April 14, 2018
Saturday the Fourteenth: Looks like we made it, everyone
by Melville House
OMG! Yesterday was Friday the thirteenth! So scary. I was petrified.
But today is not Friday the thirteenth. It’s Saturday the fourteenth. This is great news: if you’re reading this, we’re among the survivors, and we have until July before we need to worry about this again. (There’ll also be that solar eclipse to contend with.)
But this week hasn’t been all Fridays the thirteenths. There was also Thursday the twelfth. Wednesday the eleventh. I’ve even heard tell of Tuesday the tenth. And it all started, according to legend, in a mystical era known as Monday the ninth. This is to say, we’ve had a busy week on the blog, and here were the highlights:
- Michael Barron laid out his sympathies for the royal sadness of Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf. The likable-hatted monarch was, reportedly, “reålly bjümmed” that three members of the Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Prize in Literature, had resigned over the sexual misconduct of the husband of another member. The story hasn’t slowed down in the intervening days: on Thursday, permanent secretary and noted Dylan fan Sara Danius was also forced off the body.
- Peter Clark made a little movie-frame with his fingers to look through, bought himself a folding director’s chair, and gazed at the story of four teenage nincompoops who stole the wrong set of books after beating up a librarian and were caught fucking immediately. He then proclaimed, “I see it! It can work!”
- Tom Clayton was briefly unavailable, but we expect him back next week.
- Stephanie DeLuca said farewell to the pathbreaking Our Bodies, Ourselves, which will cease to be updated after more than forty years in print.
Ian Dreiblatt had to do some traveling, but we await his return next week eagerly.
- Nikki Griffiths took a trip, and promises to return next week with pictures!
- Ryan Harrington talked about an issue that’s been deeply upsetting to many who grew up watching The Simpsons: their highly uncromulent response to criticism over the hurtful stereotyping of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.
- Alex Primiani brought us the story of an antifascist Berlin bookseller who gathered some friends and antifa-ed all up and down on an actual Nazi parade. In Berlin. In the twenty-first century. Right on, Jörg Braunsdorf! As for being an actualy fucking Nazi in 2018 Oh hell no. No no no. Nein. Nothing doing.
- Susan Rella shared the tale of Marley Parker, an Oklahoma first-grader who was excited to learn her English textbook had once sidled up to a trapper-keeper in the knapsack of singer Blake Shelton. Marley’s mom was less exhilarated, though: Shelton (who is perhaps best known for his disputed sexiness) is forty-one years old, and was using said textbook in 1982. A few things have changed since then.
- Simon Reichley checked in on Amazon’s continuing efforts to destroy self-publishing, joy, chocolate milk, and all that is holy.
- Sarah Robbins observed that anti-semitism is completely unacceptable, and went all psychosemitic on a recent lapse in the consensus around this.
- Taylor Sperry covered a lawsuit being filed by the unfortunate, but aptly-named, Alex Malarkey against his publisher, Tyndale House. Malarkey wants his name completely dissociated from the book he co-wrote with his father as a child, in which he claimed that, after a horrific car accident, he’d died and woken up in heaven before returning to earth and coming back to life. He now admits that the story was fabricated, adding that water is “wet,” and musing, “fucking magnets — the underlying pricinple there remains elusive.”
We were also delighted to publish:
Another indispensible installment of The Week in Impeachment, our weekly series in which legal genius and A Citizen’s Guide to Impeachment author Barbara Radnofsky tallies all the impeachable behavior that’s gone down in the Executive Branch over the past seven days. This week: even more harm than usual. And the usual, as we’ve established over the past months, is… a great deal of harm.
- An essay by political scientist David Faris on the experiences that led him to write his brand-new book, It’s Time to Fight Dirty, on how we can restore American democracy before it’s too late. “The results of the 2016 election hit me like a fusillade of misery-tipped Tic Tacs.” You and me both, buddy.
- Some historical documentation: a newspaper article, dug up by our peerless research cadre, of local events surrounding the arrival in Central Europe of noted non-crackpot C.D. Rose, to celebrate the release this week of Rose’s antically wonderful Who’s Who When Everyone is Someone Else. “We are looking forward to learned discussions of Anatoly Anatolin’s What Story Down There Awaits its End?, George Glaciate-Furbisher’s Flenge’s Dictum, or Peeter-Karl Umlaut’s My Very Long Life.”
As ever, there were a few stories we just didn’t get to this week:
- James Comey’s book is coming out. The right is mounting a positively loony smear campaign in an attempt to mute its release. Which is hilarious, and depressing, and, most of all, really great news for the book.
- Amazon, which so often takes center stage in world-class fuckery, is now playing a supporting role in some world-class fuckery. The site is being used by anti-vaxxers to spread ludicrous propaganda and sink perfectly affable books about cute kids getting shots that will keep them healthy.
- Polish publishing house Katmar, and its director, Andrzej Ryba, are being sued by three Holocaust survivors over their adulatory “Age of Hitler” series (barf), which the petitioners allege “violates their personal rights, including their dignity, their national and historical heritage, their sense of national identity, their right to the memory of the historical truth and their right to respect for their own extreme experiences involving immediate danger to their life.”
- The remains of English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge—the author of The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner who died in 1834—have been discovered in, characteristically, a wine cellar. At least he’s been having fun.
- The American Library Association has announced its “most challenged books” for 2017. Perennial non-fave To Kill a Mockingbird made the cut again, appearing alongside such newcomers as Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why.
We published two books this week:
And, finally, it is Saturday, and you, being of sound mind and body, demand a cartoon. Well, friend, a cartoon you shall have. Take a long, deep breath, and welcome yourself to Balloon Land.
Rest up, friends. Another week arrives like clockwork on Monday.