The world always intrudes, sometimes in small, meaningless ways, other times in startling and hurtful ways. As we prepare for a another wonderful holiday celebration, we pause for a very brief moment to find that familiar intrusiveness — disguised as money — a topic of concern once again.
Three recent news items grabbed my attention. One of them has to do with the publishing industry, or specifically Publishers Weekly, the so-called Bible of the industry. It’s a fairly self-satifsfied weekly magazine and online service that carries a lot of clout with folks connected to publishing. Most recently, its editors selected the British erotic writer E.L. James as the most important person in publishing for 2012.
They did this because James wrote books that sold tens of millions of copies, drew scads of readers and made a bucket of money for some publishers. They didn’t do it because James wrote good books. Or because she wrote books well. Nope, the quality of her writing — severely strained, in fact — was not a concern. Money was. How pathetic. This is attention quite misplaced.
Next up, and in a more public vein, is the desire of the Atlanta Falcons pro football team to build a new stadium. Not sure why they need a new one — we hear things about the need to host a Super Bowl as if that mattered — and not at all sure why any public money is needed for this billion dollar-plus project. But we’re told it is and that it is a great deal for everyone. Once again, it’s all about the money, no matter how misplaced this use of it might seem to a lot of folks.
And finally, there is the case of Bobby Petrino, the severely ethics-challenged football coach who has skipped out on several jobs, lied to his employers, cheated on his spouse and been fired from his most recent job for behavior that ought to get him banned from his profession. But because he can win football games, a so-called institution of higher education named Western Kentucky has hired him. So much for a mission of giving students an education and moral background for their lives; give ’em a coach who wins. After all, it’s all about the money. Shame.