Sharp words from a police officer about the lack of anti-terrorist strategy in Burkina Faso

Un gendarme, qui a participé à l’assaut de dimanche, se montre tout aussi critique envers les autorités du moment : « Nous n’avons pas du tout tiré les leçons de l’attaque du 15 janvier 2016. Il y a eu des menaces avant l’attaque. On était sur le qui-vive. Ces derniers mois, la fréquence des attaques dans le Nord avait augmenté. Des attaques ciblées. Mais personne n’a pris ses responsabilités. Personne ne s’est posé la question de savoir pourquoi ces attaques avaient lieu. L’Etat n’a pas de stratégie antiterroriste. Les autorités ne font que boucher les trous. »

Source: Pourquoi le Burkina Faso n’est plus en sécurité

Posted in Burkina Faso | Leave a comment

‘The Violin Player’ review from Hollywood Reporter

On Netflix.  Interesting.  I think OK to fast-forward through the beginning, which indeed is very slow.

On his way home, the unexpected happens. At the train station, on the other side of the tracks, a distinguished looking man in glasses (a coolly aloof Adil Hussain) keeps staring at him and his violin case. Surprised and embarrassed, the violinist can’t avoid his steely gaze. This goes on for quite a while, far longer than necessary in fact, until finally the man comes over and makes a proposal he can’t refuse. The stranger claims that only live music will do, and the pay is suspiciously good.From this point on, the story becomes riveting, if no less mysterious. The violinist follows the stranger through the back alleys of the city and up the stairs of a sprawling, completely deserted building shot like a haunted house. Mukherji recounts what follows next with sure-footed artistry, while his hero plays up an emotional storm composed by Bhaskar Dutta and Arnab Chakraborty.

Source: ‘The Violin Player’: Mumbai Review | Hollywood Reporter

Posted in Book and film reviews

Panda Bear – Boys Latin

Posted in Music

The Greenville Eight – Integrating American libraries in the South

On the afternoon of July 16, 1960, eight African-American students bravely filed into the whites-only Greenville County (S.C.) Public Library and sat down in the reading room to look at newspapers and books. One of those students was a young Jesse Jackson—later to become famous as a civil rights activist and minister—who was home in Greenville on summer break from the University of Illinois.Joan Mattison DanielJoan Mattison DanielAnother of the students was Joan Mattison Daniel, a then-18-year-old freshman at Morris Brown College in Atlanta, who recently told American Libraries that “Jesse Jackson was responsible for our getting together to stage the sit-in. He had come home in January and needed a book to write a paper. The book was not at the colored branch library, a small, one-room house on East McBee Avenue.” Librarian Jeanette Smith told him it would take another six days to get the book he wanted, which would have been too late. “So Jackson went to the main library to look for it,” Daniel said. “He was told he could not use that library, and that was the beginning of it.” He vowed to come back in the summer.

Source: The Greenville Eight | American Libraries Magazine, by George M. Eberhart

Posted in Public library history

Wayne Wiegand’s short article on the struggle of young people like Joseph Jackson to desegregate libraries in the South in 1961

Read the full article here, “Desegregating Libraries in the American South”
Forgotten heroes in civil rights history” by Wayne A. Wiegand in American Libraries.

At 11 a.m. on March 27, 1961, nine students from the historically black Tougaloo College walked into the all-white Jackson (Miss.) Public Library. Joseph Jackson Jr., their leader, approached the circulation desk. With heart thumping, he stammered a message he had memorized: “Ma’am, I want to know if you have this philosophy book. I need it for a research project.”

“You know you don’t belong here!” the library assistant yelled, proceeding to call the library director.

“May I help you?” the latter asked, coming out of her office.

“We’re doing research,” the students responded.

“There’s a colored library on Mill Street,” she said. “You are welcome there.”

Almost immediately, Jackson later reported, police entered the building and told the students to get out of the library. No one moved. The chief of police then told them that they were under arrest.

Six officers placed the students into squad cars and at the station charged them with breach of the peace because they failed to leave the library when ordered. They were booked into the local jail, where each was held on $500 bond.

Posted in Public library history

Another The New Yorker story: Ann Beattie “Save a Horse Ride a Cowgirl”

“Save a Horse Ride a Cowgirl” by Ann Beattie appeared in the November 23, 2015 issue of The New Yorker.  Another story about growing older. This one with a deliberate nod to Chekhov and the seagull… Does Bree destroy Ryall, out of boredom?  Intriguing story; those steeped in the traditions and techniques could explore for hours. Unusually, no interesting comments at Mookse.

Posted in Book and film reviews

Recent The New Yorker short stories

While on vacation last week I read a bunch of short stories from the past couple years from The New Yorker.  Sorry to say that many were not very good.  I don’t expect perfection, and it is nice to read stories that do not attain that state, but still, some of these were quite mediocre. Are there really not enough short story writers in the world to keep magazine up to standard?

“God’s Work” by Kevin Canty in the April 4, 2016 issue.  A teenager proselytizes with his mother, while dealing with teenage male sexuality.  Honest and real, but ordinary and nothing great in the writing.  William Trevor wrote similar stories 30 years ago, nothing new here.  Mookse commentators agree, though some liked it.

“It’s a Summer Day” by Andrew Sean Greer in the June 19, 2017 issue.  This was just awful. I first listened to the podcast version of the author reading it, but forgot that I had stopped listening, and as I read it a month later I thought it was familiar… and still disliked it.  Either I am missing something devilishly clever about the story, or it just seems actually sophomoric.  Mookse commentators after an initial disparaging review have do not rise to its defense.

“Ladies’ Lunch” by Lore Segal in the February 27, 2017 issue.  If you have an elderly parent you will immediately understand this story.  Telegraphing, bursting, laughing, and ultimately crying.  The humiliation of the reality of being in your 80s.  “No, I am dead.” Generated a lot of commentary on Mookse, and I like this contribution in the comments:

I’m also finding that the story works quite well as a horror story, like a sophisticated take on the idea of the zombie, something that is strangely popular right now. Lotte’s experience is essentially one of being zombified, of being ripped out of her normal life and put into a state of being among the living dead. And she knows it, which makes it even more horrifying. Her spirit has been murdered, while her body lives on. Her friends watch what happens to her, and want to help her, but are unable to do anything (transportation issues are woven into the story to the extent they seem to be an important theme, reflecting what happens to old people in real life). And, although I don’t remember that it was stated explicitly, the friends are probably fearing that something similar may eventually happen to them, as well. The story can feel distinctly creepy to me if I see it as a contemporary horror tale, a perspective which, once I thought of it, it seems to invite.

“Usl at the Stadium” by Rivka Galchen in the October 12, 2015 issue.  The story is based on a true event, sportscasters mocking a guy sleeping through a Yankees game.  Galchen imagines his interior life, his perspective.  A nice exercise.  Something you might assign in creative writing class.  Galchen’s version very competently done, with nice touches like Usl’s boss Gregory.  The story is sympathetic to a type of person we imagine exists.  The sad sack sweet loser guy. Not much more to say.  Mookse commentators appreciated, but not excited by the story.

“Mother’s Day” by George Saunders in the February 8 & 15, 2016 issue.  Another story about aging and dying. I found this the most interesting in terms of technique. Saunders shifts the point of view repeatedly, and goes back and forth between dialogue and interior monologue. Maybe overripe though. The story practically bursts.  I wasn’t sure what the final bit in the ambulance was about. Just to riff once more on the technique?  To remind us that everybody has a complex interior monologue, even Alma and Debi, even the dying body on the stretcher anonymous to the paramedics? Another good moral, earlier: “This has nothing to do with him. How do you want to be?”  Useful discussion at… Mookse! They have a lot of opinions about Saunders… might think about the line, “This has nothing to do with him. How do you want the story to be?”

And one last story about aging and dying.  Geez, a lot of them. is that what is happening to Americans?

“Quarantine” by Alix Ohlin in the January 30, 2017 issue.  Now about distance, rather than empathy.  A good juxtaposition with the other stories. Can we know, can we help, someone else, really?  The story telescopes thirty years.  Brief paragraphs advance the reader a decade.  A Nigerian ex-husband is exactly drawn.  The relationship between two women, Angela and Bridget, is realistic and complex. Very impressive.  I agree with the comments of Dennis over at Mookse (along with excellent comments and some flaming!):

I wish I was up to the depth other commenters here have provided for so many of these “New Yorker” stories. I can’t, but having just read this one it left me dazzled: it’s dizzying pace, character depictions, riveting scenes, seamlessly cemented though years apart, how it all flows through these lives,the unfolding of their relationships and how they evolve over time–culminating with the pathos between the two women at the center. The mystery and (for lack of a better word) the authenticity of it. Just gripping!!

Posted in Book and film reviews