Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Supermarket fiction

The local supermarket ran a stall last week advertising a popular news and gossip magazine. I can't remember what it is called. Has a new one been launched recently? The front of the stall had a picture of a young blonde woman, like Phoebe in Friends, making a face between a frown and a pout. The headline revealed her story, the one you could read inside: "I woke up in a morgue!".

The thing is, I knew the picture from a framed poster in the offices where I work. It's been there for years. It's from a database of thousands of copyright-free images. I found it almost nauseating to know that. The awareness not of a genuine story but of a professional job being done.

I got the same reaction reading that Kaavya Viswanathan story. That is, disgust at the cynicism in the production of such fiction and the attention drawn to it because of the ridiculous advance paid to the alleged writer (though judging from the publicity photograph, her talent is self-evident). Any indignation at the young woman's apparent borrowings is a little unfair of course. Those kind of novels might as well be xeroxed anyway.

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