The reach of the car today is almost universal, and its effect on landscapes, cityscapes, cultures - indeed, on the very fabric of the modern world - is profound. Cars have brought benefits to individuals in terms of mobility and expanded horizons, but the cost has been very high in terms of damage to the environment and the consumption of precious resources. Despite the growing belief that a Faustian price is now being paid for the freedom cars have bestowed on us, we are none the less manufacturing them in ever greater numbers.Autopia is the first book to explore the culture of the motor car in the widest possible sense. Featuring newly commissioned essays by writers, critics, historians, artists and film-makers, as well as reprinting key texts, it examines the effect of the car throughout the world, including the USA, Western and Eastern Europe, Japan, China, Cuba, India and South Africa. In this book the car is treated neither as a technological fetish object nor as an instrument of danger. Instead, it is examined as a hugely important determinant of 20th-century culture, neither wholly good nor an unmitigated disaster, and certainly endlessly fascinating. Contributors include Michael Bracewell, Ziauddin Sardar, Al Rees, Martin Pawley, Donald Richie and Peter Hamilton. Key texts by Marshall Berman, Jane Jacobs, Roland Barthes, Marc Aug and others.
From the author of the highly acclaimed heavy metal memoir, Fargo Rock City, comes another hilarious and discerning take on massively popular culture--set in Chuck Klosterman's den and your own--covering everything from the effect of John Cusack flicks to the crucial role of breakfast cereal to the awesome power of the Dixie Chicks. Countless writers and artists have spoken for a generation, but no one has done it quite like Chuck Klosterman. With an exhaustive knowledge of popular culture and an almost effortless ability to spin brilliant prose out of unlikely subject matter, Klosterman attacks the entire spectrum of postmodern America: reality TV, Internet porn, Pamela Anderson, literary Jesus freaks, and the real difference between apples and oranges (of which there is none). And don't even get him started on his love life and the whole Harry-Met-Sally situation. Whether deconstructing Saved by the Bell episodes or the artistic legacy of Billy Joel, the symbolic importance of The Empire Strikes Back or the Celtics/Lakers rivalry, Chuck will make you think, he'll make you laugh, and he'll drive you insane--usually all at once. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs is ostensibly about art, entertainment, infotainment, sports, politics, and kittens, but--really--it's about us. All of us. As Klosterman realizes late at night, in the moment before he falls asleep, "In and of itself, nothing really matters. What matters is that nothing is ever 'in and of itself.'" Read to believe.
From the master chronicler of the marvelous and the confounding-author of "Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder"-here is a much-anticipated new collection of more than twenty pieces from the past two decades, the majority of which have never before been gathered together in book form.
Lawrence Weschler is not simply a superb reporter, essayist, and cultural observer; he is also an uncanny collector and connector of wonders. In "Vermeer in Bosnia," whether he is reporting on the aftermath of the Yugoslav wars (and noticing, for example, how centuries earlier Vermeer had had to invent the peace and serenity we so prize in his work today from a youth during which all of Europe had been as ravaged as Bosnia) or dissecting the special quality of light in his beloved hometown of Los Angeles, Weschler's perceptions are often startling, his insights both fresh and profound.
Included here is Weschler's remarkable profile of Roman Polanski-written years before the release of The Pianist, yet all but predicting the director's confrontation with the Holocaust in that film-alongside an equally celebrated portrait of Ed Weinberger, a young designer crushed and yet hardly bowed by an extreme form of Parkinson's disease. Here is Weschler limning his own experience as the grandson of an eminent Weimar-era composer, and then as the befuddled father of an eminently fetching daughter. Here is Weschler on Art Spiegelman, David Hockney, Ed Kienholz, and Wislawa Szymborska.
Here, in short, are some of the most dazzling pieces from Lawrence Weschler's own brimming cabinet of marvels.
"A powerful book, hard to forget . . . Carcaterra is an excellent writer, changing pace here and there but never letting the reader go. . . . Sensitive, humorous, and harrowing, featuring dialogue with perfect pitch."--The Denver Post "A gut-wrenching piece of work . . . Lorenzo] Carcaterra's graphic narrative grips like gunfire in a dark alley."--The Atlanta Journal-Constitution "A terrifying account of brutality and retribution, searing in its emotional truth, peopled with murderers, sadists, and thugs, but biblical in its passion and scope."--People
"This book is an exploration. By means of words, signs, drawings. Mescaline, the subject explored." In Miserable Miracle, the great French poet and artist Henri Michaux, a confirmed teetotaler, tells of his life-transforming first encounters with a powerful hallucinogenic drug. At once lacerating and weirdly funny, challenging and Chaplinesque, his book is a breathtaking vision of interior space and a piece of stunning writing wrested from the grip of the unspeakable.Includes forty pages of black-and-white drawings.
The authors of Toxic Sludge Is Good for You unmask the sneaky and widespread methods industry uses to influence opinion through bogus experts, doctored data, and manufactured facts.
We count on the experts. We count on them to tell us who to vote for, what to eat, how to raise our children. We watch them on TV, listen to them on the radio, read their opinions in magazine and newspaper articles and letters to the editor. We trust them to tell us what to think, because there's too much information out there and not enough hours in a day to sort it all out.
We should stop trusting them right this second.
In their new book Trust Us, We're Experts : How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles with Your Future, Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, authors of Toxic Sludge Is Good For You, offer a chilling expos on the manufacturing of "independent experts."
Public relations firms and corporations know well how to exploit your trust to get you to buy what they have to sell: Let you hear it from a neutral third party, like a professor or a pediatrician or a soccer mom or a watchdog group. The problem is, these third parties are usually anything but neutral. They have been handpicked, cultivated, and meticulously packaged in order to make you believe what they have to say--preferably in an "objective" format like a news show or a letter to the editor. And in some cases, they have been paid handsomely for their "opinions."
You think that nonprofit organizations just give away their stamps of approval on products? Bristol-Myers Squibb paid $600,000 to the American Heart Association for the right to display AHA's name and logo in ads for its cholesterol-lowering drug Pravachol. SmithKline Beecham paid the American Cancer Society $1 million for the right to use its logo in ads for Beecham's Nicoderm CQ and Nicorette anti-smoking ads.
You think that a study out of a prestigious university is completely unbiased? In 1997, Georgetown University's Credit Research Center issued a study which concluded that many debtors are using bankruptcy as an excuse to wriggle out of their obligations to creditors. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen cited the study in a Washington Times column and advocated for changes in federal law to make it harder for consumers to file for bankruptcy relief. What Bentsen failed to mention was that the Credit Research Center is funded in its entirety by credit card companies, banks, retailers, and others in the credit industry; that the study itself was produced with a $100,000 grant from VISA USA, Inc. and MasterCard International; and that Bentsen himself had been hired to work as a credit-industry lobbyist.
You think that all grassroots organizations are truly grassroots? In 1993, a group called Mothers Opposing Pollution (MOP) appeared, calling itself "the largest women's environmental group in Australia, with thousands of supporters across the country." Their cause: A campaign against plastic milk bottles. It turned out that the group's spokesperson, Alana Maloney, was in truth a woman named Janet Rundle, the business partner of a man who did P.R. for the Association of Liquidpaperboard Carton Manufacturers--the makers of paper milk cartons.
You think that if a scientist says so, it must be true? In the early 1990s, tobacco companies secretly paid thirteen scientists a total of $156,000 to write a few letters to influential medical journals. One biostatistician received $10,000 for writing a single, eight-paragraph letter that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. A cancer researcher received $20,137 for writing four letters and an opinion piece to the Lancet, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and The Wall Street Journal.
Rampton and Sta...
Cigarettes are bad for you; that is why they are so good. With its origins in the author's urgent desire to stop smoking, Cigarettes Are Sublime offers a provocative look at the literary, philosophical, and cultural history of smoking. Richard Klein focuses on the dark beauty, negative pleasures, and exacting benefits attached to tobacco use and to cigarettes in particular. His appreciation of paradox and playful use of hyperbole lead the way on this aptly ambivalent romp through the cigarette in war, movies (the "Humphrey Bogart cigarette"), literature, poetry, and the reflections of Sartre to show that cigarettes are a mixed blessing, precisely sublime.
Hedges, a veteran correspondent, has reported on the front lines in the Balkans, the Middle East and Central America. Here, he discusses how friends, enemies, colleagues and strangers can become intoxicated and even addicted to the heady brew of war.