Archive for the “news” Category
I wrote this as a comment elsewhere, but I think it deserves a spot of its own.
Isn’t one giant issue with the entire substitution that students aren’t going to know Huck used the word if their teachers don’t tell them he did?
Because they’re going to have to do so. Otherwise, Twain’s novel is changed completely. Doesn’t it entirely change the nature of the relationship between Huck and Jim? Doesn’t it entirely change Jim’s character and his motivations?
Do we really trust teachers to prequel every reading of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with that information?
Teacher: “Now class, we’re about to read what was once a very controversial novel, but we’ve made it more appropriate for your reading pleasure.”
Student: “How did you do that?”
Teacher: “We changed a word.”
Student: “Just one? Which one? Did Twain drop the f-bomb? I didn’t realize they had the f-bomb back then.”
Teacher: “No, it’s more egregious than the f-bomb.”
Student: “What’s ‘egregious’ mean?”
Teacher: “Bad. It was worse than the f-bomb.”
Student: “Worse than the f-bomb? What’s worse than the f-bomb? Did he say the c-word?”
Teacher: “Er. What’s the c-word?”
Student: “You know. The c-word. Rhymes with bunt.”
Teacher: “Where did you learn that word?! Er. But no. Not that one.”
Student: “Well which one? What’s the first letter?”
Student: “N? Er. What begins with ‘n’? Nincompoop? That’s not so bad.”
Teacher: “It wasn’t nincompoop.”
Student: “Um. Nutcracker?”
Teacher: “No. It was a word people used to call black people.”
Student: “Oh. You mean ‘nigger’?”
Teacher: “Yes, precisely. That’s what Huck used to call Jim. Now he calls him a ’slave.’”
Student: “But then that whole description of Jim’s having been a ‘free slave’ doesn’t make much sense.”
Teacher: “Well. Perhaps not. But we’ve avoided using a terrible word.”
Student: “‘Nigger’? Well, yeah, it’s awful, but Kanye and Tupac say it all the time. Why not Twain? It’s just his book. He was writing, like, 100 years ago. It was a lot different then, wasn’t it? It’s not like white folks go around dropping the world all willy-nilly now, is it? Honestly, you’ve wasted a lot of valuable time doing something trivial when we could have been discussing race in American in the 1800s and how it’s evolved, both in publishing and in culture, over the past century and a half. Honestly. What are you getting paid for, anyway?”
, Alan Gribben
, Dana Gioia
, mark twain
, New South
, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
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Posted by Will Entrekin in books, internet, Kindle, life, Meets Girl, Movies, music, news, pop culture, publishing, reading, Sparks, technology, writing
Seems like this week is always rather retrospective. Years in review, all that. Lots of sites running “Top Stories of 2010″ posts, as though what wouldn’t have been news again last week suddenly is solely by virtue of when it was news. It’s like the East Coast blizzard froze the whole world, which is stuck hoping for thaw to begin tomorrow.
I thought about doing some best-of posts. The decade-best lists are some of the most popular posts on this site. Yesterday, however, I glanced through a list of movies that came out in 2011 and found precisely two I thought were remarkable: How to Train Your Dragon and The Social Network. The former was a surprise; it had a lot of heart and was a lot of fun, and it managed that rare thing of being a movie aimed at a younger audience that appealed across a wider age range without using irreverent humor and other such innuendo-based means. With Shrek, one of the things that increased its appeal was jokes that kids wouldn’t have gotten; it worked on multiple levels; Dragon, on the other hand, stuck mainly consistent in just trying to tell its story, and I think it was a better movie for it.
The Social Network demonstrates that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Panic Room were flukes from a guy who’s been getting better since the beginning, by which I mean that David Fincher had shown signs of improvement over his career and development as a director in years previous by making movies that were consistently better than the ones before. Se7en was fantastic after Alien3. The Game is underrated, and then there’s Fight Club, and then, just when you think that he’s got a style, signature shots, all that, Zodiac, which was the first time he just turned the camera on and followed the story (which isn’t to say his obvious style didn’t serve his other movies). And now The Social Network the rise and continued rise of Zuckerberg and Facebook, which was, on all levels, fantastic.
I read other movies people were raving about, but didn’t much like them when I sat down to check them out. Inception, in particular . . . just didn’t do it for me. Funny: I remember when The Matrix came out, and all the people who claimed not to “get it,” that it just never made sense to them, all that, and then watching Inception . . . my initial thought was “So it’s The Matrix but with dreams and less action?”
That thought never went away. It eventually became more negative, in fact, but one of my resolutions this year is to be more positive. Exciting is not about negativity, after all.
Other things that were exciting:
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, Dante's Inferno
, Google Nexus S
, How to Train Your Dragon
, Kill the Dead
, Lev Grossman
, Maroon 5
, Meets Girl
, Richard Kadrey
, Sandman Slim
, Sleigh Bells
, The Magicians
, the prodigal hour
, The Social Network
Please, allow me to introduce myself. I hope you guess my name.
If you don’t, it’s Simon Smithson. I’m a co-writer of Mr. Entrekin’s from The Nervous Breakdown.com, the online literary magazine that features authors from around the world. It’s a cool thing.
Will and I met on Myspace, originally, years back. We were part of a writing and editing group called Writers Who Don’t Suck, which, suffice to say, was a fairly ironic name. It was a busy hive of emo kids who wrote bad poetry about being tormented, misunderstood, and just waiting for the vampire who would see the real them, middle-aged sales reps who wrote bad fiction about assassins and snipers (so many assassins and snipers. You have no idea. If the assassin was a woman, it was a given that at some point she would survey her own breasts critically in the mirror), and twenty-somethings with a badly-disguised grudge against an ex or current (and soon-to-be-ex) boyfriend, girlfriend, or lover (and, on one memorable occasion, all three).
There was also, as a saving grace, a core group of writers who cared about literary merit, good editorial practice, and getting better at their craft. They were easy to pick, and Will was one of them. We tended to stick together, and one of the discussions we usually had was about the changing face of the business, and how the very existence of WWDS was something that would have been impossible in earlier times. This whole electronic world was undiscovered country, and the opportunities it yielded for networking, co-authorship, and writing groups were new and exciting.
Fast forward to 2010, and we’ve moved far beyond that. The Kindle and the iPad are grappling for a killer chokehold in the field of e-publishing, people are (once again, as they do every time anything happens in the world ever) predicting the death of the book, and the publishing industry, if reports are to be believed, is staffed entirely by a Keystone Kops-esque cabal of panicky idiots who are running shrieking through the halls of their golden palaces, terrified that Amazon is hiding in the closet and scrambling to steal all the computers before they go out of business forever.
In an era like this… two guys like Will and I can really clean up.
Which is why it’s my pleasure to introduce Sparks, the debut collection of stories by Messrs. Entrekin and Smithson from Exciting Books. Four pieces of short fiction, two apiece, available only on the Amazon Kindle platform, for six weeks only, from December 15, 2010, until January 26, 2011. It’s got a sale price of .99 cents. I think the stories are good, and if I were you and I had a Kindle, I’d pick up a copy.
Oh, and also, we’re going to be doing our damndest to sell 1,111,111 copies.
Why? Because we can.
The game has, officially, changed. Johannes Gutenburg never saw days like this coming; if he did, I would have asked him to write a foreword. These days, the role of the publisher is more dispensable than ever before. Authors can – and do – distribute their work directly to the reading public, because the delivery system has been put in place by Amazon, by iTunes, by this wonderful thing called the Internet. No one’s really sure which way is up at this point, but I believe there will always be a market for good fiction.
I’m also really curious to see if we can.
Our gameplan is this: the first day, we’re hoping to sell one copy. That’s it, that’s all, just one. The first week, ten. The second week, a hundred, and the third week, a thousand.
You can see where we’re going with this.
The stories are diverse in scope; music and travel and love and family are all themes, as is fate and choice and humanity. I’m proud of mine, as I hope Will is of his. What’s next is to see if we’ re right about the market – in this day and age where electronic dissemination has changed how we absorb music, news, TV, and gaming, what’s the next move for literature? Sparks is designed for the Kindle; the pieces are short fiction. Sparks is available only on the Kindle, and nowhere else. It’s the product of two guys who want to see what they can do in a world of exciting new opportunities, and we hope you’ll join us for the ride.
, short stories
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Caught this on Sunday at the Bruceblog. I’m not sure who Bruce is besides an ostensibly democratic voter who supports Obama (warning: lots of McCain derision at the site. Follow at your own risk).
That post in particular, though, refers to something far greater. On Friday afternoon, during Ramadan prayers, someone sprayed a chemical irritant through a window and into a nursery in a mosque in Dayton, Ohio. Bruce got the info, apparently, from this post at the Daily Kos. If you follow their links, though, both links on both blogs seem to point to this page, which notes that the Dayton police have determined there is no evidence the gassing of the mosque was a hate crime. They don’t mention if any other buildings were gassed, though; just the mosque and a 10-year-old girl.
Here’s the problem: that article is dated just yesterday, but both blogs went up over the weekend, on Sunday. One is dated 5 p.m., the other 7 p.m.
So either Bruce and Chris Rodda at Kos are psychic, or something more fishy is going on.
(I wouldn’t be writing about this if it were the former)
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Tags: bruce blog
, chemical warfare
, clarion fund
, clarion group
, daily kos
, dayton daily news
, terrorist attack
7 Comments »
Barack Obama is no longer the “presumptive” Democratic nominee for President of the United States.
He is now the official nominee of the party.
I, for one, will be proud to cast a vote for him.
Dems choose Obama in thunderous acclamation – Yahoo! News.
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I’ve never been a huge fan of Christopher Hitchens, but it’s mostly a divergence of thought and (perceived) personality. I’ve heard myriad stories that he’s not the most gracious of individuals, but then again, they’re just stories, and I’ve only heard them. I’d be interested to meet him. I think I’d have a lot to talk about that because of that divergence of thought; while I agree that there are few worse developments in all of history than organized religion, I just can’t make the leap of faith to atheism.
But that’s beside the point. Because one of the things I like about Hitchens is that he seems to truly believe in and stand behind what he says and writes and thinks. He seems a deeply principled man, certainly more deeply than many of the so-called quote-unquote Christians I’ve encountered.
“Believe Me, It’s Torture,” in which Christopher Hitchens answers the for-some-odd-reason controversial question about whether waterboarding is torture by being waterboarded himself.
Brilliant. Well done, Mr. Hitchens.
(I’ve often said that anyone who says they’re not sure whether waterboarding is torture [or, worse, denies it is] should be themselves waterboarded. You know. Since they’re not sure and so they can figure it out. Only fair, I’ve always thought)
Well worth reading. Both powerful and extraordinarily well written.
, christopher hitchens
, god is not great
, vanity fair
2 Comments »
I’m not quite sure why you actually have to be aware of this story to be able to find it, but it seems to be the case. I was told of it the other day by someone browsing the BBC news site, but on perusing it myself, I can’t find it. I checked all my major news sites, too: the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post and MSNBC.com. Heck, you’d hope one would find it through the New York Times, but no luck there, either. Just to confirm, I ran a search on it yesterday, and this is all I found:
I had to go all the way to Google, in fact, and when I did, I found an Associated Press story the associated press seems to have summarily completely ignored: apparently, whoever owns the World Trade Center proposed completely scrapping plans and deadlines for the construction of the new Freedom Tower because “nearly every project is delayed and over budget and that previous estimates are unrealistic.”
Sad, that. The first project scheduled to be completed–in time for the tenth anniversary of the attacks–was the memorial. Freedom Tower itself, along with the other buildings, weren’t expected to open themselves until 2013.
Larry Silverstein is in charge of building three of the five towers (seems he’s the owner). He’s also the person to whom will be made payments of $300,000 per day for every day the construction of the towers goes beyond deadline. In fairness to him, though the article is not clearly worded, I think he’s also the one proposing scrapping the deadlines in the first place.
It puts me in mind of a paragraph from “What I Saw That Day (September 11th, 2001),” my essay (in my collection) concerning that day those years ago, and how I feel about it now:
I can’t seem to shake this feeling that it’s a bad dream. I can’t help looking at the plans and design for the new Freedom Tower and wonder why we can’t just build the World Trade Center back. Why we can’t recreate those buildings so that, one day, when we talk to our children and tell them about that day, they can look up at us and say, “What’re you talking about, Daddy? You mean those buildings? Right there? They falled down?”
There are days I miss New York, especially lately, but sometimes I wonder if I don’t miss Manhattan during the summer of 2000. It’s different when I go back, and then again, so am I.
(if you want to read my September 11th essay and haven’t yet, you can find it here.)
, associated press
, freedom tower
, new york
, new york times
, September 11th
2 Comments »
Looks like this:
Boy Genius has the full (not to mention: exclusive) report.
Oh, please, T-Mobile, pick up this phone. I am coveting. I am lusting. In LOLcat verbiage, I’m totally doing want right now.
It’s just. So.
, boy genius
, cell phone
, t mobile
A New York State appeals court upheld a ruling that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was negligent in safeguarding the World Trade Center before the 1993 bombing.
In other news, a Los Angeles jury ruled that a driver who was carjacked in Compton was negligent for driving through that neighborhood, and that a rape victim was at fault for wearing nice shoes and “provocative clothing.”
Finally, tonight, a New York State jury ruled that the World Trade Center shouldn’t have been so tall, either, because then those two planes couldn’t have crashed into it.
, los angeles
, new york
, September 11th
, world trade center
2 Comments »
Getting back into the ole’ blogging swing of things, working out kinks as I go.
I’ve decided I’m going to pretty consistently post a note here when I put anything up over at Imagery. There are another couple pictures over there since last I mentioned it here.
Also, a new blog: et cetera. I’m keeping this one as a news-ish sort of blog; links to news, reviews, interviews, and, basically, et cetera will go over there. Two posts to start with; the first with iPhone pictures, and the second collecting all of the Entrekin reviews to date.
I’m going to be working out further kinks as I go. Expect more in the way of links, a better set up, and probably a redesign of the homepage.
Hope you like what I’m doing with the place. If you have any suggestions, or there’s anything in particular you want to see, let me know, and I’ll see about incorporating them.
Tags: et cetera
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