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The Secret to Success in Publishing: Bash Bush, With Nods to a Classic

The manuscript arrived at its destination in a clear envelope, “which was very clever,” said Geoff Shandler, the Little Brown editor in chief who received the package. “Without opening it, I could see some of the cover image they had designed.” Such was Mr. Shandler’s introduction to “Goodnight Bush,” an unauthorized parody(模仿作品)of the 1947 children’s bedtime classic “Goodnight Moon,” written by Margaret Wise Brownand illustrated by Clement Hurd. For generations, weary parents have intoned: “Goodnight room. Goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight light, and the red balloon.” And who can forget the bowl of mush and the quiet old lady who endlessly whispers “hush”?
The cover of “Goodnight Bush” looks almost exactly like “Goodnight Moon — green and orange, with an image of a window and fireplace — and uses a similar rhyme scheme. But there the thematic similarities end. The authors, Erich Origen and Gan Golan, set their story in “a situation room.” There is no bunny snuggling into bed, but rather George W. Bush, grinning and wearing a “Mission Accomplished” flight suit. Instead of three little bears sitting on chairs, there are “war profiteers giving three cheers.” Subsequent pages tell of “A grand old party to war in a rush, and a quiet Dick Cheney whispering hush.” The vice president is illustrated seated in a rocking chair — with a shotgun in his lap and bunny slippers on his feet.
“I thought it was brilliant,” said Mr. Shandler, whose company also published the parody “Yiddish with Dick and Jane.” That book, from 2004, prompted the owner of the rights to the classic “Dick and Jane” primers to sue in 2005, alleging copyright and trademark infringement.
The publisher of “Goodnight Bush” is counting on the fair use doctrine, which allows limited amounts of copyrighted material to be used without permission. While the authors’ considerations were largely political, the publisher worried more about sales potential. At 48 pages, “Goodnight Bush” is the sort of short read that publishers fear will be quickly digested in stores and thus will not make it to the cash register.
“But this had so many brilliant gags,” Mr. Shandler said. “You could spend so much time looking page by page.” For example, the mouse that flits about the pages of “Goodnight Moon” has been replaced by a tiny scurrying Osama bin Laden. At the beginning of the book, a pristine Constitution hangs on a wall; by book’s end, it is full of crayoned redactions. 

翻译:手稿装在一个清晰易辨的信封里寄到了目的地,“这样做很聪明,” 包裹的接收者——小布朗出版社的主编——杰奥夫.尚德勒说,“不用打开信封,我就可以部分地看到他们设计的封面。”这就是尚德勒对《晚安布什》这本书所题的绪言。《晚安月亮》是1947年玛格丽特.怀兹.布朗编著,克莱门特•哈德插图的经典儿童就寝读物,而《晚安布什》只是未经授权的的模仿之作。对好几代人而言,疲倦的父母都在(睡前对孩子)吟咏:“晚安月亮,晚安月亮,晚安跳过月亮的母牛,晚安灯光,还有那红色的气球。”谁能忘了那碗里的玉米粥,谁又能忘了那不断低声说“嘘,安静”的老妪?
《晚安布什》的封面和《晚安月亮》的封面几乎一样——绿色和橙色的基调,缀着窗户和壁炉的图片——并且还用了相似的韵脚。但是,两者的主题却没有相似性。《再见布什》的作者埃里克.奥利根和甘.高兰在一个“局势研究室”里展开了他们的故事情节。故事里没有偎依在床上的小兔子,却有穿着印有“任务完成”字样的作战服露齿而笑的布什;没有坐在椅子上的三只小熊,只有“发战争横财的奸商共饮三杯”。后续的篇幅写道“美国共和党慌忙的投入战争,而一个静谧的迪克.切尼(美国副总统)在悄声说‘嘘,安静。’”插图中的副总统坐在摇摇椅上——腿上放着鸟枪,脚上穿着小兔子造型的拖鞋。 “我认为这写描写太有才了,” 尚德勒说。他的公司还出版了另外一本模仿之作《迪克和简的依地语》。2004年出版的这本书促使经典启蒙读物《迪克和简》的版权所有者于2005年提出诉讼,宣称其版权和商标遭到侵害。《晚安布什》的出版商希望利用“合理使用原则”,该法律原则允许在未得到授权的情况下适量地应用具有版权的材料。虽然该书的作者主要考虑其政治意义,但出版商却更担心销售潜力。区区48页的《晚安布什》是那种短篇读物,出版商担心很读者会很快在书店里读完,而不会掏钱购买。 “但是这本书里有很多光辉的噱头,” 尚德勒说,“你可以多花时间逐页阅览。”例如,在《晚安月亮》这本书各页里窜来窜去的老鼠被换成了瘦弱的赶来赶去的奥萨马.本.拉登。本书一开始,一本质朴的宪法悬在墙上;书的末尾,还画满了蜡笔画。

Fuel Prices Shift Math for Life in Far Suburbs

Suddenly, the economics of American suburban life are under assault as skyrocketing energy prices inflate the costs of reaching, heating and cooling homes on the distant edges of metropolitan areas. Just off Singing Hills Road, in one of hundreds of two-story homes dotting a former cattle ranch beyond the southern fringes of Denver, Phil Boyle and his family openly wonder if they will have to move close to town to get some relief.
They still revel in the space and quiet that has drawn a steady exodus from American cities toward places like this for more than half a century. But life on the edges of suburbia is beginning to feel untenable. Mr. Boyle and his wife must drive nearly an hour to their jobs in the high-tech corridor of southern Denver. With gasoline at more than $4 a gallon, Mr. Boyle recently paid $121 to fill his pickup truck with diesel fuel. In March, the last time he filled his propane tank to heat his spacious house, he paid $566, more than twice the price of 5 years ago.
Though Mr. Boyle finds city life unappealing, it is now up for reconsideration. “Living closer in, in a smaller space, where you don’t have that commute,” he said. “It’s definitely something we talk about. Before it was ‘we spend too much time driving.’ Now, it’s ‘we spend too much time and money driving.’ ”
Across the nation, the realization is taking hold that rising energy prices are less a momentary blip than a change with lasting consequences. The shift to costlier fuel is threatening to slow the decades-old migration away from cities, while exacerbating the housing downturn by diminishing the appeal of larger homes set far from urban jobs. In Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Minneapolis, homes beyond the urban core have been falling in value faster than those within, according to an analysis by Moody’s Economy.com. In Denver, housing prices in the urban core rose steadily from 2003 until late last year compared with previous years, before dipping nearly 5 percent in the last three months of last year, according to Economy.com. But house prices in the suburbs began falling earlier, in the middle of 2006, and then accelerated, dropping by 7 percent during the last three months of the year from a year earlier.
Many factors have propelled the unraveling of American real estate, from the mortgage crisis to a staggering excess of home construction. But economists and real estate agents are growing convinced that the rising cost of energy is now a primary factor pushing home prices down in the suburbs. More than three-fourths of prospective home buyers are now more inclined to live in an urban area because of fuel prices, according to a recent survey of 903 real estate agents with Coldwell Banker, the national brokerage firm.





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