Thursday, February 18, 2010

Does author Douglas Preston suffer from a sense of entitlement? Ask Senator Susan Collins!

Charlie Jane Anders of the SF blog io9 has the latest news about Macmillan author Douglas Preston, whose new Mars-related novel Impact hit #4 on The New York Times’s hardcover fiction bestseller list earlier this year. Anders contacted Preston about his recent remarks, published in the Times, which implied that readers of ebooks suffer from “a sense of entitlement,” have a “Wal-Mart mentality” and maintain “this notion of not wanting to pay the real price of something.” In explaining to Anders that his comments were a “mistake,” Preston told her:
I think my comments were pretty stupid, to be frank. They came after a long month of being attacked by Kindle owners who blamed me personally for the fact that my publisher delayed the Kindle release for four months. I was frustrated and said some things to the New York Times reporter that did not reflect my actual views on the subject. I have been hearing back from many readers, some supporting my comments, many more criticizing them.
All of this has me wondering whether it is Preston who suffers from a sense of entitlement. Consider:

• Preston grew up in the wealthy suburb of Wellesley, Mass., and attended a swanky private high school in nearby Weston.

• Preston’s brother is bestselling author Richard Preston, whom Douglas once referred to as “of course, the famous and talented Richard Preston.”

• Preston’s father is Jerome Preston Jr., a retired senior partner at Foley Hoag, a prominent Boston law firm. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Jerome Preston Jr. is perhaps best-known for serving as one of two trustees of the Fuller Trust who were accused in the early 1990s of conspiring to drain the entity of almost $700,000 in electronic book legal and other fees over a three-year period while attempting to convert a home for elderly women into a "life care" retirement community. In 1995, a Massachusetts probate judge ordered Jerome Preston Jr. and his colleague to repay $500,000 each to the trust.

• Preston’s grandfather was Jerome Preston Sr., a founder of the now-defunct investment management firm of Preston Moss & Co. An ambulance driver during World War I and a member of the Army Air Corps during World War II, Jerome Preston Sr. was awarded three Croix de Guerre by France, a Bronze Star and Legion of Merit by the United States, and the Order of the British Empire.

• Preston traveled to Italy in 2006 to conduct some research for a nonfiction book about a serial killer known as the Monster of Florence, who murdered and mutilated fourteen people in the hills of Florence from 1974 to 1985. Ironically, Preston became trapped in his own thriller after his co-author criticized and irritated an Italian legal official. According to a 2006 article published in The Boston Globe:
Since returning to Maine, Preston has appealed to US Senator Susan Collins for help. A Collins spokesperson told Preston that the senator has given it her highest priority and has asked the State Department to find out what evidence Italian authorities have against Preston.


As for his identity as an international writer and the freedom he expects to go with that privilege?

"I never expected them [Italian authorities] to go as far as they did," says Preston. "And I felt that, as an American and a fairly prominent journalist and author, they would leave me alone. I was wrong."
Yeah, seems like Douglas Preston suffers from a sense of entitlement. It's called “Do you know who I am?” Wonder if this condition will be formally recognized in the upcoming DSM-V (2013).

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