Dear Fringe Readers and Writers,
Get thee to thy local news stand and pick up a copy of the May/June Writer’s Digest. Vanessa Wieland, a woman of impeccable taste, has listed Fringe as a Stand-Out Market. We have a full page feature (p. 75) detailing our aesthetic, mission, and stand-out authors. Thanks to Vanessa and to Writer’s Digest for calling us out.
Love and armadillos,
“The noun that verbs your world.”
There’s a lot of good things down here in North Carolina, and one of them is happening right now: SPARKcon, “a showcase of creativity, talent and ideas of ‘the creative hub of the South,’ the Triangle NC.”
The event is a “creative potluck” made by teams of volunteers. The poetrySPARK team has put together a great bunch of readings. There will be a big NC Writers’ Network reading Friday night, and on Saturday, a series of four themed readings. These each have two headliners, including Carolyn Beard Whitlow, Joanna Catherine Scott, and Alex Grant, and then some rabble-rousers to round things out. Count me as one of the latter—I’ll be reading during the experimental reading at 10 p.m. Fringe Poetry editorial assistant Nellie Bellows will read during the narrative/lyrical reading at 7:30.more »
I’m not a massive TV fan, yet I’ve seen enough to have noticed that the UK we’re used to being treated to a barrage of offensive advertising (apparently only women have digestive problems, all of which can be treated easily – and discreetly – by buying some tablets… rather than the glaringly obvious ploy of eating proper food. Except it’s not really discreet because these ads lead one to assume that any woman you see on the street is silently suffering from either constipation, diarrhoea, or that good old fashioned ‘bloated feeling’). We are also graced with some cheery awareness ads:
At present, there’s a man who forgot to THINK! and is consequently being haunted by a ghoul-kid in the latest instalment of the consistently chilling ‘kill your speed’ series. Fair enough, he’s earned it. Slick as these ads are, mostly you’re left thinking ‘ah, clever’ and brush it off; they have yet to seep into my unconscious and into my dreams.
But guess what did? A dated-looking and decidedly non-slick Stroke (act FAST!) ad. It makes you squirm not only because it’s nasty, but also because the NHS budget is clearly not as impressive as that of the DfT (or so... more »more »
Ah, the power of the media: post an idea in the ‘comment is free’ section of a national newspaper’s website and watch it grow. Or in the case of Ariane Sherine, you can also watch the public falling over each other to pledge their pennies towards your humble cause.
Sherine wanted to raise £11,000 in order put an atheist message on no less than 30 London buses for 4 weeks – the rationale being to counter all the damnation-style religious advertising that plague public transport (something, I must admit, I have been blissfully oblivious to). After enrolling the British Humanist Association, plus everyone’s favourite anti-God spokesman, Richard Dawkins (who promised to match whatever the public throws in – but only up to £5,500) Sherine has already amassed a healthy £115,820.10.
I’m not quite sure what to make of it all. Part of me thinks ‘fair enough’ and another part is left wondering, as you always do with such matters, whether all those lovely pennies (and the formidable power of the public forum) could be put to better use. Much has also been made of the phrasing of the ad, said to make its debut in January. What will it achieve? I can’t imagine a mini-ambush of... more »more »
It’s been a while since we posted in this space, and I simply wanted to assure you that we don’t intend to neglect it for much longer.
Fringe has been undergoing some internal changes, and we’re hoping to be back soon with a more frequent and Fringier blog that has at least a few posts a week.
In the meantime, I just had to post this video by Sarah Haskins, who has a unique take on corporations that market to women.
See you soon…more »
Hi all, it’s been a while since I blogged due to imminent deadlines for the web paper I write for — NYC24.com and my looming thesis deadline. But I wanted to take a minute to let you know what’s gotten me through those 100-hour weeks: Girl Genius.
Billed as mad science and romance, this comic, which is also published online, gave me a few laughs, and geniune joy in the Victorian gothic world.
A highly recommended read. Start at the beginning!more »
This week we’ve been saved from the droning primary campaign by the Governor Spitzer scandal. Yes, we’ve lapped up the unfolding smutty details like a bunch of hungry, um, wolves. From water cooler chitchats to interviews on NPR, Americans love it when celebrity falls from grace, especially when it involves adultery.
However, while the scandal may revolve around Elliot Spitzer, it seems that we can’t help but turn our morbid curiosity towards his wife, Silda Spitzer. She’s already run the gamut of public scrutiny, receiving our pity—not another politician’s wife!—our unsolicited advice—She should really get herself tested for STDs—and worst of all, our sexual criticism—What wasn’t she providing in the bedroom? I hear they’re sleeping in separate rooms.
Silda Spitzer stands like a ghostly shadow behind her husband during his press appearances. Some say her silent presence is a way to deflect future scrutiny by getting the worst gossipy nags out of the way early. I’m not sure how effective this technique is. It seems like just about the worst thing to be required to do. But I do hope, for the sake of Mrs. Spitzer’s privacy, her silence works.
Or do I? Should she be stepping up and speaking out against... more »more »
After numerous nights sans sleep, I’m proud to announce the release of NYC24: BODY, the online news magazine I helped edit and build.
Check it out!
Here’s our press release:
NYC24.com Launches The Body Issue
Real stories, reported from New York City
Feb. 15, 2008 — The New Media Workshop at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism announces the latest issue of NYC24.com, an online news magazine, http://nyc24.com
NYC24 (pronounced “N-Y-C-two-four”) brings you eight feature stories about NYC, centered around the theme of BODY. This collection of multi-media stories burst with the strange, sexy and fun things people do with their bodies. The site is entirely conceptualized, reported, shot, produced and edited by the students.
Editors for BODY:
LISA BIAGIOTTI, PHILIP CAULFIELD, KENAN DAVIS, ELIZABETH R. STARK
In this issue:
* An Afro-Brazillian martial art draws new devotees by ELSA BUTLER & CHANNTAL FLEISCHFRESSER
* Circus performing or yoga — how ’bout both? by LISA BIAGIOTTI, PHILIP CAULFIELD, KENAN DAVIS & ELIZABETH R. STARK
* Craig Hormann’s Ivy-league path to the NFL by DAVE BURDICK & ANTHONY VANGER
* New York’s Tall Club: Do you measure up? by TOM DAVIS & SYDNEY BEVERIDGE
* Make your skin bling with sub-dermal piercing by KATYA SOLDAK & VERONICA ZARAGOVIA
* Sword-swallowers show us how it’s done (hint:... more »more »
In my opinion, Terrell Owens can go screw. He’s the one being the most vocal about blaming Jessica for the Dallas Cowboys loss last week. Here’s what he said: “With everything that has happened, obviously with the way Tony played and the comparison between her and Underwood [Julia's insert: Don't you remember? A woman has foiled those Dallas Cowboys before!], I think a lot of people feel she has taken his focus away,” says Owens. “Oh, I got a message for her when we make the playoffs. Just stay tuned.”
That’s right, Terrell…the presence of a pretty girl can account for the bad playing of an entire team. Those damned pretty girls — evil temptations, all of them. And you, oh Holy Man, can stop them from ruining you. Just send them a message loud and clear.
Barf. But worse than barf – rage! Not even Jessica deserves this.more »
WASHINGTON—After decades spent battling gender discrimination and inequality in the workplace, the feminist movement underwent a high-level shake-up last month, when 53-year-old management consultant Peter “Buck” McGowan took over as new chief of the worldwide initiative for women’s rights. . . .
“All the feminist movement needed to do was bring on someone who had the balls to do something about this glass ceiling business,” said McGowan, who quickly closed the 23.5 percent gender wage gap by “making a few calls to the big boys upstairs.”
Come all ye fair and tender shoppers
Be careful how you spend your dough
It’s like a puddle after a rainstorm
It first appears, then there’s no more
Tralala, it’s Buy Nothing Day! If you’re in the US or Canada, that is; in other countries it’s November 24. Buy Nothing Day was founded in 1992 to help us think about how we consume; it’s no accident that it falls on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. There’s a lot of potential for preachiness with something like this, so I reckon it’s best to approach it in the spirit of having fun and raising awareness. Adbusters has some good ideas for stuff to do, as well as posters you can print out.
Adbusters also makes ads for BND every year, and then tries to get big networks to run them—with varying success. I like this one, which involves mittens (though the music, well, …).
Lots of places will have skillshares and other events, so if you want to get involved, check your local weekly to see what’s happening near you. And if taking your folks to the potluck at the anarchist bookstore sounds implausible, consider designating a surrogate Buy Nothing Day for yourself later in... more »more »
This year, for the second time in my writing life, I thought about participating in Nanowrimo.
When I did Nano before, in 2003, I wrote an awful 50,000 word genre novel. I didn’t pretend it was serious work, but I was proud of the accomplishment. There’s something intimidating about a novel–all that time, and all those words, namely–and in a month I had created one.
This year, working upwards of 60 hours a week, Nano just doesn’t seem feasible, at least if you are also trying to get some sleep.
While I spent the last week of October stressing about logistics–Could I do it? How would I carve the time out of my schedule to write? What shape would the novel I had in mind take, and how would I link its disparate pieces together?–I allowed an even larger, scarier question to form in my mind.
Was it still the best way to get my writing out there? Is the novel, in our current society, a valuable product? Is it the best use of my time, of my reach? Hardly new ideas, I know. While we’ve all been talking about print culture being dead and how no one ever buys novels anymore, we’re still... more »more »
I’ve written before about the U.S. Post Office’s misguided (read: guided by TimeWarner) plot to raise postage sky-high for small periodicals and simultaneously lower it for huge ones. The Postal Regulatory Commission voted to put these new rules in effect on July 15; a massive petition effort has caused them to hold hearings on the new rates. They’re scheduled for next Tuesday, October 30. Kudos if you spoke up and signed that first petition…
…now let’s all sign it again! To ensure that those hearings have the biggest possible impact, you can sign the new petition—and simultaneously have a message sent to your congressperson—to repeal the new rates. Also at freepress.net, you’ll find an excellent essay by Peter Rothberg, reprinted from the ActNow blog at The Nation. We’ve got to stop this bad idea before it’s too late and the pages of dead periodicals start fluttering from the backs of mail trucks like sad little elegies.
If supporting small journals isn’t enough to convince you that this is an issue, remember that, if those journals go out of business—which many will surely do under the new rates—that means less mail volume and, as a result, fewer decent-paying post office jobs. Also, remember love notes. Subscriptions to... more »more »
In my last post I discussed the way main stream media (MSM) inevitably ran the small press out of business, and now I’m going to finish up my critique through a discussion of how I think MSM actively broke its trust with readers.
The press should operate as the fourth estate — a check on government power through the free exchange of ideas. (But whether the public actually wants this from MSM is another blog post). Impartiality is embedded in the concept of journalistic objectivity — reporters are supposed to check their biases at the door. Also, ideally journalism should give us the facts. MSM has failed on all three accounts.
- MSM has not provided the public with accurate information:
- Many journalists have recently been caught plagarizing. Jayson Blair is the obvious example.
- Because MSM didn’t scuttle fast enough, we went to war. We didn’t hear that there were no weapons of mass destruction, we didn’t find out about torture soon enough to prevent it — the Bush administration was not held up to scrutiny in the days surrounding 9/11.... more »
During a recent Critical Issues lecture, the professor asked me if I thought the growing popularity of web communities was evidence that the public had lost faith in mainstream media. I believe I sputtered something at the mic, but the question got me thinking and I would like to respond to it more fully here.
I believe that the answer is yes, and that the public’s lack of faith in mainstream media outlets comes from two sources:
1. Unavoidable byproducts of having big media.
2. Big media getting lazy and not doing its job right.
The first source directly led to the formation of Fringe. There’s been some speculation in the literary community that big media (aka corporate bookstores) ran a lot of independent bookstores out of business. These independent bookstores were the main subscribers to literary magazines, so when the bookstores collapsed, many journals went belly-up. It sounds like regular capitalism at work, but this had disastrous consequences for journals catering to specific niches and minority groups.
Big media is concerned with eyeballs, which translate into profit, and niche journals don’t have as many eyeballs. This might not have been a problem for small publications catering to latino writing or feminist writing, except... more »more »