Story style links [#1]

Click on any sentence below to be taken to the story:

If the median household’s income is heading upward, the economy is in good shape. If it’s heading downward, as it’s been for this entire recovery, we’re all in deep trouble. Advocacy groups who sought a moratorium on shutoffs testified last week that the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s policies of mass shutoffs — 19,000 in recent months — are leaving low-income households with seniors and children without water service. INTERVIEWER: Do you think of yourself as a feminist? SONTAG: That’s one of the few labels I’m content with. But even so…is it a noun? I doubt it. In the current recovery, at least through 2012, the bottom 90 percent actually lost ground, with all of the income gains being grabbed by the wealthiest 10 percent of American households.

“…I don’t write because there’s an audience. I write because there is literature.” – Susan Sontag

INTERVIEWER

Do you think much about the audience for your books?

SONTAG

Don’t dare. Don’t want to. But, anyway, I don’t write because there’s an audience. I write because there is literature.

– Paris Review, The Art of Fiction No. 143

Capitalism and Slavery: An interview with Greg Grandin

“Along the way we learn how capitalism, slavery, and competing notions of freedom have been historically related; how doctors used slaves in early experiments with vaccination; how the slave trade was the chrysalis out of which came modern tort law and financial instruments; that Islam spread among slaves and became the basis for a number of slave revolts; that ships were floating tyrannies and seal hunters barbarians of a special sort; and much more.” “What follows is an interview, edited and condensed, that Jacobin contributor Alex Gourevitch conducted with Grandin, a professor of history at New York University.”
– Read interview at Jacobin Magazine

Gore Vidal, writer’s perspective: Smithsonian Institution (1999)

This is classic Gore all the way. A video in which Vidal names the 1%, calls for the legalization of drugs, excoriates the prison pipeline, and wonders, why, after terrorizing so many, we haven’t been bombed yet.

P.S. If you’re not patient, “fast forward” past the introductions.

Rick Roderick – Fatal Strategies

So, I could get into detailing all of things i disagree with, but RR is just sort of great unto himself – and who doesn’t love listening to an academic with a strong southern accent discuss Baudrillard.  Of course, enduring questions will always be relevant – and unfortunately, questions of virtual reality and the real will be relevant long after we are dead and gone… For those lit crit masochists out there, this is probably around twenty years old, so it’s like a little theory and america time capsule. You can see RR struggling with the definition of the – or The – Post-modern…There is a lot of overreach here, but with perspective it’s easy to pick out questions and subjects for further discussion.

So, have at it. It’s a fun ride (if you’re into this kind of thing…).

Sam Sacks’ review of “Stay Illusion! The Hamlet Doctrine” & my comments on the review

stay illusion
Click picture above to read Sam Sacks’ fine review of “Stay Illusion! The Hamlet Doctrine”

This is what I have to say about it:

Well done man.

I like the approach of the authors as well as your approach to the review.  The psychology of human action (or non-action) is an inexhaustible subject because we will never know precisely why we do things (or do not).  This may be at the root of the brilliance of the play. It gives us a question to which there is no answer.  Human beings are rational and irrational, and never the twain shall meet. While this is true, we are cursed at the same time with the need to know.  We want certainty about why someone acts they way they do – and we are cursed again with a need to control how others act.  Maybe that is at the root of some people’s need to create robots – and to make them appear more and more human.

I’ve always thought the question of whether Hamlet was crazy or not was as strange as the idea of temporary insanity.  If one has little or no insight into choices one makes that hurt others and one kills and plots to kill, what is one? Sane?  Is one sane if one has a good reason for committing condemnable acts?  Is Obama sane for killing children with drones and bragging that he is, “good at killing people”?  Insanity (or at least irrationality) and human actions often seem one and the same to me.

I enjoyed the Slings and Arrows clip – and that last brilliant clip as well. Erudite actors! Fun and edifying.  And how fitting that Wells says, “…the first point about Hamlet is that he is a genius.” Well, of course that is what he would say!  As your piece observed, Wells reading of the play revealed as much about Wells as it did Hamlet.

Chris Hedges – Let’s Get This Class War Started

Click anywhere below to read the full article at truthdig:

“It is not a new story. The rich, throughout history, have found ways to subjugate and re-subjugate the masses. And the masses, throughout history, have cyclically awoken to throw off their chains. The ceaseless fight in human societies between the despotic power of the rich and the struggle for justice and equality lies at the heart of Fitzgerald’s novel, which uses the story of Gatsby to carry out a fierce indictment of capitalism. Fitzgerald was reading Oswald Spengler’s “The Decline of the West” as he was writing “The Great Gatsby.” Spengler predicted that, as Western democracies calcified and died, a class of “monied thugs” would replace the traditional political elites. Spengler was right about that.

“There are only two or three human stories,” Willa Cather wrote, “and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.”

The seesaw of history has thrust the oligarchs once again into the sky. We sit humiliated and broken on the ground. It is an old battle. It has been fought over and over in human history. We never seem to learn. It is time to grab our pitchforks.”

Click anywhere above to read the full article at truthdig