A breezy read that might make readers hesitate before climbing aboard the latest hashtag bandwagon.

OUTRAGED

WHY EVERYONE IS SHOUTING AND NO ONE IS TALKING

A British radio host and opinion columnist rails against online outrage and the benumbed fatigue it induces.

Charles combines her chatty, conversational style with smatterings of academic research as she reexamines some viral campaigns during an era in which outrage requires so little commitment or emotional investment, when a hashtag or a retweet is enough for people to feel good about themselves or believe they have made a difference. The author begins with the backlash against the insensitivity of the H&M clothing retailer, whose website featured a young black boy in a hoodie that read, “COOLEST MONKEY IN THE JUNGLE.” Charles felt that if anyone had a right to be offended, it should be her—“I represent a ‘triple jeopardy’ intersection: a black, gay woman” (and mother of a black infant boy)—but she felt that the uproar was exaggerated and that there were plenty of more serious inequities for people to get riled up over—and perhaps even do something about. In January 2018, the author wrote an opinion piece for the Guardian titled “The Currency of Outrage,” which begins, “Everyone is offended by everything. It’s exhausting.” She goes on to note that “by becoming fickle and oversaturated, the value of outrage is plummeting.” This brief book stems from that piece, and she includes accounts of her interviews with those who have been victims of such outrage—e.g., Rachel Dolezal, branded as a “race faker” after the activist for black causes was revealed to be a white woman passing as black—and those who have benefitted from it, building their personal brands through the wide exposure they’ve received from “the outrage conga line.” Though the author could have gone much deeper in many areas, she effectively shows how mass outrage allows people to feel better about themselves without doing the hard work that true change requires.

A breezy read that might make readers hesitate before climbing aboard the latest hashtag bandwagon.

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63557-500-2

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

TANQUERAY

A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2022

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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