Archive for March, 2007

“people will say enough, we can’t go on like this”- Andre Schiffrin

March 29, 2007

An interview from DemocracyNow! which touches on many important aspects of the dumbing down of the U.S. population through the restriction of access to ideas. From media consolidation in the book industry, to the long term damage of the McCarthy era, to the forgotten history of President Truman’s plans for national health care and unemployment reduction. The fascist attempt to control consciousness.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, our next guest has been a leading figure in the book publishing world for nearly half a century. As head of Pantheon Books, Andre Schiffrin edited the titles by Jean-Paul Sartre, Studs Terkel, Art Spiegelman, Noam Chompsky, Michel Foucault. In 1990, he resigned Pantheon and set up the nonprofit publishing house, The New Press. Andre Schiffrin has also written several of his own books, including The Business of Books: How International Conglomerates Took Over Publishing and Change the Way We Read. He’s just written a new memoir, it’s called A Political Education: Coming of Age in Paris and New York. Andre Schiffrin joins us now in our firehouse studio. Welcome to Democracy Now!.

ANDRE SCHIFFRIN: Well, thank you. It’s a pleasure to be with you.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, usually I know it’s — just delve into the book you just published, but in your work and in that first book, where you talked about these multinational conglomerates, explain how publishing works. Who owns the publishing houses?

ANDRE SCHIFFRIN: Well, publishing used to be what you could call artisanal. It was family firms that were many in number and had a wide choice of books and so on. And in the US and, in fact, in Europe, made about 3% or 4% a year in the way of profit, which was enough to keep going, but not enough to make a huge amount of money.

In recent years, through a long process which I described in the Business of Books, large media conglomerates have begun to buy more and more of publishing. People who own radio, television, cable, magazines, newspapers and so on, and they-the five largest conglomerates now control 80% of the books that are published in the US, for the general reader. (more…)


The Line We’re On

March 28, 2007

An insightful piece by David Levi Strauss from last year:

Over three years remain in the Bush presidency. That’s a long time for a lot more to go extremely wrong. “Aspens connected at the roots,” like Scooter Libby told Judith Miller. These thugs have got to go. The trouble is that the people who are working for them, especially the Image Management people, the “Imagineers,” are not thugs, or at least not in the same way. They are highly sophisticated manipulators of the public imaginary. To counter them requires a great deal more knowledge and finesse than we’ve been able to muster so far.

Read the whole thing at the Brooklyn Rail.

“Be a Zapatista where you are”- John Ross

March 27, 2007

Hope and Change

March 2, 2007


quilt pattern: David and Goliath