September 23, 2017
I like big Saturdays and I cannot Saturday
by Melville House
Friends! By now you the drill: every Saturday morning, we have a little party to celebrate the successful execution of the advanced maneuver known as “surviving the goddamn week.” And this was… well, it was a weird one. Out there, out in “the world,” it pretty much sucked. But here, here in the comfort and safety of MobyLives, it was, as usual, a lot of fun. And here’s why:
- Taylor Sperry wrote about how every magazine editor in America seems to have gotten the same signal and announced their retirement.
- Peter Clark checked in with Rosamund de la Hey, president of the Booksellers Association of the UK and Ireland, who recently gave a speech calling for more CD boxed sets, and more application of wisdom gleaned from the tourist industry.
- Stephanie DeLuca updated us on efforts to ban books featuring transgender characters from kindergarten classrooms in Rocklin, California. Good news! The ban failed.
Ian Dreiblatt got all explainy about why Hong Kong-based activist Alvin Cheng Kam-mun has been busying himself throwing out library books.
- Chad Felix reported back from this year’s Brooklyn Book Festival, which, according to the information currently available, ruled.
- Nikki Griffiths would like more of an apology from the Mail on Sunday, which recently published some shoddy climate denialism.
- Ryan Harrington invited us all to gaze upon the boys-who-can-get-it of Hot Dudes Reading, and then applaud their efforts to bring reading materials to the kids affected by the recent slew of hurricanes.
- Sarah Healy wrote about how a new crackdown on Jakarta’s most beloved form of transportation may wind up depriving underprivileged kids of access to books.
- Alex Primiani came out as a Harry Potter non-fan, noting that not having a Harry book this year has left a smoking crater in Scholastic’s revenue sheets.
- Simon Reichley explored the controversial theory that colonialism fucking blows — despite what the Third World Quarterly may have told you recently.
- Susan Rella covered a slew of forthcoming books about Laura Ingalls Wilder. (No butter sculptures were harmed in the making of her piece.)
There were also a few stories we just didn’t get to this week:
- A woman has made news in Moscow through an unusually poetic form of protest: to speak out against the unveiling of a new public memorial to Stalin, she’s standing next to it, holding up a copy of acmeist (and long-suppressed anti-Stalinist) writer Anna Akhmatova’s poem “To the Defenders of Stalin.” The poem compares Stalin’s supporters with Socrates’s executioners, and calls them “experts in the manufacture of orphans.” (Not to be confused with stepfather factories.) She held her ground yesterday throughout a ceremony attended by, among others, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the notorious latent fascist who serves as Deputy of Russia’s Duma.
- Leftists all over the world are mourning the death at ninety-seven of legendary anti-capitalist author and activist Doug Dowd. Dowd wrote more than ten books, including Blues for America, Waste of Nations, and The Twisted Dream. He was the manager of Vice President Henry Wallace’s 1948 bid for president with the Progressive Party, an early participant in the deep south voter registration drives of the New Left, and Peace and Freedom Party running-mate of Eldridge Cleaver in the 1968 presidential election. He was also a World War II vet, husband, father of two, and grandfather of two.
Nikesh Shukla, editor of The Good Immigrant, and Julia Kingsford, his agent, have announced that they will together create a journal and literary agency exclusively for BAME authors. (BAME stands for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic, you American Johnnies.)
- Amazon is working on their first wearable tech device, which is actually great news, if you happen to really wish that the evilest motherfuckers on the planet were with you all the time, their vile microprocessors spinning in an endless frenzy of consumer surveillance, data aggregation, and multi-platform fuckery. On the other hand, if you think those things don’t sound good… you could always boycott Amazon?
- Ulla Dydo, the world’s foremost authority on the writing of Gertrude Stein, has died at ninety-two. Catharine R. Stimpson once called Dydo, along with her colleague and frequent co-author Edward Burns, “the superegos among Stein scholars.” Dydo noted in the late nineties that Stein’s “attempt to explain what she is doing, to explain writing and language to herself, begins with her beginning writing and lasts till her death.” In The Death of Character, Elinor Fuchs notes, “Ulla Dydo recounts the story of Gertrude Stein’s driving habits — she never used a map, but read road signs because she enjoyed reading.”
And, finally, it is Saturday morning: cartoonin’ time. Here’s a few you might be missing: