June 30th, 2008

One more thing that $4+ gas may hurt: book events

The Oregonian just ran a big article about how high gas prices are affecting concerts. Big concerts, with their trailers and trucks, are obviously very expensive to take from place to place – especially at a time when consumers might balk at paying more for a ticket. They looked at some local indie bands that are having to cancel gigs because it’s just too expensive to drive there. One band is – seriously – touring by bike. The bass player has even designed a special trailer for his instrument.

PW says, “A few days before Steve Martini was set to do a signing at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego his publicist, Pam Jaffee at Morrow, got a call from a worried Mysterious Galaxy staffer. The bookseller was concerned that, although Martini has always brought crowds--his books are set in the coastal California metropolis--people might not be willing to drive to the store because of through-the-roof gas prices.”

Read more here.

Plus here’s a funny story about Steve Martini that GM Ford told me (and I will now probably mangle). Jerry was working on something that needed some law-related info, and he asked Steve (who was a lawyer) about it. Steve looked at him in amazement and said, “Jerry, I just make that shit up.”

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Creating a flawed but sympathetic character

72 years ago today, Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind was published and was an immediate success. I read the book once or twice as a teen. Over the years, the character of Scarlett has stuck with me, because Mitchell did such a brilliant job creating a flawed but sympathetic character. Scarlett steals her sister's boyfriend, lies, and even murders. She cares for very little outside herself. Yet you still find yourself rooting for her.

Scott Turow managed to do the same thing in the book Personal Injuries. The main character lies, cheats, and steals, yet there is something about him you fundamentally like. It's a rare skill to be able to create such a character, and I'm not there yet and don't know if I ever will be.

For the last few months, once or twice a week I've read to Teen from Gone with the Wind at night before bed. There's much to admire about the book. It has a strong feminist sensibility (although all-knowing Rhett trumps even that). There are some great plot twists. The pacing is rather languid and the POV is hard to pin down - omniscient, perhaps? But all in all, the book still gives me a lot of pleasure.

But the racist attitudes! It's much more than the use of the "n" word, which I sometimes skip over or change to "Negro." In the book, to be black is to be some kind of a cross between a petulant child and a loyal dog. It's harder to make snap decisions while reading about what to do about these passages, which sometimes contain crucial information. I'm afraid it's coloring (inadvertent pun) my perception and Teen's perception of what is otherwise a wonderful book.

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And this guy's a science teacher!!

Planned Parenthood is building a new clinic in North Portland. The developer just pulled out because protesters are sending emails, letters, and even staking out contractors' houses.

Planned Parenthood says that of their clients "38 percent of patients seek contraception, 29 percent need treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and infections, and 3 percent seek abortions."

But not according to Bill Diss. "They're up in North Portland targeting young black girls to get them into a life of sex," said Diss, a science teacher at Portland's Benson High. He "said the effort is designed to remind the businesses involved in the project whom they're working for. He called Planned Parenthood a "killing center" that targets young girls, teaching them about sex and masturbation, which he called "the gateway drug to lust."

The gateway drug to lust!!!!

Planned Parenthood kept me from being a pregnant high school student. More than ten times as many women go there for contraception than for abortions. What do you want to bet that Mr. Diss is against contraception as well?

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