Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ghost Writer; Ghost Author

Deaf symphonist Mamoru Samuragochi, whose Hiroshima work became anthem for tsunami survivors, has been exposed as a fraud.  He had claimed to be deaf, prompting some to hail him as the "Japanese Beethoven."  Earlier this month the deception unraveled; most of Samuragochi's compositions were apparently written by Takashi Niigaki, who also asserted that Samuragochi isn't even deaf.

The hearing-loss issue aside, one must now reflect on the roles of both ghost writers and ghost (or "front") authors.  The harsh reality, particularly in the literary field, is that it's not so much how good a manuscript is, but rather how well the publisher can "sell" the author.  An excellent manuscript may ultimately face rejection, simply because the author lacks an Internet presence, doesn't blog actively enough, doesn't have a sufficient number of Facebook or Twitter fans/followers, etc.  A mediocre manuscript attributed to a celebrity or someone with sufficient name recognition may fly off the shelves.

Perhaps a new industry will be spawned -- the professional "front"-person.  We realize that celebrities churn out their memoirs at an appalling clip, though few have actually written them, and we are quite comfortable with the notion of ghostwriter.  What is so far-fetched about role reversal?  The person with the talent may simply lack the personality to "promote" the works, or even the glamor to get them sold.  However, a "ghost" might readily be found to serve in that capacity.  In a world turned upside down, why shouldn't this become an honorable calling?  I'd certainly be delighted if some suitable person could pose for and successfully promote any of my creative work, whether literary or musical.  

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