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

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Tuesday, Jun 18, 2013
Marc Dugain's novella about a soldier wounded in WWI has probably never been more relevant than now.

Given the many American servicemen and women who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan disfigured, Marc Dugain’s The Officer’s Ward is painfully relevant in these times. Dugain has written an excellent, thought-provoking novella that will appeal to any sensitive audience, but especially to those involved with injured and mutilated veterans or in the field of disability studies.


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Monday, Jun 17, 2013
An autobiography that includes stealing from priests, going to the navy with Artie Shaw and fighting the law (Dead Kennedys style, somewhat).

While reading How to Talk Dirty and Influence People, I grew to enjoy Lenny’s stream of conscience style, which becomes clear and concise by the end of the book (where he rants on about sex, religion and politics). Just when you think he has completely gone off subject, and maybe when you yourself have forgotten what he was originally writing about, he finds his way back. Chapter 27 on morality clauses come to mind; I might have to read it again:


“Recently I was offered a writing gig on a TV series (…).  But after two days, negotiations went right into the can. The company’s legal department killed it. Because of the morality clause.


(…)


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Friday, Jun 14, 2013
Sometimes the value of a book is far more than the price of the book.

This is the case with Peter Trachtenberg’s beautiful and disturbing The Book of Calamities, which makes greater demands on your emotional capital than on your economic capital. Trachtenberg takes the reader from Ground Zero to Rwanda, from upstate New York hospitals to New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina.


Still, if the stories—testimonies, really—that make up a great part of the book are poignant and horrifying, they are also inspiring.


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Thursday, Jun 13, 2013
Charles Yu creates a world so strange in 'Sorry. Please. Thank You. Stories.' that it just might be real.

A blurb on the jacket of Charles Yu’s short story collection Sorry. Please. Thank you. Stories. compares the young author to Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams, and while I can see why Yu might call to mind Vonnegut (less so, Adams), I found myself thinking more of the French postmodernist philosopher Jean Baudrillard than either of these two science fiction writers.


Why Baudrillard?


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Tuesday, May 28, 2013
“Surrealism led to feminism and after that nothing was ever the same.”

In Wonderland: Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists was the first international exhibition of art created by female surrealists in Mexico and the United States. The exhibit was organized in 2012 by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in cohort with the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City. Its corresponding book explores the work of over 40 artists, female photographers, painters, sculptors, and multimedia artists and a filmmaker.


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