The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

“Submissive New World,” an essay by Bill Carr

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

In the foreseeable future, the Turing test, which measures the ability of humans to determine if an unseen communicator is a human or a computer, will undoubtedly undergo a significant enhancement: a test to see if a computer can determine whether the unseen communicator is a human or another computer. Continue reading

Book Review: The Source of Self-Regard by Toni Morrison

Review by E. Kirshe

source of self regard toni morrison

 

“A writer’s life and work are not a gift to mankind; they are a necessity,” writes Toni Morrison in the prologue of her latest book, The Source of Self-Regard. This collection of work, spanning four decades, goes on to show just how necessary Morrison is to our literary canon and how illuminating to our society.

 

At 88 years old Morrison has a rich life’s worth of insightful nuance, analysis, and empathy to offer on topics that range from feminism, colonialism, money, human rights, and immigration, to meditations on culture and art.  Though a lot of ground is covered (and how could it not be? Morrison has been a literary beast since the 70s) this collection of previously published essays is cohesive in that it’s hers. It is divided into three parts: the first begins with a prayer for the dead of 9/11; the second with a meditation on Martin Luther King Jr.; and the last with a beautiful and personal eulogy for James Baldwin.

 

Considering the sheer volume of work here it is impossible to cover the whole without writing a novel-length review. I will say that some of the work here really stood out to me often because no matter when a piece is from, Morrison’s work is unquestionably relatable to our present. This is large because she observes and perfectly captures society- she has the ability to cut right to the heart of a matter. Morrison refers to how the media operated during the OJ trial as an “age of spectacle,” taking down their penchant for turning what should be straight news into entertainment, and we know those patterns haven’t changed at all in today’s media landscape.

 

Not only do many of Morrison’s pieces ring out truth in much the same way it’s obvious that they do because she’s doing her job as a writer. Every piece answers what the role of what the artist in society should be because she uses her work to analyze, critique, and offer answers for our world- “constructing meaning in the face of chaos,” as she writes in Peril.

 

Reading this collection is to spend time in the mind of someone brilliant. As Morrison said in her eulogy for Baldwin “You gave us ourselves to think about, to cherish.” After reading through everything Morrison has to offer in The Source of Self-Regard you’ll be reminded that she may as well have been talking about herself.

 

The Source of Self-Regard is now available from Knopf.

“Garbage People” by Emma Miller

garbage
It’s 2018 and we’re garbage people now, management tells us at the morning meeting. “Not garbage men,” Larry stresses. He strokes his Pomeranian, which is wriggling in his arms. “Garbage people.”

 

I look from Duke on my left to John on my right, then raise my hand. “But we are garbage men,” I say.  

 

“Shut up, Mick,” Larry snaps. The dog yaps. “You are a person, and what you think doesn’t matter.”

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“The Blenderizing of the American Family” by May Wescott

Divorce is final and clean on paper.  But when there are kids involved, no judge in the world has the power to sever the bonds between two people who have entwined DNA walking around as a constant reminder that, despite the formality of the notarized seal on the decree, they will never really be divorced from each other

“Blended” is the fictitious term we use to describe families created out of the ragged stump of divorce.

When you make a cake, you “blend” the ingredients. It’s such a gentle process that you can do it easily with the rounded edges of a wooden spoon. Methodical, harmonious, smooth strokes of the spoon combine the disparate elements into a tranquil, pliable batter. Continue reading

Book Review: What Makes Girls Sick and Tired

what makes girls sick and tired cover

Written by Lucile De Pesloüan; Illustrations by Genevieve Darling

Review by Tess Tabak

What Makes Girls Sick and Tired is a new picture book intended to introduce young adults to basic feminism. It’s essentially an illustrated list of challenges women and girls around the world face. The author, Lucile De Pesloüan, cuts straight to the heart of feminist issues: “Girls are sick and tired because women’s bodies are always an issue, whether they are covered by yards of fabric or completely revealed.”

 

While the issues discussed are for the most part real concerns, it’s hard to imagine an audience for this book. Almost none of the statements are backed up with any examples or evidence (a handful contain footnotes with sources). If you’re already familiar with basic feminism, this book offers nothing more than a list of things you likely already know, written in a fairly repetitive way (every sentence contains some permutation of “girls are sick and tired”). On the other hand if you haven’t been exposed to feminist ideology, the book doesn’t really offer enough on its own. A reader would have to be curious enough to look up other sources, at which point, why not just read a more thorough text to start with?

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Poetry by John Grey

Mountain Thunder

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“I Will Never Die,” a short story by Richard Charles Schaefer

Photo Credit: Brian Michael Barbeito

Charles couldn’t believe he had slept through dinner again; he was going to have to beg Phil or one of the Korean kids for ramen, and why should they give him anything? If the ladder had been in its hiding spot under the patio of the on-campus daycare, he could have gotten onto the roof of the gym and across it to the admin building to see if he could find anything to eat in the small kitchen there, but without the ladder he couldn’t get onto the roof, unless he had Andrew to boost him up. Andrew must have moved it while Charles was suspended, or else it got confiscated. That’s okay, they’d fished it out of a dumpster anyway; they found good stuff in the dumpster by the maintenance building all the time, but he sure wasn’t going to find dinner there. Continue reading

“I Hear the World and Secret Whispers” by Danielle Emrich

Photo credit: r. nial bradshaw

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Book Review: The City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders

Review by Tess Tabak

Although Charlie Jane Anders’ new book, The City in the Middle of the Night, is full of cool ideas, nothing gels enough to make it a standout read.

Several generations after humans have colonized a new planet, some people struggle to hold onto what little culture remains, while others question what value old Earth customs have to them in this new inhospitable place. Continue reading

Theresa Rebeck’s Put in Her 10,000 Hours and She’s Ready to Take on the World

On Friday, February 8th, the NY Indie Theater Festival kicked off its third season with a screening of Theresa Rebeck’s Poor Behavior. Continue reading

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