1. Few things move me to email strangers, but this post made me email Andrew Sullivan. Dude links to an article about American Idol’s Southerners and a lack of recording opportunities for Southerners that doesn’t even mention Nashville. Here’s my theory–and I’m right–about why there are so many Southerners on American Idol. Southerners go to church a lot more than the rest of the country, which means there are a lot more Southern teenagers in church, some of whom are singing, and some of whom are getting solos. There are more Southerners not because they lack opportunities to record, but because they have more opportunities to perform in front of a crowd. They come with some polish.
2. Cool story out of Clarksville about two men who share the family farm. I know everyone’s experience with finding their slave ancestors–or hell, even if they want to find their slave ancestors–is a kind of weird personal journey, but I swear, for the people who want to look, the responses I keep hearing and reading over and over are like Jackie Collins’s, “I was glad to find them. They had a name. They were human. They were real.” I think white people are kind of worried that, if black people find out who their slave ancestors were, they will immediately cast about for the people who enslaved them and look to be pissed at them. But you know, it’s not about us white people. We aren’t the center of every American story. A person can want to know who his great-great-great grandmother was without then turning his whole life into a revenge fantasy against the man who fucked her over.
3. An interview with Dorothy Parker. I aspire to always be so vibrantly engaged with things.
4. The Chronicle has a story about the shut-down of the University of Missouri Press. A whole lot of college administrators seem to be under the strange impression that librarians will just be able to and have the time to teach themselves how to publish books.