paper trail

Murdoch and the National Geographic

Rupert Murdoch

The National Geographic Society has teamed up with Fox on a new for-profit media venture that will include its existing cable television channels and the famous magazine (Fox paid $725 million and will own 73 percent of the new company; the Society itself will remain a nonprofit, with a larger endowment). Rupert Murdoch isn’t fazed by those who object to the idea of a “climate-change denier” having such a major stake in the National Geographic—in any case, he prefers the term “skeptic.”

Padgett Powell talks to about Cries For Help, Various: Stories. “Well, it's not the original subtitle,” he says. “The original subtitle, which I have discovered made the publisher nervous, was ‘45 Failed Novels.’” Flannery O’Connor, Powell goes on, can be said to have written short stories: “The rest of us . . . sit down and have some accidents.”

After the fuss over Michael Derrick Hudson making it into the Best American Poetry 2015 anthology under a fake Asian name, Buzzfeed reproduces an e-mail from the guest editor Sherman Alexie, apologizing to the rest of the poets he chose: “I am sorry that this Pseudonym Bullshit has taken so much attention away from all of your great poems.”

Perseus Books, which was almost bought by Hachette last year, is looking into a possible sale again.

The Observer has an interview with Greil Marcus about his forthcoming book, Three Songs, Three Singers, Three Nations. When Matthew Kassel asks if he listens more to songs and snippets than albums now, Marcus says he prefers to let things play and see what strikes him, rather than go looking for a particular kind of thing: “You don’t go up to one of your friends and say, Tell me something really profound today that I’m going to remember and want to tell other people about. Your friend is going to say, What? And that’s going to be the end of the conversation. So when you approach a song, and you say, in essence, Tell me something profound, it won’t.”