Sunday, November 20, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #35: Think

During my second year of college, my 6 female roommates took to calling me "Switzerland" because, for better or worse, I was horrible at taking sides. In my defense, most of these particular debates swirled around whether I believed X or Y was telling the truth in the Great Cereal Thief situation, but it is true that in many cases, I see things as very gray, not black or white, and sometimes this bugs people because it makes me a horrible debater (but a much better negotiator).

Here, then, are three items that have stirred up my brain recently, inspired me to think about all the many fences out there and all the sides to pick from:

Brain Child - No, I'm not in the target "thinking mother" demographic, but I read this smarty-pants literary and cultural magazine cover to cover. If you're interested in women, controversial concepts of "women's work," parenting & lifestyle issues, kids, or quality writing about compelling world issues that affect more than just moms, check out this publication. Great short stories too.

Nextbook- This "gateway to Jewish literature, culture, & ideas" could serve as a model for other cultural websites - what a wealth of articles, interviews, podcasts, and, especially, book features and lists. I recently read Myla Goldberg's books Wickett's Remedy (and have also been reading a lot of bad reviews of Bee Season, the new movie based on her first book) so I was curious to listen to the recent podcast interview with her. In it, she says she doesn't consider herself a "Jewish writer," choosing to right about Irish Catholics in Boston almost specifically to show that she doesn't just write "Jewish" books. Writers and identity politics are forever entwined (is he a "writer" or a "gay writer"? etc.), so I was interested to hear her take on the subject.

Everything Bad is Good for You - I am very much in the target market here: I'll happily entertain anyone who wants to prove to me that my consumption of reality TV is actually expanding my mental capacity. Steven Johnson believes that video games, modern-day television, internet use, IM, and all those other great things that "society" believes are killing the culture, are actually making us smarter in some capacities. The process of weeding through the increasing complexity of narrative structures in television, the video game experience of probing situations and problem solving...these should not be compared apples-to-apples with reading "good" literature, but should be looked at compared to the more simplistic popular culture of old. When done so, Johnson aims to prove, we can see less good vs. evil, and more of a widening of prospective positive experiences. An interesting read.

1 comment:

UltimateWriter said...

Looks like interesting reading.

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