Sunday, November 11, 2007

Today's Reading - 11/11/07

Chalk the week off to my aching back?  It's feeling a lot better now, so let's make this here blog look current, shall we?

Why Norman Mailer Mattered

I can't go into a long eulogy or tribute to Norman Mailer, since I haven't read that much of his work (which touches on something I'd like to write about later in the week), but he's obviously an iconic literary figure, the type of which I don't think we'll ever see again.  Everything I've ever read about Mailer made him out to be a rock star within New York literati circles, in terms of his stature, machismo, and provocative behavior toward his peers and the culture at-large.  It's a cliche that I'm sure would turn Mailer's stomach, but his passing really does signify the end of an era.

TV Writers’ Strike Leaves Jilted Authors Looking for a Bully Pulpit

Most of the media coverage on the Writers Guild of America strike concerns how it will affect the television industry, with late-night talk shows going into immediate reruns and scripted programming only having a handful of episodes left to air.  But this is also affecting another group of writers: those who depend on shows like The Daily Show or The Colbert Report to promote their books.

Industrial Strength in the Motor City

An exciting event for Detroit will be the re-opening of the Detroit Institute of Arts, which has been closed for renovations and expansion since the end of May.  Here's a profile on one of the artists whose work will be exhibited when the museum opens again for the public on November 23.  Julie Mehretu's architecturally-inspired paintings provide an interesting companion piece to the famous Diego Rivera mural.

Leroy “Nicky” Barnes: Godfather or Snitch?

Okay, I'm on kind of a Harlem gangster kick, having seen American Gangster and Mr. Untouchable in the past week.  (Four-sentence movie reviews soon to come.)  Nicky Barnes is a supporting character in Ridley Scott's film, yet depending on what else you see or read, he was the drug lord of 1970s New York City, not Frank Lucas.  This is an interview with the director and producers of the documentary of a new documentary about Barnes.

Little-Bang Theory of Violence: It All Begins With a Toy Gun

I've written before about being the scourge of the townhouse complex I grew up in, running around shooting cap guns from behind fences and trees.  Honestly, I have no idea how I'd react to a little kid doing the same in my neighborhood.  But kids playing with guns obviously carries a far different meaning these days, and apparently, some parents aren't thrilled with a new accessory to the Nintendo Wii that looks a little too much like the real thing in their eyes.  Here's a history of toy guns and the controveries they've stoked.