Saturday, August 3, 2013

Book Watch Lives!

For a long time there's been this quite innocuous program running on UNC-TV around here. It's called "Book Watch," and is hosted by one D.G. Martin. Mr. Martin, who does the show gratis, features writers of books that have some North Carolina content, some fiction, some non-. He offers writers the opportunity to introduce their book or books to whatever viewing audience happens to show up on late Sunday afternoons. You'll note that on late Sunday afternoon there are frequently big deal sporting events on other channels, and that the weekend is generally about to end, with not nearly enough accomplished, whether one likes it or not. I'm a very infrequent viewer of Mr. Martin's "show," but when I've watched it, I've been impressed with his tact and fairness to the author of the moment. He isn't out to demolish anyone, but simply to provide information about a book; which to the author has been a work of possibly years, and which matters a great deal.

Mr. Martin also writes opinion columns for some state newspapers. Here's what happened when our juggernaut state Republicans got wind of one of his recent columns:

Nice, huh. Goes right along with the cookies thing Governor McCrory pulled on Monday last. There were some women out in front of his rented mansion protesting the fact that he had just signed into law one of the most draconian anti-women's choice laws in the whole country, and after promising in his campaign to change nothing in NC law concerning women's rights. Protected by a phalanx of security McCrory hand-delivered a plate of cookies, and offered a "god bless you" to the surprised recipient. Nothing like hiding behind Jesus's skirt.

Meanwhile, on the national level, Paul Krugman, Nobel-prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist has pretty much agreed with the content of Mr. Martin's piece:

Right now, if inherent importance were all that mattered, I wouldn’t be writing about the effects of sprawl, or the Fed succession, or even, probably, about China’s brick-wall problem. I would instead be writing all the time about the looming chaos in U.S. governance.

The trouble is that it’s hard to give this issue anything like the amount of coverage it deserves on substantive grounds without repeating oneself. So I do try to mix it up. But neither you nor I should forget that the madness of the GOP is the central issue of our time.

No doubt most of our NC Republicans will write off anything in the New York Times as predictable left-wing gibberish. They've already brushed aside various pieces, in the NY Times, the Washington Post, and other national publications, remarking with some astonishment that our state is rapidly ratcheting itself back into the good old '50s. The list of appalling acts by our just adjourned Legislature and signed by our appalling Governor is too long to list here, but I'll bet you can google it and find hundreds of links. The bookends tell the tale pretty well: back in the winter these good ole boys repealed the "racial justice act." Last week they removed any teacher pay incentive for getting a Masters, expanded places where one can carry one's pistol to pretty much anywheres, even against the appeal of the President of the University of North Carolina that allowing weapons on campus would probably make campus a more dangerous place. Of course there was the new anti-women's health law, and odd little deals like the effort to remove control of the Charlotte International Airport from Charlotte, and the reneging of a done deal to develop a decrepit state mental hospital and grounds situated in the heart of downtown Raleigh.

Like I said. It's too much to list, but the work of this Legislature is breathtaking, a veritable blitzkrieg of legislative activity.

And I hope Mr. Martin feels better standing in the sparkling company of Nobel-prize-winning Dr. Paul Krugman. A tip of the Hatlo Hat to them both, and to Charles Pierce as well, Pierce having remarked a few weeks back that North Carolina seems to have gone insane.

Possibly there's a real quibble of note between Martin and Krugman, over whether Republican governance is more akin to fascism, or to Nazism. I'd personally go more for Benito, the man Ezra Pound called the Thomas Jefferson of Italy.

You go, Mr. Martin!

Here's a link to Martin's column:

Wonder what the NCGOP would be hollering if some government entity somewheres went after some right-wing ranter's job on account of something he said in print? Reckon we'd hear a lot of Kenyan Usurper mumbo-jumbo right off the bat?

Update--after visiting the UNC-TV website I discovered that Mr. Martin's fine show, North Carolina Book Watch, now airs Sundays at 12 Noon, and again on Thursdays at 5 pm. You can find out more about his show at:

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