From the Stacks: June 8, 2007


| June 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.

New to the Utne Reader library this week is the Dubliner, self-described as 'Ireland's best city magazine.' The June issue opens with a 'New Rich/New Poor' package, which includes an interesting piece on how the country's young bourgeois are incurring rising debts due to loose spending habits. Also in the cluster is the provocative and funny 'Ten Reasons Why Money Has Been Good For Ireland.' In it, writer Conn Corrigan argues that an influx of money has brought more than just wealth to the island; it also has made the Irish people healthier, more tolerant, and even better looking. The Dubliner is a grab-all lifestyle magazine with articles ranging from opinion pieces on what those waging the 'war on terror' can learn from Ireland's Sinn Fein, to photo essays and entertainment reviews. The magazine's biting sense of humor -- as evidenced by the 'Bonologue,' an irreverent fake diary of the U2 superstar-turned-humanitarian -- keeps the heavier pieces from weighing it down. -- Eric Kelsey

An illustration of an obstreperous drill sergeant trampling sunning coeds underfoot runs across the cover of the June issue of the Progressive. The accompanying story travels to the spring break mecca of Panama City Beach, Florida, where Army recruiters are trying to enlist some of America's finest beer-guzzling students. In relaying several conversations with often-drunk collegians, author Kirk Nielsen makes it clear that the Army is trying to tap the wrong crowd. 'Are we going to get shot?' one partier responds to entreaties. 'Because I'm kind of tipsy.' The more sober-minded spring breakers balk at a $20,000 sign-on bonus and tuition compensation as an unequal trade for the possibility of being shipped off to fight. The issue also features an obituary for Kurt Vonnegut written by historian, friend, and columnist Howard Zinn. And in the 'Progressive Interview,' managing editor Amitabh Pal sits down with Germany's former foreign minister Joschka Fischer, the 60s radical who ascended to the leadership spot as the head of the German Greens. -- Eric Kelsey

A guano-rich cave in the Missouri Ozarks teems with blind salamanders, pseudo-scorpions, and other rare troglobites, and Tom and Cathy Aley are determined to keep it that way. The couple's passion for conserving caves and the native fauna found therein is just one of the environmental tales brought to a national readership by OnEarth, the quarterly magazine from the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the nation's largest environmental organizations. In addition to troglobites, news items, and dispatches on the nonprofit's work, the Summer issue highlights Lowville, New York, a small farming town that has been transformed by a massive new wind farm. Awarded an Utne Independent Press Award for general excellence in magazines in 2005, OnEarth continues to provide essential information for environmentalists. -- Natalie Hudson



The June/July issue of Minnesota Law & Politics takes a star turn with 2008 senatorial candidate Al Franken donning its cover. In a lengthy interview, the comedian-turned-pundit-turned-political-hopeful pushes his talking points, distances himself from his satire, and inveighs against incumbent Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman. The issue's gem, however, is an article parsing the fallout from the short-term appointment of Robert Delahunty -- co-author with John Yoo of a controversial Department of Justice memo on the detention of enemy combatants (not the more infamous 'torture memo') -- at the University of Minnesota Law School, which is known for its human rights program. -- Eric Kelsey

Surely there are words to encapsulate the whole of Vallum, but mine were left behind in the folds of the contemporary poetry magazine; all that remain are the often-interchangeable feelings of bewilderment and wonderment. Fittingly, 'wonder' is the theme of the journal's latest issue, which contains an eclectic and colorful collection of original art, poetry, and essays that unravel the world from bizarre and fantastic perspectives. Published twice a year by the Vallum Society for Arts and Letters Education in Montreal, the journal prints works from a host of Canadian, American, and international writers, providing a refreshing variety of style and range of voice. -- Natalie Hudson