Tag Archives: America

Why Read Books in Translation

“Sure, I’d dabbled in some Kafka and Garcia Marquez, but those were acclaimed writers who’d, deservedly, long been translated to English and had earned their proper due. Bolaño was my introduction, or perhaps initiation, to the canon of international literature. Naturally, I came to wonder: What else have I not been exposed to?”

“Do other Americans ask themselves similar questions when stumbling upon the work of gifted international writers? Or are the majority of us content with being fascinated by our own nation’s mythology? These questions are worthy of our pondering. In my case, it was an issue of broadening a somewhat narrow worldview. And literature from countries outside of my own, from Chile and France and Japan and Russia, began the work of providing a more holistic education­—one concerned with making sense of the entire world, not just a small portion.”

“It’s simple, really. If we’re only paying mind to the storytellers of our own country, we’re robbing ourselves blind of something rich and meaningful.”

From: prospect.org/article/why-reading-globally-matters

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“Reading is not necessary”

From the Conservative corner:

“Last week from another quarter came what may be the final solution to the schools’ reading problems. According to Dr. Juanita Chambers, Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta, reading isn’t even necessary.”

“As technology advances, Dr. Chambers says, people can get along very well without reading. If you are just digesting information, you don’t need to read. After all, that’s what television, radio, and tape recorders are for. “Perhaps literacy is not the only form of education,” she says. “It could be something that will be eventually left to scholars.””

“What is ever so much more important than reading books, in her view, is learning how to “read people.” ”

“High-priced, incandescent nonsense has its effect. Today a sizeable segment of the American population has regressed to the Pre-Phoenician stage. According to a study recently released by the National Science Foundation, over 25% of Americans are Pre -Copernican, believing that the sun goes around the earth, less than half 48%, are aware that humans evolved from early species, 42% believe that astrology is either “very scientific” or “sort of scientific,” in sharp contrast to a study in China where 92 per cent of people there believe horoscopes are unscientific.”

Read More: http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2014/03/14/forty-years-plus-of-confusion-complacence-and-incompetence-in-albert-schools/

Writers in a Surveillance State

Writers are ducking their calling in Surveillance State Amerika:

“A new report from the PEN Center and the FDR Group entitled “Chilling Effects: NSA Surveillance Drives U.S. Writers to Self-Censor” finds that 85 percent of surveyed writers are worried about government surveillance of Americans, and nearly three-quarters (73 percent) “have never been as worried about privacy rights and freedom of the press as they are today.”

“Sixteen percent of writers have avoided writing or speaking about certain topics due to threatening privacy concerns, and an additional 11 percent have seriously considered such avoidance.”

“Nearly a quarter of the writers surveyed (24 percent) reported deliberately avoiding certain topics in phone or email conversations, and an additional 9 percent have seriously considered such action. A small portion of respondents said they had even declined opportunities to meet with people deemed “security threats by the government” because of privacy fears.”

From: washington.cbslocal.com

Read the report: http://www.google.com/gwt/x?wsc=bf&u=http://www.pen.org/sites/default/files/Chilling%2520Effects_PEN%2520American.pdf&ei=zxCEUq2HF4PSwAKGpYDIBQ

Dumbing down literature

“From Reader’s Digest to Cliff’s Notes to No Fear Shakespeare, simplified novels have infiltrated American society over generations. They seem innocent enough, flaunting an “easy to read” nature meant to appeal to those less versed in complex literature and language. However, while these watered down novels may be convenient for the busy, story-oriented adult reader, they are hardly appropriate for a class focused on critical reading. They’re a skewed kind of censorship that removes students from the benefits of difficult, close reading and dumbs down the English classroom.

Words are taken out that set the entire mood of the piece; phrases that define the moment and add depth to the author’s style are taken out. Removing these aspects eliminates the experience of analyzing the author’s intent and figuring out why that phrase or scene was deemed necessary.”

From: http://tigernewspaper.com/wordpress/2013/03/14/the-dangers-of-watering-down-literature/

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
A new Pope. A new Church. A new world:


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The Dirty “S” Word

The dirty S word is back, and gaining popularity. Young Americans (ages 18 -29) are growing disillusioned with the capitalist system post 2008 crash, and look more favorably upon… socialism. The ideas put forward by Karl Marx are back in mainstream. Listen to podcast: http://www.cbc.ca/thesundayedition/shows/2013/02/24/is-marxism-facing-a-rebirth/

The survey by Pew Research indicates shift in perception on social policies, despite decades long propaganda war of vilification:

“powerful and wealthy private interests and special interest groups have taken almost full control of most democracies, their money and influence increasingly dictating the political and social agendas for these nations, agendas beneficial to them alone.

All democratic governments to some extent, but again primarily the US, have essentially abandoned their responsibility as “managers” of their nations and societies, have lost the thread of “management for the people”, and instead have relegated their nations to a condition of “management for the benefit of private interests”. …

The management of these nations for the benefit of special interest groups has become so embedded that ‘socialism’, which is nothing more than a concern for the overall welfare of the nation and its people, has become a dirty word.

As evidence, most Americans are energetically, and sometimes almost violently, opposed to socialism though few appear to have any understanding of the term’s actual meaning.

Socialism – caring about the people of a nation and about their welfare, is equated in the American mind to a hateful dictatorship with no rights or freedoms – in fact, to the precise opposite of the term’s real meaning. Such is the power of propaganda.” From: http://www.spyghana.com/democracy-and-income-inequality-america-the-worlds-richest-banana-republic/

Stop arguing, start reading

We can’t get along because “People who belong to different communities —with different ideas, experiences, and values— will hold different standards of reason.” However, reading has the power to unite us:

“The political divide in America can be seen as a geographical problem: Red and Blue Americans disagree deeply … when you don’t share experiences with someone — when you lack a common perspective — it’s easy to think of their opinions as arbitrary and wrong. …

Reading fiction has the power to change it…

“To create a more inclusive society you need to expand community boundaries; you can’t use reason to expand those boundaries because reason itself is parochial; fiction, however, has the power to cross communities and make strangers intelligible to each other; and once a community has been enlarged, it becomes possible for the members of the expanded community to practice politics together using shared standards of reason.

The power that Rorty ascribed to fiction led him to conclude that the novel is “the characteristic genre of democracy.”

And indeed, if there’s an opening in the literary fiction market right now, it might be for a novel that translates across the partisan gap.

That may seem like a lot to ask of a story, but Rorty, who admired Uncle Tom’s Cabin, would have said that fiction has moved bigger mountains before.”

More: http://mobile.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/brainiac/2013/01/the_political_d

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Coming soon:


http://www.SpyWriter.com

Too fat to fight

“At the intersection of fat-shaming and war-mongering comes a bizarre public health campaign: an effort by retired generals and admirals to ban sugary sodas and snacks from public schools. The kids today, say the former brass, are too fat to fight for their country.
Welcome to the sum of all libertarian fears: a Nanny State that packs an M4 rifle.

Those officers, part of a group called “Mission: Readiness,” argue in a new report called “Still Too Fat to Fight” that unhealthy snacks, particularly in schools, endanger national security. “No other major country’s military forces face the challenges of weight gain confronting America’s armed forces ,” they fret.

“It’s clear to us that our military readiness could be put in jeopardy given the fact that nearly 75 percent of young Americans are unable to serve in uniform,” write two former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff…”

More: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/09/too-fat-for-war/

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America reads

“Poverty in no way stops anyone from being literate. You can see that in the immigrants who work they way up the ladder by reading books. Remember that author Ray Bradbury was too poor to go to college. So he sat most of the day in the public library and read as many books as time permitted.

And other authors in the literary world did the same. It doesn’t take a lot of money to create a world of literacy in your environment. Literacy is an enriching experience as far as life and experience because it opens doors and inspires imagination.”

Here are some of the most/least literate cities in America:

“The nation’s capital has scored top literacy honors for the second year in a row, ranking No. 1 as the “most literate” city in America. But when it comes to literacy, not many people in Congress read all those laws from first to last page, because many prefer action novels based on factual possibilities, it has been said.

New York city is not the most literate in spite of the publishing industry centered in NYC for decades. For example, if you want to meet writers and see ads for writers from agents and publishers, there are associations and societies in New York City with so many literary contacts regarding publishers, that New York has become a hub for publishers and writers to connect.

San Francisco has numerous book clubs made up of both authors and readers. And San Francisco is listed pretty high on the list of literacy as number 6, compared to Sacramento, a two-hour Amtrak train ride east, as Sacramento was listed low on the scale of literacy at 45. Who reads more Sacramentans or San Francisco residents? Observe the difference in numbers. Is it being near the ocean that helps people relax over books, newspapers, or magazines?”

More: http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/11385961-usa-cities-ranked-as-the-most-and-least-literate

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America, the House of Mirrors

“In this house of mirrors where endless war has made guilt and innocence or even facts irrelevant, the U.S. has left the realm of science and empiricism and entered a realm more mystical than real. It is a realm where ideology dictates plans and programs and not logic and empirical evidence.  It is a realm where ideology dictates who dies and who lives and is populated by men and women who can neither be understood nor reasoned with outside the confines of their own internal and hermetically sealed logic. 

From its inception during World War II, America’s military/intelligence apparatus has acted more as a subculture of America’s ruling elite than a bureaucracy dedicated to the nation’s security. It was said of America’s first spy agency the OSS that its initials stood for Oh-So-Social because of its abundant staffing with New York’s high society blue bloods. Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks even titled their 1974 book on their life in the CIA and Foreign Service as The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence. 

But over the last forty years and especially since the events of 9/11, that “Cult,” and its sister organizations in the military/intelligence community have emerged from behind the curtain to become a ubiquitous and forbidding presence.

In effect, 1974’s American “Cult” of intelligence has grown to become in 2011 the dominant American “Cult-ure.” But what that culture really is and where it’s leading us remains a frightening proposition that each and every American needs to understand.”

Continue: http://m.officialwire.com/main.php?action=posted_news&rid=306786

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