Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

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Tuesday, Dec 18, 2007

Imagine, Mark Twain on masturbation (although he doesn’t call it that), a 1592 valentine to a dildo (and yes, even then, it’s called, that), a three-part section on other words used for, er, “those parts”.  Imagine, imparted wisdom on “sexual relativity” by Albert Einstein, alongside excerpts from the Kama Sutra and other “authorities” on the subject (not least D.H. Lawrence, Henry Miller). And speaking of The Subject, this little book, loaded with historical images (ads, cartoons, photos), goes all about it, all around it, and covers it pretty thoroughly, with delightful inclusiveness; much like one goes over every inch of one’s person of fascination. It’s a little bit naughty and terribly funny, much like the Real Thing. Consider it a pop-y, anthropological study of the libido with, of course, a fair amount of history and “geography” thrown in. Perfect for the sexy, cerebral, imaginative person in your life.


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Monday, Dec 17, 2007

The ideologies may change, but the implements of the shock (“elimination of the public sphere, total liberation for corporations, and skeletal social spending”) don’t ever seem to change, nor does the ever-yawning gulf between the wealthy few and the poor and powerless many.  Klein convincingly argues in this crushingly pessimistic but magisterial work that the future could well be a “cruel and ruthlessly divided” place where “money and race buy survival”.


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Sunday, Dec 16, 2007
by Raphael Costambeys-Kempzynski

For all of us that were buying records way before back-catalogue compilations and the mp3 came to dominate the music scene, the 33 1/3 series of short books, each dealing with a different LP, make for perfect stocking fillers. Then comes the obligatory Greatest Hits, a digest of some of the best writing from the series. With the release of Volume 2 there is the usual mix of insightful personal experiences and professional encounters with the various artists.  From pop to hip-hop, this book is guaranteed to shift Christmas Day away from the turkey and the inevitable re-run of It’s a Wondeful Life to a raiding of the record collection at hand. Conversations thus soundtracked and fuelled by the various chapters will try to resolve such affirmations as The Stone Roses “possessing an almost preternatural mastery of the pop paradigm” or how and why (and, indeed, if) the Pixies became “gods in abstentia”. A book for all tomorrow’s parties—oh, and the album you’re now thinking about is number 11 in the series.


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Sunday, Dec 16, 2007

Sports columnist Bondy captures the machinations behind the pivotal 1984 NBA draft; fate, chance, speculation (on target and off mark), and the flip of the coin, as luck would have it.  Cultures, egos, and desires clash in this well-researched, slice of sports history.  I’ve often thought some of the most entertaining storytelling could be found in sports writing. You’ll certainly found it here.


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Sunday, Dec 16, 2007

Every fantastic, outrageous, bizarre creature imagined by man (or child) has already been designed by nature and lived a life quite independent of our species, thank you very much. The sea holds seemingly impossible creatures of all shapes and colors: bony, gelatinous, vividly lit from inside as if by fiber optic cables, ugly as mud, terribly fierce and utterly ridiculous. Every creature the nature lover, the artist, or simply the imaginative has ever considered and rendered is captured here in gorgeous color and seemingly impossible photographic detail. This beautiful coffee table book will blow that special someone’s mind.


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