Wednesday, November 04, 2009

While preparing dinner last night (eggs with spinach, garlic, some pumpkin gnocchi that I got from Rainbow grocery) I listened to Karen Armstrong, a writer on religion, speaking on the local public radio's City Arts & Lectures series, and was supremely riveted; listening to her speak about the history of religion, laterally moving between topics such as Brahmans, printing presses, politics, and Nazis. She has a new book about that is a kind of counter argument or response to the Christopher Hitchens anti-religion writings, and after finishing dinner,and doing the dishes I sat in the dark kitchen listening while the cats did laps around my legs looking for pets.

Today on Wikipedia I gathered that she's a popular writer on religion, and there was all kinds of discussion on the back end of the article about her particular biases, tunnel vision, selective facting, and the her self-educated-ness suggesting that she is a kind of huckster. Malcolm Gladwell, similarly and more obviously a kind of huckster, on the same program about six months go was asked about the differences between popular and academic writing. He said that academic writing presents both sides of an issue with an intentions towards fairness, while popular writing has no responsibility or claim on presenting the truth. I recommend listening to this Karen Armstrong interview, not the one I heard (unfortunately City Arts & Lectures is not archived) but she touches on many of the same ideas.

In other news, a couple announcements: about twenty pages of sort of new work is out in Essays & Fictions # five. There are a couple of short essays, and a long memoir-ish piece, made up quite of few things that originally appeared on this blog, granted, they have been worked and reworked over the last couple years. The issue is available on-line for free, but I recommend the print version because the pages are bigger and is a little easier to read. Also, on the topic of me, I've added to the links on the right, Brian Kim-Stefans' site, which is chock full of just about every media you could imagine, all in the name of poetry. If you click on the video link, you will find some movies starring yours truly as well as my roommate (he's in the "vex" series). Along with lots of other funny/weird/interesting video pieces. My favorite is the one about the raviolis.