good and stupid news

Last night I heard from Amal El-Mohtar and Jessica P. Wick, the editors of Goblin Fruit, that they are buying my poem, “The Solace of Dark Places”, for their Spring 2010 issue. I will also do a recording of the poem for the web site.

I’m pleased to sell another poem to such a fabulous market.

I also want to mention a subject that is flaming across the twitterverse at the moment. The Sci Fi channel has decided to rebrand itself as Syfy.

Want to know why? Dave Howe, president of the Sci Fi Channel is clear in his prejudices:

“The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular,” said TV historian Tim Brooks, who helped launch Sci Fi Channel when he worked at USA Network.

Mr. Brooks said that when people who say they don’t like science fiction enjoy a film like “Star Wars,” they don’t think it’s science fiction; they think it’s a good movie.

“We spent a lot of time in the ’90s trying to distance the network from science fiction, which is largely why it’s called Sci Fi,” Mr. Brooks said. “It’s somewhat cooler and better than the name ‘Science Fiction.’ But even the name Sci Fi is limiting.”

Mr. Howe said going to Syfy will make a difference.

“It gives us a unique word and it gives us the opportunities to imbue it with the values and the perception that we want it to have,” he said.

This is corporate bullshit at its finest. Instead of concentrating on providing quality entertainment to its core audience – many of whom self-identify as a geeks – and building their market by proving science fictional ideas and programmes are cool, they’ve demonstrated their underlying contempt and embarrassment with the entire sensibility.

So, they’ve chosen a term that the science fiction community will reject, and anyone outside of science fiction won’t associate with anything.

It’s a bland, inoffensive title that won’t inspire interest or invite attention.

The rumour on twitter is that some mythical focus group of “18-34 year olds” said that Syfy is how you would text Sci Fi, when scifi or sf is the logical way (and I would know as I’ve actually texted those terms). It’s bogus of course. Focus groups are often used by Corporations to justify their idiotic decisions. Plus, I think it’s a poor idea to base your business decisions on the texting habits of any group of people, no matter their ages.

Bill Cosby once said: “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everyone.”

Ladies and gentlemen: the Sci Fi channel is dead. Expect Syfy to succumb eventually after a long and lingering illness.

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