Last night, I saw New York Times writer William Grimes’ essay in the Critic’s Notebook column on the phenomenon of the memoir pop up in my NYT feed. He writes, “The memoir has been on the march for more than a decade now. … But the genre has become so inclusive that it’s almost impossible to imagine which life experiences do not qualify as memoir material.”
As a blogger, I understand the attraction to writing memoirs. If given the chance, I could wax on about myself, my memories, and my revelations for quite some time. The nice thing about memoirs is that they don’t require much research or imagination. You were there – you know what happened. Of course, this means that it would be very easy to assume that anyone could write a memoir. While this is true, it does not also equate that anyone can write a good memoir, which goes for bloggers, as well. Grimes does not come out and explicitly state this in his essay, but the tone could imply it.
Grimes concludes with the thought that this propensity for penning memoirs might be a part of our humanity. He writes,
“John Eakin, an emeritus professor of English at Indiana University, has argued that human beings continuously engage in a process of self-creation and self-discovery by constructing autobiographical narratives. In a sense, we are the stories – multiple, shifting and constantly evolving – that we weave about ourselves, and this storytelling urge may even be hard-wired.”
Perhaps it is our super-ego and id fighting to dominate that causes us to want to share our life stories in a public setting? Ah, I never cared much for Freud, anyway.
I was talking with my Dean earlier today, and she told me about a network of Christian radio stations moving in to take out National Public Radio stations by taking over their frequencies. At first I thought it couldn’t be true, much less legal, but then I found a recent New York Times article reporting on two NPR affiliate stations in Louisiana that were kicked off of the airwaves by American Family Radio resulting in a community of 95,000 people not having access to public radio (which includes local programming, unlike what AFR provides). As an on-air person at a local student-run radio station with a short broadcast range, this is disturbing to me.
“The Christian stations routed NPR in Lake Charles under a federal law that allows noncommercial broadcasters with licenses for full-power stations to push out those with weaker signals — the equivalent of the varsity team kicking the freshmen out of the gym.”
Jeffrey A. Dvorkin, Ombudsman for NPR has written a response to accusations of NPR having an agenda, liberal or otherwise, that is articulate and thoughtful.
If public radio was supposed to be an alternative, why do so many people feel excluded from those values?
Well, Congress voted yesterday. I knew they would give Dubya the power to join the “world’s worst leaders with the world’s worst weapons” but I kept hoping that more of them would hear the opposition (which is much larger and stronger than the media chooses to portray). Guess I should have known better, what with the elections being so soon.
My friend Anna sent me a link yesterday to an article about folk music having become the sound of lesbian culture. I have noticed this phenomenon, but I had never really thought about it specifically. You can read the full article yourself, but it will require a free registration with the New York Times.
“We’re seeing the coming together of a way of life and a form of expression that’s kind of primary,” says Lisa Merrill, a professor of performance history at Hofstra University. “This doesn’t happen often.”
A county in Washington State wants to dissolve the entire county library system, according to this New York Times article. So far, petitioners have managed to collect enough signatures that it might actually make it onto the ballot. Aparently some folks are upset that they pay an average of $38 per year in property taxes to keep the rural libraries up and running. <sarcasm>Gee, that sure is a big chunk to be taking out of some family’s budget.</sarcasm> Seriously, folks, don’t you think that is a small price to pay to have access to free books and computers?
“I home-school my kids, and our four library cards are maxed out at 40 books at all times,” said Linda Arrell, who lives off the electric power grid with her family north of here. “They say everybody is on the Internet, so we don’t need a library. Well, some of us don’t have credit cards, and some of us don’t have power.”
Oh, and that bit about the head librarian’s salary being too high? Let’s put this in perspective here, folks. Ms. Robinson is responsible for nine library branches, which includes all of the staff and budget issues that any large organization spanning a geographic area that size would have. If she were in the corporate world, she would be making three times as much.