From the Stacks: March 31, 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.

A slim monthly out of San Diego,
Zenger’s
Newsmagazine
is named after John Peter Zenger, a publisher
whose 1735 court case ‘established, for the first time in America,
the concept of freedom of the press.’ The April 2006 issue profiles
Jennifer Schumaker, a lesbian single mother who, in a long line of
past walkers, is undertaking a journey on foot in order to advocate
for social change. Her ‘Walk for Togetherness,’ slated to begin
April 8, will take her from San Diego to San Francisco. It’s an
attempt to promote the ‘rainbow ribbon’ as a symbol of one’s
solidarity with the struggle for ‘Queer rights.’ Also in this issue
is the story of another visionary walker, John Francis, Ph.D. An
expert on oil spills, Dr. Francis himself refuses motorized
transport, and is planning a cross-country walk aimed at raising
awareness for environmental issues. In the words of Dr. Francis:
‘It’s all about doing what we’re going to do.’ — Nick
Rose

Like an anarchist to a Sex Pistols album, I was uncontrollably
drawn to a brilliantly hued stack of
Razorcake
magazines towering over the rest of our library’s contributions.
Issues 24 (Feb/March 05) through 31 (April/May 06) supplied a feast
of compelling prose, laced with equal parts drunken debauchery and
high school reminiscing (in a good way). The latest issue also
featured Q and A’s with the banjo/punk group Can Kickers, rockers
Dead Moon, and retro-punkers Regulations. — Kristen
Mueller

For
the superhero in everyone, the first issue of
Superior
Showcase
just flew into our stacks. This issue features a
tale created by Dean Trippe and John Campbell that follows the
tribulations of a super sidekick with identity issues as he fights
hipster ghosts, comes to grips with his angst, and searches for a
sidekick of his own. Other highlights include a retired crime
fighter turned college professor and a not-so-super kid who wears a
mask while he works at the ‘Super-Mart.’ — Bennett
Gordon

Published by the
Alliance for the Wild
Rockies
, the Spring 2006 issue of Wild Rockies
Networker
is brimming with information on environmental
protection in the Rockies. This issue has got a decidedly legal
bent, chronicling the pitfalls of using the courts for
environmental activism. It doesn’t pull any punches, either,
blasting the Bureau of Land Management for its plan to ‘recklessly
control vegetation in the West’ via increased use of herbicide over
vast swaths of land primarily in Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming. This
‘fraud,’ they claim, is based on ‘financially-conflicted data’
supplied by the very entities that are poised to cash in on the
deal. Also in this issue is a listing of western environmental
groups and governmental officials, just in case its’ readers would
like to take further action. — Nick Rose

Materials scientists who are struggling to build
tougher, lighter materials are taking cues from an ancient teacher:
Mother Nature. It’s not the first time this apprenticeship has come
about, but an article in the March 25
Science News (a
2004 UIPA nominee) illuminates several enviable creatures,
including the sea sponge E. aspergillum, with its durable glass
skeleton, and a South American toucan, with a powerful 20 cm-long
beak. Researchers hope to glean enough from these structures to
create impact-resistant body armor and buildings better able to
withstand earthquakes. — Kristen Mueller

Dense, thoughtful, and diverse, the Spring 2006
The American
Scholar
— a 2005 UIPA nominee — just landed in our
library. Plunging into topics headlong, this issue includes
articles on the veracity of memoir, a man’s experience in
Bollywood, and twenty questions we should be asking about the
brain. Of note is a piece by Amitai Etzioni that discusses the US’
ongoing inability to adequately cope with race. Etzioni approaches
the topic by questioning why the US census requires that citizens
pick a racial category, pointing out that, if you don’t select one,
the government will choose for you. This approach to race, he
suggests, is akin to when Nazi Germany decided who was Jewish and
who was not or, closer to home, when the US government declared one
to be African-American on the basis of one drop of blood. —
Nick Rose

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