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Showing posts from January, 2013

first they quit?

It is of course absurd, unfair, and unoriginal to describe any recent shenanigans in American higher education to anything related to Nazi Germany, but Paul Fain's piece in Inside Higher Ed reminded me of this poem from my childhood.

Martin Niemöller: "First they came for the Socialists..."

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.

They've already come for so many different kinds of "nonessential" workers on many different campuses, from adjunct instructors to garbage collectors to a guy I knew whose job with a college degree was to do all the laundry for another school's men's basketball team (20K, no benefits), and, thus, it's not at all surprising that onl…

philly's fergie

Jason Fagone'srecent story about Fergie Carey in Philadelphia Magazine caught my eye, and reminded me of my own adventures in and around his pub.

Almost all of my early stories were written in Philly, the city of brotherly beer. At Doobie's at 22nd and Lombard, I'd sit and scrawl, and I probably looked like a lunatic if anyone noticed at all. Later, maybe the next day, I'd type my stories on an old Apple IIc computer. I stared at its nine-inch monochrome green screen from the mid-eighties until the late nineties, when a dirt-cheap computer deal, with an agreement to purchase a few years of internet connectivity, finally freed me from old-machine captivity.

Back to the early nineties, at some point Fergie's Pub opened up and that became another place to go drinking and writing, writing and talking, and more writing. I was in these bars a lot, Tangier Cafe and McGlinchey's, too, but wouldn't say I was too much of a drinker. The food menu at Fergie's was p…

working and older working writers

Over at, this American life befits the times, or at least the headlines.

In a way, it reminds me of this, possibly paraphrased, Paul Auster quotation about his father:

"work was the country he lived in, and he was his greatest patriot."

Of course, Auster's quotation implies that his father may have believed in work, or even worshipped it, and in his memoir "Portrait of an Invisible Man" we read about an older father clinging to his work, its habits (he quotes Beckett, too, on habit as "the great deadener"), and what seemed to be his entire life even as his real estate holdings were slowly decaying, depreciating, and disappearing.

And in other news, of other writers, America's greatest comic critic of our "Puritan work ethic," Thomas Pynchon, has another novel coming out. It will be interesting to see if The Bleeding Edge is another late long one, a la Mason & Dixon and Against the Day; more or less standard-novel size, a la …