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Subject: Re: Thank you! Drive through! ( 11 of 16 )
Posted by Douglas Adams

Which brings me to the next item - Unsung, by Robbie McIntosh. Believe me, this is not going to make anybody rich, for the reasons outlined above (though we have now made our first sale). I admit, I have banged on about this album a bit, but only because I care passionately about Robbie’s music. If championing an album of acoustic guitar music that would otherwise go unreleased and unheard in a world dominated by corporate rock amounts to huxsterism (or ‘hucksterism’ as we more normally spell it) then I suppose I should plead guilty. And proud of it.

What’s next? The Illustrated Hitchhiker’s Guide, signed by me. Well, this is a book I wrote, and writing books is what I do for a living. This particular edition was lavishly and rather expensively produced (not at my instigation, incidentally) and was therefore rather highly priced and didn’t sell as well as it might have done. It ended up being remaindered. At the same time, I was being asked on a fairly regular basis where it was possible to find a copy. Again the simplest answer was to buy the last copies from the publishers and sell them via the website. At some point we will run out and that will be that. As a way of making money, it’s probably up there with selling pencils from a cup. Oh, and yes, I sign them. I wish I didn’t have to, believe me. Everybody always wants to have their books signed. Everybody. It makes it more personal. Go figure.

Video tapes of the BBCtv series. Exactly the same as the CDs.

And then there’s the video of my performance at the Almeida Theatre. I used to do reading performances from my books, loved doing them, and was – if I may say so – pretty good at them. The company that produces my books on tape proposed that we should videotape a performance, which seemed like a good idea. Unfortunately, shortly after I’d done it, the company went bust. It then took years to extricate the tape and the rights and make it available. Again, it’s a specialist item, it’s never going to run off the shelves at Tower Records. If you want it, here it is. I think it’s pretty good and I’m glad it’s out there. Is there some argument which says we should have let it go to waste? Because I’d be fascinated to hear it.

So, nothing here remotely like a pair of signed underpants, then. This is an example of what in logic is called the ‘straw man fallacy’. If you can’t find anything of substance to attack in somebody’s position, you create a parody of their position and attack that.

What else do you say? "It seems as though every utterance that this man has made is copyrighted on the spot and offered for sale on this site." All I can say is, give me a single instance of such an utterance. Yes, I’ve collected a lot of old articles and posted them up here. Now you may feel that they are dross, and I wouldn’t argue with your opinion. But in what sense that the English language allows could be they be said to be ‘for sale’? They would be for sale if I collected them together and put them in a book. What other ‘utterances’ do you have in mind?

I’m also at a loss to know what you mean by suggesting that "buying a book or something" would contribute to what you call "this fanaticism". I can’t really argue against this because it doesn’t seem to mean anything. Buying books has always struck me as a rather benign and harmless activity.

This website is what the people who use it make it. I’m sorry if what you call "it’s content" disturbs you. By the way, in this context we more normally punctuate "its" without the apostrophe, because it’s the possessive pronoun, not an elision of "it is". I wouldn’t normally dream of being so picky or pedantic except that you make a point of parading your academic status. You don’t mention the particular field in which you have attained it, but I can only imagine, on the evidence, that it is not one in which spelling, punctuation, numeracy or a regard for fact or logic are held at much of a premium.

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