Friday, September 30, 2011

CAAH

Clemson University's College of Architecture, Arts, and Humanities had the peculiar misfortune to find The Duffler Occupying its website this month. If we get a chance to interview Cyrus, we'll try to find out why he left his tiny apartment to live in the public domain.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

we who are

In the We Who Are About To Breed series at We Who Are About To Die, Patrick Wensick was kind enough to include a special segment on We Who Are About To Grade Too Many Undergraduate Blogs and Essays. Thanks for the interview!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

NYTimes "Gunning" for Protestors?

Like a well trained dog, I exceed my reading limit early each month, but I'm still able to pass on that the New York Times has Occupy Wall Street front and center on the Sunday morning website, and that they include links to three stories.

The main headline reads, "Protesters Are Gunning for Wall Street with Faulty Aim."

To me, it's unfortunate that peaceful protestors would be described in a "legitimate" news source as "gunning." And, alas, the first sentence is a dig at the ignorance of these peaceful young people:

"Demonstrators on Wall Street this week seemed to lack hard knowledge of the system they were fighting."

In fact, if they do lack this "hard knowledge" it could be due to how the system's statistics continually mask reality, whether we're talking about rates for unemployment, inflation, or pay for college grads. It's only in the last few years that we've seen more establishment journalism include information on discouraged workers or workforce participation rates.

Harper's Magazine in the Index ran the statistic that 85 percent of 2011 college grads returned to live at home after commencement, and any teacher in America who has ever reported this statistic or something similar  to his or her students is greeted by expressions of shock and disbelief. That statistic certainly doesn't mean that these young people remain at home for the rest of their adult lives, but it also doesn't account for the millions of other adult Americans living with their parents due to economic necessity.

So, perhaps, if it is true that these young people lack hard facts, perhaps it is also their sources--educators, journalists, parents, and others--who might take some responsibility for that? And perhaps the journalist who "broke" the story for The New York Times could also, by at least some criteria, be counted as among those who lacks "hard knowledge"? Or, perhaps, she is at least expert enough to know where her salary comes from?

There was also a nice Mom from Queens on the Occupy Wall Street livefeed just now who sent her love to the viewer who asked if she could be his Mom. And then, she sent her love to all of us. And blew kisses.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

first thought, best thought

I've been reading about Allen Ginsberg's "first thought, best thought" ideas, which seem particularly suitable or relevant to contemporary studies of blogging--perhaps much more so than studies of poetry. In fact, according to American Scream, an easy to read book primarily about "Howl," Ginsberg's most famous poem was rigorously edited despite Jack Kerouac's insistence that Allen cut and revise as little as possible. In fact, at the time, it became apparent that "first thought, best thought" was much more Jack's idea than Allen's. This somewhat adds to the sad irony of Ginsberg living a full, marketed life that culminates with a decade's worth of professoring at Brooklyn College while Kerouac dies relatively young, relatively drunk, and of course, more or less living on his relative's (as in Mom's) couch and dime.

As to how "first thought, best thought" relates to this blog, I did in fact just revise a recent entry to make myself appear less cynical and perhaps more generous. (Yes, a kind soul who was only partly obsessed with how low his meager stock holdings would decline during the current revolution in Liberty Park--that is how posterity and the present should know L.U.S.K. Oh, how I wish I were one of those grain-fed affluent liberal-to-lefters who remains completely unaware for an entire lifetime that his or her retirement has primarily been secured by ample holdings of and dividends from Big Oil, Fat Retail, Large Car, Long Bomb, Private Money, Warren Insurance, Dessert Buffet, etc.) I'm sure this impulse to revise relates to the fact that this is a public blog, and so there is also the possibility that the usual censors--from peers to authorities to parents to potential employers could chance upon it, and consider whether or not it opines in an appropriate manner, treating each topic with the dignity it deserves.

Anyway, I also noticed I didn't revise out in the earlier entry the "And" at the start of four consecutive paragraphs.

OK. I'll post now and then come back to this later!

Friday, September 23, 2011

if you build it,

people will come?

It seems plausible.

Saturday in New York City, they are expecting 10,000 people:

http://www.adbusters.org/blogs/adbusters-blog/occupywallstreet-saturday.html

I know this is the Kudera kiss-of-death, for me to predict anything at all, but it has become apparent that this movement could be successful at having its "one demand" met.

But what will the one demand be?

No clue.

news worth ignoring?

I still haven't found a business news article that connects the first week of Occupy Wall Street to our worst week for stocks since 2008. Have you?

PS--we can't afford to only sell Will Bunch's books

PSC CUNY showed up to express solidarity with the protestors at Occupy Wall Street, and at least for a moment I felt a solidarity with the cause-in-itself and almost a euphoria. (I should note that the "one demand" remains undemanded, so it's difficult to know what I am feeling almost in solidarity with.) But Thursday around 9:30 p.m., the presence of teachers on the ground at Liberty Park seemed to offer the whole business a legitimacy, even a way of seeing beyond the usual register, and hoping for better times, even fairer times.

And although young people entering their adult years at a time of high unemployment and terrible worker-participation rates (according to The Fiscal Times, only 55 percent of Americans 16 to 29 are in the workforce at all) were still being dragged off to jail for touching trees, violating boundaries and such, the CUNY teachers helped me move past the cynical notions that this overtly commodified reality TV version of anticapitalist protest could be merely a non-profit's attempt to gain mediashare, a vehicle for Keith Olbermann Studies, or a way for Will Bunch to sell his book. Which of course brought me back to the Less United States of Kudera's original raison d'etre, which was to publish and sell my own. (Note to any young or old, anti or procapitalists reading this blog: although it certainly seems played out, blogging will be part of your expected path to publication, so it could be wise to begin now.)

And so I thought then it would be a shameless omission if I did not once more burden you with new and old views of my own materials: Fight for Your Long Day and The Betrayal of Times of Peace and Prosperity. They are of course both packaged and priced for the aforementioned 16 to 29 demographic, and with contents particularly suitable to the 45 percent without work. And with that in mind, here are the 28 libraries where a copy can be lent to you.

And I should also note that when I went back to adbusters.org to copy the link, I believe I saw an ad for vodka ("Genocide and Juice," but when I google, I learn that it is a rap album released by The Coup in 1994), but then also, the livefeed was down but a Democracy Now video segment seemed to offer a clip of an interview with the protestor who was last seen being dragged on the cement and shouting that he needed his inhaler while other scared protestors asked him to say his last name. Well, pardon me if in fact this is not the same protestor, but he looked clean and safe and outside the police precinct and safely expressing his views about "freedom to assembly," America, and such. And now the livefeed reads, "Let's Chill - Live Feeds Back ~ 7AM," and they are playing older video of a kind, young, harmonica-and-guitar-Bob-Dylan-cover protestor. Not the worst I've heard.

And now, it sounds like the loud young people who woke me up at 2:30 a.m. are retreating to their own livefeeds and other indoor activities, and so it could be the optimal time to return to bed.

Or do I shout out the window and quiz them on their workforce-participation rate?

Goodnight.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

but a bunch of what exactly, Will?

Will Bunch, blogging for The Philadelphia Daily News, does believe in a Big Media Brownout of the Wall Street Protests:

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/Big-medias-shameful-blackout-on-the-Wall-Street-protests.html

It could indeed be the case, but Will Bunch even acknowledges that there has been some Big Media Coverage:

"That's not to say there hasn't been some level of news coverage -- including from the newsrooms of the New York Times. The Times has published three blog posts about the protests, although they were not easy to find on the web site (here and here-- you had to navigate well below the layer of Ray's Pizza) and the Washington Post has also published blog posts (here and here) and even photo essays, which is good way of saying "look at these crazy and colorful kids" without addressing the actual issues. I've noticed that a lot of the American coverage that I found through Google News was in the form of online photo essays. Look, I'm somebody with one foot in the blogging world and the other foot still planted in the mentality of the old-fashioned newsroom, and I can tell you that sometimes buried blog posts and photo essays are a way to say you "covered" something without, you know, actually covering it, not in a way that counts."

(Please see the Will Bunch blog for the links.)

Fair enough, but I'm working on another theory, not necessarily a competing one, but one that could also make sense to Big Media. Well, here goes: the larger media entities are merely good media capitalists, and possibly even thoughtful people (I know!), and, perhaps, they are thinking, "Hey, Adbusters is going to pay for advertising if that's partly what this is about." They've probably seen the ads for Red Bull that play during the livestream of the protests at adbusters.org, and they've probably seen that protestors who don't share in the ad revenue are getting arrested, and they've probably thought through these things a bit and in fact are somewhat genuinely apprehensive about running a lot of stories about such a commodified protest.

Or, Big Media will just do anything to capture and grow their own young audience while fending off a smaller player like Adbusters?

Or, they haven't thought much about it at all because hundreds of protestors just aren't such a Big Story for Big Media?

Or, as Will Bunch notes, they have looked out the skyscraper window--and they're scared?

Sigh and move on, I suppose, but in closing, I'll note that at least one law firm is offering pro bono services to help process arrested protestors through the legal system.

I'm not sure if that's the moral equivalent of giving away the cigarettes for free.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

wall street protest?

According to Alisson Kilkenny's blog at The Nation:

Outcry erupted yesterday when it became apparent that Yahoo was censoring e-mails that contained references to the Occupy Wall Street protest. A sender would receive a message that there was “suspicious activity” detected on their account when they tried to send a message relating to the event. Yahoo later responded, saying the culprit was an overzealous spam filter.

But yahoo.com later apologized and said its spam filters had encountered a "false positive."

Is a "false positive" the same as censorship? I'd think not, but then again, how would I ever be able to know if this is The Nation's overzealous use of the word "censoring" or legitimate and somewhat intriguing news?

The "Wall Street protest" caught my attention this morning when I saw four different people had shared news about it on facebook, and one person shamed The New York Times for not covering the story.

And yet, The New York Times is covering the story.

And then, back at you know where after work, it appears a dozen people in equal measure are commenting on the potential for execution in Georgia (temporary stay as best I understand it) and the break up of R.E.M.

I'm in no position to add it all up at present, but this "dissident journalism"--written by a young man with $200,000's worth of undergraduate education (read "NYU") insists, "The point is, we are sick and tired of being ruled by a shadowy and exclusive group of oligarchs." And that the protest's goal is democracy and even "consensus." But he looks like a nice kid from Yeshiva high school who considers himself a student of Melville and Shakespeare. Which, of course, seems nice from this less united perspective. And innocent?

Could the young journalist be among the 60% of American undergrads with a median student loan debt of 23K? Is he a young writer with no job, living on cold floorboards, with a forged passport, in a Manhattan apartment?

Am I living in a different America? Or is everyone living in an individual one with occasional big and little overlaps here and there?

You say you feel fragmented?

Diffuse?

Of late night fame?

OK.

Goodnight.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

the latest from amazon

Although I haven't bought a book from amazon in almost two months, I'm one of the shoppers guilty of being lured by discounts and ignoring book community pleas to support Indy bookstores. This got my attention though:

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/employees-faced-brutal-working-conditions-amazon-warehouse-135842747.html

We'll see how it plays out, but it's the kind of thing that one could almost assume to be true. Not once have I heard of an Indy bookstore employee complaining of heat exhaustion or brutal working conditions.

Have you?

And, of course, it was never my experience at the brick and mortar bookstores, including a Borders, that I worked in years ago.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

the latest from Atticus Books

Lacey N. Dunham has joined Atticus Books, the red hot lover of Atticus Review, an on the prowl, or at least online, literary journal presently experiencing a lot of eyeball action (read "page views"). With reporters on the ground in an ever increasing number of nations and business concerns, The Less United States of Kudera was able to penetrate deep into the bandwidth for top-secret communiques, and extract this snippet from Atticus Publisher Dan Cafaro:

"Lacey is a former bookseller with Politics & Prose Bookstore & Coffeehouse in Washington, DC, and the editor of the online literary publication, THIS Literary Magazine. For Politics & Prose, Lacey performed an assortment of duties and was their go-to person for social media and online book groups. Lacey has written for Ploughshares, The Collagist, The Washington Spark, and The Feminist Review, among others, and is a columnist at the Used Furniture Review. She studied writing at Hollins University [in Virginia]."

Atticus also placed a rack of its titles at Novel Places in Clarksburg, Maryland, and rumor has it that the young pub might be the first press in history to offer a million-dollar book contract to an imaginary friend.

Monday, September 12, 2011

borders finale

I'll confess that when I saw the headline, I found myself getting awfully sentimental, sad even, although compared to half the other big stories, it's not a matter of death and life. But Ann Arbor, I'm sure, will never be the same.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Funny Man

John Warner's The Funny Man arrives soon to an amazon warehouse near you, so I thought I'd claim the possibility that I'm sort of the Al Gore of John Warner Studies although I haven't yet sent a white paper to my department chair in hopes of making a minor out of it. But, possibly, I was the first one in the history of the internet to interview him although there's certainly a great chance that isn't true. (But I'd rather write that and keep it than try googling his name.) Anyway, he made the mistake of responding to some questions about Frederick Exley last winter break, and, well, actually, I thought he gave some swell answers.

Good luck, John. Good luck, book!