Today on the list: How did outside groups manage to spend $3.6 million on one Colorado race in one day? And what the hell happened to Randy Quaid? Plus: The future of books, music and your democracy.
On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.
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Do writers need paper?
As the sales of e-books finally start to soar, what effect will this digital revolution have on publishers, readers and writers? Will the novel as we know it survive?
The art of selling
There’s not much to say about body wash really. It smells nice, it cleans you, and unlike soap, hairs won’t stick to it. End of story, you might think. But throw in a handsome guy in a towel, a kitsch ’80s action hero aesthetic, some priceless lines and the giddy reach of the internet and the narrative possibilities are legion.
The web is the new art-house cinema
“You used to be big,” says William Holden’s Joe Gillis to Gloria Swanson’s Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. “I am big,” she replies. “It’s the pictures that got small.”
Jamming neoclassical economics
Students at the University of California-Berkeley have launched the first salvo in an international movement to challenge neoclassical economics. They printed the Kick It Over Manifesto on bright pink paper and pinned it to the door of Daniel McFadden, a Nobel Prize winner in economics, and to bulletin boards throughout the department.
The World Liberal Opportunists Made
The lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, which looks set to make sweeping gains in the midterm elections, is the direct result of a collapse of liberalism. It is the product of bankrupt liberal institutions, including the press, the church, universities, labor unions, the arts and the Democratic Party. The legitimate rage being expressed by disenfranchised workers toward the college-educated liberal elite, who abetted or did nothing to halt the corporate assault on the poor and the working class of the last 30 years, is not misplaced. The liberal class is guilty. The liberal class, which continues to speak in the prim and obsolete language of policies and issues, refused to act. It failed to defend traditional liberal values during the long night of corporate assault in exchange for its position of privilege and comfort in the corporate state. The virulent right-wing backlash we now experience is an expression of the liberal class’ flagrant betrayal of the citizenry.
“Endless War” is how The New York Times headlined its review of the Boston University historian Andrew J. Bacevich’s new book, Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War. It’s a headline that will work just as well if the Times decides to review Reasons to Kill: Why Americans Choose War by Richard E. Rubenstein, a professor of conflict resolution at George Mason University. In fact, either Bacevich or Rubenstein could accurately have chosen “Endless War” as his own book’s title.