Saturday, June 07, 2008

Catching up with AmEx

Looking at my blog, I noticed there were a few things I did last year or earlier this year that I did not mention or link to. Two of them are websites for American Experience films:

Oswald's Ghost and Whitman.

Oswald's Ghost is about the impact of the Kennedy assassination on the nation's psyche, the rise of conspiracy theorists and a general increase in paranoia among Americans.

Whitman tells the story of Walt Whitman, considered by many to be America's greatest poet. I didn't know much about Whitman before my research but I found him to be a rather fascinating person and his story reveals a lot about 19th century American society.

Good stuff on both sites (that's praise for the AmEx team, not self-congratulations) and Whitman can be streamed online for free.

Letter editing

Further adventures in my life as a letter writing crank:

This is from the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, May 25, 2008, in response to a short piece by Charles Pierce. I'm not sure what Rosie Crocker's problem with it was, but I thought it was a good bit of historical reflection. In fact, this is what I wrote to the author originally:

Hi Charlie (hope you don't mind the familiar, but your voice [written and
spoken] has become as familiar to me as a friend),

I've enjoyed your work in various national magazines, in Altercation and in
the Globe, as well as on Wait Wait and Only a Game. I have to admit that
Pierced is the venue I least prefer--something about the length and
position in the magazine seems to encourage short rants which are amusing,
but trifling.

That said, I quite enjoyed the latest edition of Pierced and wanted to
encourage you to write more about the history of this city and region.
That's the sort of contextualization that is lost in the news (and I write
as someone who never watched televised news--I'm just referring to
newspapers and radio) but which we need more of.

Keep up the good work; I look forward to reading your next missive,


(Jack Cheng)
As a proper letter writing crank, I should have written directly to the editor and kept it short. Ah well.