Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “San Francisco Chronicle”

Twitter Genius

Matt Stewart is the author of The French Revolution which was awarded the best novel of 2010 award from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Matt works in marketing which tells you that he is going to be cutting edge with regard to social media. When he wasn’t able to get the attention of publishers in the traditional sense, he launched his new novel over 3,700 tweets on Twitter.

Matt came and spoke at the California Writers Club last month and, firstly I must say, if his writing is as sharp and funny as his banter, his book is going to the top of my ‘To Read’ pile which sits next to my bed, mocking me as I invariably fall asleep after a couple of pages (because I am tired at the end of the day, not because of the great books i am reading!).

In his own words, Matt chose Bastille Day, not only because it is relevant to his topic, but because nothing happens on July 14th!

Again in his own words:

“Starting on Bastille Day – July 14, 2009 – I started broadcasting The French Revolution via @thefrenchrev and thefrenchrev.comI braced myself for widespread ridicule (“What kind of moron’s ever going to read a novel on Twitter?”) – and was accordingly astonished when the feedback was overwhelming supportive. I wound up making headlines worldwide and landing a book deal with the ballsiest publisher of them all, Soft Skull.

Lessons: Go for it. In literature as in life. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? Nothing. And then you’re no worse off than when you started.”

Couldn’t have said it better!

——————————————————————————————————

Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

Merchants of Doubt

It’s numbingly cold outside. What does a frustrated activist need to do to stay warm? How about reading a book that’s going to get the blood coursing through the body, while remaining wrapped in a blanket on the sofa drinking hot chocolate?

Merchants of Doubt does just that. This is a book of highly educated and venerated scientists who fail to adhere to the need to improve society though research and hypothesis. It is a stunningly detailed account of how they have prostituted their knowledge to advance lies and myths that will ultimately harm the individual and society, all in the name of making money for themselves and the masters they serve.

Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway do a great job tracking eminent physicists and other scientists who are able to manipulate the truth. One stunning realization that I took from this is that their “truths” are perpetuated by harried journalist and opinionated bloggers. DON’T READ BLOGS! Here I said it – and you can believe me ’cause I blog everyday .

Seriously, this book has garnered tremendous respect. I think that it says a lot for their research when they unabashedly name names and have not found themselves in court. It might be a book to delve into from time-to-time rather than consumed in one sitting, but Oreskes and Conway have done us a great service. To quote Former Vice President, Al Gore:

“Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway have demonstrated what many of us have long suspected: that the ‘debate’ over the climate crisis–and many other environmental issues–was manufactured by the same people who brought you ‘safe’ cigarettes.  Anyone concerned about the state of democracy in America should read this book.”

I think, Mr. Gore, that it is far beyond the democracy of the US. This inconvenient truth is a global issue.

Another book that illustrates this so clearly is Thank You for Smoking by Christopher Buckley. While he does clearly state that this is a novel, he hits many of the points that Merchants of Doubt proves. He also has you laughing rather than seeking the next spaceship off of the planet.

“Buckley’s caricatures of Washington politics, corporate power plays, media spin control, Hollywood pretensions and the human foibles of self-delusion and denial are appallingly right on the money.” –San Francisco Chronicle.

See what I mean?
——————————————————————————————————

Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com

 

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: