Nightbird Books - what were you thinking? | Street Jazz

Friday, February 27, 2009

Nightbird Books - what were you thinking?

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 3:41 PM

Last year I was sent a book from the Arkansas Free Press to review, Paul Lake’s “political fable ” Cry Wolf. I had high hopes when I began reading the novel, especially as it billed itself as “ . . . an Animal Farm for the 21st century: a brilliant allegory of the political challenges we face in post 9/11 America.”

A more detailed description is found on the website of Fayetteville’s Nightbird Books, where author Lake is a a guest this Saturday morning.

Paul Lake's Cry Wolf is a powerful tale about America's place in the world and a warning about the inherent dangers of unregulated immigration and identity politics. This narrative tells the story of the animals of Green Pastures Farm. The farm's balance and peace is irrevocably shaken when a wounded doe is allowed into the farm enclosure and is followed by an influx of other wild animals who threaten not only the farm's hard-earned winter food supply, but the very ideals on which Green Pastures Farm was founded.

Though my review has not yet seen print,  since the Free Press is on a publishing hiatus, I feel I have to say something today about Cry Wolf. It is powerful only in the sense that Paul Lake seems to enforce every cliche and fear that a society may have of The Others - those not a natural part of our group.

It is an indictment of diversity, and education, and common sense. As I was reading it, I felt it was a love song to nativism, and even to bigotry, in that the creatures from the outside are depicted as the most unappealing animals (foxes, skunks, possums) - except for the injured doe which first appears on the farm.

Considering the well-deserved reputation that Nightbird Books has for quality presentations in the community, would it be too much to ask that someone from Nightbird actually have read the book before booking this event?


Cry Wolf has one thing going for it, though

My own novel, Freedom Run, has a cover which can most charitably be described as wretched. So the cover on Cry Wolf, by artist J.P. Targete, a particularly beautiful one, drew me in. Sad to say, once more, you can’t judge a book by its cover.


Quote of the Day

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will have to deal with pain. - James Baldwin


ERA: Let the Panic begin!

The Family Council has been making “robo-calls” and sending out emails, warning us all of the dangers to our society if the Arkansas legislature passes the ERA. Among their scare tactics, according to the email I got today:

1. The proposed Federal Equal Rights Amendment would make all state and federal laws gender neutral. Since laws could no longer be based on gender, Arkansas' law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman would be in serious jeopardy.

2. Restrictions on abortions would likely be ruled as discrimination against women, since they are the only ones who have abortions.

3. A Federal Equal Rights Amendment would be used to attack same-sex organizations like the Boy Scouts of America for "discrimination".

4. It would create issues regarding the drafting of women into the military and female soldiers serving in combat.

5. Insurance companies might not be able to set different rates for men and women.

6. Fraternities, sororities, and all-male or all-female schools would be in serious jeopardy.

Not to mention uni-sex bathrooms in our public schools! Well, they haven’t tried that one yet, but surely it’s only a matter of time.


Best name for a bar - bar none

When I spent my freshman year at Penn State, it was at a satellite campus located in Throop, Pennsylvania. A few blocks from campus was a bar named, The Throop College of Beer Knowledge.

It being the 1970s, a side door was marked, “Co-Ed Entrance.”


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