From the Stacks: March 17, 2006

Utne receives some 1,200 magazines, newsletters, journals,
weeklies, and zines. Add in hundreds of books, CDs, and DVDs, and
it’s a flood of media that lines the walls of our library and piles
high on our desks. All the ideas, people, and stories inspire
lively daily chatter, but they can’t all fit into our bimonthly
magazine. So we share the gems here in our weekly editions of ‘From
the Stacks.’ Check in every Friday for the freshest highlights of
the independent and alternative media.

Since the mid-1990s, a
decentralized outfit called
CrimethInc. has published
seditious books, tabloids, and other propaganda about living one’s
dreams and ‘dismantling capitalism.’ This week’s mailing from
CrimethInc. includes a 621-page book titled
Recipes for
Disaster: An Anarchist Cookbook/A Moveable Feast
with
how-to-do-it chapters on ‘asphalt mosaics,’ banner drops, billboard
improvement, classroom takeover, sabotage, squatting, stenciling,
and dozens of other ‘direct action’ projects. For those with
patience to sit and watch, a two-disc, 312-minute ‘Guerrilla Film
Series, Vol. 1’ includes documentaries on old-growth forest
protection, the 1999 Seattle World Trade Organization protests, and
repression at the 2003 Free Trade Area of the Americas
demonstrations in Miami. For the less ambitious there’s a
collection of vapid Bukowskian poems by ex-convict Raegan Butcher
(Rusty String
Quartet
). Filling out the shipment: pamphlets (‘A
Civilian’s Guide to Direct Action,’ ‘D.I.Y. Guide II,’ and
‘CrimethInc. Worker Bulletins 47 & 74’), stickers (‘YOU ARE
UNDER SURVEILLANCE’ and ‘THIS PHONE IS TAPPED’),
Stella Marrs postcards,
and four posters, one featuring art by
Nikki
McClure
. — Chris Dodge

The April issue of
The
Ecologist
gives readers some nutritious food for thought.
The UK-based magazine examines the problem of feeding
over-processed foods to prison inmates. While junk food is clearly
not the only reason people turn to crime, the article ponders
whether giving prisoners a better diet may prevent some violence
and recidivism. Citing studies that tie drops in violence to better
food, the article asks, ‘Why are we waiting?’ The issue also
profiles Al Crisci, dubbed a ‘Food Hero,’ who supplies prisoners
with tasty, nutritious, organic meals that don’t cost much. His
culinary leadership even provides some prisoners with the
opportunity for employment in the catering business after lockup.
Bennett Gordon

Recently redesigned,
2003
Utne Independent Press Award
winner
Art Papers is one
of the United States’ foremost digests of art and theory. At first
glance, their March/April issue pops with stunning images from the
rarefied world of theory-based art. But don’t let that fool you:
The magazine is as much about the world that produces art as it is
about the world that art creates. This issue moves thoughtfully
from New Orleans’ post-Katrina art scene to Cuba’s political and
cultural identity as represented in the photography and film of
Stan Douglas. Like the perfect guided tour through a foreign and
beautiful land, Art Papers wheels you past dislocated,
alluring images while not neglecting to tell you how, and why, they
are meaningful in their cultural context. — Nick Rose

Standing in stark contrast to anything I was read as
a child, the picture book
Der
Struwwelpeter
just arrived in our library. Originally
written in German by Heinrich Hoffmann in 1844, the book is a
series of ‘cautionary tales’ meant to scare children into good
behavior: One child sucks his thumb until it gets cut off by a mad
tailor. Struwwelpeter, the title character whose name translates to
Slovenly Peter, refuses to bathe until he is overcome with filth.
‘Don’t believe me? Take a whiff / Puke or poop’s a better sniff!’
The book arrived with two others from
Fantagraphics Books:
Sheep of Fools, a frighteningly graphic depiction of the
sheep industry, and Darling Cheri, a pornographic picture
book recounting a breakup. The politically incorrect tales of
Der Struwwelpeter are wonderfully illustrated by Bob
Staake and due out in April. — Bennett Gordon

Education
Next
, by ‘presenting the facts as best they can be
determined,’ aims to stem the tide of a national education policy
that originates more from ideology than from practice. Giving voice
to a chorus of education specialists around the country while
avoiding any ‘program, campaign, or ideology,’ the spring issue is
packed with prescient analysis that, like a good teacher, edifies
but doesn’t proselytize. Though not without its skeletons in the
closet — Education Next is a publication of the
conservative

Hoover Institution
— the magazine nevertheless sets the bar
high with editorial content that is, by and large, meaty, in-depth,
and reason-based. — Nick Rose

Surgically attached to a stark white counter in the
Apple store were iPods in candy apple green, Barbie pink,
eye-jolting blue, and sleek silver. My mission: Choose a color that
would display my unique personality among the hordes of plugged in
iTunes junkies. I spent days agonizing over the decision, followed
by more days agonizing over the fact that I had agonized over what
color iPod to buy. So when Anthony Dunne’s book —
Hertzian Tales: Electronic Products, Aesthetic Experience, and
Critical Design
— landed on my desk, I was eager to read
that someone else was as preoccupied with the design aesthetic of
modern technology as I was. Through six essays, including ‘The
Electronic as Post-optimal Object’ and (In)human Factors,’ Dunne
tackles the relationship between fine art and electronics, and
their current and potential impacts on everyday life. First
published by the Royal College of Art 1999, the revised edition of
Hertzian Tales is due out from MIT Press next month. —
Kristen Mueller

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