Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘biography

Sunday Night Links

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* Pay student athletes: Louisville’s Kevin Ware suffers gruesome leg injury. Will Ware be stuck with the bill?

Louisville sophomore Kevin Ware’s injury today in the Midwest Regional finals of the NCAA tournament will likely be remembered alongside Joe Theismann’s career-ender as one of the most tragically gruesome in sports history. But that’s not the only tragic and gruesome part of this episode, because unlike Theismann, who was working under a guaranteed contract, Ware was an NCAA athlete helping to generate millions of dollars for the NCAA, but not even guaranteed a four-year education scholarship. As in so many other similar cases, that means his injury in service to the NCAA’s multimillion-dollar machine could spell the end of his financial aid and massive healthcare bills to boot.

* Why conservatives hate college.

* The hunt for Herman Melville.

* From the comments on this New York Times piece on the forgotten legacy of slavery in American capitalism: During college at UNC I studied slavery often in my English major classes but it was never mentioned during an Economics course.

The idea that men are naturally more interested in sex than women is ubiquitous that it’s difficult to imagine that people ever believed differently. And yet for most of Western history, from ancient Greece to beginning of the nineteenth century, women were assumed to be the sex-crazed porn fiends of their day.

* Is it fair to force low-income children to bear the burden of fiscal adjustment? According to data available on the economist Emmanuel Saez’s invaluable Web site, from 1993 to 2011, average real income for the bottom 99 percent of the population (by income) rose by 5.8 percent, while the top 1 percent experienced real income growth of 57.5 percent. The top 1% captured 62% of all income growth over this period, partly owing to a sharp rise in returns to higher education in recent decades. (On average, those with only a high school education or less have few good income prospects.)

* The angels have lost their desire for us: Hurricane Sandy has cost Ocean and Monmouth counties more than $5 billion in property taxes tax ratables. (ED: Whoops.)

* BREAKING: Everything got worse in 1981.

* The Los Angeles Review of Books considers George R. R. Martin.

* Brian K. Vaughn teases Under the Dome.

* There’s got to be a better way! Scenes from infomercials.

* And just because: How to make a “Bells of St. John” wifi name.

‘I’m Happy to Reassure You that Kurt Did Not Die a Bitter Man Who Kept Thinking He Was a Failure’

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Although Vonnegut’s son admits that the acclaimed science fiction author was “not a perfect man or father, and I’ll grant you two failed marriages”, he ends by calling on readers to “employ a modicum of critical thinking before buying into the truth of a book whose existence is completely and utterly dependent on a picture that Shields would have made up out of whole cloth if he had to”.

Mark Vonnegut blasts Charles Shields’s And So It Goes.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 7, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Cruel, Nasty, and Scary

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The other side of Kurt Vonnegut.

And So It Goes was written by Charles Shields, who also wrote a controversial biography of Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird. The book paints a picture of a man who was often distant from his children, cruel to a long-suffering first wife, caught in an unpleasant second marriage and spent much of his later years depressed and angry. “Cruel, nasty and scary are the adjectives commonly used to describe him by the friends, colleagues, and relatives Shields quotes,” wrote one reviewer, Wendy Smith, on the Daily Beast website. The New York Times reviewer, Chris Buckley, called Shields’s portrayal “sad, often heartbreaking”.

…Shields’s book is unsparing in its portrayal of Vonnegut’s dark side. It reveals that the writer – whose experience as a PoW during the firebombing of Dresden scarred his psyche for life – had no qualms about investing in firms that made napalm or indulged in a host of other morally suspect activities. He fell out with friends, editors and relatives and had a shocking temper. In later life he appeared deeply bitter and lonely. In the opening part of the book Shields describes meeting Vonnegut just a few months before his death. He describes Vonnegut asking him to look up his name in a dictionary (it was not there) and then look up Jack Kerouac (it was there). “How about that?” Vonnegut then states with a frown. The chapter of Shields’s book dealing with Vonnegut’s final 15 years of life is called simply “Waiting to Die”.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 4, 2011 at 12:03 am

Tuesday Links, Part 2

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* The zombies started it, we’ll finish the job: Anti-Zombie Propaganda Posters.

* “PhD ≠ job”: Graduate students at Occupy Baltimore.

Why the NCAA’s New Reforms Won’t Fix College Sports.

* As one of my generation’s premier Brian Krakows, I can’t in good conscience allow this pro-Catalano fluff piece to pass without comment. In principle I like the idea of ending my subgeneration’s intractable “Are we Gen X or are we Millennials” quagmire by rejecting both labels and embracing our singularity—but we don’t want to pay that price. Please note quiet, deliberate Saved by the Bell echo. I watched it during its first run, you know.

* Colbert explains the mere fact that corporations are born in a lawyer’s office, only exist on paper, have no soul, and can never die doesn’t mean they’re not people. Not related in the slightest: Muppeteer Kevin Clash on the Daily Show promoting his truly excellent biopic, Being Elmo.

* And speaking of Muppets: Some members of the Muppet “old guard” are apparently unsatisfied with Jason Segel’s The Muppets.

A small example is in one of the many trailers Disney has released, when Fozzie makes a fart joke. “We wouldn’t do that; it’s too cheap,” says another Muppets veteran. “It may not seem like much in this world of [Judd] Apatow humor, but the characters don’t go to that place.”

There is a list of similar concerns: Kermit would never live in a mansion, as he does in this movie. The Muppets, depicted in the script as jealous of Kermit’s wealth, would not have broken up in bitterness. The script “creates a false history that the characters were forced to act out for the sake of this movie,” says an old Muppets hand.

Frank Oz, the most famous living Muppets performer — known best as Miss Piggy — spoke more harshly in a recent interview with the British paper Metro. “I wasn’t happy with the script,” he said bluntly. “I don’t think they respected the characters. But I don’t want to go on about it like a sourpuss and hurt the movie.”

* And the headline reads, “Aaron Sorkin asked to write the Steve Jobs biopic, obviously.”

And So It Goes

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Charles Shields has been blogging his experience as Kurt Vonnegut’s biographer at writingkurtvonnegut.com.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 9, 2011 at 9:51 pm