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.

The links below open in a new window. Newer ones are on top.

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.”

The Secret War Between Wikileaks And The Pentagon, (And Some Media Outlets) Analysing the media coverage of the latest WikiLeaks release reveals some interesting insights.

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.

Warrior Nation “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.

Biggest campaign spending day yet Outside groups spent $3.6 million to influence the Colorado Senate race—and that was just last Tuesday alone.

“What the Hell Happened to Randy Quaid?” It’s been a harrowing, downward spiral — and now actor Randy Quaid and his wife, Evi, have hit rock bottom.


If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.