The single worst thing to happen to the rock music world was the advent of the CD. The 'advance' in technology meant albums moved to 60 minutes in length from a perfect 43 minutes (which nicely filled half a 90-minute cassette for easy stereo-to-car transfers, and matched the average attention span of most rock listeners). The music industry was able to cut production costs by several times, yet charge the consumers more. What's worse is the albums, or CDs, bands put out got worse. The bonus 17 minutes is routinely just filler content, and CDs increasingly came out every two or three years, rather than annually, as had occurred from Elvis till Yes' 90125 in 1983.
The FBO has issued the rule that any song over 2:15 in length must JUSTIFY each second, otherwise it's an affront to the listener. We, as listeners, cannot complain about a 2:05 song -- such as 'The FBO Is Falling In Love' -- no matter what we think of it.
A similar rule clearly needs to be extended to HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHIES.
Yes, it's been occasionally enjoyable watching the HBO series John Adams, that shows vice president #1 as a pudgy, grumpy chump, and Jefferson as a brooding, silent guy with a dead wife and dead daughter in the background. And that George Washington looks like Nicole Kidman in The Others.
It comes from David McCullough's 768-page book John Adams. And, as interesting as that may be, who has time to read a 768-page book about John Adams? Go to a bookstore and look up biographies, and you'll find some of the chunkiest books available. Random picking: reading about Alexander Hamilton takes 832 pages, FDR 880, Mao 864 and Ho Chi Minh (an apparently impossible in book format) 695. C'mon!
The FBO asks HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHERS to 'cut back' the scope. If you can't tell us all we need about James Madison in 340 (or 420 at the most!), don't count on us for readership.
--> If a shift downward hasn't occurred by April 2, 2009, the FBO will ban historical biographies for 15 years.*
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY
* Some exceptions will be made. Just as we agree that Spandau Ballet's 'True' earns every sax-filled second of its 5:40 span, some biographies about huge characters (eg Napoleon, Stalin, Genghis Khan) perhaps warrant upwards of 600 pages. BUT! If we deem a figure as being over-indulged in biography (eg Lincoln Lincoln Lincoln!), no new take over 340 words will be tolerated. Authors, if in doubt, contact us before you write.