To the Faces
Behind the Reviews
Our Average Reader
Our server delivers a daily accounting of those reviews, readings, poems, letters and articles that receive the most daily hits. We also get an accounting of gross totals --- total number of viewings of all our files. (RALPH now gets over 6,000 a day, some 180,000 a month.)***
Typical Daily Editorial MeetingThere are a variety of different reasons for an item's popularity. A few seem to create interest because of the colorful attention-getting photographs attached to the review. Thus, Paul Krassner's book on Toad-Slime may make the grade not only because he is a funny writer, but because of the poignant shots of amphibians we came up with to add pizzazz to the review.
Our Director ofThe numbers racked up on Moko Maori Tattoo may be because of the text, or perhaps because of the heart-stopping photographs of indigenous New Zealanders with wondrous designs all over their faces.
Others may make the grade for less seemly reasons. Our longest-running hit article has to do with the trial of Fatty Arbuckle, showing that Hollywood scandal may attract not only endless but eternal curiosity.
Our Chief of ProtocolAnd files of ours up at Google with the word "Sex" or "Erotic" or "Nude" (or, in one case, "Onan") in the title always attract inordinate --- and perhaps naïve --- interest.
At the top of the bare bums list is Nude Sculpture: The Last 5,000 Years --- a respectable volume from the very respectable publishing firm of Harry N. Abrams.
Our Editor, Lolita LarkThere is, too, the bitter, funny prison poem, "Song to Onan's Complaining Hand" by 19th-century Dominican Republic poet, Manuel del Cabral.
And a "Letter to the Editor" that continues to excite prurient interest is the one explaining to those looking for RALPH that they may be being waylaid by yet another RALPH --- an excessively noisy beer-and-bust-fondle mag out the wilds of Australia ... partially owned by, of all people, Bill Gates.
Our Staff Physician
Outside of these exceptions, we figure that most of the reviews, readings, articles, and poems are on the hit list because they are strange, honest, or caustic enough to attract attention from those who have grown tired of the puff-piece world of American book reviewing.
Our Public Relations Director
*** The figure is now, eighteen months later,
well over double that;
e. g., over 4,000,000 hits a year. Or is it four jillion?
to see the list
of our 10
Most Popular Titles,
for the 20