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What We're Reading | 11.18.12

Each week, members of the WFPL news team will spotlight interesting stories we've read over the past week for your weekend reading pleasure:Gabe Bullard:I spent the last few days with the Oxford American's "New South Journalism" issue. There are some gems inside, including a piece by Jack Pendarvis about meeting Jerry Lewis. But the two pieces that are about journalism are also the most interesting. The first is author and former Times-Picayune columnist Chris Rose's obituary for the New Orleans newspaper, which is now only printed three days a week, rather than seven. The other is an archived work by Harold Hayes. Hayes was the editor of Esquire in the magazine's good years. The years when the covers were consistently notable. The years when Gay Talease was submitting work. When he wasn't editing magazines, Hayes wrote most of a book about editing magazines, and an excerpt about building an image and the frustrations of dealing with Norman Mailer is reprinted in the Oxford American. The OA edits are behind a paywall, but you can read Hayes' original typewritten chapter here. Read "Stop the Presses," and "Building a Personality."

Rick Howlett:John Hechinger of Bloomberg News has written an interesting piece about the growing number of high-paid administrators at the nation’s public colleges and universities, with a spotlight on Purdue University.   Critics say those salaries could be better spent elsewhere, like on faculty or helping students who struggle with rising tuition and other costs.  But many university officials say the administrators are needed to help raise money when state legislatures are slashing higher education funding.  Read "Critics Boiling Over at Cost of Purdue's Administration."Devin Katayama:I picked up where I left off years ago (American Short Fiction Fall 2009). In it, I found "Mystery Girl" by Rusty Dolleman. The story is a few pages in length, but it captures a young woman’s (early 20s) struggle in a relationship with an older man (mid 30s), who wishes people close to him would die. She assumes because he’s discussed this morose part of this life, and the fact that he doesn’t wish her dead, that their relationship is the strongest. The story is disturbing, and at times dirty, but connects anyone who has ever thought they could pull someone from the dark and emerge into successful light--but instead fails.

Joseph Lord:The British consume more alcohol than American, but why? The answer is rooted in the economic models of drink and how they industries are regulated. This story from Washington Monthly suggests that the American alcohol industry would prefer the U.S. to have a more Brit-style economic model for booze, leading to cheaper drinks and more consumption. A bad or good thing, depending on your outlook. Read "Last Call."Erica Peterson:New Yorker editor David Remnick’s commentary is a call to action on climate change. In the piece, he urges Obama and Washington D.C. to stop the “magical thinking” that ignoring climate change will make it disappear. “Last week, in his acceptance speech, Obama mentioned climate change once again. Which is good, but, at this late date, he gets no points for mentioning. The real test of his determination will be a willingness to step outside the day-to-day tumult of Washington politics and establish a sustained sense of urgency. There will always be real and consuming issues to draw his and the political class’s attention: a marital scandal at the C.I.A., a fiscal battle, an immigration bill, an international crisis. But, all the while, a greater menace grows ever more formidable."Read Remnick's commentary. 

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.