Shreiber (?) — guy behind Cavendish Books I met yesterday at AAPT conference — pointed out a dichotomy: give people what they want vs. giving people what you want. Interesting idea that seems to have lots of variations. His example was his physics books. He didn’t think a publisher would be interested, so he self-published, and he’s trying to get his ideas out to those who might be interested (marketing at conferences, for example). I guess I’d side with him. I think it’s important to say what I feel ought to be said, and worry about profits later. It is kinda the “principles vs. profits” idea. As I heard on radio last fall, people speculating about how Democrats should proceed: recraft their message to match the mainstream, popular sentiment OR stick to their less-popular ideas and possibly suffer fewer voters but give a real choice, a real chance for those ideas to be heard.
People who say “I’m just giving people what they want,” as if they don’t approve of what they’re doing but they “have to” do it to make money, put violence and sex on TV to attract an audience, for instance — if they really cared about the positive possibilities of running a TV station, if they were doing their job for any principled reason, they would be disgusted with themselves. If they say they’re giving people what they want, really they’re saying they have no principles or motivations to do their job besides money. But this is disingenuous because there are always other ways to make money.
[From journal of Tues., 5 August 2003, Journal 34, page 173-4