July 29, 2017
Instructions before leaving Saturday
by Melville House
Hi, everyone. It’s Saturday again — here at MobyLives, a very special Saturday, because it’s our last Saturday together of the summer. Very soon it will be August, and during August, the blog will be a little different. We’ll still be coming at you with news, opinions, excerpts, and the occasional bout of moon-worship, but our regular writers have the month off, and will be sleeping in on the weekends. Definitely still stop by, because we’ve got big plans for the month; but in terms of getting your Saturday fix, drink deep for now, and we’ll see you in September.
But ok, it is not yet August, and we’ve had quite a week over here:
Alex Primiani wrote about Sonny Liew, whose graphic history of Singapore just won three Eisner Awards, conceivably somewhat embarrassing the government that rescinded his funding.
- Ryan Harrington covered some recent developments in the burgeoning academic fields of Bantha biology, Hothian visionary poetics, and midichlorian testing.
- Nikki Griffiths wrote about who steals books, and how. Get a job, philosophers!
- Chad Felix wrote about the possibility that Richard Dawkins—who is, let us not be confused, a ginormous dillweed—should perhaps not have had a recent speaking engagement canceled, all the same.
- Ian Dreiblatt wrote about French philosopher Anne Dufourmantelle who died last month, trying to save two children from drowning in the Mediterranean, after a career of writing about, among other things, the importance of taking risks.
- Peter Clark wrote about Penguin Random House South Africa’s decision to unpublish a new book about the last days of Nelson Mandela, after a series of misunderstandings about the level of approbation the book had received from Mandela’s family.
- Taylor Sperry wrote about a giant statue of Laura Ingalls Wilder made of butter. Let’s try that again: Taylor Sperry wrote about a giant statue of Laura Ingalls Wilder made of butter. This is real, people.
- Susan Rella wrote about the awkward situation of a White House spokesperson being recorded while making on-the-record comments. Can’t make this stuff up!
- Simon Reichley wrote about the continuing efforts of the Village Voice Union. Take it easy, friends, but take it.
We were also very glad to publish:
- This exciting diagnosis of the body politico-academic from our own Jacques Berlinerblau, author of Campus Confidential and hero to millions.
As ever, there were a couple stories we just didn’t get to:
- We’ve written a lot over the past few years about the beleaguered publishing community of Hong Kong, which is not enjoying the protections on free speech to which it is formally, legally entitled. Now, disturbing claims from Taiwanese indie G Books have come to light, asserting that several books exploring gay themes have been removed from the Hong Kong Book Fair. It has been rumored (and not confirmed) that the removal, which took place several days into the festival, followed a complaint from a Christian publisher with a stand near G’s.
In a very unusual move, the German news weekly Der Spiegel has decided to exclude from its bestseller rankings a book whose sales should otherwise qualify it for inclusion. Rolf Peter Sieferle’s Finis Germania (sidenote: Latin speakers, shouldn’t this be Finis Germaniae?), from the far-right publisher Antaios, was described by deputy chief editor Susanne Beyer as advocating “far-right views, anti-Semitism and historical revisionism.” A reporter has recently resigned from the magazine’s staff after throwing his full support behind the book in an attempt to have it named the magazine’s “nonfiction book of the month.”
- Back in February, we wrote about Julius Evola, the pro-rape, anti-democratic, Holy Grail-obsessed, self-describedly “super-fascist” writer, mystic, and loose-screwed nutjob currently beloved by the loose-screwed nutjobs of the Alt-Right. Now Topics Berlin, a bookstore in Berlin’s trendy Neukölln neighborhood, is going out of business, and owner Doron Hamburger says a boycott arranged in response to pro-Evola (or at least Evola-curious) event the shop had been planning is partly to blame (or thank). Hamburger, an immigrant from Israel, was quick to add that he had not detected any anti-semitism in the protests against him, which is good. (Evola, for what it’s worth, has been described as believing Jews “corresponded to the ‘worst’ and ‘most decadent’ features of modernity.”) Crazy Joe Davola could not be reach for comment.
- Jeff Bezos, long a monopolistic skunk-cuddler, became the monopolistic skunk-cuddler with more money than any other person on earth. As of this writing, he remains a very bad person.
And finally, you, who are not the wealthiest person on earth, who have not breathed the vile breath of undead life into an internet behemoth that’s decimating the world’s human commerce bookstores-first, you who made it through the past seven days without punching anyone (I mean, probably?), you deserve a cartoon. In fact, since it’ll be a while before we’re together again like this, have a few cartoons. Here’s something, it’s beautiful and is about, maybe, vulnerability (but also outer space):
This is pretty much just about itself, and wholly worth watching:
And, finally, something to fortify your sprits through BBQ prep, one of the hardest ordeals of any summer well-spent:
Stay cool, keep in touch, and we’ll be back in a month!