• August 10, 2015

    Vice’s editorial staff has voted to unionize, following quickly in the footsteps of writers and editors at Gawker media and Salon. In a statement, Vice CEO Shane Smith responded to the vote with grandiose paternal affection: “I’m so proud of all my perfect diamonds here at Vice. Every single day your ideas and work continue to blow me away. I am proud to support all of you—and as an old grey-haired man all I want is for my beautiful Vice family to be happy—those writers who voted to unionize and those who did not. I love you all, and together we will conquer the world.” The Writers Guild of America will represent the Vice editorial staff.

    John Darnielle

    John Darnielle

    The Film Society of Lincoln Center has announced that it will soon restart its “Print Screen” series, which invites authors to introduce films that have influenced their work. First up on the schedule is John Darnielle—the singer-songwriter mastermind behind the Mountain Goats and the author of the novel Wolf in White Van—who will appear at a screening of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Medea on August 31. Other authors who will appear in the series include novelists James Hannaham (Delicious Foods) and Garth Risk Hallberg (the forthcoming City on Fire) and essayist-poet Susan Howe (My Emily Dickinson).

    We know that Esquire is a men’s magazine, but do they really think that men don’t read books by women? Their new list of “80 Books Every Man Should Read” suggests as much: It includes only one title by a woman author, Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard to Find. Did they pick that one because it has “man” in the title?

    The New York Times currently has more than 1 million paid online-only digital subscribers. This figure should help reduce the worries expressed when the paper put up its paywall in 2011. But according to Wired’s Julia Greenberg, the paper of record still has a way to go. “The question remains for the Times, as print advertising revenue and print copies sold continue to drop, whether the gains in digital subscriptions will be enough to offset its traditional revenue base.” The majority of online readers still do not pay, and the paper recently reported that only a third of its ad revenue comes from digital advertisements. “Even if one million is a nice number,” says Greenberg, “the Times still needs millions more.”

    Carol Brown Janeway, a longtime editor and executive at Knopf, has died. In addition to her accomplishments as an editor, Janeway was also a lauded translator who produced English translations of books including Bernard Schlink’s The Reader, Thomas Bernhard’s My Prizes, and Daniel Kehlmann’s F.

    Essayist and novelist Tim Parks, author of the new book Where I’m Reading From: The Changing World of Books, was recently asked, “Do writers—and readers—overstate the importance of literature?” Parks responded: “Of course they do…. Needless to say, I love literature and feel it offers all kinds of opportunities for heightening and refining mental life. But it’s worth remembering that for thousands of years the vast majority of humanity neither read nor wrote. We have no proof that this made them stupid or unhappy.”