Tuesday News: Book club members kicked off train, Duke students refuse to read Bechdel, Germany goes for soft DRM, and Tolkein recites his own poetry
Group of black women kicked off Napa wine train after laughing too loud -What happened to this book club on the Napa Valley Wine Train is pretty much the definition of microaggression. It’s also just plain gross. After some complaints that the eleven women were too “loud,” they were “paraded” off the train to confront police, bussed back to the station, and given their money back. Unfortunately, the company’s response has been completely unimpressive thus far. Supposedly they are going to apologize personally to the women, and — of course — they’ve hired a PR firm, which does not give me hope that they truly understand how inexcusable this conduct really was. However, the company’s statement, which club member Lisa Renee Johnson posted (link in the quote below), does include an email address for the Wine Train, if you’re so inclined to help explain it to them.
The women were told they had to get off the train because they were too loud, Johnson said. One woman, she said, told her, “This is not a bar.”
The women’s laughter drew complaints from passengers aboard the train, so workers asked them three times to reduce their noise to an acceptable level, according to wine train officials.
At 1 p.m., they were asked to leave and were given a bus ride back to the train station. The trip was refunded.
But soon after the ordeal, the wine train posted a statement, which has since been deleted, on Facebook saying, “Following verbal and physical abuse toward other guests and staff, it was necessary to get our police involved. Many groups come on board and celebrate. When those celebrations impact our guests, we do intervene.”–Los Angeles Times
Some Incoming Duke Freshmen Refused to Read a Book About Sexual Identity Because of Their Christian Beliefs -Here’s another chapter in the national saga of the banned book, but this time the controversy is focused on college freshman at Duke University who were assigned Alison Bechdel’s 2006 graphic novel, Fun Home, in which the author talks about her sexual identity. One student has described the book as “pornographic,” which may actually constitute a justification for those college classes on pornography people are always complaining about. College, and especially an institution like Duke, is supposed to be the kind of place where students engage with different ideas, challenge their preconceptions and biases, and discover their own values. It’s going to be interesting to see how Duke responds. I’d also be curious to see if these students feel the same way four years from now.
The Chronicle quotes a closed Facebook page in which students said reading the book would compromise their personal Christian moral beliefs. In the book, the author describes coming out as a lesbian and discovering that her father was secretly gay. There are also graphic scenes that describe masturbation and the author’s first sexual experience with a woman. . . .
Students were told to read the book as part of the Duke Common Experience Program, which is meant to give incoming freshman a “shared intellectual experience,” according to the university, with a focus on a list of books to read over the summer. During orientation week, the students discuss the books in small groups and as a larger community. –Cosmopolitan
Is the Post-DRM Future of the German eBook Market the Polish Model, or the Dutch Model? -Nate Hoffelder’s piece on how countries like Germany and the Netherlands are turning toward watermark DRM, a softer version of DRM, for ebooks sold outside of Amazon. Although the US market has outlets like Baen, hard DRM still seems to be the norm here. Then there is the Polish ebook market, which seems much more progressive, but who knows how many other countries will follow their example.
Polish consumers have bought Kindles, and then turned to local ebookstores to buy the Polish-language ebooks that Amazon would not sell. This forced the local ebookstores to adapt and sell ebooks that could be read on a Kindle.
Many now offer to send ebooks directly to a customer’s Kindle account, including:
— Virtualo.pl–The Digital Reader
Listen to J.R.R. Tolkien Read Poems from The Fellowship of the Ring, in Elvish and English (1952) – Given the recent discussion on both the new commercially released Tolkein manuscript and the status of Elvish, I figured this might be of interest.
The Tolkien recording predates by two years the 1954 publication of the novel—the first of the Ring trilogy. As sci-fi blog i09 notes, Namarie has been set to music, sometimes against Tolkien’s wishes, by several composers. Tolkien did authorize one composition from Donald Swann, included on the album Poems and Songs of Middle Earth (1967), a song cycle from The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien gave Swann the melody, and singer William Elvin’s tenor accentuated the medieval, Celtic quality of the poem.–Open Culture