The Boston Phoenix extracted juicy bit’s from Obama’s audiobook, Dreams From My Father, where the Big Man quote his childhood chum, Ray. Lines we wish we heard in this week’s press conf, like, on the economy:
“This shit’s getting way too complicated for me.” (0:03 mp3):
Joe Bageant is a Well Read Neck. Just finished his illuminating look at the typical towns of Billy Bob & Bobby Sue Sixpack, and why they don’t vote lib’rul, Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War:
With Micheal Savage and Ann Coulter openly calling for liberals to be put in concentration camps, with the CIA now licensed to secretly detain American citizens indefinitely, and with the current administration effectively legalizing torture, the proper question to ask an NRA member may be, “What kind of assault rifle do you think I can get for three hundred bucks, and how many rounds of ammo does it take to stop a two-hundred-pound born-again Homeland Security zombie from putting me in a camp?” Which would you prefer, 40 million gun-owning Americans on your side or theirs?
Consider this: you get up at 5 a.m. You live in a one-room shack and pay $59 a month in rent. Your address is on the outskirts of the world’s second largest megalopolis, México City. You share this shack with your woman, a niece and your child. At 5:30 a.m. you’re on the bus, a ninety-minute ride for $2.45 a day roundtrip. You work in a tortilla shop for $1.64 an hour, eleven hours a day, six days a week. A gallon of milk at the store, the electricity that lights your shack, the fuel running the bus, all these things cost more than in the United States. Basically, everything costs more than in the United States — except labor.
Mexican civilization existed before the American people were even a thought. Americans have come to the game very recently, and like so many new arrivals believe they possess all the answers. At the moment, human beings are moving all over the planet to save their hides. Things have been upended, the moon rises at a strange hour, it is blood red, and dripping with hunger.
Gonna miss our weekly sips of True Blood. But this exceptional HBO episodic love-story, vampires-live, Louisiana lunacy returns next summer. Alan Ball, the creator of another HBO great, Six Feet Under, based this TV series on the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris.
The show intro is as good as TV gets; “True Blood- Opening Credits” (music: “Bad Things” by Jace Everett):
“Mexico’s Red Days” by Charles Bowden in GQ on the escalating Juárez, Mexico murders:
The killings have the cold feeling of butchery in a slaughterhouse, and they are everywhere: done in broad daylight, on streets, in markets, at homes, and even in Wal-Mart parking lots. Women, children, guilty, innocent—no one is safe.
A James Joyce Celebration Radio Bloomsday
June 16 on WBAI 99.5 FM and wbai.org, 7 PM – 2 AM Starring Alec Baldwin, Anne Meara, Kate Valk, Bob Dishy, Alvin Epstein and Caraid O’Brien as Molly Bloom
NEW YORK, NY (June 11, 2008) – Radio Bloomsday is an intimate radio program featuring readings of James Joyce’s Ulysses plus selections from Joyce’s entire canon, performed by leading actors. Bloomsday is celebrated every year on June 16, the day Ulysses takes place.
“Radio Bloomsday will make the works of Joyce accessible to a 21st century audience — the newly initiated and devoted stalwarts alike,” explains host/producer Larry Josephson. “This year’s show begins with a survey of all of Joyce’s works, followed by a spotlight on the holy trinity of characters in Ulysses: Stephen Dedalus, Leopold Bloom and his wife, Molly.” Alec Baldwin plays The Citizen, Alvin Epstein (the original Lucky in “Waiting for Godot”) reads a tribute to Samuel Beckett, Joyce’s former secretary. Anne Meara will perform the role of Gertie MacDowell. Kate Valk reads Joyce’s poetry, and Amy Stiller will do a tribute to Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh. Caraid O’Brien rounds out the evening with a marathon performance of Molly Bloom’s famous monologue, unabridged and unexpurgated. Plus, contemporary reviews of Ulysses, letters from Joyce and the opinions of his peers will be read throughout the evening… Radio Bloomsday will be broadcast live on WBAI 99.5 FM and wbai.org, Monday, June 16, from 7 PM until the wee hours of the morning. (press release)
The new book by Bush’s ex-spokseman, Scott McClellen (What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception) has the press blaming the Bush admin and blaming the author, but nary a news item about where the real blame lies in misleading America on the facts of Iraq: “”And through it all, the media would serve as complicit enablers… The national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq.”
Scottie’s book has little new about how the White House sold the War or outed CIA-op Ms. Plame. What is new is his opinion that the people he saw daily on the other side of podium, i.e. the DC press corps, weren’t doing their jobs: “The media would neglect their watchdog role, focusing less on truth and accuracy and more on whether the campaign was succeeding”
Salon, Scott McClellan on the “liberal media”— “The New York Times and The Washington Post both trumpet the fact that McClellan made statements harshly critical of Bush. But they completely ignore McClellan’s far more significant indictment of their ‘deferential,’ Bush-enabling conduct. Isn’t it rather self-evidently newsworthy that Bush’s own press secretary blamed the American media for allowing Bush to get away with all sorts of falsehoods?”
The Salon article refers to an excellent earlier press self-eval by Howard Kurtz:
WA Post (2004), The Post on WMDs An Inside Story: Prewar Articles Questioning Threat Often Didn’t Make Front Page— “‘The paper was not front-paging stuff,’ said Pentagon correspondent Thomas Ricks. ‘Administration assertions were on the front page. Things that challenged the administration were on A18 on Sunday or A24 on Monday. There was an attitude among editors: Look, we’re going to war, why do we even worry about all this contrary stuff?'”
And congrats to Jake Tapper for extensive press-related quotes from the book:
“And through it all, the media would serve as complicit enablers. Their primary focus would be on covering the campaign to sell the war, rather than aggressively questioning the rationale for war or pursuing the truth behind it… the media would neglect their watchdog role, focusing less on truth and accuracy and more on whether the campaign was succeeding. Was the president winning or losing the argument? How were Democrats responding? What were the electoral implications? What did the polls say? And the truth–about the actual nature of the threat posed by Saddam, the right way to confront it, and the possible risks of military conflict–would get largely left behind…”
“If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq. The collapse of the administration’s rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should have never come as such a surprise. The public should have been made much more aware, before the fact, of the uncertainties, doubts, and caveats that underlay the intelligence about the regime of Saddam hussein. The administration did little to convey those nuances to the people, the press should have picked up the slack but largely failed to do so because their focus was elsewhere–on covering the march to war, instead of the necessity of war.
In this case, the ‘liberal media’ didn’t live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.”
“The network that can find a way to shift from excessively covering controversy, the conventional horse race and image-driven coverage to give a greater emphasis to who is right and who is wrong, who is telling the truth and who is not, and the larger truths about our society and our world might achieve some amazing results in our fast-changing media environment.”
“A lovely, funny story about the saving graces of surrogate families and unexpected love. The narrator, Pru, has such a self-effacing, irreverent sense of humor that I couldn’t help but root for her all the way.”
—Lolly Winston, New York Times bestselling author of Good Grief and Happiness Sold Separately
“So fresh and funny and warm, it echoed in my head long after I had closed the book . . . Beautifully written, with wit and heart to spare . . . She’s Jane Austen gone mod, and I can’t recommend this hopeful and endearing tale strongly enough.”
—Joshilyn Jackson, author of Gods in Alabama
“Rebecca Flowers is a genius of the small and lucent, the details that make a character live and breathe: revelatory moments, quirky and dead-on metaphors, searingly funny observations. ou will know Pru Whistler the way you know real people and you’ll miss her the second you finish the book.”
—Marisa De Los Santos, author of Love Walked In
There were 39,827 people there and they had paid $342,497 to be there and when Graziano’s head came up out of the dugout they rose and made their sound. The place was filled with it and it came from far off and then he was moving quickly down beneath this ceiling of sound, between the two long walls of faces, turned toward him and yellow in the artificial light and shouting things, mouths open, eyes wide, into the ring where, in one of the most brutal fights ever seen in New York, Zale dropped him once and he dropped Zale once before, in the sixth round, Zale suddenly, with a right to the body and left to the head, knocked him out.
–The Day of the Fight, 1947
It’s the anniversary of some massacre, that much I know, that much is comforting. It’s another invented holiday to remind me of what’s missing. They all do, they hurt. My romantic dinner is a slice of pizza, the only smile tonight, the crust, big nose, it’s all in the geometry, you see it right? A bachelor’s bite. The pizza place doesn’t smell like pizza, but that’s neither here nor there.
I fell in love tonight. She was shopping for glue, I was shopping for a juicer. Wanted the manual squeeze ones, but they only have an electric one, suspiciously cheap, in five languages, from a country I’ve never been, from a people whose language I’ll never speak, neither here nor there. I’m in a country where 9:30 at night, on Valentine’s day, I can buy a slice of pizza and an electric juicer. More…
As some of you already know, I’ve signed a contract with Riverbend Press (formerly Falcon Press in Helena) to concoct material for a ‘cliche-a-day’ desk calendar. It will be published in October: 365 synopses of common expressions in the tradition of the ‘word-a-day’ calendars that verbivores enjoy.
The publisher just sent me a draft page of the calendar [below], and I am quite inspired by it. I have to share it with you, in hopes that you will send me cliche suggestions, and to simply show it off!
So for the next several months, I’ll have my geeky head buried in dictionaries large and small, tracing the stories behind a year’s worth of cliches.
So submit those cliches to Chrysti, and tell her HV sent ya.