It was explained to me sometime deep in the past that people only risk participating in a rebellion or protest when they feel they have nothing left to lose. That's why most people don't speak up against actions taken against other people. They might not even complain about actions being taken directly against them. "Things could be much worse than what we're proposing," is the answer one local developer loves to give when anyone offers the tiniest criticism. And so, for years, book critics and people in the book industry have been talking about the cultural danger of shrinking book review coverage in the nation's newspapers. If the pages don't generate top dollar ad pages, they are cut, and if they are cut, books get ignored, and if books get ignored...You get the picture. "What can we do?" we have all asked, but rarely has anyone come up with an answer.
Now, with the news that the Atlanta Journal Constitution is cutting their influential book review section, people are finally taking action. Hopefully not too late. Over at the National Book Critics Circle blog, they've been having what amounts to a deathbed vigil, with some really fantastic posts, theories, suggestions and interviews from editors and authors all over the country. This includes anInterview with the Times-Picayune's book editor Susan Larson.
Meanwhile, if you can't make it to the public protest planned for Thursday, you can sign the online petition.