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Books

Volume I, Issue 26
December 1 - December 8, 1997

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Dissecting Danny
Human-rights journalist Danny Schechter's media-bashing book, "The More You Watch, the Less You Know," could turn the author into an outcast or a hero. [2]
Clif Garboden

Once Old, New Again
"New Journalism" is on display in John McPhee's latest book of essays. [3]
Blake de Pastino

L.A. Confidential
Gus Bailey's back in town and Dominick Dunne's back in show biz. [4]
Leonard Gill

Paul Metcalf
Cult poet Paul Metcalf maps new territory as he mines America's past. [5]
Neeli Cherkovski

Making History
Nashville's history preserved on postcards. [6]
Marc Stengel & Christopher Scribner

Thomas Frank
Cultural critic Thomas Frank wonders if the ad-men of the 1960s were hipper than the hippies. [7]
Linda Lowenthal

Deadly Vision
Before he died at the age of 22, Dan Eldon traveled the world and accomplished a great deal. His journals tell an impressive story. [8]
James DiGiovanna

Tainted Pleasures
Nicols Fox's "Spoiled" is a disquieting and utterly convincing exposť of the American way of producing and eating food. [9]
Gregory McNamee

Stephen Duncombe
In his "Notes from the Underground," Stephen Duncombe wonders if you can change a world you don't want to join. [10]
James Surowiecki

A Double Shot of Wry
A visit to the Austin home of crime and science fiction author Neal Barrett, Jr. [11]
Mike Shea

Review: "Bad Eye Blues"
Neal Barrett, Jr.'s latest mystery-crime romp. [12]
Mike Shea

Frontier Feminism
The American West as seen through the eyes of some strong women who can kill their own damn snakes. [13]
Emil Franzi


I











f you think today's journalistic standards are inherently weak, you'll want to read this review of Danny Schecter's new book, "The More You Watch, The Less You Know." Schecter nails modern journalism for implicitly kissing up to the power structures it claims to scrutinize. Unwilling to ruffle feathers, offend sensibilities, or otherwise take risks, today's journalists willingly turn themselves into pawns of political manipulators and P.R. people, says Schecter. He lists television as one of the worst offenders, offering less down-to-earth news and more pablum with each passing minute. (For other perspectives on television, see the Film & TV section.)

I always enjoy reading books like Schechter's: they're spooky, they're thoughtful, and much of the time they're true. Related attitudes can be found in "Irons in the Fire," journalist John McPhee's new collection of essays; and "The Conquest of Cool," Thomas Frank's concerned analysis of how the consumer world manages to co-opt any and all rebellious movements, underground art, or other cultural strains. Rage against the system all you want, says Frank -- it won't prevent you from ending up in a Nike ad.

Reviews of other, less Noam Chomsky-inspired works include:

  • Dominick Dunne's "Another City, Not My Own," a novel in the form of a memoir about the O.J. Simpson trial

  • A selection of experimental fiction and poetry by Paul Metcalf

  • A scary look at the making of modern food, by Nicols Fox

  • Neal Barrett, Jr.'s latest science fiction work, "Bad Eye Blues," as well as an inside look at the author's inspiration

  • The journals of a now-deceased world traveler and artist who packed a full life's worth of experience into his 22 years

  • A book about 'zines by Stephen Duncombe

And that's just for starters.

Enjoy,


Speed Reader
"Chicanismo" by Ignacio M. Garcia; "Angel Wings" by Nicole Conn; "Pretending the Bed is a Raft" by Nanci Kincaid; "Geronimo's Kids" by Robert S. Ove and H. Henrietta Stockel. [14]
Jessica English, Leslie Davis, Nicholle Toth


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