Monthly Archives: October 2018

More Edgecombe-connected talent going big time: Ben Fountain’s new book getting global attention/approval:

This has been worked out here before. Ben Fountain is not actually from Edgecombe County but his people are. Some of them back to the 18th Century. His father was from the Edgecombe side of Rocky Mount; his grandfather from Leggett. (Compare him to Magic Johnson in this respect.)

He’s also said to be the best writer from Texas since Larry McMurty and Cormac Mcarthy; author of the 8th best novel of the 21st Century; and a “genius.” (Joe Smith says, “I don’t know about ‘8th best in the century”, but it is a good book.”)

So it is well for Edgecombe to claim him.

Last week, the New York Times published a favorable review of his latest book. The Times’ review is written by Amanda Carpenter, a former staff member for Senators Jim DeMint and Ted Cruz. And, so did the Washington Post in a review by Robert Kaiser.

The book is Beautiful Country Burn Again.

Two weeks ago, Bill Moyers said, “this is the boldest, bravest and most bracing book about politics that I have read this year,” and published a long interview in which Fountain talks briefly about his Edgecombe County forbears, before plunging forward to today and “the sad, psychotic, and vengeful in the national life producing a strange mutation, a creature comprised of degenerate political logic.”

Carpenter credits Fountain with saying that “the rich and powerful peddle a mirage of the American dream for everyone else to lust after rather than doing anything to help them achieve it.”

Fountain says, “our most successful politicians have all become fantasy novelists.” Carpenter says, “no wonder Fountain is sending such a flare shot. They’re invading his turf.”

Advertisements

Tarboro, Edgecombe: sources of talent & positive models at Guilford College and in wider world

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was at Guilford College yesterday. The Guilford College Bryan Series brought him to town.

Guilford’s great alumnus, M.L. Carr, came back from Boston to join Abdul-Jabbar and talk with him about the legendary rivalry between Abdul-Jabbar’s Los Angeles Lakers and Carr’s Boston Celtics, and also about the many social values and achievements of the two. Great models for Guilford students.

In conversations and in a public presentation Abdul-Jabbar lifted up Tarboro several times.

Abdul-Jabbar’s mother was from Wadesboro. Carr himself is from Wallace. At different points, Abdul-Jabbar remarked with interest on how many players with North Carolina connections were connected with the Los Angeles Lakers while he played there. 

He consistently mentioned Tarboro prominently among those connections. Magic Johnson’s mother came from Tarboro and Johnson still has family there. Apparently, Magic made Tarboro well-known to Abdul-Jabbar and among their Lakers teammates.

Abdul-Jabbar’s achievements and his commitment to social justice are quite amazing and a bit inspiring. Carr is right there with him (although Carr may not have authored quite as many books as Abdul-Jabbar has). The two of them, together with Magic Johnson, bring highly principled, positively oriented, upbeat role models to Guilford students.

How great to hear Abdul-Jabbar lifting up Tarboro in his conversations and presentations at Guilford College and at the Coliseum.

This thing of remarkable people coming out of Tarboro and Edgecombe is nothing new. It’s where they come from.

Renovating in the groves of academe

The Greensboro News and Record has a good article about it: Guilford College is on theGuilford College 1 move.

A game-changing new curriculum is on the way. “The Guilford Edge” – coming next year – will be a major innovation in higher education and for Guilford. It puts the focus on the student, re-imagines the college experience, and connects immediately to the world that students will graduate into. But that’s next year.

The Orangerie

Right now, Guilford is reshaping the campus – the buildings and grounds – to hold the new program. 

Maybe the most dramatic uplifts are the Nancy-and-Dennis-Quaintance-inspired restoration of dormitories and living spaces, the creation of a dynamic new Student Quad, the Orangerie, and upgrades to the athletics facilities. But those flashy projects overlook what feel like unique and most amazing reinventions of the arts facilities at the Hege-Cox complex, with exhilarating expansions of Guilford’s traditionally very strong arts department. There’s a new sculpture studio, a new ceramics studio, new galleries, and new, state-of-the-art classrooms. Arts students can hardly argue (as some do in other places) that sports are prioritized over arts at Guilford.

Guilford hege-cox_addition-sculpture

One of the new studios behind Hege-Cox

Excitement is palpable among the sculptors. The new spaces and new equipment and other facilities are fostering impressive, contemporary student work and the student locker room calls to mind the locker rooms over at Ragan-Brown Fieldhouse, except with artworks in progress in the lockers instead of “seasoned” sports gear.

What’s more impressive is to learn what happens in the new classrooms, where students and professors integrate arts, social sciences, physical sciences, and traditional liberal arts into reimagined learning – and connect the learned skills of sculptors with real-world, contemporary issues and problem-solving. The sculpture professor over there is on fire with the ways that learning sculpture translates into practical, meaningful work across a broad spectrum of industries after college.

MidLaw would never argue that sculpture is not a great preparation for 21st Century law practice.

To the contrary.

Not your traditional groves of academe. Not only art for art’s sake.

Night descends

In recent weeks I have learned that eggs are good for you. Eat them. Coffee is good for you. Drink it.

Drinking alcohol is bad for you. Even one drink. Orange juice is not great for you. And there is news about small-dose aspirin.

Myers-Briggs is not grounded in science. I like people after all. Who knew?

Has this news come too late?

I am a knight without armor in a savage land.