Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Ken Foster Online Writing Course this fall

I'm teaching an advanced personal essay course this fall with Mediabistro.com. For more information, you can go to the course description.

The Ving Rhames case

I've been meaning to post this since last Friday, when early reports suggested the a group of pit bulls owned by actor Ving Rhames had gone "psycho" and mauled a caretaker to death. It was actually the bizarrely popular gossip site PerezHilton.com that jumped on the pit bull bandwagon early, and then had to retract their report when it was revealed that the dogs were not pit bulls, but 200 pound mastiffs. There's not a lot in common between a fifty pound pit bull and a 200 pound anything, so I don't know what evidence Perez was basing this report on. But it is a great example of how people jump to conclusions.

By the end of Friday, the police were reporting that the dogs were friendly, and that the man had sustained NO life-threatening injuries, and the only injuries of any kind were on his legs and arms, possibly inflicted after he died of a heart attack.

But on Monday, television news was still reporting the "mauling", and this scenario has now been reported in over 700 newspapers.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bookslut takes a look at Revacuation

Bookslut--which, despite its name, is a respected literary blog--takes a look at my friend Brad Benischek's "Revacuation" in their August book review. Brad's book is a sort of graphic novel about life after Katrina. It began as a notebook he kept with him as he and his family evacuated and returned to the city, so it has a bit of a sketchy, improvisational feel. The first pages are somewhat spare and rushed, but things get denser and more disturbing as it goes along.

Anyway, this confused the reviewer a bit, even though the book comes with an author's note identifying it as an actual copy of the notebook he carried as they traveled. Still, the review is a pretty good description of what the book is like.