From the Stacks: August 3, 2007

Utne Reader‘s library is abuzz with a steady flow of 1,500
magazines, newsletters, journals, weeklies, zines, and other lively
dispatches from the cultural front that are rarely found at big-box
bookstores, newsstands, or even online. So we share the highlights
(and occasional lowlights) of what’s landing in our library each
week in ‘From the Stacks.’ Check in every Friday for the latest
edition.

In the debut issue of Meatpaper, editors Amy Standen and Sasha
Wizansky describe the magazine as ‘an investigation into what we
see as a growing cultural trend of meat consciousness.’ San
Francisco chef Chris Cosentino, interviewed by Standen, is helping
to foster that understanding with his unorthodox cuisine of offal.
Known to butchers as the ‘fifth quarter,’ offal is essentially
what’s left after what Americans regard as choice cuts are packaged
for the supermarket. (The term derives from the phrase ‘off fall.’)
Serving up spleen and tripe is part of Consentino’s effort to
expand his customers’ palates and bring them closer to the animals
they eat. ‘What I try to do,’ he says, ‘is make people understand a
whole-animal ethic.’ — Eric Kelsey

ComicsJournalAlternative and subversive comics are given their
due respect, thought, and artful appreciation in the
Comics
Journal
. Published eight times a year by
Fantagraphics Books, the publication offers 200
pages of reviews, artist interviews, analyses of contemporary and
historical comics, and scores of comics ranging from the absurdly
grotesque to the affectionately playful. Highlights from the July
issue include a lengthy interview with artist Gene Yang, author of
the graphic novel American Born Chinese. Yang talks about
the mainstream success of his work, including the infiltration of
his comics into middle school lesson plans. — Natalie
Hudson

Never too big for its own good,
Small
Farm Today
effectively covers a variety of issues relevant
to rural, ecofriendly, and agrarian communities. The bimonthly
magazine offers farming advice in the larger contexts of community
and the environment. In the May/June issue John Ikerd, professor
emeritus at the University of Missouri, questions whether the
global capitalism practiced today is sustainable. (The short answer
is ‘no,’ but the long answer is much more interesting.) Other
features look at ‘How to Save Money on Lawnmower Repairs’ and
making raised garden beds out of cinder blocks. — Natalie
Hudson

Another dispatch from the farm arrived in the library this week.
As ‘The Voice of Eco-Agriculture’ for the past 35 years,
Acres
USA
gets into the down and dirty of ecoconscious farming
— the techniques, the politics, and the farmers. This monthly
magazine from Austin, Texas, profiles farms and farmers nationwide,
detailing the philosophies and economics that sustain the industry.
In the August issue, Rebecca Reider looks to New Zealand to figure
out whether an ‘organic cartel’ of international cooperation would
be a smart way for farmers to consolidate their resources. Reider
concludes that organic farmers and marketers must find a way to
combat the cheaper-is-better mentality of supermarkets and chain
stores. — Julie Dolan

The July/August issue of
Academe, a magazine catering to university
professors, takes an in-depth look at US military academies. In a
synopsis of a two-year, in-house study conducted by two US Air
Force Academy, professors  Kathleen Harrington and Jackson A.
Niday II write that oaths of office and the US constitution command
military officers ‘to think more critically, more accurately, and
more independently’ to ensure academic freedom. Also in the issue,
English professor Lucretta A. Flammang examines the role of the
humanities in the Coast Guard Academy where she teaches. According
to Flammang, the decline of the humanities has coincided with the
rise of pop culture images and stereotypes of soldiers as ‘an ideal
of masculinity that values action over thought.’ — Eric
Kelsey

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