Various and Sundry: Ooh-Shoo Bee Doobee

3 Sep
George Scialabba by Stu Rosner

George Scialabba by Stu Rosner

If you have landed on this sceptered isle serendipitously the name George Scialabba may not mean anything to you but even occasional visitors will know of my great admiration for George (see my recent chat with him)—thus I am happy to pass on the news of George Scialabba day in Cambridge and star-studded attached to that celebration

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Arianna Huffington is right up there with the short-fingered vulgarian who has turned the presidential primary season into a bad reality TV show, as someone who is its easy to dislike. The ever vigilant Jim Romenesko files this item. Veteran journalist Lauren Lipton responds to a query from Huff Post’s research editor;

I have worked my entire career as a professional journalist….I am very, very good at what I do.

Unfortunately, your boss’s predatory business practices have deeply undercut the ability of all reporters, writers and editors to make any kind of living wage. The rapacious Ms. Huffington seems to believe that journalism skills are worth nothing, and that my beleaguered colleagues and I should be thrilled to help her make hundreds of millions of dollars in return for “exposure.”

If Ms. Huffington would like to know how I uncovered that particular statistic, she is free to hire me and pay me for my time and expertise.

Masks of Anarchy by

Masks of Anarchy by

Historian Paul Buhle‘s body of work is impressive. Here he introduces Michael Demson’s Masks of Anarchy: The Story of a Radical Poem from Percy Shelley to the Triangle Factory Fire. providing a useful survey of comic art:

…the first decade of the new millennium has seen more significant developments in comic art than any time since the first comic strips appeared, in the dailies of the 1890s. Now, of course, comics as well as their artists and readers are found all over the globe, both in print and on the Internet. From a visual standpoint, today’s comics are inspired and shaped by a contemporary readership that is not only substantially larger than in the past, but also arguably more aesthetically sophisticated than its predecessors in the “reading” of the comics.

Comics have now become a full-blown field of scholarly inquiry, as numerous scholarly journals and books have vanished in their earlier forms to be replaced by electronic versions, and as comics scholars themselves gain status in the universities. This marks either a fitting irony or a kind of fulfillment of the art form.

The field of comic art, always subject to volatile market conditions and very often to a boom-and-bust pattern, with surges followed by collapse, has advanced so unpredictably that almost nothing seems far in the past….

A People's History of American Empire by Paul Buhle and Howard Zinn

A People’s History of American Empire by Paul Buhle and Howard Zinn

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Keystone Kops— This might be funny but the police killed a dog…

Jez Burrow does some clever shit with the dictionary

Gaza

Gaza

Whatever your geo-political view(s) on the debacle known as Gaza, there must be somethingthat can be done about this

images

How much does the rubber on a MLB pitcher’s mound weigh?

Two Stones [photo: Robert Birnbaum]

Two Stones [photo: Robert Birnbaum]

From Melancholy by Carina del Valle Schorske (found at Wood’s Lot)

Melancholy is a word that has fallen out of favor for describing the condition we now call depression. The fact that our language has changed, without the earlier word disappearing completely, indicates that we are still able to make use of both. Like most synonyms, melancholy and depression are not in fact synonymous, but slips of the tongue in a language we’re still learning. We keep trying to specify our experience of mental suffering, but all our new words constellate instead of consolidate meaning. In the essay collectionUnder the Sign of Saturn, Susan Sontag writes about her intellectual heroes, who all suffer solitude, ill temper, existential distress and creative block. They all breathe black air. According to her diagnostic model, they are all “melancholics.” Sontag doesn’t use the word depression in the company of her role models, but elsewhere she draws what seems like an easy distinction: “Depression is melancholy minus its charms.” But what are the charms of melancholy?

***

Here’s the Associated Press on the coming inhabitability of Gaza and here is Agence France-Presse

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We’re gonna miss these guys

Murder Roger Goodell? A joke?

News is seeping into view ahead of the December release of the film Concussion that perhaps the controversial story line was toned down (to please the NFL?)The film is based on Jeanne Marie Laskas’s book Concussion:

Concussion by Jean Marie Laskas

Concussion by Jean Marie Laskas

…is the of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the pathologist who made one of the most significant medical discoveries of the twenty-first century, a discovery that challenges the existence of America’s favorite sport and puts Omalu in the crosshairs of football’s most powerful corporation: the NFL.

In September of 2002, in a dingy morgue in downtown Pittsburgh, a young forensic neuropathologist named Bennet Omalu picked up a scalpel and made a discovery that would rattle America in ways he never intended. Omalu was new to America, chasing the dream, a deeply spiritual man escaping the wounds of civil war in Nigeria. The body on the slab in front of him belonged to a fifty-year-old named Mike Webster—aka “Iron Mike”—a Hall of Fame center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the greatest to ever play the game. After retiring in 1990, Webster had suffered a dizzyingly steep decline. Toward the end of his life, he was living out of his van, Tasering himself to relieve his chronic pain, and fixing his rotting teeth with Super Glue. How did this happen? Omalu asked himself. How did a young man like Mike Webster end up like this? The search for answers would change Omalu’s life forever and put him in the crosshairs of one of the most powerful corporations in America: the National Football League. What Omalu discovered in Mike Webster’s brain—proof that his mental deterioration was no accident, but a disease, caused by relentless blows to the head, that could affect everyone playing the game—was the one truth the NFL would do anything to keep secret.

Clearly, the controversial subject (only controversial because it pits commerce vs science) of brain damage and football will be thrashed out into the foreseeable future and a good starting point for thinking about it is the Frontline special, League of Denial (from which, by the way, the NFL’s stenographer ESPN withdrew its participation).

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