“Vampire-Loving Barmaid Hits Jackpot”

The Commodification of Culture

Well, of course you’re reading my compelling exposition because of its lapel-grabbing title, but did you notice that my title is in quotes?  Oh, yes indeedy.  That’s because I got the title from Motoko Rich’s article in the New York Times of May 20, and I didn’t want to plagiarize, or rather I should say that I didn’t want to get caught plagiarizing.

So, according to the previously cited Motoko Rich (op. cit.), we have learned that Charlaine Harris of Magnolia, Arkansas, has recently made a bundle with her series of “Sookie Stackhouse vampire mystery romance novels” (New York Times, May 20, 2009, op. cit.) and the HBO tie-ins related thereunto.  Ms. Harris has indeed reached the No. 1 spot on the Times’ best-seller list for hardcover fiction, and, if one photograph tells me anything, I dare say that Ms. Harris can identify with her readers, and they with her.  And by the way, you just read an elliptical chiasmus.  This is Chronicles, buster.

Now as a veteran Times reader, and indeed a veteran reader, period, I was a little challenged as to why the Times best-seller list wasn’t enough in itself.  That Americans read trash is hardly news, and if it is, that news belongs in the business pages.  So why the additional attention, then?  There was the condescending treatment of small-town...

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