made the execrable "Very Bad Things" can pull off an epic science-fiction film based on a beloved novel.

I love Lynch's 1984 adaptation. The little idiosyncrasies that drive some people crazy about it--the voice-overs, the over-the-top costumes, the new ending--make it a better, more interesting film to me. And even though I believe Lynch's "Dune" is one of the best science-fiction films ever made, it is not, strictly-speaking, a faithful adaptation. The miniseries produced by the SciFi Channel in 2000 hewed more closely to the novel, but it's limited budget prevented the filmmakers from truly realizing the scope of Herbert's novel. Berg has a chance here to make the definitive "Dune," which would be a boon to him personally, of course, but also to fans of Herbert's six "Dune" novels, some of which may get the same big-budget treatment by Paramount if Berg's adaptation clicks with audiences. If Berg and Paramount find a way to make "Dune"--a geopolitical novel laden with political intrigue, environmental science and philosophy--resonate with a mass audience, then they could have something resembling the "LOTR" franchise on their hands. Obviously, that's the best-case scenario. Worst-case, Berg goes back to making disappointing movies and "Dune" reaffirms its reputation as a hard-sell for mass audiences.

In other news, Oscar-winning writer and director of "The English Patient", Anthony Minghella, died today of a brain hemorrhage. He was 54.

And in political news, Barack Obama made a speech today intended to speak directly to some sermons given by Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor, and the larger issues of race in America. You can find the full text here. If you want a more stark contrast between Democrats and Republicans, look no further than this speech. Where Mitt Romney, the right-wing Republican golden child, was exclusionary in his big "Mormon speech," saying that non-religious people had no place in American life, Obama was inclusive in his "race speech" today, speaking frankly about where America stands right now on the issue of race. Here's a short excerpt:

"The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow."

Viable politicians rarely (if ever) discuss these issues frankly, which is, in part, why this speech is so fascinating. I don't know if this speech will be enough to counter the impact those grainy videos of Jeremiah Wright thundering away at the pulpit had on some voters, but I hope this thoughtful and inclusive speech will go some way in doing that. Definitely read it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

"The Comfort of Strangers" and a Recent Change in Status

I finished a novel Saturday morning and it's been stuck in my head since. It's called "The Comfort of Strangers" and it was written by Ian McEwan. He published it back in 1981 but it carries nothing between its covers that would distinguish it as a work written during that decade. At best one could place it as occurring sometime during the late 20th century, but it's difficult to get more precise than that. Not only are there no references to times or dates, McEwan never precisely identifies the city the story is set in. The city he describes is a stylized Venice, Italy, but McEwan has wrung it of all of its storied charms and infuses it instead with a dreamy quality in which dread and a kind of genteel hostility are pervasive. The result is unsettling. While some writers compose books that amount to love letters to various cities and countries, with "The Comfort of Strangers" I think McEwan has composed a hate letter to Italy.

Briefly, the plot follows Mary and Colin, two beautiful Britons, not quite married, on vacation in the aforementioned city of quasi-Venice. As the novel opens we find them cultivating mutual resentments in their lavish hotel room with passive aggressive silences and banal small talk freighted with meaning. That night they venture forth into the city to find a suitable restaurant, knowing full well they'll probably get lost in the city's twisting streets and narrow alleys. Hours later, lost and frustrated in their search for an acceptable eaterie, they happen upon a local man named Robert, who leads them to a bar patronized solely by locals. (During the extended bar scene, Robert tells them a story from his childhood that is one of the most sustained pieces of long-form dialogue I've read in fiction.) There's something off about Robert. He shares inappropriately. He's more familiar with them than is appropriate, touching them in ways that willfully ignore the conventions of personal space. Colin and Mary dismiss these faux pas as nothing more than a difference in culture, but to their detriment. Soon Robert demonstrates his peculiar gregariousness, tinged as it is with menace, is an exaggeration of the surrounding culture, but particular to him.

The novel builds in suspense as Robert manages to insinuate himself more and more into the lives of the two tourists. Much of the feeling of dread that characterizes "Comfort" emanates from what is unspoken and what is only hinted at; rarely do the characters even acknowledge the strange things they witness or the moments of probable insanity they encounter in others. It's as though the hapless tourists are sleepwalking through a nightmare for which the reader is intolerably awake. So little happens in an overt sense during the story, that the ending, which is as overt as it gets, is so shocking I read it over three times to make sure I was reading it correctly. I was, and boy is it a doozy.

And I say that "Comfort" amounts to a hate letter to Venice (and, more expansively, the country of Italy), because when we finally discover what's wrong with Robert, it's clear McEwan is making a larger statement about his views of Italian culture, namely their preoccupation with the notion of manliness and the acceptance of a role of subjugation for women (in one scene, a woman tells Mary that if a man is known for beating his wife, it gains him some measure of notoriety among his friends and acquaintances). When one adds in McEwan's characterizations of the mise en scene, this city that is and is not Venice, one gets the sense of a dying, useless city filled with malignantly self-involved people. If McEwan ever visited there (and it would appear he has), after reading the book it seems doubtful he'd ever willingly return.

(If you'd like to read a negative take on the book, read this 1981 review of the novel by John Leonard of the New York Times. Though be warned: the reviewer gives away far too much of the plot in an effort to be cruelly dismissive. With the benefit of 27 years of hindsight, howeverm I think this reviewer seems a tad short-sighted on the subject of Ian McEwan.)

This is the sixth novel I've read by him, and though I don't think it's his best, (I still think "Atonement" carries that title) I do think it's his most tightly controlled work, and one of the most successful attempts by a writer to depict in a work of fiction that intangible quality called "atmosphere". As I read through it chapter by chapter, I recounted its plot to my wife and sister -- they were as weirded out by my retelling as I was by reading it. My wife says she doesn't even want to know how it ends, which I'll chalk up to her discomfort with the lurid subject matter rather than her being bone-tired of the sound of my voice.

Interestingly, in 1990, Paul Schrader made a film of the book. Rupert Everett stars as winsome, beautiful tourist Colin, and none other than Christopher Walken plays the role of Robert. I can't wait to see it.

Anyway, sorry I've been slack on the updates of late, but I think I have an okay excuse this time.

I got a job. I started it on the 10th of this month.

It's one of those hourly-type things that spit out paychecks every couple weeks. My job title is "copy editor/proofreader"and I work for a small company in a suburb of Atlanta just north of Marietta. I wanted to be sure I managed to STAY employed for a full week before I posted up about it, and since I accomplished that, I feel fine to announce it here.

So anyway, if I'm remiss in posting up blog entries (or in returning calls), it's because I'm still adjusting to the whole working stiff thing. I'm going to try to post up an entry at least once a week to begin with. Hopefully they'll get more frequent as the weeks go on.

Also, you should know that my being a "proofreader" will not make me any more careful with the entries I post up on here than usual. Rest assured, they will be of the same slapdash quality you've grown to love.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

"Tropic Thunder" Teaser Teaser, and the Writers of "The Wire" Have A Final Thought on the War on Drugs

A couple things on this Sunday.

First, a teaser for a teaser for Ben Stiller's upcoming film, "Tropic Thunder." NCSA's own Danny McBride (a.k.a Fred Simmons), co-stars in this film along with Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., and Jack Black, and gets his name in big letters (as well as a line) in this teaser-teaser. This from Moriarty's aintitcool post:

"I’ve been hearing great things about this script ever since last year’s now-legendary round-table reading, where guys like Bill Hader and Danny McBride were destroying with regularity, and where I hear this thing really came to life."

So "Thunder"'s got Robert Downey Jr. playing a self-absorbed actor doing blackface, Danny McBride "destroying with regularity", and what looks to be a hilarious cameo by Tom Cruise. Should be a lot of fun. The full teaser is supposed to be released a week from Monday. Teasing teasers teaser.

Second, the fifth and final season of "The Wire" wraps up tonight on HBO. The show's writers put out a statement this week which is, in part, an attempt to turn the questions they've asked, the angst they've felt, and the anger they've carried in researching and writing the show into political action. You can read the entire statement here; the most pertinent snippet is below:
"If asked to serve on a jury deliberating a violation of state or federal drug laws, we will vote to acquit, regardless of the evidence presented. Save for a prosecution in which acts of violence or intended violence are alleged, we will — to borrow Justice Harry Blackmun's manifesto against the death penalty — no longer tinker with the machinery of the drug war. No longer can we collaborate with a government that uses nonviolent drug offenses to fill prisons with its poorest, most damaged and most desperate citizens."

After having seen read what I've read about the failed drug war, and after watching four seasons of David Simon's deeply-researched show, this declaration of "jury nullification" for non-violent drug offenses makes a lot of sense to me. Though some drug policy folks in Washington might sniff at the idea of TV writers sticking their nose into this complicated problem, I think they'd do well to listen closely. What these TV writers have done for the plight of the American inner city with five seasons of this show, is not dissimilar to what Dickens did for the plight of the poor in Victorian London with his many novels. For that Ed Burns, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, Richard Price, and David Simon (the "Wire"'s writers) have a right to weigh in on the issue, and their protest against this wrongheaded and unjust war deserves, I think, consideration.

Friday, March 07, 2008

New "Watchmen" Publicity Stills put up some sweet new publicity stills for the cast of Zach Snyder's upcoming "Watchmen" movie, each actor photographed in full costume. (Pictured above is an actor named Jeffrey Dean Morgan who plays The Comedian.) Snyder's casting unknowns for the main cast (with the exception of Carla Gugino and, possibly, Jackie Earle Haley), which is fantastic because it encourages audiences to view the actors solely as the characters they're playing and not merely as celebrities of varying wattage who all just happen to be starring in a movie together. As with everything I'm seeing come out of this production, I'm heartened by these new images. So far, no missteps. And because it's Snyder helming this thing, I'm not expecting any.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Some Constructive Criticism for the Clinton Campaign

In an earlier draft of my previous post, I wrote of a second option Hillary might decide to use to beat Barack, but decided to delete it because it didn't a.) help her win the nomination, and b.) didn't really suspect of her of being this Machiavellian. Turns out I probably should have included it.

This is what I almost included: "Hillary may attempt to weaken Obama so badly that McCain defeats him in the general election, thus leaving Hillary as the Democratic heir-presumptive in 2012."

As of today, an argument can be made that this crazy, scorched earth, throw the Democratic party under the bus game-plan is now part of the Clinton campaign's new strategy. Evidence, you ask?

This is what she said today:

“I think that since we now know Sen. McCain will be the nominee for the Republican Party, national security will be front and center in this election. We all know that. And I think it’s imperative that each of us be able to demonstrate we can cross the commander-in-chief threshold,” the New York senator told reporters crowded into a bedroom-sized hotel conference room in Washington.

“I believe that I’ve done that. Certainly, Sen. McCain has done that and you’ll have to ask Sen. Obama with respect to his candidacy,” she said.

Calling McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee a good friend and a “distinguished man with a great history of service to our country,” Clinton said, “[Both McCain and I] will be on that stage having crossed that [commander-in-chief] threshold."

So when Obama's the nominee, does anyone think the McCain campaign won't be sending out talking points to all of the right-wing pundits use saying, "Even Hillary Clinton, a member of his own party, thinks John McCain's more qualified to be commander-in-chief then Barack Obama." This statement, along with her fear-mongering 3 a.m. phone call ad, her calculated "as far as I know" on the question of whether Obama is or isn't a muslim, is doing real damage to the party, and I think Hillary and her campaign need to dial it back and find others ways to claw their way to the nomination. In my view, the path they're on now is the worst possible route to get there.

Where the Democratic Race Stands Now

If you're an Obama supporter, Tuesday night was kind of depressing.

As you've no doubt heard ad nauseum for the past 36 hours or so, Hillary won Texas and Ohio as well as Rhode Island. Obama won Vermont.

If you're a Clinton supporter, simply watching the news is enough to keep your hopes up. But if you're an Obama supporter, then I think you'll be heartened to read this article from Newsweek. No matter how you look at it, the math is very tough for Hillary to overcome. If this thing gets decided solely on the basis of elections and caucuses, Obama will win the nomination. Here are some scenarios in which Hillary could win.

1.) Obama's involvement with Tony Rezco blows up. If Obama is seen to be much less than forthright about his involvement with Rezco (who's currently on trial in Chicago for corruption) or worse, Obama is found to have actually been a party to unseemly business, Clinton could make a case to the superdelegates that she's got less to hide than he does and would make a better nominee.

2.) Hillary goes after Obama with a scorched earth negative campaign. If she or her surrogates sully Obama badly enough among those Dem voters inclined to believe rumors about Obama's Muslim upbringing and his lack of patriotism, then she can try and make the case to the superdelegates that they should go against the will of the voters and caucusers and pledge themselves for her.

I'm doubtful that either of these scenarios is going to happen. I don't think Obama had much to do with Rezco's crimes, nor do I think Hillary's going to go overtly negative to try and game the election. If Jonathan Alter (who wrote the Newsweek piece) is right, then Hillary may be angling for a V.P. slot. I'm ambivalent about the prospect of an Obama-Clinton ticket -- I'd like to see someone running with Obama who more strongly neutralizes McCain's appeal -- but if that's what it takes to get this race settled before the convention, then it ought to happen.

Obviously, the worst-case scenario is that the Democrats find a way to blow the general election in a year when we ought to have it handed to us.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Now You Can Add Yet Another Name to the List of Fake-Memoir Writers

So the big Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island primaries start up in about 15 minutes, but before I glue myself to CNN, I wanted to direct your attention to something completely non-political.

Last week I read this review in the New York Times by Michiko Kakutani for a new memoir entitled "Love and Consequences." The review is accompanied by a disorienting photo of the author, Margaret P. Jones (pictured left) taken, no doubt, from the book jacket. I say disorienting because the woman pictured is white (actually half-white and half-Indian), and the memoir describes a rough-and-tumble childhood as a foster kid on the streets of South Central Los Angeles. Her experience runs the gamut on the issues one might expect to find in a memoir set in this milieu: gangs, racism, poverty, drugs, etc.. According to Kakutani, the memoir is "amazing." Jones "write[s] with a novelist’s eye for the psychological detail and an anthropologist’s eye for social rituals and routines." She also said the book was "deeply affecting" and "humane."

Turns out, as the New York Times reported today, Margaret B. Jones, whose real name is Margaret Seltzer, made it all up.

"Margaret B. Jones is a pseudonym for Margaret Seltzer, who is all white and grew up in the well-to-do Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley, with her biological family. She graduated from the Campbell Hall School, a private Episcopal day school in the North Hollywood neighborhood. She has never lived with a foster family, nor did she run drugs for any gang members. Nor did she graduate from the University of Oregon, as she had claimed."
As a result of Seltzer's "mendacity", her book tour, which was to start today, is no longer happening, and all copies of her book have been recalled.

After Seltzer had been profiled in the Times' House & Home section last Thursday, Seltzer's older sister called the publisher to say the author of "Love and Consequences" had made the whole thing up. To make it all the sweeter, Gawker had some choice quotes from an interview Jones/Seltzer gave prior to her outing. Here's a taste:

"Q: How did this book originate?

A: During my senior year of college one of my professors told me a friend of hers was working on a book and wanted to interview me. I declined. I wasn’t interested in the whole “South-Central-as-petting-zoo” thing. Then my home girl said the teacher might mess around and fail me for rejecting her friend, so I ended up calling the author and doing the interview. She was real nice and asked me if I had ever written anything. I ended up giving her one of a number of short stories I had written for my brothers’ kids and for the kids of my homies serving life sentences."

Wow. Seltzer sounds egregiously white. It's a wonder that her agent heard Seltzer slinging those "homies" and "home girl"'s around at lunch meetings and thought to herself, "she is completely authentic and her story is perfectly believable."

I think the fact that this book hasn't been out for more than few days makes this fake memoir scandal less impactful than the James Frey debacle a couple years back, or the J.T. Leroy/Laura Albert brouhaha last year. Frey, as you'll remember, fooled Oprah and millions of readers, and Albert conned dozens of cool "indie" writers as well as thousands of readers, myself included. But where Frey exaggerated to the point of lying, and Albert created a dreamily horrific hard-luck life out of whole cloth and then wrote stories supposedly informed by that life, Seltzer imagined a hard-scrabble childhood that, one might safely assume, is actually being lived/endured in cities all over the country by, mostly, minorities. Of course she's not the first privileged white person to invent a poorer, more ethno-centric past for themselves to lend themselves a little "street cred" (Vanilla Ice, anyone?), but it's just as off-putting in this instance as it's ever been. It's like the rich stealing the character they lack from the poor.

But the publisher of "Love and Consequences", Riverhead Books, is also, I think, equally culpable in this half-perpetrated con. One would think that after James Frey was exposed as a fabulist, and after Oprah shamed the industry (or attempted to shame) into fact-checking their would-be memoirists, that the least publishers could do was verify the most easily-verifiable claims made in the memoirs they publish. A fact-checker could easily find out, for example, whether or not a woman named Margaret B. Jones graduated from the University of Oregon in the year Jones claims she did. Jones/Seltzer did not go to that school, but because no one asked this question (or any other), Seltzer managed to string her agent, her editor, and her publisher along for 3 years while they all worked on "Love and Consequences." With their help, Seltzer very nearly duped thousands of readers.

If publishers continue to insist that fact-checking is not their responsibility, the credibility of memoirs as authentic and reasonably truthful works of art is diminished, and this in turn hurts those memoirists who aren't making up the facts of their lives for the sake of book sales. But some of these more outlandish memoirs don't seem to require a lengthy and exhaustive fact-checking to find those first telling cracks in their stories. Like the woman who recently admitted her memoir, in which she is raised, in part, by wolves, was made up. How hard is it really to guess that that lady's whole goal was to tell lies? And when a white, 33-year old, U. of Oregon alum says she was a drug-runner for gangs in South Central Los Angeles when she was growing up, don't you, the publisher, at the very least, make a phone call? If the corporations who own all the publishers don't want to employ fact-checkers, that's one thing, but when agents and editors won't even use their own god-given common sense to separate the talented liars from the merely talented, then maybe the publishing industry's doomed to be forever disconnected from the readers they're supposed to be selling to. And they wonder why they're not selling more books.

Admittedly, I'm not a big memoir guy, but reading about Seltzer's fabrications so soon after Frey and Albert were exposed for theirs, makes me think the publishing industry needs to address what looks like a growing problem sooner than later.