A Thing Or Three -The Hour, William Zinsser, Board and Baffler #21

29 Nov

BBC America reprises The Hour its smart dramatic series. The new season is set in the late 50’s London, as the BBC experiments with novel news programming,introducing a new “60 minute” like magazine show.There are some familiar faces —Dominic West (The Wire) and Ben Whishaw (Cloud Atlas)and Romola Garai (Atonement).MY favorite is Ann Chancellor who plays Lix Storm as a hard-drinking, hard-ass with a heart-of-gold veteran journalist. The story line moves from the Suez Canal crisis of the first season to urban crime and racial unrest.The first episode airs on November 28.

The Writer Who Stayed by William Zinzer


The Writer who stayed

It is good to see that in addition to hard copy being acessible on the Internet that Internet material makes its way into real, physical, paper books. The American Scholar had featured essayist William Zinsser’s (On Writing Well) ” Zinsser on Friday,” and now Paul Dry Books has published an adaptation in a collection called The Writer Who Stayed. Illuminating a wide array of subject some quotidian, some profound—”Relationships, storytelling, baseball, summer reading, comic strips, Woody Allen” one of my favorites was on working for Tina Brown

Board by Brad Listi and Justin Benton

Webzine The Nervous Breakdown has spawned a number of flesh and blood volumes the most recent is Board,authored by Brad Listi and Justin Benton. It is billed as “an experimental work of nonfiction literary collage, the contents of which are derived entirely from the comment boards at TNB.” It stands to reason why David Shields (How Literature Saved my Life) whose most recent book is Fakes would opine:”Expertly interweaving its leitmotifs—technologly, dreams, sex, food, ‘identity politics,’ death—Board is a book in conversation with itself about a culture at war with itself. A sharp, funny, and unexpectedly moving take on contemporary America in the digital age.”

Here are some excerpts:

I still have this horrible fear of parking lots and parking garages
at night. Those sprawling empty spaces where you scream and no
one’s around to hear it.

My friend Charlie and I were once held up in a parking lot.
I had run the possibility of a mugging through my mind a
million times before. But it went nothing like I had planned.
In my imagination, things turned out in my favor. I over-
powered the gunman, kicked him between the legs, did
something drastic, and survived. Local news cameras
swarmed me as I recounted the event a million times over. A
small victory for me, but a mostly forgettable story for every-
body sitting at home watching. But here’s what actually hap-
pened: I handed the guy my purse and pleaded for my car
keys. I don’t remember what he looked like. And just like
that, he was gone. Needless to say, I didn’t make the news.

I knew a woman who was brutally beaten by her lover in
a storage unit. He stabbed her multiple times and left her
for dead. She clawed through the wall of the unit and
dragged herself all the way across the lot. A night-shift
worker followed her trail of blood and found her. She’s
alive now, thank God, but badly deformed.

Ten years ago, in Florida, a man would hide under
women’s cars and slash their heels as they tried to
unlock their driver-side doors. I can’t shake that im-
age out of my head. In fact, now every time I ap-
proach my locked car the thought of leaping to avoid
a heel-slashing crosses my mind.

A stranger’s face, mere inches from yours, pitch-
black dark, breathing hot, steely breaths, the
knife point pressed to your neck, images of fiery
skeletons dancing feverishly around your freshly
dug grave—you flick on the lights and the
stranger, the skeletons, all of it skitters away, a
mere trick of the brain.

When I was young I thought elephants lived under my bed. Ele-
phants that would trample me if I placed so much as a toe on the
floor. I’d have to take a flying leap into bed every night. Seems
so silly now, but at the time nothing felt more real than this fear.

I, too, used to take flying leaps into bed every night. I was
terrified of the dark, of what lurked under the bed. I had hor-
rible nightmares and chronic night terrors, too.

I used to lie in bed and curse God and Jesus and all the
rest. I’d address him directly, whispering, “Go fuck
yourself, God!” and all that. What I was trying to do was
provoke God to show Himself. I wanted proof He was
there. But nothing ever did happen.

You were one scary little girl.

I was one of the spooky little girls who smeared
lightning bugs all over her shirt like war paint.

Women fear more not because we’re irrational but because we’re
more often the targets.

Of females killed by a firearm, nearly two-thirds are killed
by their intimate partners.

The #1 killer of African American women ages 15—34 is
homicide at the hands of a current or former partner.

A black man is 18 times more likely to be the victim
of murder than a white woman.

I am so enamored of The Baffler that it is one of only three publications to which I subscribe. That is,I think, still called “putting your money where your mouth is. Anyway, the new issue is out and dare I say it is chock-a-block full of things to not only piss off the ruling class and ass kissing-mandarins who support them but tidbits of enlightenment as in The Code by Dubravka Ugrešić which explains the behavior of Yugozone men and Cities of the Night by Belén Fernández (The Imperial Messenger) spotlighting so-called charter cities. Plus there is stuff by John Summers, Thomas Frank, Chris Lehmman and Barbara Eherenreich.

Currently reading Overture by David Slavitt (OP19 Books)

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