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

Reviews

Sunday, January 1 1995

John Huston: Interviews by Robert Emmet Long

Huston is revealed as a seamless whole, tough guy and gentleman of culture, one of the last of the Renaissance Men.


I Almost Killed George Burns!  And Other Gut-Splitting Tales From the World’s Greatest Comedy Event

Explains how humor is manufactured, packaged, and delivered to the masses.


The Iowa Award: The Best Stories, 1991 - 2000 by Frank Conroy

Reading this book, it is easy to imagine a world where good writing sells, where the notion of story reigns supreme, and where the artful gesture is appreciated, even coveted.


In Our Own Words: A Generation Defining Itself by Marlow Peerse Weaver, ed.

...calls upon writers all over the world born between the years 1960 and 1982 to express the thoughts, hopes, fears, and concerns of 'Generation X', now that they're old enough to qualify for nostalgia.


The IV Lounge Reader by Paul Vermeersch, ed.

This book, like a jewel made more interesting by flaws, is unique because we see authors genuinely struggling with the material to make it work. It is vital and alive.


The Inflatable Butch: New Funny Stuff by Ellen Orleans

Each story winds up with some kind of larger-picture statement about lesbian life, yet it falls short because you just can't sum up something universal about lesbian life in a two-page quip.


I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dyson illuminates the complexities of King’s identity and challenges the boundaries in which King and his legacy have been forced to inhabit because of desires on the part of the King family, traditional Civil Rights leaders, and the mass media to neuter (pun, absolutely intended) his persona and his politics.


In Therapy We Trust: America’s Obsessions with Self-Fulfillment by Eva S. Moskowitz

I do not knock the importance of counseling for people with serious problems... [but] only a culture like ours can develop on-line therapeutic support systems and then diagnose Internet Addiction Disorder.


In the Box Called Pleasure by Kim Addonizio

Wild women, alcoholics, sluts, masochists, the lustful and the ravaged populate these stories with a vengeance -- not necessarily a political one, but a human one that demands that these realities be exposed and explored.


Here To Go: Brion Gysin by Terry Wilson and Brion Gysin

Gysin deserves much better treatment than relegation to a footnote in the history of the Beats, much more consideration than simply as a 'friend of Bill'.


Henderson’s Spear by Ronald Wright

These critiques, however, are as close as you can come to having too much of a good thing. 'Henderson's Spear' is a fascinating tale that teaches its readers small lessons about Polynesian life, the British royalty and the Korean war effortlessly without seeming overstuffed.


The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami

[Expatriate Indian] writers -- among others -- cannot write as 'South Asians' or about India without encountering controversies over authenticity that push and prod the author to define, albeit reluctantly, a national identity. Perhaps the only way to truly answer the question of identity is by refusing to answer at all, or answering only with the condition that the interrogator be thoroughly comfortable with hyphens.


The Holocaust’s Ghost: Writings on Art, Politics, Law and Education by F.C. DeCoste and Bernard Schw

After many generations of being inculcated with 'real' television and movie reels, we have found the Holocaust equivalent to less than fiction - a reified historical memory that frequently appears in our lives through various media outlets and forms, but little more.


Hell’s Kitchen by Chris Niles

Niles applies her brilliant one-liners to play havoc with are our pop-culture silliness.


History of Suicide: Voluntary Death in Western Culture by Georges Minois

While it sure isn't beach reading, Georges Minois's 'History of Suicide' isn't nearly as dark nor depressing a book as one might think. Which isn't necessarily a good thing.


The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America by Lawrence Epstein

Even as Jews were earnestly absorbing American life, they were twisting popular culture to reflect their own fear of alienation.


Habeas Codfish: Reflections on Food and the Law by Barry M. Levenson

Most of the people here in Madison are like everyone else in the state: Packer lovin', Milwaukee avoidin', fried cheese curd eatin' 'Sconsinites, and that's that.


Heart of the Old Country by Tim McLoughlin

Tim McLoughlin's 'Heart of the Old Country' exposes the soul inside the seamy underbelly of New York. It's a gritty slice of life drawn from McLoughlin's experiences, as he reveals in an interview with 'PopMatters'.


High Drama in Fabulous Toledo by Lily James

The central unifier involves a computer programmer who leaves the Novell basement of Unix realtime and attempts to blend into corporate culture, thinking the 1950s ideal man is what he needs to emulate. Knowing he is socially illiterate, he figures the only way to acquire a wife is by taking a woman hostage. [Review and interview with Lily James, author of 'High Drama in Fabulous Toledo'].


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