Archive for race

The Book Booth: Our Day Will Come Edition



Image:New York Times Photo by Yana Paskova

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Our Day Will Come Edition

Once again we've come to that time of year when the Best Of lists are making the rounds. We'll start off here with the Grey Lady's listing of its notable 100. To be quite honest, I haven't read any of these yet (been working my way through Melville this year), but I do look forward to Richard Russo's Everybody's Fool, Zadie Smith's Swing Time, Don DeLillo's Zero K. and Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run in the coming weeks.
New York Times Notable 100 of 2016

The Guardian also has a top 100 and the interesting thing is that they have other writers to choose their picks. The lists are a bit UK centric, but there are some gems here I had not heard about.
The Guardian's Top 100 of 2016 - Part 1

And part two of the Guardian listings here.
The Guardian's Top 100 of 2016 - Part 2

A list of a different sort here from the Guardian as Marcus Sedgwick picks his top ten books about borders. Cormac McCarthy's The Crossing is a great read, and anything by Graham Greene is worth attention. The interesting choice here is Robert Graves' Goodbye to All That, an excellent memoir about the Great War and it hadn't occurred to me that The Front would mark a border of a sort, but it certainly does.
The Guardian's Top 10 List of Books About Borders

And speaking of borders, Rajini Srikanth makes the case of why literature matters in discussions of race and immigration for the Conversation. You probably already knew that, but it is good to hear the case made again emphatically.
Race and Immigration: A Conversation

On a lighter note, a couple of items from Buzzfeed to pass the time away. First they ask what kind of book nerd are you. Turns out I'm the Broke Book-Lover, which seems accurate enough.
What Kind of Book Nerd Are You?

And Cassie Smith of Buzzfeed wonders how many books you've lied about reading. I am horrible at faking having read a book, so I can honestly say I've never lied about any of the books she has listed, and I haven't read all the ones she lists.
How Many Books Have You Lied About Reading?

The Yale University Press is set to release a facsimile of the mysterious Voynich manuscript, the mysterious and as yet, undeciphered work from the early fifteenth century. Josephine Livingstone discusses the work here for the New Yorker.
The Mysteries of the Voynick Manuscript

There is a joke in the book business that goes, How do you make a million dollars in the book business? Well, first you start with two million. Which isn't too far from the truth. Opening a bookstore and running a successful one is not easy, as Jonah Engel Bromwich describes in full detail for the New York Times.
Thinking of Opening a Bookstore? You Might Want to Read This First

It's been a rough few weeks since the election, and it is easy enough to get a deep blues over the results and our impending future. We must keep our hopes alive. We will have a future and our day will come, as Ruby and the Romantics tell us.

Have as pleasant as possible a weekend, and the best way to assure that is with a good book and, perhaps, some cheese, crackers and wine. By all means let us know what books you are devouring. We'd love to know.


She Doubled Dowd


Maureen Dowd's poison pen is firmly fixated on President Obama again as she adds another coat of resentment onto her 'great disappointment' … she expected what, JFK and Nelson Mandela combined to sit in the Oval Office with nary a visibly difficult domestic or global challenge ahead of them?

The Dowd must have given cannabis gummy bears a whirl. Excerpts below and find the entire column here at The NY Times.

WASHINGTON — As he has grown weary of Washington, Barack Obama has shed parts of his presidency, like drying petals falling off a rose.

He left the explaining and selling of his signature health care legislation to Bill Clinton. He outsourced Congress to Rahm Emanuel in the first term, and now doesn’t bother to source it at all. He left schmoozing, as well as a spiraling Iraq, to Joe Biden. Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, comes across as more than a messagemeister. As the president floats in the empyrean, Rhodes seems to make foreign policy even as he’s spinning it.


Now why Dowd eviscerated the Dowd's bitterness toward Rev. Al Sharpton takes a bit more probing. Apart from Maureen's MO is frequently being petty, condescending, dismissive and almost personally insulting. Still from the Times.

Once civil rights leaders drew their power from their unimpeachable moral authority. Now, being a civil rights leader can be just another career move, a good brand … the one thing it was impossible to imagine, back in the giddy days of the 2009 inauguration, as Americans basked in their open-mindedness and pluralism, was that the first African-American president would outsource race.

When The Dowd is openly hating on the Democrat sitting president … buckle up, it's going to be a wild ride.




History Keeps Repeating


Nicole Sandler Radio Or Not

We know that history tends to repeat itself.

Today is the 51st anniversary of the March on Washington, which brought us Martin Luther King, Jr's "I Have A Dream" speech.

It's the 46th anniversary of the infamous police riot that broke out during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, when police brutalized thousands of anti-war protesters on nationwide television as the demonstrators chanted, “The whole world is watching.”

57 years ago today, North Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond began an (unsuccessful) attempt to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1957. He spoke for 24 hours and 18 minutes, setting a record for the longest filibuster by a single senator.

Today, though, it seems that not much has changed. Yes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Ferguson, MO is ground zero in the summer of 2014 civil rights struggle. Police are regarded as the oppressors rather than the protectors. And Mitt Romney, while denying he'll run again, told a radio host that "circumstances can change." The reason people are even asking him the question are more puzzling than the idea that he'd even consider it: recent polls show Romney as the front runner, by huge margins, in both Iowa and New Hampshire, should he decide to throw his hat in the presidential ring again!

Not only does history repeat, but Americans have very short memories. I thought I'd do a public service and refresh those memories about Menacious Mitt. Feel free to share it liberally...

After hearing that, all I can hope for is that Mitt Romney will, indeed, run again!

Today on the Show

I first had Steven Thrasher on my show a few years back when he was writing for the Village Voice, and we spoke about the anniversary of the Stonewall riots.  Today, he's embarking on a few new journeys - including attending NYU as a Henry M. MacCracken Doctoral Fellow in American Studies, and writing a new weekly column for The Guardian. 

It was in the latter capacity that he went to Ferguson to cover the aftermath of the shooting death of Mike Brown. One piece in particular stood out to me in its sad truth, "Wisdom from Ferguson's kids: 'They shouldn't shoot people for protesting'."

BradBlog's Brad Friedman agreed to wake up early to join in the show today, so I took advantage of his presence! We spoke about the latest scandal to hit the McConnell campaign, the police falsifying and cover-up of the Michael Brown shooting incident report, the latest twist - and the twist on the twist - to the Don Siegelman political persecution, and a whole lot more.

I'll be back again tomorrow to wrap up the week, the month and the summer with Vice News' Jason Leopold. And for Flashback Friday and in honor of the ALS challenge that's taken the world by storm, Dan Navarro will join me live before we reach into my music radio archives for a session with Lowen & Navarro ... radio or not!


Two shows, two reviews, two painful reminders


changes smaller reviews

When I opened my morning paper, I came across two separate reviews of two very different shows: one live at the Hollywood Bowl ("Hair") and one a three-camera situation comedy on the Tee Vee Machine ("Partners"). It was striking that included in each of the reviews was a reminder of the sad state of affairs in this world. Maybe they should have reviewed "post racial America" and tragedies of war.

I was an usher at the original production of "Hair" at the Ivar Theater in Hollywood (godI'mold), and was completely and utterly swept away by that production. Anti-war protests were everywhere, bell bottom jeans were coming into fashion, and long-haired, pot-smoking, peace-loving hippies were a gentle, emerging force to reckon with. I wanted to be a part of the show, live the show, not seat audience members. It was a magical time, but also a scary one. I wore one of these proudly:

war is not healthy for children and other living things

Another focus of what seemed like perpetual protests was civil rights. One day, we dreamed, one day there would be equal rights for everyone regardless of color. In our idealistic vision, making a film like "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" would be a quaint period piece, not an expression of growing pains and hope or a demand for change.

guess who's coming to dinner

Those were the days, right? Sadly, those are still the days, right now as we speak.

Via L.A. Times theater critic Charles McNulty reviewing the '60s rock musical "Hair":

I worried that this co-opting of the 1960s — a criticism leveled at the musical at least since its Broadway premiere in 1968 — might be depriving a new generation of theatergoers the chance to connect to a radicalism that our own war-torn age could badly use. But the musical's tragic ending laid its punch. "Hair" is fun-loving but also serious-minded. I left humming "Let the Sunshine In" but also wondering how I could make a difference in a world once again going up in flames.

israel hamas warVia NBC

Via L.A. Times TV critic Robert Lloyd reviewing the premier of a new sit-com starring Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence, "Partners":

A black actor and a white actor splitting top billing in a sitcom is enough of a rarity to be noted approvingly. And there are moments that suggest that the stars will find their footing. But for the nonce they're playing attitudes more than characters, and at times they seem to be in the same show only by virtue of sharing the shot.

end racism- hands

Splitting top billing in a prime time half-hour comedy between a black actor and a white one should not be a Moment of Happy rarity. Especially in 2014. It should be the damned norm. Sigh.

Let the sunshine in.