Thursday, April 10, 2008

Quick Hits

A lot of different stories and arguments have caught my eye these days that I've wanted to write about. but rather than do that, I'll just give you a full onslaught to keep you occupied for a while.

Taylor Branch, whose three-volume biography of King/history of "The King Years" will be a go-to work for many years despite its flaws published a lengthy reflection on MLK and his legacy in the New York Times earlier this week. His article is taken from a speech he gave at the National Cathedral on Monday.

Another week, another work of nonfiction revealed as fraudulent? That seems to be the trend. The latest culprit appears to be Ben Mezrich's bestseller from a few years ago, Bringing Down the House, which provides the source material for the movie 21, which is probably playing in a multiplex near you. Every time this sort of story emerges I feel as if I make the same lamentation, but writing nonfiction is hard, and is all the more so because its biggest requirement is a fealty to the evidence. I don't think the reaction from we lesser-known writers every time one of these stories breaks is merely a mix of resentment and schadenfreude even if we may be entitled to a little bit of resentment and schadenfreude.

If that news is not depressing enough, The Boston Globe also has another seemingly recurring story, this one about the plight of bookstores. It ends on a somewhat optimistic note, however, so maybe the sky is not falling after all.

Do you know when the first intercollegiate baseball game was played? It was 1859. The participants? Williams and Amherst. Despite what you might read or hear, it is my understanding that the result of that contest is actually lost to history. That first game was played in Pittsfield, which baseball historians have also argued to be the home of the first known baseball game in the 18th century. With representatives from the College Baseball Hall of Fame (based not far from my home in the Petroplex in Lubbock) in attendance, the two teams will meet again in Pittsfield next week. Go Ephs! (And, oh yes, Amherst Sucks! Lousy, dastardly Defectors.)

Over at Real Clear politics Steve Chapman argues that when it comes to Iraq, "patience is not a policy." he makes a pretty compelling case. nonetheless, it is also true that in an ironic sense, the administration has fucked this war up so badly that they probably are correct that we now have to stay, without any sense of the fact that this really ought not to redound to their benefit.

At The Washington Post David Broder steps away from politics for a minute and thinks that he has discovered a singularly grim period in the world of sports. He's wrong, of course. Sports have always reflected society's tumult, and sometimes has fueled it. If there are problems with sports that is simply because there are problems with society. Take a deep breath and go watch a few games. Do so for a week and somewhere on a field, court, track, pit, pitch, course, or what have you, something wonderful will happen that will remind you of what sports are about.

Finally, and self indulgently, I've been busy at both the Africa Blog and the South Africa Blog, and I hope you'll check both of them out now and regularly.

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