Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dustin L. Nelson: "I am Robin Gunningham" on Guernica









My writer/editor partner-in-crime Dustin wrote a cool little article about the artist Banksy, so I put it up on Guernica.

Check it out here>>>

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

John McCain's Disingenuous Years

The other day I was discussing my thoughts about John McCain (as I find myself doing often these days) with someone who is still on the fence and who has obviously been affected by the smear tactics used by Republicans against Barack Obama (read a fantastic short piece about this matter from Robert Reich that recently went up on Guernica). This person is one of the many who doesn't necessarily vote Republican or Democrat; he believes that neither party--or anyone in politics for that matter--has his best interest in mind. He groups them all together as one lump of disingenuous, to use his word, assholes. I can't necessarily disagree with that sentiment. I do think there is a tremendous amount of self-interest in any political endeavor. And this won't ever drastically change while we are under a strictly two-party system. There are just too many political moves one must make when adhering to a certain dogma, to which a number of other people have hitched their wagons. That being said, on this point I argued that in this particular election we at least have an option who is drastically different than any other in recent memory. I do not need to give Barack Obama's life story here, since he has done so already in a book and many others have given shortened versions elsewhere. But I don't think it's a stretch to say that that story is radically different than the upbringing--and in some cases it's more like breeding--of many of our current politicians. He is not a Clinton, a Kennedy, or a Bush (Full disclosure: I will count myself among the camp that now considers John McCain a third Bush). I told my discussion partner that if he actually wanted to cast a vote in November for someone different than what he has seen, then there is really only one choice. (To this person's credit, in my eyes anyway, he does put his money where his mouth is, so to speak, having voted for both Ross Perot and Jesse Ventura. An attempt anyway to jettison the two-party system.)

But this whole discussion isn't why I am writing this. What I have been pondering lately more than how Obama is different than those who have come before is just how far John McCain has come to being exactly the same, or worse, than those who have come before. What sparked my interest most in this discussion I was having was my discussion partner's statement that at least John McCain was "genuine," to which I replied, "I may have said the same thing eight years ago." Now, eight years ago I was a junior in college and maybe more worried about a creative writing class, the lacrosse club, and which party I was going to attend on a Friday night than about the senator from Arizona. That is to say, my political interests didn't get fully piqued until the nominees for both parties were already in place, so I wasn't fully aware of all the skullduggery that led to G.W. being awarded that nomination. But it does seem to me that at least back then John McCain stood for something. Even if what he stood for wouldn't always have fallen in line with my beliefs, he seemed to stand behind his own thoughts and opinions. His indictments of Bush in those days were scathing, to no political gain. But these last years have been nothing but a political ploy on the AZ Senator's part. Once McCain knew he could not beat Bush he started, slowly at first and now full steam ahead, to put his ducks in a row for this very moment, for the chance to be President of the United States. Beliefs be damned, the man only wants one thing. That title is his only desire, and apparently his only reason for anything he does right now. I see no other way to explain how someone who was courted by the Democrats four years ago to jump ship and run as Vice President with John Kerry could fall so in line with the Right's agenda, other than, as Robert Reich puts it, the ends justify the means. What I have seen from John McCain over the last eight years does not strike me as actions I would attribute to a "genuine" person.

Crossposted at Guernica

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Election '08: Take Nothing for Granted

An important message/reminder from MoveOn.org. Let's not assume anything.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Few Recommendations

Just a quick list of books I've recently finished that I would recommend to all of you:

Senselessness by Horacio Castellanos Moya. This is a paranoid freak fest. The guy doesn't care for periods too much, which adds to the main character's (often) seemingly delusional state. And while this stylistic choice is good for the voice of the story telling, it can wear on you as you near the end. However, the last few lines make it all worthwhile.

Superpowers by David J. Schwartz. The way in which David Schwartz uses the events of 9/11 in this book are, to me, stunning. A lesser writer could have easily, in a book that stars five superheroes, sensationalized and exploited those events for the purpose of his story. The way Schwartz writes about it makes the characters all the more real.

The Man in the Blizzard by Bart Schneider. Read this one in the next couple of weeks because it is set in the Twin Cities in the months leading up to the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul. The private eye is a pothead and the St. Paul Police detective quotes poetry throughout.

Next on the list is Drama City by George Pelecanos, who also wrote for The Wire, and Graceland by Chris Abani, an author whom I've never read, but saw reading his poetry twice last summer in New York. One of the times he played the sax, too. This guy was locked up for his first novel, which he wrote at the age of 16 (I should check that, but I think it's right). He probably should be more widely read, which is why I'm going to start reading him.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Tom Waits is Cooler Than You



And this is for me to listen to later. You should listen to it now.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New Post Up at Guernica

I have a new post up over at Guernica. Actually it's an introduction for a new blogger we have over there. She writes about the effectiveness of literature on politics, which is a topic I've brought up on this blog before. Here's my intro with a link to the rest:

If you click on the Guernica History link in the side bar you'll get the story behind this magazine. It began as a meeting place between arts and politics and to this day continues to focus on that crossroads. There is the Picasso painting of the same name invoking a brutal and unnecessary massacre in an historic Basque city during the Spanish Civil War, which, maybe as well as anything, captures the synchronicity of arts and politics.

The magazine also grew out of a poetry and fiction reading series that took place at a bar called Guernica.

The essence of this magazine is therefore cradled in the arms of arts and politics, and the magazine itself nurtures the notion that art and literature can have an immediate and lasting effect on the political sphere. Likewise, our current political state ("our current" meaning everyone, at any present moment) is reflected in the dialogue artists and writers attempt to have through their work.

Today on Guernica's blog we welcome a new voice that comes with a grand challenge for us--one that, if risen to, would surely have a positive effect on our current state. Here Jennifer Nix calls for a resurgence of a Gilded Age where Henry James, Mark Twain, William Thackeray and Joseph Conrad, among others, ran short stories and serialized novels in newspapers, offering the public an alternative to the world they saw in front of them. An alternative that, though written on the page, was every bit as real as their own.

How does literature do this? "Great literature creates a level of empathy for other people's lives," Jennifer writes, "with all its emotional, intellectual and philosophical complexities, in a way that no polemic or journalism, memoir or blogging can do."

Edward Abbey once wrote to Annie Dillard that he thought a novel could change the world, he just wasn't sure how long it would take. So he constantly called for people to take action in the present. Yet he could not keep himself from writing novels. Jennifer, like many of us over these last few years, has questioned whether literature can really do anything to change what we've seen in the Bush years. This is not new. Ed Abbey had to ask himself the same question in order to come to his conclusion. The key, as Jennifer points out here, is this: There is no need to choose between the two. A great novel will open a reader's mind, forcing her to see the world anew, and, seeing anew, she will react differently to the world. That is why we need literature to permeate the political scene. To allow for that "level of empathy for other people's lives." To make it so the "reality makers" don't overshadow the "reality interpreters" and show us only the reality they want us to see.

How best to do this? Jennifer has an idea of how to bring about a new Gilded Age.

As always, thanks for reading.

- David Doody


Click here for the rest of this post.

Irony Goes the Way of the Dodo

In a shocking report released today by the Social Science Institute Dr. J.W. Bullenger claims that Irony is dead and has been replaced by Earnestness.

"It seems that more and more people are choosing to actually consider issues of the day," claimed Dr. Bullenger in an interview with the New York Times. "Rather than just make snide remarks about those issues, it seems that some people may actually care. Some for the first time ever."

While many question the findings or, as is the case at at least one web site--imhipandyourenot.blogspot.com, call Dr. Bullenger's study biased, many more seem to agree with the findings.

One man wearing small, black-rimmed glasses, a haircut with bangs that hung over one eyebrow, and a cardigan, stopped in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis said, "Yeah, Irony is SOOO dead." The man then took a call on his iPhone.

Most agree that the death of Irony has come as a direct result of one man: Barack Obama.










Picture: Barack Obama apparently caring about something.


Jill Sarsay, a marketing consultant, claims she used to love Irony and used it daily to brush people aside and show an overall apathy towards the world. No longer, though.

"It's like I just want to be all, 'Yeah, I REALLY think that's cool,' and make some douche bag feel like an idiot for thinking his shit's cool when really it sucks," said Ms. Sarsay. "But, I just feel bitchy now when I talk to people like that. Instead of feeling superior I feel, like, the opposite."

As many across the country welcome the change from Irony to Earnestness, others are not so thrilled.










Picture: Bill O'Reilly: "Barack Obama is a murderer."

Bill O'Reilly of the Fox News network exclaimed on his show tonight, "Barack Obama is a killer. He's killed Irony! Plain and simple, the man is a murderer. First he wants to seduce young, white girls, and now he thinks he can go around killing! Irony is as American as apple pie, and I for one won't stand by as Mr. Barack Hussein Obama marches his rock-star personality all over the grave of something as American as Apple Pie."

Attempts to reach the Obama camp have thus far been unsuccessful. Likewise, messages left for Alanis Morissette were not answered.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Secret Identity of The Artist Behind the Controversial New Yorker Cover














Peter Sieve, or Peter de Seve, makes a lemon levitate.


Press Release from I Watch So You Don't Have To
July 28, 2008
Will the Real Peter Sieve Please Stand Up?

It has been brought to my attention that the cartoonist responsible for the controversial New Yorker cover depicting lobsters escaping certain doom (see last post) may be none other than Peter Sieve, lead guitarist of the Minneapolis-based Chris Koza band. Though the name attributed to the cartoon is Peter de Seve, many sources tell me that the hands behind such melodious tunes as "Adjust" and the soon-to-be classic "Straight to Video" are also the hands behind the soon-to-be infamous cartoon.

When reached for comment, Mr. Sieve had this to say:

"Listen, yo, Chris writes the songs that make the whole world sing. I just try to kick in some nice licks behind them. I have no alter-cartoonist-ego. I haven't drawn since I was a kid."

At least one fan's story would lead one to believe otherwise. According to Stacey Jorghanson of Souix City, South Dakota the lobster now tatooed on her right breast was originally drawn there with a Sharpie marker by Mr. Sieve after he performed with Mr. Koza and the rest of the band at Hogs Wild, a local saloon and music venue in Soiux City.

Ms. Jorghanson:

"I just fell in love with him on stage. He had this long, flowing hair and these super cool black glasses. He was so, you know, sophisticated. Not like these idiots I usually hang around with."

Ms. Jorghanson said that after the show she and Mr. Sieve "drank like 20 Captain Cokes" and she told him to sign her "wherever he wanted to." At which time Mr. Sieve apparently drew a lobster in lieu of signing his name on the 21-year-old's right breast. Ms. Jorghanson had the drawing turned into a tattoo the following day.

The tattoo bears a striking resemblance to the lobsters on the latest cover of The New Yorker.

Mr. Sieve denies ever having met Ms. Jorghanson. Though, when asked about the night in question, Chris Koza told me that although he could not say whether or not Mr. Sieve and Ms. Jorghanson were in one another's company after the Souix Falls show, it would not be the first time Mr. Sieve has autographed a female fan's chest.
















Peter Sieve (right) and Chris Koza


Brought to you by I Watch So You Don't Have To, a media watch dog, hounding the mainstream media to get it Right since 2002.

-See previous post for backstory on this post-

About Me

David Luke Doody is a freelance writer and editor. He is a founding editor of InDigest Magazine (www.indigestmag.com), an online literary magazine and the blog editor for Guernica Magazine (www.guernicamag.com). His writing and interviews have appeared in those magazines as well as in The Huffington Post, mnartists.org, The Minnesota Twins Yearbook, and Intentionally Urban Magazine, among others.

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