Daily Archives: October 10, 2008

Don Wood’s Into the Volcano Web Page

I fell hard for Don Wood’s remarkable graphic novel, Into the Volcano, back in June. (Here’s that review.)  I was so happy subsequently that others felt the same way.  Now I see that Don has a website featuring a comic detailing his research for the book. It is almost as amazing and dramatic as the book itself!

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Books for Tough Times

A review of popular American children’s books of the past century reveals a recurring theme in the children’s publishing industry: When times are tough, cue the stories about times that were even tougher.

At Slate Erica S. Perl comes up with a very thoughtful set of books.

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“My friends, you got trouble right here in River City!”

Lately, having someone address his or her audience as “my friends” has been bugging me.  I mean, who are they to call me a friend?  They don’t even know me!  Silly, I know. Language changes and I’ve got to go with it.  (I’m still trying to come to terms with “yummy,” a word I associate with mummy at age three.)  Still, I was interested to read Paul Collins’ Slate piece, “Why McCain can’t stop saying ‘my friends.'”

What happened to change the phrase’s status in our language after Eisenhower’s 1956 speech? I have my own unprovable pet theory: It’s because the following year saw The Music Man debut on Broadway. Ever since, the phrase has been irrevocably associated with old-timey con men in straw boaters: “My friends, you got trouble right here in River City!”

When McCain invokes “my friends,” he’s making an appeal to the old days—the really old days.

I don’t necessarily think everyone who uses the phrase is doing this  (evoking the really old days, that is), but it is an interesting theory, you’ve got to admit.

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