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Ferlinghetti Still Minds a Fascist State

October 29th, 2012

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Poet and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti recently declined a Hungarian literary prize worth $64,000, citing the right-wing authoritarian policies of that country’s government as his reasoning. In June 2011, the conservative Fidesz party passed a number of authoritarian and nationalistic laws in parliament protecting their majority-holding status. The unpopular laws also expanded the voting system in a way that favors the Fidesz party. They also reduced speaking time in parliament to fifteen minutes for all minority parties. Police broke up civil protests of the laws and former socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany was detained. This summer, the government also passed laws limiting the freedoms of the country’s media. I am sure the Fidesz party is guilty of other relatively evil doings but that’s all the research I felt like conducting for the sake of this blog article. (more…)

Book Review Manifesto

September 10th, 2012

Too many book reviews these days read like marketing testimonials. They’re too kind. They’re too fluffy. Most reviewers play nice because most are friends with the author and/or they are authors themselves and fear that their negativity might someday come around to bite their own book in the ass. It doesn’t take much Googling to find out which authors take turns promoting each others’ books. Sometimes you only have to trace it back to an MFA program or writing conference. This type of nepotism is understandable, but personally I would find it easier to accept if the reviewer owned their relationship to the author and perhaps added a personal anecdote to the review. Perhaps then I’d find some value in it.

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What in the Hell’s Diversity?

July 28th, 2012

“I could be wrong, but I believe Diversity is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era.”

What the hell is diversity?

So says Ron Burgundy in the comedy classic Anchorman. The film brilliantly satirizes the rampant workplace sexism of the 1970s as network executives threaten Burgundy’s chauvinistic dominance at Channel 4 by hiring a female co-anchor. Seemingly, his definition of diversity is hilariously inaccurate. In fact, Burgundy is wildly misinformed throughout the film much like the Gladney family in Don DeLillo’s White Noise. But this isn’t an article about upper-middle class comfort/privilege allowing its members (specifically male) to be woefully wrong about most things with no real consequences. It’s an article about diversity. (more…)