Gessen’s Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin

There’s considerable discussion of the role that Russians (hackers, politicians, business interests) may be having on the presidential election. I’ve just re-read Masha Gessen’s sketch of Putin, and it holds up well. (Her account ends a few years ago, but give an ample account of Putin’s upbringing, employment as a KGB officer and leader, and rise to Russia’s presidency.)

Easily recommended.

Sunday Animation: We Need to Talk About Alice

GOOD BOOKS: "We Need To Talk About Alice" from Plenty on Vimeo.

(See all the process, character design, style frames, at plenty.tv/work/good-books-we-need-to-talk-about-alice )

“We need to talk about Alice” was commissioned by New Zealand based agency String Theory and created to be part of Good Books’ “Great Writers Series,” a collection of short films made to promote the non profit organization (gogoodbooks.com) which is an online charity book store that sells book and donates all proceeds to Oxfam, an organization that fights hunger and poverty since 1995.

In the last few years, a select group of directors have donated their time and knowledge to create animated shorts based on renowned literary works and authors to promote this charity. In 2012, Buck launched the amazing “Metamorphosis”, a tribute to author Hunter S. Thompson. Then came “Havana Heat” in 2013, a sensual animation produced by renowned duo McBess and Simon from The Mill.

Plenty had the honor of creating the third a 2:30 minute short film for Good Books based on Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s adventures in Wonderland” to commemorate the book’s 150th anniversary.

After a lot of dedication, hard work and passion for what we do, it’s our pleasure to introduce “We need to talk about Alice”

We’ll be posting more about the project soon! We have a 5 minute breakdown where you’ll be able to see the whole process for this amazing adventure we embarked in! A lot of process stills, extra content and some magical gifs!

We hope you love it! We were honored to be a part of a series of shorts that will leave a mark in the history of motion graphics.

Via Vimeo.

The Book on Janesville

Amy Goldstein, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter at the Washington Post, is writing a book about Janesville after GM’s departure, entitled, Janesville: An American Story

I’ve been awaiting the book, and recently (also happily) discovered publishing information about it, from PublishersMarketplace.com:

Pulitzer-winning Washington Post reporter Amy Goldstein’s JANESVILLE: An American Story, following three families as the GM plant that has sustained their town and their middle class lives closes and they suddenly must reinvent themselves while facing near-impossible choices and a fracturing community, to Priscilla Painton at Simon & Schuster, in a pre-empt, by Susan Rabiner and Sydelle Kramer of Susan Rabiner Literary Agency.

(Hat tip to Slushpile for the information.)

Film-maker Brad Lichtenstein also looked at Janesville from the view of families affected by the GM plant’s closing in As Goes Janesville.  (See, about that documentary, What a Film About Janesville Really Says.)

What’s sure to be true about Goldstein’s perspective (considering her earlier work) is that it will be free of the self-promotion and self-justification so common among local politicians, developers, and the reporters who flack for them.

That’s one reason that a few Janesvillians are uncomfortable about Goldstein’s upcoming book.

It’s also a reason for those serious about policy, owing to Goldstein’s independent perspective, to look forward to the book’s publication. 

A Summer Reading Program

Update 1:35 PM: There’s a helpful reminder in the comments that our library also offers reading programs for children and for adults. Many thanks for both programs and reminder.

A summer reading program for the Whitewater Schools (even if only for some classes) is a good idea. It’s new for Whitewater, and so one can expect a few objections, here or there. (New as a requirement; Whitewater already has a voluntary summer enrichment program for students, in all sorts of subjects.)

Needless to say, we’ve had summer reading programs, without that name, in many families of the city since its founding. There have always been parents who have encouraged reading all year, including the three months each year without formal schooling.

The question is whether the district should make a summer program part of its curriculum. It should. For the community to be competitive, and meet the standards that Wisconsin and America expect of students, we would do well to embrace a small step, and encourage still more later.

No one would question that a competitive athlete needs to train all year, off-season included; we shouldn’t be surprised that competitive students need to read all year.

Our school year is unlikely to change, but nine-months-on and three-months-off is an artifact of the past that ill-serves a nation hoping that its children will be at the forefront of global accomplishment. We’re an agricultural community and state, but we are no longer an agrarian society. It’s reasonable for the district to expect that designated grades will be reading all year, and be evaluated on assigned books.

If anything, there should be more of this.

The New E-Book Edition of Lost Horizon

I received a note from Open Road Media, the publisher of an electronic edition of James Hilton’s Lost Horizon. Noticing that I was reading the book’s print edition, they suggested that I might consider their new electronic version, just out.

Of course: I’d prefer an e-book to a print copy, as they’re easier to store, often in several devices at once, and are a sound conservation practice, too.

A copy from Amazon is available online. (I neither charge nor accept promotional items for anything at FREE WHITEWATER. These remarks are those of a reader like anyone else.)

The Open Road Media edition is sparkling – properly formatted and easy to read on a computer, smartphone, iPad, or Kindle. (I’ve tried it on all these devices). Easily recommended.

It’s common with a publisher’s message like this to receive a second question, about some topic in the book. In this case: What the idea of Shangri-La means to me.

I’d suppose that Hilton’s Shangri-La captivates readers initially as a place of near agelessness, a version of a fountain of youth story. That’s understandable, of course: concerns over aging and mortality are common enough.

Yet, the Shangri-La of the story is not a simply a place of near-agelessness. It’s a place with a confident way of life, as Chang, a representative of the lamasery, explains:

We rule with moderate strictness, and in return are satisfied with moderate obedience. And I think that I can claim that our people are moderately sober, moderately chaste, and moderately honest.

Chang knows his way and his mind – he’s confident, even when peppered with skeptical questions. It’s not the place, but the state of mind, that matters most. One lives well if one lives clearly, confidently.

Often one sees in a place what one believes one will see. Yet, I cannot avoid thinking that Shangri-La is about believing deep within oneself in, and of, something. Clarity and confidence in the face of the harsh natural conditions beyond the valley, or the political violence and disorder that looms in the world outside.

Shangri-La isn’t compelling because its residents live longer; it’s compelling because its residents live soundly and confidently. From that, many things are possible, including an enduring, everlasting community.

Now Reading: Lost Horizon

My latest book is James Hilton’s Lost Horizon (1933).

It’s been in print since first publication, and the subject of two films (the second of them being a rather unfortunate musical). (When the cover of the book say it’s the first paperback ever published, the publisher means the first of a modern paperback series).

I’m part way into the book now, and much enjoying it.

Young Auditorium receives grant to host 4th Community Big Read

Young Auditorium receives grant to host 4th Community Big Read

 For the fourth year in a row, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded a local partnership to bring the national Big Read initiative to Rock, Walworth, Jefferson and adjacent counties.  Mark Twain in the Rock River Basin will be the focus of this year’s Big Read in southeastern Wisconsin.  Led by the Irvin L. Young Library in Whitewater, the Arrowhead Library System in Rock County, and UW-Whitewater’s Young Auditorium, the Big Read will provide a host of activities and in-school outreach.  Twenty-three area library partners, from Beloit, to Watertown and beyond will be hosting events in April.

For 2012 the theme of Twain in the Rock River Basin will link our community’s physical location, as part of the greater Mississippi River Basin and our connection as a nearby hub on the Underground Railroad.  Investigating Twain’s seminal novel will take place in our community’s Big Read through the written word, the spoken word, visual images and cultural engagement bringing together diverse groups for fellowship.

Big Read 2012 Highlights:

Big Read Mural: Noted children’s book illustrator Joel Tanis will discuss the 2011 Big Read Mural and his own artistic methods.  In 2011, Joel worked with students from four area schools to create a culminating artistic response to Edgar Allan Poe’s writing.  The students created four large 4’x6’ panels that depict scenes from the works of Poe.  Joel will once again be working with four area schools for the 2012 Big Read.  Students will delve into specific works by Twain to create visual art that captures the mood and emotions of the author’s work.  2012 participating schools include:  St. Joseph’s School in Fort Atkinson; Eastview Elementary in Lake Geneva;  Jefferson Elementary in Janesville;  and East Troy High School in East Troy.  The 2012 mural will be unveiled at the Big Read Kick Off at the historic Horticultural Hall in Lake Geneva, Thursday, March 29th at 6:00 pm.

Big Read Kick Off at the historic Horticultural Hall in Lake Geneva, Thursday, March 29th at 6:00 pm. The community is invited to join the Kick Off of our region’s fourth Big Read.  Please join us for free refreshments and prizes.  Big Read Mural Unveiling with Joel Schoon Tanis.  Free.  Noted children’s book illustrator Joel Tanis will unveil the 2012 Big Read Mural.  Joel worked with students from four area schools to create a culminating artistic response to Mark Twain’s writing.  Participating schools include:  St. Joseph’s School in Fort Atkinson: Eastview Elementary in Lake Geneva, Jefferson Elementary in Janesville, East Troy High School, East Troy.  Posters of the mural will be available for signing by Joel and the student artists.

Hal Holbrook presents Mark Twain Tonight!  On April 21, 2012, 7:30.  Legendary actor Hal Holbrook presents his historic portrayal of Mark Twain.  Hal Holbrook has been awarded an Emmy and Tony Award for his indelible personification of Mark Twain, a role that he has been performing since 1954.

And Glory Shone by The Rose Ensemble.  April 10, 2012, 7:30. This award winning ensemble from St. Paul, MN, will perform a special selection of early American hymns, ballads and spiritual songs that will evoke Tom Sawyer’s America.

No Foolin’ A Free Book.  4/1/12 or 4/2/12. All public library partners will kick-off the Big Read by offering give-away of books, student designed t-shirts and tickets to the performance of The Rose Ensemble.

Mark Twain’s Racial Relevance.  Free lecture and discussion by Dr. Alan Gribben on Monday April 9, 2012, 7:00 PM.  Part of the College of Letters and Sciences Contemporary Lecture Series. Dr. Allan Gribben is a nationally recognized Mark Twain scholar who sparked considerable controversy when he published versions of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn in 2011 that removed a racial pejorative as an attempt to reverse the trend of school districts removing both books from their reading lists.

Moments with Mark Twain. Geneva Lake Art Association 2012 Spring Exhibit. February 3-29, 2012. 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.  Opening reception February 3, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm.  GLAA Gallery.  This show highlights GLAA Member works recall images of the 19th Century time period, Twain’s stories, the grandeur of the Mississippi, or other images that are inspired by this literary icon.  The Geneva Lake Art Association gallery and art school are located inside the North Shore Pavilion Mall at 647 E. Main Street, Lake Geneva.

Big Read Finale and Big Read MuralFriday, May 4th 5:00—7:00 PM. Milton House Museum, 18 South Janesville, St., Milton, WI.  www.miltonhouse.org. Free.  Join us for refreshments and an exhibit of the Big Read.  Learn about the success of the program and plans for 2013.

Through the Eyes of Jim.  A new production by Uprooted Theatre. Milwaukee’s Uprooted Theatre Company, whose mission is to engage the community through the performing arts for the exploration and expression of African-American voices and cultural experiences, will present a performance as part of the Young Auditorium’s Horizon Matinee Series.  The performance will give a unique point of view of Twain’s work as interpreted through the slave Jim’s perspective.  A community performance will take place at the Milton House Museum, as part of the Big Read finale, Friday, May 4th at 7:00 pm. Tickets available by calling the Milton House at 608-868-7772.  The Milton House Museum is Wisconsin’s only authenticated stop on the Underground Railroad.

Check your local library for their participation and event calendar.  Updates will be available at the Big Read Blog:  http://youngauditorium.wordpress.com/

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has selected 76 not-for-profit organizations have been recommended for grants totaling $1,000,050 to host a Big Read project between September 2011 and June 2012. The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in cooperation with Arts Midwest.

The Big Read provides communities nationwide with the opportunity to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 31 selections from U.S. and world literature.. Among the organizations receiving a Big Read grant are libraries, humanities councils, museums, theater companies, literary centers and presses, public broadcasting stations, universities, YMCAs, and boys & girls clubs. The selected organizations will receive Big Read grants ranging from $2,500 to $17,000 to promote and carry out community-based programs.

NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said, “Since 2006, nearly three million Americans have attended a Big Read event, more than 39,000 volunteers have participated locally, and nearly 27,000 community partner organizations have been involved. The Big Read’s success depends on these commitments of time, energy, and enthusiasm and I look forward to seeing these 76 communities come together in celebration of a great work of literature.”

Participating communities also receive high-quality, free-of-charge educational materials to supplement each title, which also are available for download on neabigread.org. Reader’s Guides include author biographies, historical context for the book, and discussion questions. Teacher’s Guides are developed with the National Council of Teachers of English and State Language Arts standards in mind and include lesson plans, essay topics, and classroom handouts. The Big Read Audio Guides feature readings from the novel along with commentary from renowned artists, educators, and public figures.

Each community’s Big Read includes a kick-off event to launch the program; activities devoted specifically to its Big Read book or poet (e.g., panel discussions, lectures, public readings); events using the selection as a point of departure (e.g., film screenings, theatrical readings, exhibits); and book discussions in diverse locations aimed at a wide range of audiences.

**********

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at www.arts.gov.

Arts Midwest promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people’s lives. Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 25 years. For more information, please visit www.artsmidwest.org.

For more information please contact Young Auditorium at 262-472-4444 or check us out on the web at www.uww.edu/youngauditorium.

The Living Mississippi: From Twain to Today at the Roberta Avonn Art Gallery 3/9/12 to 4/4/12

Opening reception on March 12, 2012 from 3:30-5:00 p.m.

Historic photographs of the Mississippi River by Henry P. Bosse are juxtaposed with modern photos of river restoration projects completed by the non-profit group, Living Lands & Waters. Quotes from Mark Twain’s prose link the river’s past with the present.

The exhibit is a partnership with UW-Whitewater’s Earth Day Committee and our community’s 4th Big Read. The 2011 Big Read Mural will also be on display. The exhibit was compiled by UW-Whitewater student Karly Modesti, in partnership with our Community’s 4th Big Read.

The community is invited to attend a special opening reception on March 12, 2012 from 3:30-5:00 p.m. at the Roberta Avonn Fiskum Gallery, James R. Connor University Center on the campus of University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Artist and Big Read muralist Joel Schoon Tanis will speak in UC Summers Auditorium, at 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Henry P. Bosse was a draughtsman and cartographer with the Army Corps of Engineers at Rock Island, Illinois. Between 1882 and 1892 he photographed the upper Mississippi River and documented the untamed and wild river that Mark Twain encountered as a young river pilot. The exhibit includes a selection of his reprinted artwork, reproduced with permission from the Rock Island and St. Paul district’s collections of Henry P. Bosse’s works. Bosse’s works were mainly forgotten.

For 100 years, the artist remained unknown. Then, in the spring of 1990, a Washington, D.C., antique dealer discovered an album of Bosse’s images in the study house that belonged to Major General Alexander Mackenzie. General Mackenzie had been the Corps’ Chief of Engineers, or top ranking officer, from 1904 to 1908. Within a year, this album would be worth over a million dollars and Bosse praised as one of the late nineteenth century’s finest photographers.

Living Lands & Waters, is an active non-profit group dedicated to cleaning up and preserving our nation’s rivers. Photos from their community river clean ups provide a potent comparison to Bosse’s early images of the mighty Mississippi.

Living Lands & Waters has 10 full-time employees and a fleet of four barges, a towboat, six workboats, two skid steers, five work trucks, and a large box truck.

With this equipment, the crew is able to travel and work in an average of nine states a year along the Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, and Potomac Rivers, as well as many of their tributaries. Since the project’s inception, Chad Pregracke, his crew, and over 60,000 volunteers have collected over six million pounds of debris from our nation’s greatest rivers. Most recently, Chad expanded the mission of the organization to include Big River Educational Outreach, The Million Trees Project, and the Adopt-a-River Mile programs.

Noted children’s book illustrator Joel Tanis will discuss the 2011 Big Read Mural and his own artistic methods. In 2011, Joel worked with students from four area schools to create a culminating artistic response to Edgar Allan Poe’s writing. The students created four large 4’x6’ panels that depict scenes from the works of Poe. Joel will once again be working with four area schools for the 2012 Big Read. Students will delve into specific works by Twain to create visual art that captures the mood and emotions of the author’s work.

2012 participating schools include: St. Joseph’s School in Fort Atkinson; Eastview Elementary in Lake Geneva; Jefferson Elementary in Janesville; and East Troy High School in East Troy. The 2012 mural will be unveiled at the Big Read Kick Off at the historic Horticultural Hall in Lake Geneva, Thursday, March 29th at 6:00 pm.

For the fourth year in a row, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded a local partnership to bring the national Big Read initiative to Rock, Walworth, and Jefferson County. Mark Twain in the Rock River Basin will be the focus of this year’s Big Read in southeastern Wisconsin. Led by the Irvin L. Young Library in Whitewater, the Arrowhead Library System in Rock County, and UW-Whitewater’s Young Auditorium, the Big Read will provide a host of activities and in-school outreach.

This National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Grant gives young adults the opportunity to learn more about reading, writing, different cultures, and encourages them to explore their interest in these areas. The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. Local sponsorship supported is provided by Fort HealthCare, American Family Insurance, The Janesville Gazette and the The Daily Jefferson County Union.

The Young Auditorium is a 1,300 seat performing arts center located in Whitewater that serves southeastern Wisconsin. Each season the auditorium presents the best in touring professional productions from Broadway, Rock & Roll, Shakespeare, Family Friendly Favorites and Ballet. Over 500,000 K-12 students have experienced educational performances through the Horizons Matinee Series. The facility boasts two all-purpose rooms for up to 120 guests for special receptions, dinners, or business meetings. A non-profit organization, the Young Auditorium has special benefits for Members; and discounts for groups. Special email offers and giveaways area available via free email updates from ArtsENews.

http://www.uww.edu/youngauditorium

Information: 262-472-4444 Tickets: 262-472-2222

The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts—both new and established—bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the nation’s largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit www.arts.gov.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. For more information, please visit www.imls.gov.

Arts Midwest connects people throughout the Midwest and the world to meaningful arts opportunities, sharing creativity, knowledge, and understanding across boundaries. Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 25 years.

For more information, please visit http://www.artsmidwest.org/.

Mark Twain T-shirt Art Contest for K-12 Students

Best to all the contestants, and appreciation to those supporting the contest —

Mark Twain T-shirt Art Contest for K-12 Students

For the fourth year in a row, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded a local partnership to bring the national Big Read initiative to Rock, Walworth and Jefferson County.  Mark Twain in the Rock River Basin will be the focus of this year’s Big Read in southeastern Wisconsin.  Led by the Irvin L. Young Library in Whitewater, the Arrowhead Library System in Rock County  and UW-Whitewater’s Young Auditorium the Big Read will provide a host of activities and in-school outreach.

The Big Read activities begin with an art competition for K-12 students.   Students in Rock, Walworth, Jefferson Counties and surrounding communities are invited to submit their own Mark Twain inspired artwork.  One design will be chosen as the official Big Read 2012 logo and printed on 100 give-away Big Read t-shirts. Up to 20 other designs will be chosen and exhibited at Studio 84, in Whitewater.

The competition submissions are due on March 15th by noon to the Young Auditorium.    The winning entry will be given a hardcover copy of The Collected Works of Mark Twain, two free t-shirts with their artwork, and four tickets to Mark Twain Tonight! starring Hal Holbrook, April 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm.  The student’s teacher will receive 2 tickets to Mark Twain Tonight!  Finalists have their work displayed at Studio 84 in Whitewater. Interested art teachers and students may receive full details by contacting the Young Auditorium at 262-472-4444 or online at http://youngauditorium.wordpress.com/.

This National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Grant gives young adults the opportunity to learn more about reading, writing, different cultures, and encourages them to explore their interest in these areas. The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.  Local sponsorship supported is provided by Fort HealthCare, American Family Insurance, The Janesville Gazette and the Daily Jefferson County Union.

“This year’s Big Read already has twenty-two area libraries signed on as partners which is the most we’ve had yet,” noted Ben Strand, Development and Assistant Director of the Young Auditorium.  “The T-Shirt Competition is a great addition to the list of Big Read events, because it is another way for young adults to get involved and be active in learning, and also because it helps them express themselves through their designs. We are still looking for more volunteers to help coordinate children’s events, lead book discussion in their communities and to promote activities in throughout the area.  The full roster of Big Read events keeps growing.  Check with your local library or the Big Read blog for updates.”

For more information about The Big Read please visit www.neabigread.org.

The Young Auditorium is a 1,300 seat performing arts center located in Whitewater that serves southeastern Wisconsin.  Each season the auditorium presents the best in touring professional productions from Broadway, Rock & Roll, Shakespeare, Family Friendly Favorites and Ballet.  Over 500,000 K-12 students have experienced educational performances through the Horizons Matinee Series.  The facility boasts two all-purpose rooms for up to 120 guests for special receptions, dinners, or business meetings.  A non-profit organization, the Young Auditorium has special benefits for Members; and discounts for groups.  Special email offers and giveaways area available via free email updates from ArtsENews.  www.uww.edu/youngauditorium Information: 262-472-4444  Tickets: 262-472-2222  

The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts—both new and established—bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the nation’s largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit www.arts.gov. 

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. For more information, please visit www.imls.gov.

Arts Midwest connects people throughout the Midwest and the world to meaningful arts opportunities, sharing creativity, knowledge, and understanding across boundaries. Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 25 years. For more information, please visit www.artsmidwest.org


Sacha Scoblic‘s Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety

I’m sure to have questions about why I’m reading Sacha Scoblic‘s Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety.  The answer is that I saw an essay Scoblic wrote around the time of Amy Winehouse’s death, on sobriety and the false notion that art somehow justifies (or requires) addiction. (See, Amy Winehouse: The Insidious Response to Her Addiction and Death.) She wrote well and persuasively.  I made note of her book, and now I’m reading it.

I offer no claim to a special understanding of alcoholics, recovering alcoholics, or afflicted artists. Yet, having met people who are those things, one sees the great gap between policies that address substances, and other policies that treat addicts.

We talk less about alcoholics than we do about alcohol, yet it must be addiction that matters. I’m curious to see what Scoblic has to say, of her experiences, both drunk and sober.

That’s why I’m reading her book.

A farewell to the card catalog

I’m surprised there’s one still around. There was a chance for serendipity when searching through a card catalog, despite the undeniable inefficiency of it, too:

It will be the end of an era when the public card catalog is removed from its home in room 224 of Memorial Library on the UW–Madison campus.

Via UW Madison.

Luskin on Atlas Shrugged, Paul Krugman, and Crony Capitalism

Donald Luskin’s spent years criticizing Krugman, not as much for Krugman’s economic accomplishments (Krugman’s a Nobel laureate) but for his subsequent politico-economic columns in the New York Times. Krugman is Luskin’s white whale, but that obsession isn’t as interesting to me as Luskin’s observation (toward the end of the video) that Atlas Shrugged is, principally, an attack on crony capitalism.

He’s right about Atlas Shrugged – it is precisely that sort of attack. We don’t live in a world of mere government planning, we live in a world of government planning directed toward politicians’ favored businesses, friends, and preferred means to their own advancement.

Pro-business is neither as efficient nor as conducive to prosperity as is a pro-market policy, but favoritism toward certain businesses is far more conducive to scheming office-holders’ and bureaucrats’ careerist ambitions.

From the description accompanying the video —

What you really have in Atlas Shrugged is an unholy alliance of corrupt crony capitalists and corrupt government.” says author Donald Luskin. “Now that isn’t a narrative that conservatives like to tell, [but] that ought to be a narrative libertarians like to tell.”

In his newest book, “I Am John Galt: Today’s Heroic Innovators Building the World and the Villainous Parasites Destroying It,” Luskin finds modern parallels to Ayn Rand’s characters. From Bill Gates to Paul Krugman, Luskin analyses the Randian heroes and villains of today and examines the impact of Rand’s ideas on America.

At FreedomFest 2011, Reason’s Matt Welch sat down with Luskin to talk about his book, his crusade against Paul Krugman and the resurgence of Ayn Rand.

Held each July in Las Vegas, FreedomFest is attended by around 2,000 libertarians and advocates of limited government. Reason.tv spoke with over two dozen speakers and attendees and will be releasing interviews over the coming weeks.

About 6:08 minutes. Shot by Zach Weissmueller and Jim Epstein and edited by Meredith Bragg.

Local Bookstores Support E-Book Effort

The Phantom Stranger, a defender of sound principles and good literature, kindly passed along a link to a Journal Sentinel story about local bookstore support for ebooks.

From June 9 to 11, three bookstores (Boswell, Next Chapter, and Books & Company) will sell ebooks from Unbridled on their store websites for only 25 cents. That’s both a great deal and a step toward a local store-online hybrid that may bolster independent sellers.

Many thanks to the cloaked avenger for sending the story.

See, The Unbridled 25-cent ebook experiment.