Category: CULTURE & CRITICISM

Lee Camp interviews the daughter of the great George Carlin

Lee Camp’s comedy, always packed with political message shows that social comedy is serious business and that while making people laugh is good and probably necessay, it is also important to make them think. In that he follows the model presented by the unique (and prematurely departed) iconoclastic George Carlin. This interview with his daughter, following her father’s traditions, should be of interest to anyone who believes morality belongs in all public commentary.

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Russian ‘soft power” is total crap (Anna Sochina)

We often ask ourselves why Russia (and China for that matter) are so lousy at mounting global propaganda campaigns. Granted, the Western empire has more than a century of practice, and over generations has created the most gianormous machinery of mass communications and cultural influence ever seen in history. Not to mention that with a machine spawned by developed capitalism, it was born with the propaganda talent to seduce and deceive sociopathically, it’s in their genes, so to speak, something other nations are not so adept at, at least not with the advanced production values that Hollywood and a huge p.r. industry are able to inject into such exercises. Yet soft power is an art that those who oppose imperialism must try to muster.

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Thomas Wolfe In Asheville: “Surely he had a thing to tell us.”

GAITHER STEWART—William Styron remarked that it would be difficult to exaggerate the effect Wolfe had on youth and especially on those from small-town, southerly backgrounds. Himself from Virginia, Styron said that Wolfe influenced him to become a writer. Perhaps no southern writer expressed Wolfe’s total, all-consuming influence on him more than the young Pat Conroy who admitted that Thomas Wolfe took his boyhood by storm. Wolfe simply transmitted to him his fire. “Ride the trains with Thomas Wolfe in this book [Of Time and the River] and you will never look at trains the same way again,” Conroy writes. His mother, after reading Look Homeward, Angel, urged her son to become “a Southern writer.”

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A Writer’s Last Port of Call: V.S. Naipaul

ED CURTIN—Outwardly at least, the story Naipaul tells in The Enigma of Arrival is impersonal, slow-paced and almost boring in its progression (much like ordinary life). After twenty years in England – “savorless and much of it mean” – having failed in his effort to leave England with its history of colonial exploitation and become “a free man,” his spirit broken and his nerves shattered, he settles in a “cottage of a half-neglected estate, an estate full of reminders of its Edwardian past” on the Salisbury Plain near Stonehenge.

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