Close Reading: Trolling the Utne Library

By Staff
article image

A look at publications you may not know or may not have seen for a while…

Focus: “Something to do with Canada.”
About: Geist is a mag­a­zine of ideas and cul­ture made in Canada with a strong lit­er­ary focus and a sense of humor. The Geist tone is intel­li­gent, plain-talking, inclu­sive and off­beat.
Praise and Awards: The Western Magazine Awards “Magazine of the Year”

A Geist Sampler:

Alberto Manguel on the complexities and clichés of Canada:

But slowly, to the image of the Mounties and the poster for dogsled­ding in Quebec, were added other, more unex­pected and more pro­found aspects of our nation. Canada was becom­ing vis­i­ble through its com­plex­i­ties, not merely through its clichés. Then it all stopped….

The recent finan­cial cri­sis, so use­ful to jus­tify every out­ra­geous deci­sion taken in the name of greed, is of course blamed…. But the truth is, the blame is ours. We have allowed our pub­lic tran­sit sys­tems to col­lapse and for rail lines to be ripped out. We have allowed the health sys­tem to become so degraded that, in Alberta, for instance, we find it nor­mal to queue for hours out­side pub­lic clin­ics in freez­ing weather to see what­ever doc­tor hap­pens to be present. We have allowed arts pro­grams to be cut from our schools, and we accept that our chil­dren will be brought up in a sys­tem that con­sid­ers paint­ing and music super­flu­ous activ­i­ties. Maybe, immersed as I was in imag­i­nary places, I believed in a coun­try that never quite existed, at least not beneath the sur­face, and that now, when the arro­gant cupid­ity of our eco­nomic sys­tem no longer both­ers to hide its meth­ods or inten­tions, even that sur­face has been blown away and Canada appears to be nei­ther bet­ter nor worse than most other countries. Read the whole story>>

Stephen Henighan on the Phony War of Global Warming:

My grand­fa­ther con­tin­ued to work at the cloth­ing shop he owned in London until the day he went to work to find that German bombers had left a large hole in the ground where the shop had stood. The aware­ness of approach­ing dis­as­ter did not alter my grand­par­ents’ behav­iour. Only the next spring, when Germany invaded Norway, did the full import of their deci­sion to enlarge their fam­ily become apparent.

Today we are once again in a Phony War. This time the antag­o­nist is the dam­age we have done to our cli­mate….

In a Phony War you can’t voice your deep­est pre­oc­cu­pa­tions, because they sound like hys­te­ria. We all live with the (mostly unspo­ken) knowl­edge of the inevitabil­ity of our death as indi­vid­u­als. To live with the unspo­ken knowl­edge of the inevitable death of our civ­i­liza­tion, per­haps within three decades, is far more par­a­lyz­ing. Read the whole story>>

Postcard Stories:

From “Death in the Family” by Ruth E. WalkerDog died Tuesday.

Buried him Saturday cuz Addie couldn’t come ’til then. Reef bitched that we always wait for Addie. But we couldn’t have Dog’s bury­ing with­out music. We agreed on that.

It was the best funeral. Dog looked good, con­sid­er­ing. Couldn’t hardly see where the bul­let went in but Reef said pull up his head and look at the back and you’ll see. Read the whole story>>

From “How to Survive in the Woods” by Ursula Twiss
I can say a num­ber of things. I can say, we just fell out of love. Whaddaya know? I can say: He talked about other women. I stopped clean­ing the toi­let. He stopped com­ing home. I put on weight. He quit smok­ing. I started smok­ing. He left coun­selling pam­phlets on the kitchen table. I put his shoes out­side every time it rained. He talked about what was wrong with me, started a “pri­vate cre­ative jour­nal.” I ate potato chips in bed, slept with all the lights on. Read the whole story>>

Source: Geist

In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.