Diversity In John Steinbecks People Like Us

Friday, January 28, 2022 7:03:58 AM

Diversity In John Steinbecks People Like Us

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A Diverse Little Book Haul and a Reading Advice

The budget also is really ten separate bills, with spending distinct from taxation, and no real work gets done until there are agreements on the different spending targets for each of the areas such as HHS, K, and so on. Sound confusing? It is. It is also inefficient. Now add more wrinkle—budgets are created right after state elections when often many new legislators or constitutional officers are elected.

They are green, often learning on the job while creating a new budget. In a distant past when life and budgets were less complicated and smaller , perhaps it was possible to do all this with a part-time citizen legislature. But those days have passed. A new budget process is needed, with new time lines and ways to move the work along. A decade or more algo I proposed solutions to the process. Change the timing of events. Move the budget to the second year of the session to allow new legislators to learn their job. Adopt as they have in Wisconsin an automatic continuing resolution to extend the current budget into the next fiscal year to prevent shutdowns. There are other reform ideas too, but no will to change.

Someone once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. Politically this is what we are doing in Minnesota for more than 20 years. If this is not politically insane or crazy, I do not know what is. Todays blog originally appeared in The Hill. The story of voting rights in America yields two truths. First, even though since there has been an overall expansion of voting rights en route to universal adult franchise, it also has been a partisan battle often featuring efforts to disenfranchise.

Second, left to their own devices, states are not the drivers of expanded voting rights. It has happened only when the national government has entered to guarantee, expand and protect rights. This is why Congress needs to enact federal legislation to federalize voting rights and enable national standards and enforcement. At the Constitutional Convention of , disputes over slavery, representation and the selection of the president left the issue of voting rights out of the Constitution and in the hands of the states to decide. In , state laws limited voting rights to white, Protestant males with property who were at least age A few states prior to the Civil War expanded voting rights on their own.

They did so by dropping property qualifications in lieu of poll taxes to ensure that only those with an economic stake in the community could vote. Yet, serious expansion of voting rights did not come until after the Civil War. Republican Party support of the Civil Rights Act, the 14th Amendment in , the Fifteenth Amendment in , and the deployment of federal troops in the South during Reconstruction led to a dramatic increase in voting rights and representation for the freed males slaves. Hayes on condition that federal troops be removed from the South — ended Reconstruction and support for voting rights for Black males. This was the era of Jim Crow, in which mostly southern Democratic Party states employed a variety of mechanisms — grandfather laws, poll taxes, literacy tests and felon disenfranchisement laws — as tools to entrench single-party rule and prevent African Americans from voting.

States also acted to prevent women, the poor, and young people from voting. All the major initiatives to expand voting came as a result of federal legislation or action. The 17th Amendment gave individuals the right to vote for senators. The 19th and 26th Amendments banned denial of voting based on sex or age. The 23rd Amendment gave the District of Columbia electoral votes for president. The 24th Amendment banned poll taxes. Along with these amendments, the Supreme Court in United States v. Classic ruled that Article I, Section Two of the Constitution gave individuals a right to vote in federal elections.

In Reynolds v. Sims and Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections , the court located a right to vote in state and local elections in the First and 14th Amendments. Most importantly, the adoption of the Voting Rights Act of brought federal enforcement of voting rights, compelling states to preclear changes in election rules and desist from diluting voting rights. Then the Motor Voter Act expanded opportunities to register people to vote.

All of this legislation and court action shared a common denominator — federal intervention into and protection of voting rights against states hostile toward expanding franchise. It began in the s with claims that Motor Voter would lead to fraud. Gore, Republicans cried voter fraud. They demanded voter identification to stem nearly nonexistent fraud. All of this is taking place after the Supreme Court, in in Shelby County v. Holder, effectively dismantled the Voting Rights Act and hobbled federal enforcement of franchise rights.

This time it is not poll taxes or literacy tests, but restrictions on early voting, drop boxes and poll locations — different techniques but the same goals, same results. States may be laboratories of democracy in many ways, but not where it matters most in protecting voting rights. Voting is the most fundamental of all rights, critical to protection of all others. It is also an area of concentrated poverty based on the Saint Paul Comprehensive plan. Yet is located along the central corridor of the light rail line which has rapidly gentrified in the last few years. Once undervalued land has become the target of acquisition and development as traditional neighborhood business have been forced out, selling their property to developers who are turning it into business and housing for more affluent individuals, making the area from Lexington west a de facto suburb for Minneapolis.

The building of the soccer stadium at University and Snelling and the housing plans for the closed shopping center there all point to a development strategy of pushing out the poor and people of color and replacing them with middle class. This is a textbook case of what gentrification means, with other studies reaching this conclusion. The Alatus housing is part of this plan. Wilder Foundation, which is supposed to care about individuals of modest means, sees a huge profit to be made in selling the land for development.

The Alatus project would site housing not for individuals with median incomes living in the area, but clearly to attract a more middle class or affluent base. Such housing would be consistent with other development now occurring in the area, but it would not address the needs of the Rondo residents. It would ignore their needs and place pressures on nearby by property to sell and eventually push gentrification further. As a result, the Frogtown Neighborhood Association and others opposed the project, urging the Saint Paul Planning Commission to veto it. The Planning Commission vote was close, but it did oppose it.

The vote itself was fascinating because leading up to it there were long vacant slots on the Commission that the Mayor had not filled for nearly a year. When he did do so it was close to the timing of his announcement for reelection and he staffed it with choice DFLers, which the Frogtown Neighborhood Association opposed , in part, because they wanted their own appointees. This was a classic DFL intraparty fight over political patronage. After the Planning Commission vote Saint Paul City Council held a hearing, affirming the Planning Commission vote, of which Carter then vetoed it claiming the city needs housing of lots of different kinds.

Similar statements were voiced by the three council members who voted in favor of the Alatus housing. Coincidentally the three members came from golden triangle of the city bordered south by I and east by I This is the most affluent and white area of Saint Paul. There is no debate Saint Paul needs more housing, and it would be good to develop more neighborhoods with mixed-income units to break up concentrated poverty. But there is also an acute need to address a housing shortage and crisis for low to moderate income individuals. The Alatus proposal mostly fails on these points. Mayor Carter has no legal authority to veto the Council action.

Years ago, I wrote an article contrasting what is called quasi-legislative and quasi-legislative hearings in Minnesota law. In many cases where city councils act, they are operating in their legislative or quasi-legislative rolls. This is the case when passing bills, raising taxes, doing a budget. All this, under state law and in Saint Paul is subject to mayoral veto. But in some cases, city councils are acting in a quasi-judicial capacity, serving as an appellate body to review decisions from commissions or other bodies below. If acting in that capacity, mayors have no veto authority and disagreements with the council decisions go to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. In cases such as Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy v.

City of Minneapolis, and Interstate Power Company v. In fact, council reviews and decisions on conditional use permits, variances, special use permits, and historic preservation have all been ruled quasi-judicial by the Minnesota courts. While there is no specific Minnesota decision saying a mayor cannot veto a quasi-judicial decision, the logic is clear. Other states, such as Florida in D. Horton, Inc. Peyton, So. Whether anyone sues on this is a good question. But the political effect is different.

As noted, it does nothing to put breaks on Midway-Rondo gentrification. Tags: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck Free download, epub, pdf, docs, New York Times, ppt, audio books, Bloomberg, NYT, books to read, good books to read, cheap books, good books,online books, books online, book reviews, read books online, books to read online, online library, greatbooks to read, best books to read, top books to The Grapes of Wrath By John Steinbeck books to read online. Search this site. Report abuse. Page details. Page updated. History, after all, will take care of itself. And will then probably change its mind. I suppose it's interesting that so many people in the literary world crave a feeling of control over the whole process.

Where does this craving come from? But maybe that's a topic best explored in another posting. Incidentally, I do understand that for many people, "literary fiction" means "book-fiction for people like us -- college educated, with an academically-trained taste for authorial games, certain widely-acepted chic themes, and fancy prose. And I do get that arguing over what's gonna last and what's not gonna last can be a harmless game. My point here is: Let's not take any of this too seriously. In this excellent piece , the Western novelist Richard S. Wheeler recalls the days before "literary fiction. In this posting , I link to many of the big postings that I've written about writing, publishing, and the writing life.

Incidentally, I have nothing against lit-fict. I wish it well and have enjoyed some of it myself. Back here I supplied an annotated list of my own lit-fict faves. But you won't catch me claiming that they're "the best," let alone arguing over which of them is going to last. While you make some good points and I respect your opinion on this, somehow I'm disappointed in it. Susan -- I'm tickled you visited and read! Eager to hear about it. Dude, I am so glad to read you slamming Salman Rushdie. That guy is the most overrated writer to walk the earth in the last fifty years. Midnight's Children -- what a waste of paper! I think that your view of literature may be too focused on books as discrete culture objects to be evaluated in isolation. I had much the same experience of Ulysses as you -- I read the whole thing, and haven't been tempted to read it again.

I think that, taken by itself, it's very overrated, a fetish object as you say. It's a piece of work where the intrinsic interest of a story or characters is replaced with an "ooh! But viewed not in isolation, but as the nexus of a lot of literary works, I think Ulysses is more interesting. Joyce was a mentor and inspiration for Beckett, and I think Beckett is more interesting than Joyce. More recently, the still-living novelist David Markson has claimed an ongoing obsession with Joyce -- and Joyce's influence is very noticeable in Markson's works. I'm tempted to say that Joyce is more interesting and appealing as an influence on Markson, than Joyce's own works are.

I guess what I am getting at, is that certain works like Ulysses can be viewed as foundational books that are of interest, primarily, to other writers. Joyce is a writer's writer. Expecting these books to be of interest to someone seeking hearty entertainment, is kind of like expecting the average consumer of a cell phone or videogame console to be fascinated by the scientific and technical papers that set forth the fundamental work that made cell phones and videogames possible.

You wouldn't criticize a technical paper by saying, "Hey, can you believe it, reading this paper isn't nearly as fun as playing a videogame on the Playstation! Classic literary fiction, like Ulysses, is for specialists, and its function is not solely, or even primarily, to entertain. It's misleading to hold it to the same standards that you hold "entertaining" fiction. Michael, I read every posting posted here. As soon as the rift in my heart mends and I can collect my thoughts, I shall respond; likely by morning. Literature delivers the awful, portentous, stemwinding truth.

Pop culture won't or can't. Formula bound, the popster, forsooth, Can't get up the steam to deliver a really good rant. Since I'm temperamentally opposed to binaries, my first comment would be that there are more alternatives than these two. To me the real juice is in places like ambulancedriverfiles. And so much of genre writing is about plot that is summoned up out of old TV shows. The stuff that has moxie, legs, grabs you by the ears and makes you wonder and want more, comes out of someone who had lived or watched others live so intensely that they take the care to write it well.

I'm reading "The Raj Quartet," for instance. It doesn't fit either one of your categories. Some of the best writing is coming out of Iraq or the -istans, where life is still passionate and real. The modern distinction between literary fiction and trash seems to echo the distinction between court culture and bourgeois culture in Early Modern Europe. During Elizabeth's reign partronage was a social institution of the first importance, a major force in transforming the great nobles and gentry from independently powerful local magnates into courtiers dependent on the monarch. The queen's chief ministers and favorites Cecil, Leicester, and Essex were the primary channels through which patronage was dispensed to courtiers who wanted offices in the court, the government bureaucracies, the royal household, the army, the church, or the universities or who sought titles, grants of land, leases or similar favors Literary patronage was part of the interlocking patronage system whereby grants, offices and honors were exchanged for service and praise.

We must recognize that the career of a professional man or woman of letters did not exist: literature was regarded as an adjunct activity, not a primary occupation, and there were comparatively few readers, purchasers, and publishers of books. Elizabethan writers of higher rank, like Sidney, thought of themselves as courtiers, statesmen, and landowners; they considered poetry a social grace and a courtly pastime. Writers of lower rank, such as Samuel Daniel and Michael Drayton, sought careers as civil servants, secretaries, tutors and divines And although Nashe scornfully rejected the claim of the bourgeoisie to have any literary taste at all or any ability to produce literarture, that class had its own writers, for example, Thomas Deloney, and it knew what it liked--books of instruction, romances, religious tracts, conduct books, and sensational ballads.

The relationship between the contemporary literary establishment including the NYTBR and the modern governing class seems rather similar to the one that existed in Elizabeth's time between courtier-writers and the increasingly powerful state. That business about seeking "offices in the court, the government bureaucracies, the royal household, the army, the church, or the universities or who sought titles, grants of land, leases or similar favors" certainly sounds rather familiar, once its translated into foundation grants and university posts, no? Actually Don Quixote was immediately recognized by Ben Jonson, poet, dramatist, and the major English critic of the era. And while he never lived to read the Charterhouse , it was the great critic William Hazlitt who mentored Stendhal.

And lets not discount the opinions of contemporary artists. Somehow, despite Milton's contemporary sales being almost zero, Andrew Marvell and John Dryden found there way right to his work. And with Wallace Stevens, never a bestseller, somehow out of all the other stuff out there Elizabeth Bishop, Ernest Hemingway, and Northrop Frye picked right up on Harmonium almost as soon as it came out. Especially with Hazlitt, we have a good example of how if you're a perceptive enough critic you can know what will last. If you read at all widely in Hazlitt you're astonished at his uncanny ability to pick winners, both among past writers and his own contemporaries.

Obviously there aren't going to be many such critics, but why such resistance to the idea that there might actually be someone out there who can pick out who will and who won't last? I'd say that, after Hazlitt, and for all his faults, the second most accurate judge of literature is our contemporary Harold Bloom. Dammit, I hate to admit it, but the bastard is almost always right. And in recent fiction, that means Roth and McCarthy. Nonetheless, in Midnight's Children , I remember both the beginning where the main character is "handcuffed to History" and the hilarious description of the family nose. As for Verses , the tale of Mahound is a terrific novella interspersed here and there among the other parts of a so-so novel.

Its a savage, relentless bit of anti-religious mythmaking and a gripping tale. I'll always remember the satirical poet I forget his name hiding among the whores, all of whom have taken the names of the Prophet's wives, and Mahound's words on executing them all, "Whores and writers, I see no difference here. I admit it, I'm one of those who really likes the judging and ranking part of criticism. I think its fun trying to outpredict other people on what will last, and I do think some people are better at it than others.

A very few are a lot better. But you are spot on about respecting people's honest reactions to art. I much prefer an honest dislike of Shakespeare's work to a pretended appreciation, put on just to maintain appearances. Value judgments are all too often mixed up with questions of social status. In the sixties, the idea that central planning might be able to beat the free market was still very much in the cultural air, so why shouldn't people have felt that way in the literary market, too?

Central planning and lit fict express optimism and aspiration. Onward and upward! Lit fict can still, just barely, be sold to an aspirational audience, though it feels more and more like just another genre. Maybe in a few more years it will be retro, like bell-bottoms: still cool in their way, but no longer a political statement. It appears that I raced to put on my armor at the first sounding of the alarm, only to find that it indeed was merely the dinner bell. First and foremost I respect anyone's personal opinion about any subject matter.

Particularly in these Imus times and the slow decline of rights of free speech, I am reminded once again of the importance that any and all diversity of opinion be allowed its voice. I do apologize for taking immediate reaction in contradiction to that belief. As a fiction writer I am always reading with that different level of acute awareness of language coincidental to the narrative and appreciate a skillfully handled phrase.

If you note my sidebar, I'm slowly loading up my shelves on the "old" books that have endured--most of which are considered pronounced classic literary fiction. The genres included are nearly all: romance, horror, sci fi, fantasy, contemporary, historical, etc. In being lit-minded I've become very aware of the battles going on in little snipes back and forth between the so-called us and them. What it comes down to is that the extremists at either end will do battle between "boring" and "fluff" to allow the rest of us to decide for ourselves what we like. I've read traditional classics I hated or even found unskillfully written; I've found airport grab-its delightful. My own interests are founded in horror Poe, naturally and have run the gamut through most genres and styles.

I have no quarrel with you or anyone else; I value honest opinion over all. My own favorite authors? Steinbeck, Marquez, Faulkner, McCarthy just to name a few. Had a great story. Great characters. And the writing was pretty hot too. I think the biggest liability that Literary Fiction has it that it has yet to produce a real innovation or offer a mind-blowing take on anything. If it doesn't stick in the individual's memory somehow a common theme mentioned in your post and the comments , it won't stick in history's memory.

Since it's often essentially an infinite loop of self-reference and high-calorie sentences, there is often no THERE there to invoke and slaughter Gertrude yet again. If either you aren't just like main character in a Lit Fiction typically a fetishistic, narcissistic, academic nihilist , or you aren't in on the in-joke and esthetics of Lit Fiction, it falls apart like a dandelion in the wind. I didn't address the "how's it become a classic" question, and of course, we can't predict the future based on the past.

But we might get a hint of what will endure in literature: the books that dont' end up given to a friend without firm admonition to return it; the books that don't end up for the Friends of the Library Sale; the books that get placed back on the shelf. FvB has an interesting perspective on the complex relationship between art and status in Elizabethan times. Of course, as he notes, the fact that writing was not at that time a full-time job must be a big part of the difference between today's scene and the Elizabethan world. I think it's pretty clear which of these periods will leave more of an impression on literary history. If we restrict our focus slightly and just look at the last century, it's certainly very interesting to notice the change in the social rank of the literary professional.

It is almost impossible to believe that in , the social status of a banker was usually higher than that of a fiction writer. But it is absolutely the case - the bohemian literati of the s were genuinely disreputable at the time. It was only the smartest and savviest of the aristocracy who knew that it was cool to be, say, Hemingway. Frankly, most of the people I've known who took creative writing classes didn't want to write. They wanted to be writers. They felt that their often undeniable talents, entitled them, in exactly the same way a duke feels entitled, to some species of glory.

Of course everyone knows now that writing literary fiction is not, unless you have a really lucky role of the dice or are a member of at least three of the designated victim groups now in vogue, a good way to make money. But most people will trade money for power. And power is just another name for rank or social prestige - a commodity that universities and journalists can more or less print these days, the way the Fed prints money. But there is basically no surprise here. I mean, X becomes the recipient of enormous and unprecedented state subsidies, X expands to monstrous size, X becomes sterile and bland, X starts to neglect anything that could be described as customer service ie, actually entertaining its readers , X concentrates all its attention on jumping through hoops it invents for itself to maintain its elaborate internal status hierarchy I sometimes wonder if state support for universities isn't actually unconstitutional, on account of the Titles of Nobility clause.

I mean, what's the difference between a Ph. D and a baronetcy? Surely, if we applied the same level of scrutiny we gave, say, religion The only reason there were fewer books by Steinbeck, Faulkner, et. What a great idea! Man, if you got land with a Ph. I definitely would have stayed in grad school But you don't get land with a baronetcy , either. Sorry if my previous comment was a bit obscure. What I was going for was the notion that "literary" fiction vs. The rise of a binary distinction such as "literary" vs "genre" fiction, in essence an "us" vs. A similar situation was occuring in the Elizabethan era with the unprecedented centralization of power and culture around the throne, and the corresponding subordination of baronial centers of power.

This was a key part of the process of forging of modern nation-states by princely absolutists, the central drama of Early Modern Europe. The sense that the way to get ahead for bright, ambitious young men was by flattering the sovereign was something that was relatively new, just as the growing power and ambition of such rulers in the sixteenth century was something new. In the fourteenth century Chaucer, for example, despite being a civil servant who worked for the high nobility and occasionally for kings, was by no means a courtier-poet, because the nobility and royalty of his time were medieval, both in their culture and their goals.

It's fairly easy to see a one-to-one correspondence between the tropes of literary fiction and the thought-processes of today's managerial, professional or financial mandarinate, just as the Faerie Queene reflects the thought-processes of Elizabeth's court. I'm writing something on a similar subject. I think Jane Smiley makes a good defense of the novel for the 21st century era in her book 15 Ways of Looking at the Novel.

While listening to a scriptwriting podcast, I heard the podcaster mention that character trumped plot and yes even style. Style can be copied somewhat and plot can be ripped off, but characters are more unique because they draw upon various literary elements and require a bit of persuasion. Get the character right, and you are not as put off by a recondite style. These are generalizations to be sure, and I'm sure exceptions can be thrown into my face.

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