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Thursday, May 05, 2005

From Red Lakes to Men

Thursday dawdles toward noon and I ask myself a few questions. Why, when I play pool several times a week, does my game continue to, overall, stink? Every now and then I get it. The angles make sense, my hands stay steady, my eye doesn't waver and I am, if I may say so, pretty freakin' good. Sometimes I make shots so complicated even I can't believe I've pulled it off. But most of the time, I might as well be blind with the shakes. Nonetheless, despite my poor showing, I had fun last night at Funk Night, the first of many I hope, DJd by Rocque Ranaldi who continues to amaze me with his repertoire. Did you know NWA's "Express Yourself" was a cover? I didn't and had you asked me pre 10 pm I would have said there wasn't nothing I didn't know about NWA. That's one good reason to leave the house; you never know what you might learn.
Speaking of learning. I've spent most of my morning catching up on my Internet journalism reading (while eating a banana which I managed, somehow, to get in my hair. Feel this is connected, intrinsically, to bad pool game. Feel, somehow, that centeredness, or lack thereof, effects in an immediate, often startling, completely goofily, way my eye-hand coordination, of which I have none. Wonder, too, if I should rethink the fact that I often love to dance in public. Should people who can't eat a banana without getting it in their hair, or walk down the street without tripping over invisible objects, really dance around where other people can see them?)
OK, enough babbling.
After the school shooting on the Indian reservation in Minnesota I wrote, I believe, my wish to read something that contextualized the event in some way that had resonance for me as a reader. There's a lot of different ways to read the news. Often, like most people, I am reading it for information. Sometimes one comes across something that is very funny, which is great. Now and then, a piece is more about its structure or technical finesse and, I suppose, when I read something like that I do so more as an editor and writer than a reader. And sometimes a piece transcends its components and you get kind of an electric buzz from reading it, because there is more going on, more being conveyed than what is actually in the story itself. There are different arguments about why this happens (and fancy academic names for everything I just said, but if one is going to abandon academia as I did then one should be excused from throwing around its weird-ass jargon). For me, I definitely have an affinity for journalism with a post-modern bent (OK, post-modern is, I suppose, technically an academic term, but I think it's in the mainstream now), or things that have a meta-context (I think I just made that term up). Anyway, SAME COUNTRY, DIFFERENT NATION from the alt.weekly paper City Pages, written by Mike Mosedale, is just that kind of piece. It takes a step back and places the Red Lakes tragedy into a different context, one in which the media coverage that came before is acknowledged and parsed, and one in which the larger picture, the pathos of the story, comes through. It's amazing when a writer can make a reader enthralled to read about something that has been all over the media for months. I would highly recommend reading this piece.

In other journalism news, our friend and SFR stringer Dan Frosch has a piece on Alternet titled Land of the Detained that looks, very interestingly, at what happens when immigrants are deported. As usual, Dan has managed to find a subject who thoroughly commands the reader's interest while also writing about something we aren't hearing near enough about in the main stream press.

Also in the land of alternative journalism, SFR stringer and friend Silja JA Talvi's monthly column in Evergreen Monthly is available for online reading. Titled Uncontrolled Substances Talvi makes her case well about the hypocrisy of drug laws, as well as how drug criminalization disproportionately impacts minorities. This is one of Silja's passions and her many years or reporting on the subject make this column well reported and persuasive.

Finally, on a much less serious note, I was happy to see my favorite Salon writer, Cary Tennis, tackle the weird story of the Runaway Bride. His piece Run Bride Run! made me laugh. I do hope, though, not to hear any more about this story. This is one of those times of disconnectedness for me with mainstream culture (they are rare). I just don't get why people are interested in this story. But if anyone can find the humor and depth in stories of love, romance and weird personalities, it's Tennis. He writes the advice column (Since You Asked) for, which I'm pretty addicted to. So addicted, in fact, that a few years ago I actually sent him a question—and he answered it! You can read my question and his answer, titled About Men here.
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