Archive for the ‘journalism’ Category

Forty years ago today: Close Rikers as long-term jail

The Rikers Island jail, formally known as the Men’s House of Detention on Rikers Island, was branded “outmoded and inappropriate” by the Board of Correction, which advised phasing the jail out as a long-term detention facility. The board’s chairman said a phase-out would be “a matter of paramount importance” in the months ahead.
–Brought to you by Lights Out Summer, set in 1977, coming Oct. 1.

Source: New York Times

Forty years ago yesterday: President Carter wants end to Electoral College

President Carter called on Congress to amend the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College, substituting simple majority of the popular vote to elect the President. In an election reform message to Capitol Hill, he also proposed a massive relaxation of state laws restricting voter registration.
–Brought to you by Lights Out Summer, set in 1977, coming Oct. 1.
Source: New York Times

Bloody Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is golden age, but is she cozy or bloody–hard boiled even? Okay, maybe not hard boiled, but according to a WSJ front page article, Christie staged “some of the world’s grimmest homicides” on paper that were then made bloodless for the screen. New TV productions commissioned by her estate bring back bloody Agatha.

The estate has its  motive (in this crime, if you’re a cozy fan). By 2013, it had adapted nearly every Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot detective novel. “We were kind of staring down the barrel of ‘What do we do now?'”  James Prichard, Christie’s great grandson and chairman of the estate, told WSJ.

This should set off some serious debate (hide the knitting needles and kittens) at Malice Domestic.

From the police blotter: Ranting over WiFi

America, as reported on the nation’s police blotters:
“Received a report of a subject on the 400 block of Jersey Avenue on a bicycle ranting on a cell phone. Patrol spoke with subject, who stated they were having WiFi issues.”
North Country This Week, Potsdam, N.Y.

Forty years ago today: 4 Watergate burglars collect settlement from Nixon campaign

Forty years ago today, Four of the men arrested for the break-in at the Watergate agreed to a $200,000 out-of-court settlement to be paid by former President Nixon’s campaign fund. The men, members of the anti-Castro community in Miami, had charged in a suit they were conned into believing the burglary was sanctioned by the CIA or some other government agency.
–Brought to you by LIGHTS OUT SUMMER, set in 1977, coming Oct. 1.

Ursula gets noticed

awizardofearthsea1stedWithin the past two weeks, The New Yorker and The Nation have published long features on Ursula K. Le Guin. They’re following the New York Times back in the summer. One wonders why the house organs of the chattering classes picked now. She’s 87, after all. She’s been published since the early sixties. It may be because the Library of America put out a collection of her work. That’s happened to extremely few living authors. Philip Roth is the only other one alive right now.

The magazines waited this long, I’m sure, because Le Guin’s body of work includes much imaginative fiction (or science fiction and fantasy, if you will). That may be, but The Left Hand of DarknessA Wizard of Earthsea and The Lathe of Heaven are stamped with greatness. They are NOT stamped “literary,” however. Rather they carry the taint of genre. You can even read in the New Yorker’s subhead—”The literary mainstream once relegated her work to the margins. Then she transformed the mainstream”—as an attempt to cover tracks. If she did transform the mainstream, she started doing it waaaaay back in 1968. In our present, I watch as literary fiction continues to swallow itself, searching for, if I understand the purpose of the exercise, the meaning of meaning becoming the meaning. Not the story. Not life lived.

Our grandest publications have finally noticed Ursula in her ninth decade. Her books will be here long after the sum total of all the novels reviewed by the Times and The New Yorker and The Nation this year.