In light of recent events, it seemed like the BACA logo needed to be made. It pays to be married to a graphic designer.
Oh, and I’ll go ahead and reprint the original two “BACA” articles; the first, “BACA Off,” set the stage for this groundbreaking organization, and the second, “Bloggers Against Celebrity Authors (BACA),” sort of formalized it.
As founder and... what the hell, president of BACA, I probably have to talk about this whole Laura & Jenna Bush book thing. There are definitely levels of celebrity author irritation, and this announcement does hit pretty close to the top. The lowest level is for the celebrity authors whose names and books you can’t quite remember days after the press release. Like what’s-his-name with the new football picture book (I am actually thinking of a new person and picture book here). Then there are the celebrity author announcements that are so ridiculous they don’t even need the help of BACA to scorn and mock. Like ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell (though this guy did a knock-out job). Of course, the highest level of celebrity author irritation is reserved for Madonna, but specifically for her book Lotsa de Casha, in which the rich character learns that the path to happiness is in giving away his money. See, it’s the hypocrisy and sheer chutzpah that mark this book as a 10 on the BACA Irritation Scale.
Now, the Laura & Jenna Bush thing is in the high numbers, for sure. Maybe some will say that whatever else Laura Bush may be, she’s a teacher and a librarian, and that gets her off the hook. Not me. I tend to believe that her influence on children’s reading might best be served in the current political administration. After all, she was paraded around during the campaign circuit largely on her “education” credentials — which at least implies that she has some influence. Of course, that was likely just political posturing... which also makes the book annoying because then, you know, don’t rub it in. It also seems possible that the model for the “little boy” who doesn’t like to read is her husband — though if he ends up liking to read in the book, she’s obviously tacking on a “Hollywood ending.”
Personally, I feel bad that the books will illustrated by Junie B. veteran Denise Brunkus, because I love my Junie B. Jones books. But hopefully she can call up poor Kadir Nelson for moral support.
From a post at Big A, little a, I find that Madonna has a line of children’s clothes based on her book The English Roses. That the line has been available for some time does not change the fact that I just heard about it now. And now is when I am reacting. I’m officially sick of celebrity authors.
I could complain about the quality of the work. Oh boy, could I complain. But what’s sticking in my craw is the greed. Come on, leave us our little bit of turf. If you can be famous (and usually rich) in your field of acting or music or global domination, leave the world of children’s literature for other people to become a tiny bit famous. Because you can imagine, for every book deal these celebrities strike, that’s less of the kid-lit pie for another author trying to get a break. Do celebrities have to be so greedy to take every aspect of everything because they can? Is that a good enough reason? It’s not... it’s just not... fair.
Now, I really don’t think that actors and musicians and global dominators will stay away from this tiny territory I’d like to carve off, fence in, and defend with a shotgun. But I can dream. And to that end, I initiate Bloggers Against Celebrity Authors, or BACA, and I state today, “BACA Off Kids’ Lit!”
Join if you like, if not for me, than for poor Kadir Nelson. The man deserves an author worthy of his work, and as long as the Spike Lees of the world are around, it ain’t gonna happen.
The Bloggers Against Celebrity Authors (BACA) really struck a chord out there. I’m being asked for a logo, guidelines, and a bumper sticker. Who knew?
The logo is in the works. I hope. I’ll say no more at this juncture.
Guidelines for celebrity author exceptions is tricky. I mean, first you’re letting in Lithgow, then Julie Andrews, and next thing you know Pamela Anderson’s got a book deal (title: Who’s Your Daddy?). It’s a slippery slope. The librarian host of The Magic of Books suggested allowing no exceptions for trading on name recognition, but allowing celebrities to write a book under another name. Yeah, like that’s going to happen. But I’m signing off on that rule, because it sounds good in theory.
However, I know we probably all have our personal exception, and that will be worked into the secret handshake. So, at the June membership meeting, I’ll shake your hand, wink, and say “Lithgow.” You’ll wink, and say “Julie Andrews,” or your preferred exception. Then we’ll both smile and nod knowingly. If you don’t have a preferred exception, then you can say “Carrot Top,” because that would be the funniest exception ever. (“I don’t like the work of Jamie Lee Curtis, but that Carrot Top is going places in children’s literature.”)
Fuse#8 wondered about the benefits of membership, considering the possibility that members would have free rein to whack an offending author on the head with his or her own work. While that would be lovely, it might lead to unfortunate arrests and unnecessary back strain from having to carry around all the relevant books on the off chance that one might run into Billy Joel at the corner Starbucks. So, I’m afraid I cannot endorse such actions, even though I might enjoy them.
Benefits of membership will include opportunities to display the logo on your page, to be particularly smug about celebrity authors, and to receive free soda refills at participating Wendy’s.
As BACA members, we will strive to shun celebrity authors in the blogging world. When a non-celebrity illustrator deserves to be recognized, the BACA member may wish to consider the “Spike Lee Who?” option. For instance, a blogger might note the exceptional work of Kadir Nelson by pointing out the availability of the book Please, Puppy, Please “as illustrated by Kadir Nelson and written by some guy.” We will, as members, avoid giving undue publicity to celebrity authors, with the possible allowance of subjecting said celebrity authors to scorn and ridicule.
Our slogan: BACA off kids’ lit! It will look great on a bumper sticker. (NOTE: And now — as of August 13, 2007 — it does.)