Let’s hear it for old skool newsletters

While I can’t really put my finger on what the difference between them and subscribing to a regular blog is there definitely is one. The ones enjoy these days are:

If you have any others you like, let me know in the comments!

True crimes

I have mixed feelings about true crime books. If they’re good, they’re great, if they’re not they are usually incredibly hacky, sensational, and very bad. There’s not much room in between and I think either way they are sensationalist and voyeuristic.

And who wants to be called a voyeur?

Be that as it may, I did enjoy Mailer’s Executioner’s Song a great bit and if it’s done well true crime books can be as enjoyable a read as a good (fictional) crime book.

So anyway, Louis Theroux posted a list of true crime books he enjoyed and I thought that’s a good way to separate the wheat from the chaff and dig in. Some of them I’ve read before, some I remember being on the reading list of an anthropology class I wanted to take and wasn’t allowed to, and some of them just sound interesting.

  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  • People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd-Parry
  • Savage Grace by Natalie Robinson and Steven M. L. Aronson
  • My Dark Places by James Ellroy
  • Fatal Vision by Joe McGinniss
  • Remembering Satan by Lawrence Wright
  • Columbine by Dave Cullen
  • Cries Unheard by Gitta Sereny
  • As If by Blake Morrison
  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
  • Manson by Jeff Guinn
  • Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
  • Lucky by Alice Sebold
  • Bully by Jim Schutze
  • Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer
  • Ten Rillington Place by Ludovic Kennedy
  • A Cold Case by Philip Gourevitch

Theroux adds a short paragraph to every book writing what it’s about and what he thought of it, but to read that you gotta head over to his post.

Circus

Video

We went to the circus today. The Cirque de Soleil, actually. It was nice. I haven’t been to the circus in a really long time. What really struck me was the sheer strength and athleticism of the performers. Just look at the first 10 seconds of the pole act — that’s some fucking core and shoulder strength!

16:9’s 1 hour long documentary on the circus after the jump.

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Fear is a mindkiller

David Simon has a blog and it’s really worth subscribing to. Here’s a snip from his post on the Newtown shooting & guns.

On television the other evening, I caught a glimpse of a drama in which some future America was overrun by zombies, a thrilling narrative in which survivors could only rely on force of arms to keep the unthinking, unfeeling hordes at bay.  And I realized:  This isn’t mere entertainment, it’s national consensus.  More than that, it’s a well-executed and starkly visual rendering of the collective fear that governs us.  We know that they’re out there:  The less human.  The poor.  The godless.  The frightening other. And they want what we have, they are going to take what we have, and they understand nothing save for a well-placed bullet.  It’s my understanding that the show I encountered is quite popular; in this America, it may even be called populist in its argument — a morality tale that speaks to why we must arm ourselves, and carry those guns with us, and stand our fucking ground; it declares that we can’t rely on collective, utilitarian will to achieve a safe and viable society, that government by the people and for the people is, at this point, an empty catchphrase for fools and weaklings.  No, our future is every man for himself, and a gun in every outstretched hand, and if a classroom of six and seven year olds is the requisite cost every now and then, so be it.

Remember, friends, fear is a mindkiller.

[David Simon | Newtown, Conn.]