Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay. In the modern state there are very few sites where this is possible. The only others that come readily to my mind require belief in an omnipotent creator as a condition for membership. It would seem the most obvious thing in the world to say that the reason why the market is not an efficient solution to libraries is because the market has no use for a library. But it seems we need, right now, to keep re-stating the obvious. There aren’t many institutions left that fit so precisely Keynes’ definition of things that no one else but the state is willing to take on. Nor can the experience of library life be recreated online. It’s not just a matter of free books. A library is a different kind of social reality (of the three dimensional kind), which by its very existence teaches a system of values beyond the fiscal.Zadie Smith, in the New York Review of Books. (via thebronzemedal)
When Marvel Comics first announced a new Spiderman who is half-Hispanic and half-African-American—from the popular Peter Parker to a New Yorker, Miles Morales—back in 2011, radio host Glen Beck shared his thoughts on the matter. Beck argued that Michelle Obama was behind the creation of the biracial superhero. On this radio show, Beck said, “Do I care if he’s half-Hispanic, all Hispanic? No. Half-black, all black? I don’t care. However, what I do care about is that I think a lot of this stuff is being done intentionally.”
Todd McFarlane, Len Wein, and Gerry Conway were supposed to be promoting a new PBS documentary in Los Angeles in Wednesday. Instead, they put on a clinic in why superhero comics are so male, and so white—and how entitled the people who created those characters can be.