Reading Milk and Reviewing the War


This weekend, I read Milk by Darcy Steinke. I found it at work in the office library. Grist being a media shop, we get advance copies of books from publishers looking to review or a plug on the website. This book looked out of place among the books about Alaska Wilderness preservation and how to successfully manage a green business. A random flip in the pages landed me into a descriptive and highly explicit sex scene the reminded me of reading pulp erotica back when I was 14. So naturally I had to take it home and get it a read, if not for the general curiosity of why such a book would have ecological importance (not to say sex and the environment work are mutually exclusive, sometimes sex is environmental work).

After reading half the book, I found not a stag novel, nor a environmental book, but rather a dreamy prose about sex, religion, loneliness and finding god. It was interesting. I’m not used to reading light and poetic “art” novels, which is what this book felt to me. I should check out more of the author’s work.

NY Times Review of Milk | Milk on

Iraq War, five years later — what you should check out.

The five year anniversary of the Iraq war passed recently, and there has been a fury of “where we are now” pieces done up by most of the mainstream media. I’ve observed that most of these reports are painfully short and shallow. Despite a sea of content coming out of books, blogs, films, and news stories, I can only acknowledge two programs that gave a deep, thoughtful chronologies and assessments of this troublesome war.

Frontline aired a 4 hour documentary called “Bush’s War”, perhaps the best news documentary on the war to date. Frontline as a news organization has covered this war so well, so in-depth, I’m sure this video document will be shown in schools years from now. Things that makes this stand out from other reports on the subject is it’s scale, and the number of current and former government officials that were involved in the war giving honest, long explanations of what happened and their opinions of the situation. It doesn’t paint the administration well, but at this point, making the Bush administration look good in context of the war is like putting perfume on a sack of shit. What it does show is a divided government (even more interesting a divided executive, the civil war going in the White House during most of the Afghanistan offensive and the planning the the Iraq invasion), and a vivid picture of modern America coming to grips with the use and misuse of it’s power.

The other piece comes from the radio show On the media, this time giving a refresh of how the media covered the war.  This reflexive look at the goings on in a war of embedded reporters, the war of Iraqi stringers and Solider bloggers, gives a solid review of this, the first media saturated war.

Note that both these pieces comes from pubic media, PBS/WGBH and NPR/WNYC respectively. These shows are a testament to the quality public broadcasting, such richness makes the typical news weekly news program seem airy and trivial.

Frontline Documentary | On the Media program


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