Witty and of the moment, yet presumably destined for a short shelf life.

AND THEN THERE’S THIS

HOW STORIES LIVE AND DIE IN VIRAL CULTURE

Quirky theories on the rise of viral culture.

Harper’s senior editor Wasik is fascinated by how the Internet and handheld wireless devices are changing basic social relationships, particularly the speed with which individuals become famous and forgotten in the media arena. He should know. Wasik originated the evanescent MOB trend in May 2003, inviting 63 friends and acquaintances to join an “inexplicable mob of people in New York City for ten minutes or less.” His motivation? “I was bored,” he writes, “by which I mean the world at that moment seemed adequate for neither my entertainment nor my sense of self.” Boredom aside, he wished to create the sort of intentionally viral “nanostory” he perceived as central to online culture, as confirmed by the roundly mocked Time selection of “You” as 2006 Person of the Year. Wasik’s “Mob Project” attracted media and online attention followed by an equal amount of backlash, which the author suggests was inevitable: “After six mobs, even conceiving of new enough crowd permutations started to feel like a challenge.” For much of the book, Wasik sets similar challenges for himself, enlisting the help of online scenesters with similar interests, like Huffington Post technology director Jonah Peretti, a “high-status” individual responsible for the website BlackPeopleLoveUs.com and such pranks as ordering custom “sweatshop” sneakers from Nike. Wasik won Peretti’s competition for most popular website with a parodic “right wing” New York Times, and he invented “Bill Shiller,” a phony MySpace-based identity created to “cultivate proactive relationships with brands.” These experiments support his assertion that “the Internet is revolutionary in how it has democratized not just culture-making but culture monitoring,” but the effectiveness of the author’s argument is mixed. Though Wasik is well-informed and sharply addresses his slippery subject, he also exudes a pretentious, insider-ish vibe.

Witty and of the moment, yet presumably destined for a short shelf life.

Pub Date: June 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-670-02084-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2009

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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