Archive for slavery

The Book Booth: Groundhog Day Edition

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Image: HuffPo


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: Groundhog Day Edition

Yes, once again it is time for the large rodent in Pennsylvania to let us know if we have six more weeks of winter coming, or if we'll have an early spring. It's all "grounded" in science, of course, and we all should pay great attention. Or end up like Bill Murray in the movie and have to do it over and over again.

Do you want to read classic literature but, you know, those pesky words get in the way? Well, the folks at MentalFloss have the solution! Yes, you can now get these posters of Alice, Peter Pan and Huck Finn that do away with verbiage and go straight to the punctuation marks!
Simplified Classics (No Words!)

I'm sure some of you have manuscripts laying about the desk, that you know are sure-fire bestsellers and monuments to Literature. Get those pages out! But before you do, review these mistakes many, many writers make before their submissions.
Beginning Writers' Mistakes

Of course some novice writers are prone to over-writing. Or working with a blind editor. Here are fifty over-wrought sentences from a new novel, published by a company known for quality, that, well, are not going to make Proust or Joyce sweat.
Overwritten Sentences

To cleanse the palate, here are some quotes on writing from Virginia Woolf. We celebrated the 134th anniversary of her birth this past week.
Virginia Woolf on Writing

Now this new production of War and Peace looks intriguing. It is produced by Harvey Weinstein, who has done much quality filmmaking. I've never seen the Soviet-era production, which is supposed to be great, but the American one from the fifties, although noble in attempt, had lots of problems, including the casting of Henry Fonda as Pierre when he was about twenty years too old for the part.
War and Peace Casting

It's the end of the month, and time to restock on books! Go visit your local independent bookstore. But failing that, you can read some great books set in bookstores! HuffPo has a list that you'll want to check out.
Great Books Set in Bookstores

Have a great weekend, filled with words and punctuation marks and please let us know what delightful books you are enjoying this weekend.

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The Book Booth: The History Edition

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Image: BBC


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: The History Edition

In my more Orwellian moments, I become scared that history is being lost, re-written by the Ministry of Truth and myth is replacing reality. Of course one doesn't have to look further than the GOP and the candidates who want to lead this country. Imagine history books as written by Donald Trump or Sarah Palin. I shudder.

Take, for instance, the recent release of a book published by Scholastic that depicts the "servants" of George Washington happily baking the father of our country a birthday cake. The furor has caused the publisher to withdraw the book. H/T to Lucian for the link.
George Washington's Happy Servants (according to Scholastic)

Clare Fallon at HuffPo has the background on the controversy here as well as stories about American slavery for younger readers that are more grounded in reality.
A Real Overview of Slavery

The birthday of Edgar Allan Poe just past this week (he was just about a month older than Lincoln and Darwin). But did you know, (strike up the therermin music) that the master of the macabre and father of the detective story was a time-traveler? HistoryBuff has the proof!
Edgar Allen Poe's Time Machine

I've always suspected that world mythologies and folk tales were in some way related, at least as far as the Indo-Europeans were concerned, but not being a folklorist myself, did not know for sure. It seems that this may be the case and that some old tales are very old, indeed.
Fairy Tale Origins

Back in 1965, the Nobel Prize in Literature went to Soviet writer Mikhail Sholokov. It seems he beat out some tough competition in Vladimir Nabokov, Pablo Neruda and Juan Luis Borges. Nabokov certainly should have won some year, but did not, and Neruda was awarded the prize the year before his death. Still Sholkov's And Quiet Flows the Don did inspire one of the great contemporary folk songs, Pete Seeger's Where Have All the Flowers Gone.
Nobel Prize in Literature for Russian Authors

Although he has never achieved the literary limelight of the likes of Hemingway, Steinbeck or Faulkner, Herman Wouk has produced a number of good novels, including the Caine Mutiny and Winds of War. He has now attained his 100th year and NPR did this profile in his honor.
Herman Wouk Profile by NPR

Sadly, last week we saw the passing of that fine actor, Alan Rickman from cancer at age 69. BookRiot posted this tribute to him in all his roles that were based on book characters. Rickman also wrote the play I Am Rachel Corrie and knew a bit or two about words.
Alan Rickman Has Left Us

This story has been making the rounds on the internets, but in case you have missed it, Ursula LeGuin recently gave the dunderheads holding the park refuge hostage a piece of her mind. And very succinctly. Thanks to old friend Mortaljive for the link.
Bird Refuge Dunderheads Upbraided by Ursula LeGuin

We've been doing some house interior work for our many books, and this little piece on library ladders gives inspiration. Check them out!
Library Ladders for the Home

Have a most pleasant weekend, dear readers, and let us know what books have enthralled you.

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Slave Labor -- If It's Good Enough For The Bible

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Some people get carried away with the literal workings of the holy bible. One such extremist is Cathedral Bible College President Dr. Wayne Miller. It seems that he's leading this South Carolina bible college in taking advantage of foreign students, forcing them into slavery. Police have just arrested Dr. Miller after a federal investigation.

You might expect his defense to be "The devil made me do it." But Miller's taken a more academic approach. He blames the "good book" justifying his actions with bible passages from the new and old testaments, accepting slavery.

Somehow, that just doesn't sound too "Christian" to me.

Certainly the practices of the bible have got to be tempered with a sense of modern morality and translation. Remember, the old and the new testaments were NOT written by God. They were written by men, (sorry ladies...). Mere mortal men and these stories and legends are just that -- hand-me-down anecdotes or as Bill Maher is wont to say, "fairy tales." Belief in them is fine, but literal translations must be tempered with reality and common sense.

So back to South Carolina and Cathedral Bible College. Here's some interesting tidbits to consider. For instance, the background of its president. From Raw Story:

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Miller was arrested in 2006 on charges of lewdness and prostitution after he exposed himself to an undercover officer in a bathhouse at Myrtle Beach State Park. Records indicated that Miller participated in a pre-trial intervention program, allowing his record to be expunged.

Maybe President Miller has rehabilitated himself. If so, good for him. Or did he just trade his sexual violations for human rights violations?

Then there's his true purpose at the school. Was it bible education? Picking up chicks? Dudes? Or was it something quite different -- yet still nefarious and evil? What was Miller doing to these students?

Students told investigators that classes at the school “were not real,” and that the real purpose of the school was to force them to work over the maximum of 20 hours per week that federal law allows for student visas. The students alleged that Miller often forced them to live in substandard conditions without hot water, heat or air-conditioning.

The complaints said that students worked over 50 hours a week, and often received no pay, even though some had been promised $100 a week. Several students said that they were paid $50 a week for 40 hours of work or more.

Who was profiting from all of this? It certainly wasn't the kids who came for a Christian and bible-based education. Doesn't it make you pause and wonder what else might be going on in this country under the cloak of right-wing evangelicals? Funny how they're the first one's to accuse states of possibly approving Sharia Law, but hold up King James when justifying their actions. Slavery seems much more in keeping with Sharia beliefs than Christian.

Hopefully this situation gets straightened out soon. But it does make me question the real ethics of the bible-thumping world. I think everyone should have the right to believe or not to believe in whatever they wish. But when it infringes on human decency, I have to ask questions.

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Cartoon Cliven Bundy: "In MY America, one man's delusion is another man's dream!"

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David Horsey nailed it in his Los Angeles Times article and political cartoon, both calling out crackpot racist Cliven Bundy for what he is: delusional:

david horsey clive bundy

Bundy hops on his horse and parades around carrying the flag of the government he says he doesn’t believe in. He boasts that he is just like one of the founding fathers. He apparently has not figured out that most of his countrymen are starting to see him as a deadbeat who, for 20 years, has fed his cattle for free on land that doesn’t belong to him — land that, in law and in fact, belongs to the people of the United States.

In an earlier post, Cliven Bundy said that his 'Negro' remarks were totally not racist.

Oh.

Our bad.

Kidding.

Here's what he had to say this morning on CNN:

Wow. Really? He's now the Official Martin Luther King historian and spokesperson? About Rosa Parks?

The scary thing is, Cliven Bundy is just the tip of a very ugly, very ugly conservative iceberg. Via the Southern Poverty Law Center:

militia extremist patriot groups chart southern poverty law center

Jon Stewart had a thing or two to say about this "hero on the right" who wanted to "keep his cows on welfare":

Jon Stewart:

"He's also apparently a professor of Negro studies...

...at Duke University....DAVID Duke University."

He's all yours, GOP. You can try to run away from your adulation of this horror story of a being, but all your public smooches were recorded for all to see, documented forever. Good luck with that.

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