What We Talk About When We Talk About ACORN

What We Talk About When We Talk About ACORN

What We Talk About When We Talk About ACORN


Wrapup: Our Think Again column is called “Falling for the Far Right’sACORN Agenda” and deals with the manner in which the MSM got rolled byright wing re-working vis-a-vis ACORN. You can find it here.My Nation column this week is called “The House that Irving Built.”

Alter-reviews: Raymond Carver, Thorton Wilder and Big Star.My friends at the Library of America have finally gotten around toRaymond Carver and collected all his stories in, you guessed it,Collected Stories, edited by William L. Stull and Maureen P. Carroll

Based on previous collections such as Will You Please Be Quiet,Please?, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,Cathedral and Where I’m Calling From, Carver established himself as theshort story writer of his moment. That they are all in one place wouldbe reason enough to want this on your shelf–even, if as I do, you havethe paperback somewhere. LOA decided to offer up the pre-Gordon Lishversion of Beginners, the manuscript of What We Talk About When We TalkAbout Love and it’s revelatory in the extensiveness of the collaborationbetween writer and editor–one that was a source of both inspiration andanguish to Carver, whom I met once, and struck me as a really decent,albeit sad, man. LOA has also published a bunch of novels and stories byThornton Wilder: The Cabala * The Bridge of San Luis Rey * The Woman ofAndros * Heaven’s My Destination * The Ides of March * Stories andEssays, which were edited by J. D. McClatchy. Most of us know Wilder forhis plays (which LOA has also published). These are, therefore, awonderful surprise, and a perfect example of why we need a LOA, lestthey be lost to us if publishing depended purely on profit. Thevolume concludes with a selection of early short stories–among them”Precautions Inutiles,” published here for the first time–and aselection of essays that offers Wilder’s insights into the works ofStein and Joyce, as well as a lecture on letter writers that bears onboth The Bridge of San Luis Rey and The Ides of March.

Big Star box reviewed by Sal.

Keep An Eye On The Sky, Rhino’s new and wonderful four-CD tribute to cultheroes Big Star, might just be a little too much, but the music itselfplays so smoothly one may not notice the repetition. The band led byAlex Chilton and Chris Bell with Jody Stephens and Andy Hummel areMemphis legends, the quintessential power pop band whose influence canbe heard all over records by Cheap Trick, R.E.M., The Replacements, ThePosies and so many more. With only 2 records under their belt, 1972’s”#1 Record” and 1974’s “Radio City,” Big Star managed to secure apermanent place in the annals of A-list rock and roll.

Over four CDs we hear the best of these two records, as well as demos,alternates, tracks from the equally fantastic Chris Bell solo record, “IAm The Cosmos,” and live material culled from 3 separate 1973performances. Songs appear 2, 3 and even 4 times, if you count earlyversions with different titles. Many of the alternates are not thatalternate, but the material is so strong, you don’t really notice havingjust listened to the same tracks just minutes before. The differencesare subtle, and if “Back Of A Car” wasn’t my favorite Big Star song, Imay not have noticed that the version included here isn’t the mastertake, but an alternate mix, with the most subtle difference in leadvocals and one extra “doo doo doo” over the bridge.

Both the demos and live tracks sound excellent, so you may not even feelcompelled to use your remote, due to some inferior sounding recordingsthat so often throw a speed bumb into sets like this. This one ispretty great, through and through.

Eric adds: And the packaging is solid and informative, though in a sizethat won’t fit easily among the rest of your cds.


This week on Moyers (who is on vacation):

With a leaked memo, delayed decisions and calls for more troops inAfghanistan, there’s a growing public demand to know what directionPresident Obama has in mind for the war-torn country. Journal guesthost Lynn Sherr sits down with Rory Stewart, who shares his vision for asustainable policy that could benefit both the United States andAfghanistan, which he has called “the graveyard of predictions.” RoryStewart is director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy atHarvard University. In 2003 he was appointed as the CoalitionProvisional Authority deputy governor of two provinces in Southern Iraqand in 2005, he moved to Afghanistan where he founded the TurquoiseMountain Foundation, an NGO dedicated to Afghan traditional crafts andthe regeneration of the historic commercial center of Kabul. Then,Sherr talks with Kavita Ramdas, president and CEO of Global Fund forWomen, on women’s human rights initiatives around the world.

The Mail:

Name: Michael Green
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

I read Navasky’s letter and the two responses, and I realize thatwhen Barack Obama says he wants an intelligent discussion of theissues, he has enough trouble getting it from those with at leastsome degree of intelligence. How can we then expect it from peoplewho think Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh offer the revealed word? AnneAppelbaum and Martin Peretz couldn’t win a pre-school debate, muchless one with the eternally brilliant and penny-pinching (bless you,Calvin Trillin) Mr. Navasky.

Since I’m in the history biz, I think, well, the rhetoric andreporting were bad when Lincoln and Douglas were debating slavery.That Douglas clearly lied about Lincoln can be easily proved; howmuch Lincoln lied in that contest is far more debatable. But evenwhen they were demagougic, at least they were more literate thanthis crowd.

Name: Karl W.
Hometown: Connecticut


As a lifelong Nutmegger, I can’t count the number of times someonethought the “trump card” in a racism discussion was telling me that Iwas “too young, suburban and Northern” to have a real-world opinionon the subject. (The patting of my head was understood to be virtual,not actual.)

The unspoken argument was that I’m too educated, liberal, andunmugged to have experienced their “real world”. Yet my opinions areclosely mirrored by a octogenarian who was raised in the agronomic,Jim Crow South and had to win at least some of their votes to becomeGovernor, and then President.

Fancy that. And go, Jimmy, go

Name: Jim Celer
Hometown Omaha

Great news! David Brooks saw white people buying stuff from blackpeople, without calling the black people names or injuring them.Therefore, no criticism of Obama is racist.

I am so relieved!

Glad also that he pointed out that, in contract to the “mostly white”tea baggers, the participants in the Black Family Reunion were”mostly black”.

Name: Ed Tracey
Hometown Lebanon, New Hampshire

Professor, it would appear that the Hatfields and McCoys had nothingon the feuding Dassler brothers–who split-up a successfulsportswear business sixty years ago to form the rival Adidas & Pumacompanies (in post-war Bavaria).

Well, this past Monday the CEO’s of the two (now quite international)firms decided it was time to end the feud. And they did so (a) insupport of the organization Peace One Day and (b) by organizing asoccer match on that organization’s annual Peace Day of non-violence.But not featuring Adidas vs. Puma – instead, with teams made of ofplayers from both firms, symbolizing the end of the feud.


Name: Burl Stubblefield
Hometown: Whitesboro TX

Georgia is drying out from severe flooding, 9 or more people are dead and Governor Sonny Perdue say’s the state is broke and can’t pay to rebuild. Would his asking for federal disaster funds by chance constitute Socialism? Hope those conservative Georgia folks stand fast and reject those funds. People should be able to take care of themselves right?

Name: Karen Paolini
Hometown: Oakland

Tim Kane’s post, ‘Old White and Angry’ rang a HUGE bell in my head.My 84 year old mother-in-law, a former Kennedy liberal, now swearsthat Obama is running a ‘shadow’ government whose mission is tosubvert the constitution. When my father-in-law was alive (he passedaway 10 years ago), he would always call her on her nonsense, but nowshe gives free rein to the crazy. At the same time, she’s showingother signs of dementia – saying unkind things to her children,mostly about politics, being less careful about hygiene, etc. Andyes, huge doses of Fox news all the time

Thanks, Tim, for the wake-up call.

Name: Charles Hinton
Hometown: 32937

Tim Kane has a nice theory that the old are angry because they have been suckered in by the lies and distortions of Fox news. As a man who grew old in the business of serving older people, I can tell you it is a common event for people suffering from dementia to change from sweet to angry. As you deteriorate you begin to lose all those qualities that made you human, and that can be hard to accept by a person still able to reason.

Name: Gary Amstutz
Hometown: Lake Isabella, CA

We have a little blue grass band here that also plays Beatles tunes.Everytime we get one nailed down I go back to the recording and amamazed at how much more there is to learn and play. Those guys werereally good.

Name: Scott Sackett
Hometown: Springdale, Arkansas

Frank Lynch Hometown: Really Not Worth Archiving – “Hi Eric, withFriday the 18th being Samuel Johnson’s Tricentennial…..”

Tercentenary is the word – New Jersey had one while I was a kidliving there.

Name: Pat Healy

Re: Beatles! (yay!) and Beck (not so much)

I enjoyed Sal’s comments, and agreed with them to the extent I could.(Alas, ’tis not in my budget to pop for the stereo AND mono boxes,and my heart will always gravitate towards the former, not to mentionthat it was tres cheaper.) However, to my ears, one big factor in theimproved sound that Sal omitted was the lack of compression.

Prior to this year, the main attempts* to present Beatles music in aremastered form were “The Beatles #1s” compilation and the “Yellow Submarine Songtrack” (which included all of the songs used in themovie, unlike the original soundtrack.) Both presented cleaneroverall sound, but the amount of compression used barely let themusic breathe.

This years models, stereo at least, provide a massive amount of spaceto let the sound stretch out. In addition to the overall cleanersound of the tracks, the sonic distance between the instruments,vocals, and effects is beautiful to behold. And that’s just in theversions reduced to iPod size; I can’t wait to spend some time athome with the CDs, the stereo, and my good headphones.

*The soundtrack to Cirque du Soleil’s “LOVE” is excluded from thispoint, since it’s virtually impossible to compare those deconstructedversions of the Fabs’ output to the canonical versions. However, evenif it’s not all you need, “LOVE” is brilliant, particularly in themulti-channel DVD mix.

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