From the Stacks: December 1, 2006


| December 2006


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.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the venerable Alabama-based civil rights organization, prints the good with the bad in its quarterly publication, SPLC Report. Alongside examinations of racist extremism and human rights abuses are heartening tales of justice and tolerance. The September 2006 issue discusses Congressional reactions to the SPLC's July report on racist extremists in the military. As for positive developments, we learn that a major Hurricane Katrina contractor has been taken to task. Migrant workers who were active in post-Katrina cleanup and rebuilding will finally be paid for overtime labor. The SPLC also publishes Intelligence Report, which focuses on in-depth investigations of extremist activities and hate groups in the United States. -- Danielle Maestretti

Buddhism Today, published by the California nonprofit Diamond Way Buddhist Centers USA, is aimed at Westerners 'leading normal, active lives, who wish to understand and experience [the] mind's vast potential.' The Fall/Winter 2006 issue applies the Eastern religion to Western culture by depicting 'The Brain in Meditation' and discussing the value of meditation retreats in Western life. Another instance of fusion is found in Gretchen Rose Newmark's 'Counseling as a Buddhist Practice.' As a nutrition therapist, Newmark helps those with ailments such as compulsive eating or anorexia find the 'happiness and freedom' they are searching for by teaching them to be mindful -- but not judgmental -- of their bodies' needs and their relationships with food. The idea is that the healing then follows naturally. -- Suzanne Lindgren

The Borderlands Theater in Tucson, Arizona, may be 63 miles from the US-Mexico border, but inside, illegal crossing and immigration issues are played out at arm's length. The December issue of American Theatre spotlights the playhouse's newest production, Evangeline Ordaz's Visitor's Guide to Arivaca (Map Not to Scale), which writer Kerri Allen sums up this way: 'Those who arrived with a one-dimensional view of the immigration problem had their tunnel-vision dispelled in short order.' The rest of the publication reads like an industry insider, informing thespians and craftspeople of opportunities and showcasing productions from around the world. -- Rachel Anderson



'Think for yourself or they will think for you,' reads the caption of an anti-ad featuring a man, a baseball bat, and a mountain of smashed televisions. Justin Renteria's work is just one of many that goads readers away from the siren song of commercialism in the January/February issue of Adbusters. This month's cover section satirizes a recent layout in Vogue Italia, which featured a model donning a red dress whilst sprawled on the ground, a man's foot on her neck and battalion at her chest. Adbusters took the theme a bit further, offering pricing on all accoutrements ('assault rifle $3600') so that readers might create their own fashion-forward world of police brutality. -- Rachel Anderson

Air Canada's in-flight magazine, EnRoute, caught my eye this week with its two-page photo commentary on consumerism. The spread features artist Colwyn Griffith's mini Great Wall of China made out of Rice Krispie Treats and England's Millennium Dome crafted out lifesavers. The magazine contains the requisite destination information and reviews, but the November 'Food Issue,' with articles in both English and French, is stylish enough that it could easily be confused with a glossy sold at a newsstand. Especially cool were the five delightfully useful pages dedicated to prize-winning tips on everything from how to concoct the best chocolate (it's all in the chemistry) to how to make the perfect pizza crust (think flavor). -- Jenna Fisher