With everybody getting offended, it’s hard for creative people to find bad guys

We all know that the entertainment world, deprived of Islamist bad guys for its movies (since real Islamists might respond with real killing), having been reduced to demonizing corporations, recycling Nazis and, when all else fails, dragging in space aliens.  Books, too, are feeling the pinch.

I was trolling through Kindle’s free books the other day looking for stuff to read. Unless I’m quite obviously not going to read the book (Paleolithic cook books aren’t my thing), I click over and check the best and the worst reviews for a book. The best reviews tell me about the book; and the worst tell me about its flaws. Any book that gets scathing attacks because of bad grammar, wooden dialogue, whiny heroines, etc., never finds its way onto my Kindle.

Today, I found a “one star” review that raises a point I’ve never thought about before: the book is unfair to witches. As best as I can tell, the book is a sweet, but silly, romance/ghost story but, somewhere in the book the writer said something mean about witches and got this negative review:

5 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointed, April 15, 2013
By GW Alumna (Planet Earth) – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Keep Me Ghosted (Sophie Rhodes Romantic Comedy #1) (Kindle Edition)

Let me first say that I’ve enjoyed Cantwell’s books immensely. And I enjoyed this one for about the first third. Then the problems started. The problem in this book, the malevalent ghost, was identified as having been evoked by witchcraft. I don’t take insults to my religion lightly, and this is the last Cantwell book that I will ever read. Just imagine if some dastardly ghost had been invoked by islam or judaism. We didn’t even get the dignity of a capital letter for our religion. I am very disappointed in Cantwell. I thought she was better than this. It was just a cheap shot that was totally unnecessary. Surely she could have created an antagonist without insulting people.

A brief time-out for shameless commercialism

I have to admit that, while I enjoyed the first Indiana Jones movie back in the day (making it the only Steven Spielberg movie I’ve ever liked), the sequels didn’t thrill me, and none of them are movies I watch now with any pleasure.  My kids, however, do enjoy the movies and I understand why.  Steven Spielberg’s approach to movies is to turn everything into a broad-brush caricature.  Because Indiana Jones is fact a broad-brush caricature (a 30s cartoon character brought to life), Spielberg’s technique is just right.

Which gets me to my point:  If there’s someone in your family who would enjoy what is, in essence, a series of flashy Saturday-morning matinée style movies, you can get the complete Indiana Jones set on Amazon for 60% off the regular price (the set was $99.98 and is now $39.99), including free shipping.

Ch-ch-ch-changes — I’ve got a newsletter!

Blogs without newsletters are so “first decade of the 21st century.”  Me?  I’m always sort of up to the minute, so I signed up with MailChimp, a free (or, if you want or need the fancy stuff, paid) site that hosts email newsletters.  I’m actually rather impressed with MailChimp.  It’s very easy to use and, for a small blogger, provides more than enough in the way of free services.

If you’ve ever commented on this blog, you probably woke up to find a newsletter in your inbox.  If you didn’t get a newsletter, but would like to, you can sign up in the subscription box that you’ll find on the right-hand side of my blog. —>

The newsletter currently has two parts:  links to the major posts I put up recently and (to entice you to stick with the newsletter even if you’ve already read the posts) original content that you won’t find at the blog.  A small percentage of this original content will be blatant shilling for Amazon products.  As I mentioned the other day, if you reach Amazon through one of my links, I get a teeny percentage of whatever you ultimately end up buying.  If you’re worried about your privacy, don’t be:  I have no idea who is ordering from Amazon, what they buy, or how much they pay.  I just know that, once a month, I get a notice from Amazon telling me that there’s a small amount of money heading my way.

My one request is that, if you find a particular newsletter worthy, please consider forwarding it to any of your friends who won’t consider you a terrible pest for filling their inboxes with stuff they didn’t ask for.

This is a real apology

Amazon took heat — a lot of it — when word got out that, in response to a publisher’s demands, it magically deleted George Orwell’s 1984 (of all books!) from people’s Kindles.  Amazon has gone a long way to redeeming itself, though, by having its CEO issue a genuine apology (as opposed to the ordinary fake kind we’re all getting used to):

This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our “solution” to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we’ve received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.

With deep apology to our customers,

Jeff Bezos
Founder & CEO
Amazon.com

UPDATE: A Kindle is an electronic reader.