Wednesday, May 13, 2009

No accounting for taste + no laughing matter

I have a friend, a young comrade in the struggle for socialism, who is simply brilliant. He is I believe likely to be one of the key leaders in this country's revolution when it comes. He's got a keen grasp of Marxist theory and a sharp grip on Leninist tactics. He is a person of integrity and courage as well as a fine speaker and writer. In addition to his full-time activism he writes fiction (and was once briefly enrolled in an MFA program), so I feel a kinship with him on creative grounds as well as political camaraderie.

Get the picture? Now add this: he is a huge fan of the zombie genre. In fact, he asserts that virtually any movie, especially serious classics, could be improved by adding zombies. Is this a riot, or what? Who says communists don't have senses of humor, or, perhaps more to the point, quirks of taste all over the map?

I'm hoping his view on the cinema arts extends to books. Yesterday I made another bookstore run and bought him a little gift. That's right, what else but the runaway bestseller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. I can't stop laughing at this from the back cover:
Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read.
About the authors:
Jane Austen is the author of Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Mansfield Park, and other masterpieces of English literature. Seth Grahame-Smith once took a class in English literature.
Oh man oh man, I can't wait to give it to him.

This, on the other hand, is no laughing matter. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is trying to push through 22% budget cuts for the city's three public library systems. This stinking billionaire who bought his way into two terms in office, then strong-armed a change in the law so that he can run for a third and is now spending tens of millions of dollars buying another four years, has the nerve to demand that the workers and poor shoulder the burden of paying for his Wall Street buddies' thievery by enduring enormous cuts in services along with city employee layoffs. These include jobs of librarians, clerks and other library staffers, and drastic reductions in hours. Hours that are already ridiculously skimpy.

I love my neighborhood Queens library branch. It's physically tiny yet it has a pretty decent fiction selection. The second floor is filled with books in Spanish, Korean and Chinese. It's always jam-packed with people, especially lots and lots of kids.

As for hours, the weekday schedule is so tight that it's almost impossible for me to ever get there. For most of my years in the neighborhood it had no weekend hours, then finally a few years back it started opening for part of Saturday. Now this looks to go the way of the $2 transit fare. And oy, don't get me started on that outrage.