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Don’t Talk About Politics


Lundgren’s Lounge: “The Brothers: The Road To An American Tragedy,” by Masha Gessen

categories: Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics / Guest Columns / Reading Under the Influence

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gessen book

The universal response to the Boston Marathon bombings was revulsion, horror and incomprehension. The media’s talking heads incessantly characterized the Tsarnev brothers as Islamic terrorists/jihadists. In her account of the circumstances leading up to and the emotional aftermath of the bombing, journalist Masha Gessen offers up a more thoughtful and nuanced perspective on the causes of the tragedy and its broader implications in, The Brothers: The Road To An American Tragedy.   Continue reading →

Guy at the Bar: Vince Passaro on Post-Racial Life

categories: Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics / Guest Columns

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It now seems undeniable to me that we have been living in a 50 year semi-coordinated backlash against the civil rights movement. There is no other way to explain how the conditions of economic and political life of African-Americans gets worse, while “racism” putatively wears away, and we become (laughs here) post-racial. I remember my working class white relations (largely but not entirely the males), furious throughout my childhood at the claims of African-Americans, the demands for equality. I remember the combined total of votes for Richard Nixon and George Wallace in 1968: 60 percent — even McGovern did better than Humphrey did that year, only four years after Lyndon Johnson’s landslide. Continue reading →

Gessner Receives Four-Post Suspension for “Boothgate”

categories: Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics

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kenyon review

The explosive photograph

The National Bloggers League today handed down a four-post suspension for David Gessner, Captain of the world-champion blog Bill and Dave’s Cocktail Hour.  Fans were left wailing and enemies gloating. “I feed off their hatred,” said Mr. Gessner in a rare comprehensible moment. He was suspended in part for his brazen capture of the Kenyon Review table at AWP 2015 in Minneapolis, but also for his comments afterwards.  “I never denied it,” he says.  And, “I have the utmost respect for the Ken Doll Review.”  His partner in crime, head coach Bill “Billychek” Roorbach, who arrived on the scene late but in time for shots of contraband whiskey, received a lighter penalty–he must sit with Dave in the writing shack during the suspension–without alcohol. “Harsh, that’s what I call it,” says Roorbach, the best writer in America and beyond (rated slightly better than Dave in most polls).  “…And besides, I was napping during the alleged piratical behavior.”  As a final measure, the NBL will crash Bill and Dave’s four times in the 2015-2016 season, always just as Dave’s and Bill’s books have the usual big news to share.  And no more AWP. Continue reading →

Great Advice Thursday: Don’t be a Dummy. Get Health Insurance Now.

categories: Bad Advice / Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics

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March 31 Deadline to sign up for this year.  If your application is in progress by that date, you will be included!

Self-employed folks, adjunct profs, artists, musicians, under-insured, catastrophic coverage drones, uninsured friends: take notice: I just jettisoned my catastrophic coverage ($15,000 deductible PER PERSON per year at $684 a month, 3 people, criminal), in favor of a far more generous policy ($4000 deductible for all 3!), with out-of-pockets caps, etc.). I was under the impression from quick looks at the Health.gov site earlier and invidious rumors that I’d be paying more, but with the under-heralded automatic tax credit for families making under, like, 94K, the new amount here is $419 a month. I could have gone $10,000 deductible for $129 a month!). Thank you Obamacare. And fuck you Fox News and half our governors and every Republican in Congress for all the disinformation. It’s still not single-payer, but it’s something! The health insurance marketplace works, it’s far cheaper for all of us (lies aside), and it’s going to save my ass. No doubt surprises loom, but after five years of paying a great deal for NOTHING (but denials of service), I’m pretty happy, and can’t believe I waited even this long. Deadline for this year is March 31, get on it.

Here’s the link for the Health Insurance Marketplace.  I’d suggest using the site, which any 12 year old should be able to understand, as brokers just add expense.  You’ll find bronze policies, which are cheap and basic, silver, gold, and maybe platinum.  Remember that health insurance is not the same as healthcare, and you get nowhere comparing your healthcare expenses for a year with projected premiums.  What you are getting is production against financial disaster if you fall sick, get in an accident, etc.  But most of all, don’t fall for the bullshit.

I put this call to action in a public post on Facebook last week, and what follows is the passionate and sometimes hilarious public dicussion that ensued.  Feel free to join in here or there.  Continue reading →

India: You’re Criminal if Gay (by Leila Seth)

categories: Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics

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Leila Seth

The following article, by Leila Seth appeared in The Times of Indiaon January 26. It had the title “A Mother and a Judge Speaks Out on Section 377.” And then in the New York Review of Books, 3/20/2014.

My name is Leila Seth. I am eighty-three years old. I have been in a long and happy marriage of more than sixty years with my husband Premo, and am the mother of three children. The eldest, Vikram, is a writer. The second, Shantum, is a Buddhist teacher. The third, Aradhana, is an artist and filmmaker. I love them all. My husband and I have brought them up with the values we were brought up with—honesty, courage, and sympathy for others. We know that they are hardworking and affectionate people who are trying to do some good in the world. Continue reading →

Seven Things You and Facebook Don’t Know About Me

categories: Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics

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I was given the number 7, so here we go, seven things you don’t know about me:

  1. I smoke crack with a blow torch.
  2. I dated Maine governor Paul LePage when he was still mayor of Waterville.  He is actually very funny and cried a lot in the night because of his plans to ruin our state, but he couldn’t help it, it’s a condition.  62% of our friends hated him.  38% were hiding in bomb shelters of their own design, pretty cool, all kinds of surplus stuff they got at Marden’s, like canned figs. Continue reading →

Writing from Inside: “Urk,” by Kim S.

categories: Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics

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If you think the human comedy disappears on the other side of the barbed wire, think again. Kim wrote this pieced in our “Meet the Authors” class and read it as part of a presentation the ladies put on for their fellow inmates. This one–rated PG-13–brought the house down.  There are few things more heartening than a roomful of people laughing their heads off, especially when the laughers include inmates and guards alike.  Note: “CO” stands for corrections officer, or prison guard. [MW]

 

URK! by Kim S.

I’d been living in Segregation for six months, and because I was suicidal, they wouldn’t give me a razor. Six months is a long time: I was so hairy I could have braided the hair. Continue reading →

A Couple of Writers who Teach Talk About the Common Core and the Fate of the Essay

categories: Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics / Reading Under the Influence

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Sonya Huber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ioanna Opidee

 

 

Sonya Huber and Ioanna Opidee have been meeting for over a year to plot and draft b\ook chapters and essays about teaching the essay—to little kids! to teenagers! to everyone!–and we sat down to try to sum up what we’re doing and how you can help. Our conversations themselves often feel like meandering, experimental essays, so we decided to record ourselves talking, to try to capture the chaos and share it with you today . . . Continue reading →