Category: Writing

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Reefer Gladness in 2017

Despite copious evidence that we may be currently living in a dystopia typically found in richly imagined novels, a Kingdom of Stupidity ruled by an overgrown baby wearing bespoke suits over his diapers, here’s a an important bulletin: Everything isn’t falling apart. At least here in Los Angeles, California, everything hasn’t fallen apart. Yes, we...

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NEW BOOK: “How the Revolution Started: Essays and Impertinent Thoughts”

I have a new book out, my 11th. Canada’s EggyPress has published a tasty and easily digested collection of my humorous social justice essays. It’s called How the Revolution Started: Essays and Impertinent Thoughts. Revolting times need revolutionary words — and literary reminders that progressive change is not only necessary, it’s imminent. We offer you, dear reader, the...

The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil

We’ve recently re-read a book that seems to be a thinly veiled satire of our current White House administration. The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil is a novella about a not-very-bright demagogue who suddenly develops an insatiable appetite for power. (Heard this one before?) The author is the great George Saunders, one of America’s wittiest...

“Facing the Furies”

America’s Essayist Emeritus, Mr. Lewis Lapham, relinquished his monthly column in Harper’s magazine a couple years ago. Thomas Frank and Walter Kirn have made worthy contributions to the national discourse in his absence, and now Rebecca Solnit takes over the “Easy Chair” space, bringing a solidly progressive viewpoint to bear on the issues of the day. This...

The Kindness of Strangers

The recently published anthology, “The Kindness of Strangers” (Wising Up Press), contains dozens of interesting perspectives on one of humanity’s best (and seemingly rarest) qualities. We’re quite fond of the prose-poem “Take Care of Each Other,” on page 59. But we find ourselves returning to the book’s introductory essay, by co-editor Heather Tosteson, whenever we...

Kasher in the Rye

Onstage, the celebrated stand-up comic Moshe Kasher is self-assured, commanding, and blazing with intelligence. So accomplished (and justly celebrated) is he as a comedian that it’s sometimes hard to reconcile the juvenile delinquent author-narrator of Kasher in the Rye, his 2012 recovery memoir, with the smooth-talking raconteur in performance. Can this really be Kasher’s childhood? Two...

Dying for a Cause: The Termite Squad

We all have  to die some day. Most of us will be completely forgotten not long after we perish, as though we never existed. Even by our families. How often do you discuss your great-great-grandmother? Your great-grandmother? Many of us don’t even know the names of these people, let alone their accomplishments/exploits/passions. Even with the...

The Leak You Weren’t Supposed to Hear About

Comb through Wikileaks carefully enough and you’ll stumble over United States Government documents that make you wonder, “Can this possibly be real?” You realize why the people who run our government want to keep their programs secret: when something is so outlandish that it makes the average citizen think “they’re making this up,” it’s probably easier...

Tenth of December

George Saunders writes stories about regular people who aspire to be better. Better fathers, better husbands, better achievers. They almost never succeed. Their heartbreak, their delusions — this is the crux of Saunders’ work, and although his stories are laugh-out-loud funny, they’re never cruel. He writes about America — about us — with unwavering compassion....

The Biology of Story

Warning: If you’re a literary-minded person, you must handle “Biology of Story” with care. The project, an interactive documentary that explores Story as a living being, is ambitious, enormous, and possibly comprehensive. Once you dip into the oceanic trove of filmed interview segments, it may be several hours (or days) before you emerge from the...