Selling the Obvious




The Atlantic, May 2013


If you’re a political and cultural junkie like me, then you surely know that the media delivers its insights on those phenomena in a multi-repetitive way. This issue of The Atlantic is an example of that, but you can’t really blame them; some harried people want their news pre-digested. In a world of insta-reportage, repeated on the hour, this mag gives us what Time and Newsweek used to.

Do women win elections? Duh. All the time – and they seem to be representing their constituencies better than men.

The emoticons’ uses on the Internet. Really?

Atheist Sam Harris feels a need to own a gun for self protection. In a country rabidly and militantly Christian? You bet.

Martin Amis’ love life and how that intersects with his writing. Yawn.

Using a tuning fork to stir a cocktail? C’mon!

Henry Kissinger is sensitive with regard to his policies? Maybe he is, or maybe he’s just trying to soften his image.

And this month’s biggie: We keep coming up with ways to harvest fossil fuels, thus a neverending supply of ‘em. But they’re hurting our environment. Ever hear of EPA?

Thomas Pierce’s short fiction piece, “The Critics,” about a father’s relationship with his daughter as the daughter slowly morphs into a writer, perhaps of the screenplay persuasion, breaks no real ground subject-wise or structurally, but it’s decent writing and entertaining.

Okay, a lot of this is going to sound overly cynical to you, but I don’t mean it that way. I know cultural and news summaries are valuable to readers, and The Atlantic is doing a service by repeating the “this just in” stuff one more time.




Visit my website here, where you’ll have an opportunity to download an audio eversion of my latest, Sam’s Place, as well as select book review podcasts. Then there’s my FB Fan Page here. On both you’ll find more on ideas and events that matter to me – and possibly to you.


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