Tuesday News: Remembering Elie Wiesel, The Toast is now toast, everyone’s an author, and CSI poetry
POSTSCRIPT: ELIE WIESEL, 1928-2016 – There have been a lot of beautiful and moving tributes to Elie Wiesel, whose death at 87 has provided an opportunity to reflect on his invaluable work on the Holocaust and on unjust human suffering. This essay, from Hebrew University’s Bernard Avishai, contemplates the source of Wiesel’s “moral authority” and the power of his words. Awhile it is not uncritical of some of Wiesel’s political views, it is a powerful reminder of Wiesel’s irreplaceability as a witness to the “absolute evil” of the Holocaust – through 57 books, a Nobel Peace Prize, and countless speeches, readings, and other testimonies on behalf of universal justice and human dignity.
Most of our families were immigrants from Eastern Europe and his past was ours, only worse, and more perfectly articulated. “Night” had not yet become iconic, but it was passed around among my hip Jewish friends at McGill with unusual sincerity. The young hero’s anguish—also his scorn, cultural love, and filial piety—fit our Zionist mood, opening us to a new kind of Judaism, more evangelical than observant. Auschwitz had become a kind of Calvary for us, and Wiesel became the author of our passion play: unspeakable cruelty, common indifference, God’s forsaking, the sacrifice of his innocent chosen. Israel, which had broken the siege of 1967, seemed the resurrection. – The New Yorker
A note on The Toast – In case you missed it, last week was the final week for The Toast, basically the victim of not enough revenue and too much work. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with The Toast, but when they were good, they were very, very good. Hilary Clinton wrote the (sort of) closing post, and whether or not you like her or The Toast, Clinton’s advice to women is worth repeating (it’s only sad that it needs to be said):
As we look back at what this site has meant to so many of you, I hope you’ll also look forward and consider how you might make your voice heard in whatever arenas matter most to you. Speak your opinion more fervently in your classes if you’re a student, or at meetings in your workplace. Proudly take credit for your ideas. Have confidence in the value of your contributions. And if the space you’re in doesn’t have room for your voice, don’t be afraid to carve out a space of your own. – The Toast
New ‘Book In A Box’ Method Helps Executives To Become Authors – So according to this guy Kevin Kruse, everyone should write a book, even though it’s a hard thing to do. As Kruse puts it, “I don’t like writing books; I like having them written.” Because, of course. Who doesn’t like having a book written for them? I realize that Kruse is basically talking about business-focused non-fiction here, but it also seems like books have become the ultimate act of self-affirmation. Forget about keeping a diary – write a book! Don’t waste your time telling creative bedtime stories to your kids – write a book! Have a computer and a power source – write a book! Anyway, I think I’ve covered this “Book in a Box” service before, but Kruse’s profile of Zach Obront and Tucker Max’s service reveals a lot about how the role of authorship is changing and expanding, becoming simultaneously more and less individualized and unique.
Max and Obront developed a process that allows you to get your ideas into a book—in your words and even your voice—and it just takes you talking to them on the phone for about 15-20 hours, spread over 6 months. The process is centered on conversational interviewing, and they’ve already helped more than two hundred entrepreneurs, C-level executives, and other professionals write their books using this process.
They charge a flat fee of $20,000 for their writing and publishing services (which includes cover design, interior layout, distribution through all major channels and even limited marketing support). While this fee may seem like a lot, professional business ghost writers routinely quote $50,000 to $80,000 for writing services alone. – Forbes
CSI: Poetry. The life and death -ok just death- of poets – An infographic post-mortem on poets. Morbidly engaging, I’m not sure how rigorously informative it really is, given the fact that “unknown” and “other” claim the highest percentages among causes of death. And including Bonnie Parker seems a stretch. Still, I forgot that Phyllis Wheatley died so young (31), at around the same age as Sylvia Plath. – My Poetic Side