Sunday links: Vonnegut, McCarthy, & libraries, not jails

Here are a few stories for your Sunday:

1. Kurt Vonnegut, the Art of Fiction No. 64

VONNEGUT: The Germans could see us, because they were talking to us through a loudspeaker. They told us our situation was hopeless, and so on. That was when we fixed bayonets. It was nice there for a few minutes.


VONNEGUT: Being a porcupine with all those steel quills. I pitied anybody who had to come in after us.

INTERVIEWER: But they came in anyway?

VONNEGUT: No. They sent in eighty-eight millimeter shells instead.

2. Cormac McCarthy Cuts to the Bone “Blood Meridian used to be a much different novel. McCarthy’s early drafts reveal how an American masterpiece was born.”

3. First, the bad news. November 14: Official wants to de-fund library, users should “go back to Mexico.”

Library funding in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, may be diverted to a new jail thanks to a legislator who doesn’t approve of the library’s programs. Jail proponent and chair of the Lafourche Parish Council Lindel Toups supports a ballot measure that would take funding away from libraries.

“They’re teaching Mexicans how to speak English,” Toups told the local Tri-Parish Times, referencing Biblioteca Hispana, a Spanish-language section of one of the nine branch libraries. “Let that son of a bitch go back to Mexico. There’s just so many things they’re doing that I don’t agree with. … Them junkies and hippies and food stamps [recipients] and all, they use the library.”

4. Then, the good. November 16: Louisiana parish votes to save library fund after commissioner’s rant about ‘teaching Mexicans how to speak English’ there.

Some people actually are bad. In case you’re wondering, I count “people who want to take money from libraries because they hate them on principal” in this category. Promoting ignorance, despising folks who use their local library, and wanting to strip communities of the chance to learn, so they can instead build jails… yeah, I’m going to stop now, before I launch into a rant that will blow up my keyboard.

5. To get rid of the lingering taste of bitterness from that story: Batkid.

9 responses to “Sunday links: Vonnegut, McCarthy, & libraries, not jails

  1. Last month, Neil Gaiman recounted a talk about saving libraries, which included:

    “I was once in New York, and I listened to a talk about the building of private prisons – a huge growth industry in America. The prison industry needs to plan its future growth – how many cells are they going to need? How many prisoners are there going to be, 15 years from now? And they found they could predict it very easily, using a pretty simple algorithm, based on asking what percentage of 10 and 11-year-olds couldn’t read. And certainly couldn’t read for pleasure. It’s not one to one: you can’t say that a literate society has no criminality. But there are very real correlations.”


  2. As one of the hippie junkie hordes that use their local library, I thank you, Meg. 😀

  3. It seems to me that Mr. Toups should familiarize himself with the English Language section of his local library including resources on Grammar.

  4. Never thought of myself a hippie junkie before (unless you count my too ample hips and love of Dove dark chocolate…) but as a librarian, maybe I’m a really a queen of the hippie junkies!!! Where’s my tiara?

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