Is That a Fact?

by krm | Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 6:00 AM

The sociologist-senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously exclaimed that “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” As the recent US presidential election has demonstrated, however, much of the voting public would seem to disagree. They are decidedly split not only in their opinions on political matters, but also on the very facts that inform those opinions.

It isn’t difficult to see how we arrived at such a situation. Many people now get their information (when they get it at all) from deeply ideological news outlets on both the Right and the Left, or through a pervasive social media that is not accountable to traditional journalistic norms. As a key player in this media, Facebook has recently announced efforts to reduce the amount of misinformation that has been spread on the site where many people—especially younger people—now get their news. This is a welcome recognition of the problem, even if it comes somewhat after the fact. Perhaps this is all the logical extension of what Stephen Colbert coined as “truthiness” more than a decade ago to account for the gut feeling that something is true, whether it can be proven...Read More

From Here to There: Book Distribution 101

by krm | Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Distribution is an often-invisible part of book publishing. It is intuitive that authors write, editors acquire, production designs, marketing promotes, booksellers sell, and readers enjoy. It is easy to overlook the logistics between the finished book, retailers, and ultimately consumers.

Distribution is that final step that takes freshly printed books and makes them accessible to readers. We are the people authors call to make sure books arrive for events and who advise students on what shipping method to use to receive the book before term starts. We ship review copies and contributor copies. We talk to stores and wholesalers electronically all day long, receiving and sending order data. We sell books on our own website, We send book data to retail and wholesale accounts. We provide invoice copies to stores and process sales made at events and exhibits. We send download links for ebooks and codes for electronic access. We are often responsible for the core data customers see on an Amazon detail page, including the availability and ship times. We process the sales that will result in royalties for authors.

Hopkins Fulfillment Services (HFS) offers...Read More

A Good Story, but Was It Accurate?

by krm | Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - 6:00 AM

We hear a lot about fake news but what about fake history? How do we know that everything in history books is based on fact? We don’t. That is why history is always open to revision, and doing it requires a critical mind and the skills of a detective. I am a historian who loves mysteries, and this story is one of them.

A Time of Scandal presents a new and expanded picture of a racy scandal about political corruption and bad behavior in the early 1920s -- a time when Prohibition had shut bars and spawned bootleggers, drugs were widely available at least in major cities, women could vote and wear short skirts but were still treated as second-class citizens, hostility toward immigrants was tinged with fear for the nation (sound familiar?), and rumors of scandal were picked up eagerly by a commercialized press and spread across the nation.

The story that has come down in other history books goes as follows: Colonel Charles R. Forbes, the founding director of a huge new agency for military veterans of World War I, was accused of using his position...Read More

Before TV, “Comedy Central” was classical Athens

by krm | Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 6:29 AM

Komoidia (“party song”) was a type of play invented to mimic tragedy at the festival of the God Dionysus in 486 BC, and by mid-century it was as popular as its dignified

ancestor. You may have heard of Aristophanes, but he was only one of many creators of these no-holds-barred plays full of raunchy dialogue and situations, outrageous parody, and savage political satire: Cratinus mocked Pericles as an absurd Zeus wannabe (and exploited his own reputation as a drunk by turning his failed rehab attempt into a comedy), Eupolis staged a resurrection of dead politicians to sort out the corrupt government of his own day, the (all male) actors wore fat suits with phalluses and grotesque masks, or portrayed empowered women and talking animals ready to overthrow Athenian men.

Within decades this transgressive form (“Old Comedy”) was swept away by a more modern (raunch-free and non-political) second generation of New Comedy, where families of middle-class fathers, sons, wives, and daughters bicker and scheme and cause chaos with a guaranteed happy ending the ancestor of today’s sitcom (although slaves, prostitutes and pimps also make their appearances from the Athenian street).

These plays are...Read More

Journals, Marketing Staff Win Awards

by bjs | Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - 3:01 PM

The recent awards season treated the JHU Press Journals Division well with a number of honors being earned by several Press publications as well as by the Journals Marketing Division for its efforts in promoting the journals collection.

Winning categories included journal design, a catalog publication and academic research

“We appreciate the recognition for the exceptional efforts of our editors, their staffs and the many scholars who contribute to the journals we publish as well as the talent and innovation of our own team,” said Journals Publisher William Breichner .

At the recent Modern Language Association meeting in Philadelphia, the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) recognized four JHUP journals for excellence. Three journals received the top honor in their category while another was given an Honorable Mention.

In the Best Special Issue category, American Quarterly was honored for the top prize for Issue 67.3 , released in September 2015. The journal previously won the same award in 2009 and 2013. Callaloo received an Honorable Mention Award in the same category...Read More