Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Blocked and snarky

A whopping 28 people (myself included) have voted in The Walrus's online poll regarding the book reviews in the New York Times, that "the most compelling ideas tend to be in the non-fiction world."

The Walrus's short history has certainly been tumultuous. But please tell me more than 28 people read it.

The Walrus's Summer Reading Issue is out. Do you think I can find a print copy somewhere? I have yet to lay eyes on a print copy, and it's not like I don't hang out in magazine shops. Maybe more people would read the magazine if it were actually available to public. Maybe then people would care.

If I'm not mistaken, the book-blog circuit has already made mention of "The Art of the Bad Review." That is, the good review that tears a work to pieces.

Obviously, writers are afraid to review their peers because it's a small community.

But I think the world could be a better place if more average-Joe readers, movie-goers, consumers, employees, citizens stood up and said, "This is shit."

The New Yorker this week considers writer's block: great writers who've had it, its link to mental illness, its theoretical psychological and biochemical roots, its antidotes, its unremarkableness.

A story that haunts the halls of The New Yorker is that of Joseph Mitchell, who came on staff in 1938, wrote many brilliant pieces, and then, after the publication of his greatest piece, “Joe Gould’s Secret,” in 1964, came to the office almost every day for the next thirty-two years without filing another word.

I love that story. (Joe Gould's Secret is a really interesting piece, and Ian Holm was a brilliant Joe Gould in the movie. See it! Read it for yourself!)

Ronald Reagan is dead and buried, and I'm surprised not to hear more public debate over stem cell research. The Reagan family continues to issue impassioned pleas, but they are not being heard above the din of all the schmaltzy tributes.

June 12, Kerry challenged the Bush administration to relax restrictions on stem cell research.

Laura Bush also had a few things to say about it last week: "We need to be really very delicate about it." Thanks for that powerful insight.

Research saves lives!
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