Thursday, November 5, 2009

I'm-a-pitiful-excuse-for-a-blogger links

I'm sorry that I haven't had the time or wherewithal for substantive blogging of late. I hope that'll change soon. The question of big vs. small bookstores is still on my mind and I'll post a thought or two about it as soon as I can. In the meantime all I can offer is more links, starting with one that has some tangential connection to this very topic. I was interested and surprised to come across this piece on big vs. small farms at Slate. The writer, Tracie McMillan, comes down on the side of agribusiness because, in her view, life is better for the workers on a mega-farm than those on a small farm. Now, by my read there's lots wrong with her analysis, lots and lots and lots. (Hint: Agribusiness is still the villain. And the better deal for workers is not about what the bosses can afford so much as it's about how the workers can organize.) But I'm pretty sure she's right about which jobs offer the potential for better pay, benefits, hours and working conditions. There's a similar dynamic to bookstore work, I think. More on this soon.

People are pissed off at Publisher's Weekly, which reviewed all the 2009 books written by men and picked the best 10. Only when PW put out the list, it for some reason called them simply the best 10 books of the year, not, as would be more accurate, their favorites by men, mostly white, writing in English etc etc. Now Women in Letters and Literary Arts, that Facebook grouping that established itself earlier this year, has responded by setting up a Wiki page called The Willa List, and calling on people to enter their own choices for best books of 2009 written by women. The list is already pretty long, showing that the PW folks had plenty to choose from had they cared to consider writers who belong to the majority of the human race.

Which just too too perfectly leads to this, the Guardian's latest digested read.
"Have you ever slept with a man," he asked.
"Not for more than 20 years," Pegeen replied. "But there's something about your arthritic body I find irresistible."
Here's a piece dissenting from the standard version promulgated about Roberto BolaƱo in this country.
... he was never a subversive or a revolutionary wrapped up in political movements ... . From the beginning of the 1970s he was a non-conformist against the Mexican literary establishment ... With that same non-conformist mentality, and not with any political militancy, he went to Allende's Chile.
Shocking! (Not.) The pigs got the first shots against the NAFTA flu.

Finally, while the capitalist class and all those whose minds are befogged by its ideology celebrate the 20th anniversary of the demise of the European workers' states, this 92nd anniversary of the great Russian Revolution must be noted.
The imperialists promised that the post-Soviet era would be one of peace and prosperity. ... What a joke. With the downfall of the bloc of countries that had broken with capitalism, the full irrationality of the capitalist system is revealed in all its nakedness. The higher the technology, the greater the misery of the masses. The more goods produced, the more unemployment. The closer humanity comes to being able to feed, house and clothe itself, with plenty left over for culture, education and recreation, the further away these things become for most of the world's people.