Wednesday
Apr212010

Oprahicity Watch

You have to feel bad for Oprah Winfrey. It can’t be any fun having someone publish a tell-all book claiming that you have abused drugs, exaggerated stories about being raised poor, and perhaps made up the one about being sexually abused as a child. But you can’t feel too bad for her....

link

Tuesday
Apr202010

Blogginghead with Will Wilkinson

Last week I had a long chat with Will Wilkinson about my book, Rousseau, Sarah Palin, and all sorts of fun stuff. Will's a super smart guy, keeps a great blog, and recently became a Canadian. The link to our Bloggingheads diavlog is right here.

Monday
Apr192010

Interview with Joseph Planta

I did a fun interview with Joseph Planta at thecommentary.ca. You can stream it off his website here. I like doing longish interviews like this, especially when the interviewer has read the book and has thoughtful and challenging questions. Good stuff.

 

Saturday
Apr172010

Best company ever

 

Saturday
Apr172010

The Authenticity Hunt

The excellently named Kathryn Blaze Carlson has a piece in today's National Post riffing on today's authenticity seekers:

Regardless of its root, the quest for authenticity has not been lost on marketers, said Robyn Waters, author of The Trendmaster's Guide: Get a Jump on What the Customer Wants Next and a retail-trend consultant who helped transform Target stores into a destination worthy of being called, "Targé."

"The brand is the holy grail these days, and the first thing is that a brand has to be real, authentic," Ms. Waters said. "In this virtual, slick world that we live in, with the PR machine and the celebrity culture, there comes a time when people want to strip back to the essentials. You can trust ‘real', it's about quality."

 

Wednesday
Apr142010

The Authentic Deli

What ails the Jewish Deli? The same thing that ails the rest of the world: Industrial scale, impersonal, unsustainable. Behold the rise of the the authentic deli:

At Saul’s Restaurant and Deli in Berkeley, Calif., the eggs are organic and cage free, and the ground beef in the stuffed cabbage is grass fed. Its owners, Karen Adelman and Peter Levitt, yanked salami from the menu in November, saying that they could no longer in good conscience serve commercial kosher salami.

“It’s industrially produced meat that gets blessed by a rabbi,” said Mr. Levitt, who came to Saul’s two decades ago from Chez Panisse, just down the street. “We all know that isn’t good enough.”

The two are still trying to find, or make, salami that will align with their vision of the deli of the future: individual, sustainable, affordable and ethical.

 

Monday
Apr122010

Best sentences I read today

And while much of the authenticity search is absurd, not all of it is so easily separable from the self-criticism that has been foundational to Western success. The extremes of Rousseau's heirs are just one of the tolls we'll have to keep paying for freedom of thought and philosophical self-examination

link

Monday
Apr122010

Authenticity Watch: Slum tourism edition

California's a competitive place, perhaps no more so than when it comes to the hamster-wheel of one-upmanship known as competitive authenticity. And so when a group of well-meaning civic activists inaugurated gang tours of LA ("giving tourists a look at the cradle of the nation's gang culture"), it was perhaps inevitable that San Franciscans might look on with some jealousy. Which brings us to Tenderloin Tourism:

But now San Francisco’s civic boosters have decided they want to add a highly unlikely stop to the tourist itinerary: the Uptown Tenderloin, the ragged, druggy and determinedly dingy domain of the city’s most down and out.

And what is the appeal?

“We offer a kind of grittiness you can’t find much anymore,” said Randy Shaw, a longtime San Francisco housing advocate and a driving force behind the idea of Tenderloin tourism. “And what is grittier than the Tenderloin?

Of course, if it's serious gritty authenticity you are looking for, nothing beats getting a tour of Naples by a genuine former mafioso.

 

Wednesday
Apr072010

Q&A

I was asked by Open Book Toronto to answer what they call the "Proust Questionnaire" -- basically a bunch of questions designed to elicit quirky or profound answers. I hate doing these sorts of things (do I have a favourite colour? not really), but here are the results. Not so much quirky or profound as by turns ironic, glib, and sincere.

Tuesday
Apr062010

Palin the Phony

Andrew Sullivan takes issue with David Carr's contention that whatever else she may be, Sarah Palin is certainly authentic:

If anyone is phony in American culture, it is Palin. And those who profit off her. They have a right to do that, as she has a right to invent a past and an identity and a politics from minute to minute. But please drop the idea that she is authentic.

Tuesday
Apr062010

On stage with Nora Young

I'm really looking forward to this event next week in Toronto. On Tuesday April 13th, I'll be on stage at the Gladstone Hotel as part of the This is Not a Reading Series series. The real attraction isn't me but rather Nora Young, the broadcaster, writer, and tweeter who you know from the CBC's Sparks and, once upon a time, Definitely Not the Opera. 

7:30pm, Gladstone Hotel Ballroom, 1214 Queen St. W.

 

Monday
Apr052010

Greetings!

The official launch date of the book is April 6, but both Chapters and Amazon have been shipping copies for a couple of weeks, and it seems to on bookshelves everywhere now. I don't think my publicist is too happy, but it's fine with me, I've never been big fan of the publishing industry's idea of embargoing books until some artificial launch date.

A few reviews have already been published, and Maclean's magazine is publishing an excerpt in the issue being published this week. The Ottawa Citizen has bought the second serial rights, and will run an excerpt either this coming weekend or next.

I have a bunch of media lined up over the next few weeks; I'll put the dates and times and places up as soon as I know what they are.

 

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