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Recommended reading / viewing / listening

June 7, 2011

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism.

1. Apocalypse: What Disasters Reveal
By Junot Diaz | Boston Review | May/June 2011
“Apocalyptic catastrophes don’t just raze cities and drown coastlines; these events, in David Brooks’s words, “wash away the surface of society, the settled way things have been done. They expose the underlying power structures, the injustices, the patterns of corruption and the unacknowledged inequalities.” And, equally important, they allow us insight into the conditions that led to the catastrophe, whether we are talking about Haiti or Japan. ”

2. Damon Horowitz calls for a ‘moral operating system’
By Damon Horowitz | TED Talks | May 2011
“At TEDxSiliconValley, Damon Horowitz reviews the enormous new powers that technology gives us: to know more — and more about each other — than ever before. … Where’s the moral operating system that allows us to make sense of it?”

3. Book review: ‘State of Wonder’
By Carolyn Kellogg | Los Angeles Times | June 5
“In her new novel, Ann Patchett’s gives readers almost a feminized version of ‘Heart of Darkness,’ but without the savagery.”

4. What kind of leftist president for Peru?
By Frank Bajak | Associated Press | June 6
“In his first, failed run to be Peru’s president, Ollanta Humala projected the image of a radical leftist in Hugo Chavez’s mold. This time, he called the Venezuelan leader’s socialist-oriented economic model flawed, and sought moderate allies and courted Washington. Yet many Peruvians wonder if this 48-year-old political novice … is really a market-friendly populist. Many skeptics fear he will renege on his promises and spring revolutionary change on an unsuspecting nation.”

5. The Only Father’s Day Gift You Need: A Letter of Appreciation
By Andrew Snavely | Primer | June 6
“Man to man, especially with a dad can be impossible. Some fathers are gruff and won’t tolerate the awkwardness or the sentiment. Others put up walls to shield their emotions from others. These guys are from a different generation. A letter allows you to say everything you need to, just the way you want to.”

6. Death and Drugs in Colombia
By Daniel Wilkinson | The New York Review of Books | June 2011
“In February 2003, the mayor of a small town on Colombia’s Caribbean coast stood up at a nationally televised meeting with then President Álvaro Uribe and announced his own murder.”

7. Stargazer: A story
By Eliot Treichel | Narrative | June 6
“As the pickup truck approached, Walters raised his free hand and motioned for the vehicle to stop. In his other hand he clutched the stock of a lever-action Winchester, the gun barrel angled over his shoulder.”

8. Why China’s Growing Naval Presence Is To Be Expected
By Wesley Clark | Big Think | June 6
“We don’t know exactly what the aim of the Chinese shipbuilding program is, but they are building a Navy. And they do have commerce and it’s a very natural thing.”

9. The most eye-catching ‘Weinergate’ cartoons so far …
By Michael Cavna | Comic Riffs | The Washington Post | June 6
“Sure, the target might be like shooting kingfish in a barrel, but some satirists are hitting their marks with especial flair.”

10. Critics’ Picks Video: ‘Lawrence of Arabia’
Arts Beat | The New York Times | June 6
” ‘Revolution in the Arab world is inspiring, dramatic and confusing,’ says A.O. Scott, the co-chief film critic for the New York Times. ‘The Arab Spring of 2011 is not the first time that political upheaval in the Middle East has captured the imagination of the West. Mr. Scott is referring to the events that inspired the 1962 Academy Award-winning film, “Lawrence of Arabia,” a movie he calls “a remarkably sophisticated investigation into revolution itself.’ ”

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