West's post linking to the news is "`Best Seller' Lists Are a Farce"
Won't disagree in the least, seeing as regular readers of Wenatchee The Hatchet will have read about the Result Source gaming of the New York Times best-seller list that got Mark and Grace Driscoll's Real Marriage a spot atop a NYT list. The first print edition of that book was part of a months long controversy covered in the news cycle regarding allegations of plagiarism throughout Mark Driscoll's published work. The evidence available from the first print edition of Real Marriage as examined here and by Warren Throckmorton seemed pretty compelling.
Eventually it seemed nearly every single book Mark Driscoll had published had something in it that could have been better attributed in the first edition. Cumulative, as reported by Throckmorton, it seems many of the glaring attributional omissions in Real Marriage got fixed in a second printing and the press began to report the plagiarism controversy in the Christian press as if all the plagiarism alleged were precisely that, alleged. The total absence of any acknowledgment of the writings and influence of Dan Allender on the Driscolls in the first print edition, in contrast with the note of thanks in the second print edition, makes it difficult to chalk up all the allegations as mere allegations. That by itself seems like a fairly big adjustment of content across print editions. It's impossible to make any claim that Mark and Grace Driscoll were simply unfamiliar with Allender's work because, as has been documented extensively here at this blog, the Driscolls name-dropped Allender's work too many times for them to profess unfamiliarity with his work prior to 2012.
Which is wind up for this, the discovery that a new author can somehow land a spot, if briefly, on a NYT best-seller list without even the background of author sales the Driscolls had.
By way of contrasts, I haven't seen a single review or write-up on Nikita Koshkin's 24 preludes and fugues for solo guitar. This constitutes, to the best of my knowledge, the first large-scale contrapuntal cycle composed for solo guitar by a guitarist composer that has been published in the traditional publishing way, ever. Nary a peep about it and that's not necessarily a bad thing since a commercially available recording isn't available yet but also because a cycle that's more than a hundred pages long can't be considered and discussed in heat-of-the-moment news cycle ways in any case.
I had planned to have blogged about the Koshkin cycle by now but learning about the Dzhaparidze cycle came up and I've got the Rekhin cycle so I've begun to think that I should probably really blog about all three cycles to the extent that I can. That will require a mount of listening and score study and even more listening and considering the polyphonic techniques preferred by each composer and ... well ... etc., etc.
Meanwhile, yet another book that hit a best-seller list looks like it got, effectively, its place bought on the list.
While it's no doubt tempting for advocates of high art to sniff that this is just how mass culture works it's not necessarily the case that high art is exempt from being bought its place in history. If anything it's more inescapable that high art has had its path into history bought for it.