Jed Perl on Susan Sontag’s journals: “The fascination of Sontag’s prose—and its sadness—is in the extent to which she is describing herself as a person who can never really get beyond a schematic kind of thinking and feeling.”
Check out this interview with Andi Zeisler, author of We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement. “Capitalism, ultimately, it’s not about equality, it’s not about social justice. It doesn’t care about fixing fundamentally unequal systems that impact humans on an everyday level. Critical thinking is the really important skill, to [ask], does it seem like this is a company or a brand that really cares about women?” Our own Edan Lepucki’s piece on feminist anthems complements the interview nicely.
In his 2001 treatise, Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, Nicholson Baker lamented the wholesale transfer of newspaper archives to microfilm and the subsequent destruction of the originals (A recent essay here at The Millions argued that this is still a big problem). But, according to an article in The Missourian newspaper, microfilm may at least be far more permanent than easily corrupted digital archives. As executive editor Tom Warhover notes: "How about those perfectly preserved newspaper pages that have been digitally fossilized? They're usually stored on hard drives, which can wear out quicker than your grandmother's underwear."
We are now over a week into Amazon's boycott of the indie press e-books distributed under the Independent Publishers Group. IPG is taking a stand against Amazon's hardline negotiations during the retail giant's annual contract review, and 5000 titles are no longer available through the Kindle store. Last week Jim Hanas, author of the digitally and independently published Why They Cried, spoke out against Amazon to champion other e-readers and e-book retailers. The renegotiations are taking place across the industry, though, as Melville House's Dennis Johnson puts it, "major industry figures at the big houses in New York — facing similar cutthroat demands from Amazon for their own annual contracts — remain silent... This isn't over yet."
Look out, Darwin -- Wolfe's coming for you. Tom Wolfe's new book, The Kingdom of Speech, which we reviewed a couple of days ago, takes aim at Charles Darwin and Noam Chomsky: "Like an industrial engineer who also makes bespoke dueling pistols in his shed on the weekends, Mr. Wolfe has made a side career of skirmishing with the eminati (his term) in an array of cultural fields. If fighting enlivens one’s mornings, Mr. Wolfe has had little need of caffeine."
Norris Church Mailer, widow of Norman Mailer, died yesterday at 61 following a long battle with cancer. Mark Olshaker, president of the Norman Mailer Society, wrote: "She was the pilgrim soul who captured and won Norman’s heart and mind and who shared with him the last three decades of his life."