Monday, May 08, 2006

Wheeler's Law of Hype

Since this morning has seen nominations for one award I've never heard of, and because I don't think I've trotted this particular hobby-horse out on my blog yet, I'm going to inflict on you the one law I've managed to codify.

In this world, there are a lot of literary awards, and there are a lot of blurbs. Some are powerful and meaningful; some are not. It can be hard to judge which are which -- or, rather, it was hard to do so before my law came around. This law applies to any statement or award about books, and could be extended to any field of artistic endeavor -- but I'll leave that for later.

Wheeler's Law of Hype
Each adjective reduces, by half, the importance and significance of a blurb or award description.

We can thus codify the impact of a blurb or award in a simple mathematical equation.

An award for Best Novel would have an index of 100. An award for Best Novel by a Norwegian would have an index of 50. One for Best Slipstream Novel by a Norwegian would have an index of 25. The coveted Best Slipstream Novel in Translation by a Norwegian Incorporating Fish Imagery and Published Outside Oslo would have an index slightly higher than 6.

Similarly, a blurb that reads "Sven's Fish-Slapping Dance of Death is the best novel I've read this year!" would have an index of 100. And a blurb that said "I haven't read a novel as real and true about halibut, or as incisive in its portrayal of the lives of half-selkie, hook-handed, hermaphroditic fishermen, or as powerful in its poached-egg and cavalry-saber imagery, since Lars Jorgensen's O! The Fatal Sea! last Tuesday" would have an index that can only be calculated with the aid of powerful scientific instruments.

I thus give this law to mankind, and hope that we all can reap its benefits.

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