Lavin Weekly #22: Grossman, Boland, Crabapple, & Prothero
Culture analyst and Zeitguide CEO Brad Grossman’s writing has been appearing all over the web. For Chief Executive magazine, Grossman offers up “4 New Year’s Resolutions for CEOs,” enjoining C-Suite professionals to embrace disruption, experimentation, and omnichannel platforms, and to keep a watchful eye on close rivals. For Forbes, Grossman attempts to attribute some of the late David Bowie’s unique success to his career-long commitment to teamwork and collaboration: “while no one would dare dispute his creative genius,” he writes, “we would be remiss not to note that part of those creative smarts involved picking the right people to work with and knowing where to direct his attention.” And in Fortune, Grossman explains how China’s enthusiastic embrace of the Hollywood blockbuster might “help save this storytelling art form from being replaced by the 30-second YouTube video.” Three diverse subjects, one author—more evidence that Brad Grossman can distill the zeitgeist and hone in on what matters, no matter what field, sector, or interest.
2. Ed Boland’s Upcoming Memoir on American Education Called “Riveting”
Ed Boland’s memoir The Battle for Room 314 comes out next month, and to toast its imminent arrival, the New York Post ran a lengthy summary and enthusiastic review. “The [book] is Boland’s memoir of his brief, harrowing tenure as a public school teacher,” writes the Post, “and it’s riveting. There’s nothing dry or academic here. It’s tragedy and farce, an economic and societal indictment of a system that seems broken beyond repair.” If you work in education—in policy, pedagogy, or administration, or as an instructor—The Battle for Room 314 is a must-read (and gripping) study of how racial segregation, poverty, immigration policy, and mass incarceration have sabotaged the education of countless children. Be sure to pick up the book when it hits stores in February—Boland is bringing a personal and accessible perspective to one of the most defining issues of our time.
3. Molly Crabapple Visits the Jaipur Literary Festival to Talk Syria, Iraq, and the Role of Art
Appearing at the Jaipur Literature Festival, activist and artist Molly Crabapple shared some of the issues and notions that energize and electrify her work. Crabapple’s art explodes the boundaries between journalism, activism, and aesthetics. Her visionary pieces—including her latest, the illustrated memoir Drawing Blood—reveal the suffering, beauty, and hope of the world’s most volatile places, from Syria to Ferguson, Iraq to Guantanamo Bay. Margaret Cho calls her “THE artist of our time.” For the JLF, and on the subject of art reportage versus photojournalism, Crabapple was as candid and insightful as ever. “We live in one of the most media-saturated times in history,” she says. “Every time a cop beats someone up, everytime a bomb goes off, there are millions of twitpics, millions of cellphone photos. And these are incredibly valuable as documents, but the sheer multiplicity of images can lead to numbness ... whereas art, because it’s done by hand, has a way to distill the essential—it has a way to make people look, when they might not look at photos.” Watch more from the JLF interview in the embedded video below.
4. Is Donald Trump an Evangelical Leader? Stephen Prothero on the Religious Right
Whenever asked, Republican candidate Donald Trump has insisted that he’s a Bible-loving, devout Presbyterian with a deeply personal relationship with God. But according to religious scholar Stephen Prothero, “some white evangelicals are dismayed that so many of their co-religionists are supporting the candidacy of this man, who seems to be a walking billboard (or Jumbotron) for the Seven Deadly Sins.” Or so he argues in “When Trump Goes to Liberty U”—an article for CNN that wrestles with Trump’s impending talk at Liberty University for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Prothero reminds us that Liberty U was founded by Jerry Falwell, who once accused King of being a communist and called his cause the “so-called freedom movement.” Throughout the article, Prothero outlines the entangled history of the religious right and political conservatism before arriving at Trump’s peculiar placement on the evangelical spectrum—how he’s “at odds with the Republican Party’s white evangelical base,” and yet “he does have a story to tell that resonates not only with white evangelicals’ complaints about the decline of a Christian America, but also with the broad contours of the Christian story.” For more insights into the culture wars that define the American political experience, be sure to order a copy of Prothero’s upcoming book, Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections).
To book keynote speakers Brad Grossman, Ed Boland, Molly Crabapple, or Stephen Prothero for your upcoming event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.