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Don’t Talk About Politics


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 →

Southern Fried Scribes is Almost There! Help a Couple of Idealists Help a Bunch of Kids!

categories: Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics

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Jennifer and Matt by Jennifer and Matt

 

The Final Countdown

 

It all ends begins in just under 72 hours.  It is almost all we have known for the past 6 weeks—our Kickstarter campaign for Southern Fried Scribes—and we are both sad and relieved to see it come to an end.  After chains of shameless mass emails, cold calls, door-to-door solicitations, and early morning meetings where Jess’s eyes were still far too big and much too sleepy to answer questions about budget and funding allocation, our campaign is closing. Yes, there are just under 72 hours left and we are so close to reaching our goal. We have raised $4,485 of our $5,000 goal as of April 29th. That’s 89%! We have until May 2nd to reach $5,000. That’s three days! Continue reading →

Push Polling in Maine, and no doubt Elsewhere. Beware.

categories: Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics

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Oh, I’ve just been subject to a political scam on the phone—the legendary push poll, this one a pleasant lady telling me that she works for a national firm called Davis Industries.  I asked her directly who they were working for and she said directly: no one, neither democrat nor republican.  I knew it wasn’t true but said okay.  The first ten minutes are fun and innocuous and make you feel you’re taking part in a real poll: which candidate is more favorable, who will you vote for, etc.  But then the bullshit starts:  “I’m going to read you some facts about each candidate and ask if these facts make you more or less likely to vote for the candidate.”  And it’s like, “Did you know [both candidates you’ve expressed interest in] are for health care in Maine that will cut x billions out of Medicare coverage?”  No, I didn’t know it because it’s not true.  And then more nonsense, none of it true.  I said I couldn’t answer because the statement wasn’t true.  So she plugged on, and finally I said, Okay, I know this is a push poll now, and I know you’ve lied to me to get me to answer this many questions, and so I’m hanging up.”  Bang.  I don’t know why it makes me so mad.  Something about the psychological space their script gives them access to, and knowing that they succeed, often enough.  The method is to put disinformation into the pollee’s head as if the disinformation were the pollee’s own thought.  “If you knew [your candidate] has cooked and eaten babies his whole life, would that change your opinion of him?” Continue reading →

Eleven Bumper Stickers You Aren’t Likely to See, Election 2012

categories: Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics

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Guess My Political Views

Okay, a fair and balanced selection of bumper stickers I’d like to see this election cycle:

  1. Voting Romney?  Are You Rich or Stupid?
  2. Medicare: Don’t Touch My Socialism
  3. Pay Your Fucking Taxes, MobilExxon!
  4. Mormon is Fine, Moron is Not!
  5. Proud to be a Gay Romney Supporter! Continue reading →

A Night at the Movies: “The Island President”

categories: Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics / Getting Outside / Movies

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President Mohamed "Anni" Nasheed

President Mohamed "Anni" Nasheed

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Another trip over to Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville, Maine, to see Jon Shenk’s The Island President, a brand-new documentary featuring the incredibly charming and very courageous (and sadly now former, after threats of violence and a coup d’etat) president of the Maldives, a 400-mile chain of 2000 inexpressibly beautiful (as the film shows) islands off the southwestern tip of India.  The movie, though, is sad: the Maldives are in imminent danger of sinking under rising sea levels as global warming proceeds unchecked.  The happy part is that a man like Anni Continue reading →

Letter to my Representative by Lia Purpura

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We are very proud to have Lia Purpura join us as our guest poster.  She is the author of seven books of essays, poems and translations.  Check out her latest book, Rough Likeness, which prompted Philip Lopate to say:  “Lia Purpura is at the forefront of the New Essay, and this latest book (her best) takes us much closer into the rough terrain of her quirky mind than she has ever gone before. The surprises and insights keep coming.”

Take it away, Lia:

Letter to My Representative: An Essay

Dear Representative,

Letters are so rare these days, and I believe we are sorely missing what they allow – a chance to feel oneself the sole subject of another’s attention.

Here’s the scene I’ve wanted to tell someone like you about for three years now. I had just finished watching Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth” in a church fellowship hall in Iowa City. It was well advertised and the room was full – students, professors, artist, writers, townspeople of all ages had gathered on this snowy evening. Continue reading →

Chester Greenwood Day: Our Parade

categories: Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics

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Broadway and Main

The first Saturday of December may be a lot of things a lot of places, but here in Farmington, Maine, it’s Chester Greenwood Day, and we have a parade.  It’s not quite the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade (which I wrote about last week), maybe two blocks worth, but it’ll do!

Chester Greenwood invented the earmuff, among other things, and almost anyone in town can tell you how it happened: he loved to skate as a young teen, 1873, but his ears got cold. He wrapped his woolen scarf around his head, but that was too itchy and uncomfortable, so he got his grandmother to sew circles of beaver pelt on a metal frame he’d fashioned, and (as a French-challenged college student of mine once wrote): wallah! Continue reading →

Big Wind

categories: Cocktail Hour / Don't Talk About Politics / Getting Outside

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Some of the Towers on Kibby Ridge

I’m writing this column and you’re reading it on a computer powered by coal smoldering somewhere.  There may be some diesel fuel thrown in, and some waterpower, and no doubt a little biomass, a spot of nuclear, a few turns of wind.  But it’s only been ten years or so that my writing required any power at all beyond breakfast—I went from a Hermes portable typer straight to an old MS-DOS PC by Zenith, enormous learning curve, hours of study, all those arcane pathways, nothing I need to know anymore, six generations of computers later. Continue reading →