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louis mayeux
A journalist, poet and all-around handyman in the literary trades, I've been publishing the Bookman for a decade.
Interests: sports, theater, poetry, fiction, journalism, piano, music, writing, movies. My favorite poets include Robert Lowell, John Keats, William Matthews, Turner Cassity. Favorite writers are F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, William Shakespeare, William Styron.
Recent Activity
After avoiding the NFL during the first part of the season, I've relapsed into watching the appalling/enthralling league. The Saints' unexpected rise to the top of the NFC South standings knocked me off the wagon. Now, as more and more Saints fall to injury, they look poised for a late season collapse, with the Falcons and Panthers gaining. Ah, the life of the NFL fan, as sick as a crack addict. You just get excited about a young player, when he's knocked out for the season. I was watching Eagles QB Carson Wentz for the first time, against the Rams... Continue reading
Posted 5 hours ago at Southern Bookman
New York Times books critics Dwight Garner, Jennifer Senior, Parul Sehgal and Janet Maslin listed their favorite books of the year in Friday's paper, and I was shocked at how many of them I'd found unreadable. Novels especially left me cold this year. Many young novelists, especially women, don't draw me into their imaginary worlds. Their techniques remain too obvious; I see their fingerprints and tricks learned in MFA workshops. Their characters seem hollow and insubstantial, their plots bereft of the drama and adventure of classic storytelling. William Gass, the literary curmudgeon who died this week at age 93, railed... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Southern Bookman
Thoughts while waiting for the snow: *Keisha Lance Bottoms' narrow victory over Mary Norwood in the Atlanta mayor's runoff shows that the white millennials who have moved to Atlanta in recent years don't vote. *Maybe Peter Aman's robocall at 10:45 p.m. Suday night in support of Norwood wasn't such a good idea. Nor were the Mary cheerleaders on Peachtree Road. *Like Hillary Clinton, Norwood believed it was her turn, but voters decided otherwise. A poll Friday showed she had a good lead, but her supporters didn't show up. *About 95,000 voted in a city of 470,000. *The Atlanta mayor's importance... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Southern Bookman
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A couple of articles I've read about Steven Spielberg's new movie "The Post" gave the impression that the Washington Post stood alone in publishing the Pentagon Papers, although The New York Times came first in unveiling the secret government documents. Still, Ben Bradlee and Katharine Graham's Post bore the greater risk in publishing the secret history of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The Post stepped forward after a court had stopped The Times from continuing to publish. The court order against the Times came at the instigation of President Richard Nixon, who claimed the airing of the documents violated national... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Southern Bookman
Mary Norwood supporters lined the Peachtree Road sidewalks on election day Tuesday. Wearing blue T-shirts with white lettering and leaping up and down like high school cheerleaders, they looked like Buckhead matrons who had escaped yoga class or the book club for the day. A city firetruck festooned with Norwood signs sped by. One prominent sign said "Firefighters for Mary." The 65-year-old Norwood, who speaks in the syrupy tones of Northside money, has generated enthusiasm among affluent communities tired of black control of city hall and reports of payoffs and insider dealing. Keisha Lance Bottoms, Norwood's black opponent, has painted... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Southern Bookman
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Former poet laureate Natasha Trethewey in her introduction to the 2017 Best American Poetry recalls how poetry gave her courage and solace when she was a child of mixed-race parents growing up in segregated Gulfport, Miss. While series creator David Lehman's foreword weakly defends poetry against Ben Lerner's condemnations in "The Hatred of Poetry" that poets disappoint readers by failing to achieve universality, the poems selected by guest editor Trethewey affirm poetry's relevance. The strongest poems in the anthology express how history and culture intersect with personal experience. They achieve the universality demanded by Lerner. Several distinctive long narratives show... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Southern Bookman
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Jim Nabors, who died early Thursday at the age of 87 at the home in Hawaii he shared with his husband, was a true son of Alabama. Unlike Roy Mooore, who would exclude people like Nabors from his home state, Nabor and his archetypal character Gomer Pyle exemplified the best Christian values. Nabors' Gomer matched Don Knotts' Barney Fife and Andy Griffith's Sheriff Andy Taylor as all-time TV heroes on "The Andy Griffith Show." With his high-pitched Alabama twang and rubbery facial gestures and body movements, Nabors moved beyond characature. Like Knotts' Barney, Nabors' Gomer was a character that viewers... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2017 at Southern Bookman
Grand development schemes for downtown Atlanta over the years would fill a large book. Now, Richard Ressler, the brother of Hawks owner Tony Ressler, has plans for a massive "mixed use" project for the railroad gulch that cuts across downtown like an ugly scar. Long controlled by Norfolk Southern Railroad, the desolate tangle of railroad tracks and concrete below the downtown viaducts was once used for parking by AJC employees, who fearing mugging or worse hurried uphill to the newspaper's Marietta Street pillbox each morning, reversing the frightening walk in the afternoon. Now Richard Ressler's Los Angeles-based CIM Group, apparently... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2017 at Southern Bookman
Voting early in the Atlanta mayor's runoff election, I was surprised to find a fairly long line at the Northside Library Tuesday. The parking lot was so crowded that I had to pull my car into a space reserved for pregnant women, hoping I wouldn't get some kind of ticket or a stern lecture from Ms. Ratchett the librarian. The late lunch hour crowd stood outside the room reserved for the library's monthly used book sale. The sunshine and brilliant blue sky made the wait pleasant. The mostly white crowd looked like Mary Norwood supporters. Informally dressed, they appeared to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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One of my favorite reading pleasures of the year has arrived from London to my battered mailbox - the Times Literary Supplement's books of the year issue. The TLS asks a range of authors to list their favorite books of the past 12 months, with brief commentaries. Along with books frequently mentioned on best of the year lists, the predominantly British writers also give many titles not well-known in the United States. The writers range from younger names to longtime favorites like the Oxford classical scholar Mary Beard. The longstanding feature has been copied recently by other publications, such as... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2017 at Southern Bookman
Down 12 South, urban hipsters lined up at Frothy Monkey, and young families searched for Christmas trees at a lot next to the Muslim Center, where the sign called for prayers for the Baptist church in Texas where the last mass shooting had occurred. Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2017 at Southern Bookman
While the cool teens were grooving to the Beatles, Stones, Bob Dylan and the Doors, I watched "The Porter Waggoner Show" on Saturday afternoons. In 1968, as the country was flying apart, Mel Tills and Dolly Parton made Porter's low-budget syndicated show worth seeing. Beyond his sad comic bits making fun of his stuttering, Tillis' performances were mesmerizing. His songs reflected a new Nashville sophistication, an awareness of urban dislocation and alienation matched by the music's artistry. Then a bashful young woman who had not yet overcome her primitive mountain upbringing, Parton's immense talent burst forth when she sang a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2017 at Southern Bookman
I've not watched much of the NFL this season. Like many fans, I was put off by players suffering brain damage and other injuries. Although I knew I would have a tough time giving up the sport, I decided it was time to leave behind the NFL's brutality. Then the Saints, whom I gave up for dead after two opening-season losses, won seven games in a row. Their exciting rookie running back Alvin Kamara, and a rejuvenated Mark Ingram, excited the Crescent City and its far-flung fans. The Saints, whose Kleenex tissue defense drove me crazy for years, began reasonably... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2017 at Southern Bookman
Annie Proulx after winning the National Book Awards' lifetime achievement medal gave a highly praised speech decrying the country's destructive politics and environmental devastation for the sake of corporate profits. Yet, I was bothered by Proulx's closing statement in support of "happy endings." Proulx's beneficial prescriptions deny the tragic vision of our greatest literature. We strive for reconciliation and redemption, yet fall short of the glory of God. In Victorian England, audiences couldn't accept Cordelia's death in "King Lear." Some fool rewrote Shakespeare's greatest play so that Cordelia lives and is reconciled with the old king. I'm sure Proulx understands... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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"Jeopardy" fans will have their Super Bowl and March Madness the next two days: Champions tournament finals featuring two of the show's all-time zany characters. Category: Television. Answer: Name two "Jeopardy" contestants who try Alex Trebek's patience. Response: Who are Buzzy and Austin? "Buzzy" Cohen, the Californian who resembles silent movie comedian Harold Lloyd, and quirky New York bartender Austin Rogers (pictured) will square off in the two-day competition for $100,000. Alan Lin, a nerdy California software engineer, will also compete. Usually unflappable host Trebek might lose some of this cool in coping with the antics of Cohen and Rogers.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2017 at Southern Bookman
I'm saddened that Alabama's image has been damaged by the Roy Moore debacle. My contempt rises when I see him in his stupid cowboy hat and sunglasses, riding that frightened horse. Once we had another Roy, Roy Rogers, a true cowboy and true Christian gentleman. Through the years, we've often traveled through Alabama, making the big swerve through Montgomery from I-85 to I-65, and heading south past the Japanese car factories, Indian tribe casinos and fast food places. On the Hank Williams Lost Highway, I've been thankful for the fine Alabama welcome centers and shaken my head at the Alabama... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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Radhika Jones's selection as the new Vanity Fair editor is big news in Manhattan, barely a blip in other parts of the country. After a year as The New York Times' books editor, Jones will take a big career step to take charge at the glossy Conde Nast publication that Graydon Carter has led for 25 years, following Tina Brown. Jones, who was the second in command of the Times' book coverage under Pamela Paul, will now report to Vogue editor and Conde Nast mag chief Anna Wintour. While Carter sponsored lavish Hollywood parties and was chauffeured around New York... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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For years, Gretchen Morgenson's column has anchored the front page of The New York Times' Sunday business section. Her pieces uncovering corporate financial abuses were like going to church, her sermons based on deep reporting and fact-based analysis. That's why I was shocked while reading her column last Sunday to realize that it was her farewell from the newspaper, another trusted Times voice disappearing. As noted in her final column, she's given perspective on decades of major business stories, ranging from the dot-com bust of 2000, to Enron's rise and fall, to the 2008 housing market collapse and major recession.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2017 at Southern Bookman
What's with all the translations of ancient epics? In recent weeks, I've read a number of reviews about new renditions of Homer's "The Illiad" and "Odyssey" and Virgil's "The Aeneid." The critic Daniel Mendelsohn caught the enthusiasm for ancient stories with his memoir "An Odyssey, A Father, a Son and an Epic." Published last September, the book relates how Mendelsohn and his father gained new understanding of each other when the father monitored Mendelsohn's course at Bard College on "The Odyssey." The Sunday New York Times magazine last week ran Wayne Mason's effusive profile of Emily Wilson, whose "Odyssey" will... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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Human accomplishment covers a wide range - writing plays, the 4-minute mile, climbing mountains, discovering the polio vaccine. Soprano Audrey Luna has added another achievement: hitting the A note above high C on the musical scale. Luna carries out the apparently unprecedented feat in the Metropolitan Opera's production of Thomas Ades' "The Exterminating Angel," based on Spanish director Luis Bunuel's surrealistic film. No other soprano in the New York City opera company's 137-year-history has sung that high, according to New York Times writer Zachary Woolfe. Several of the company's sopranos have come close over the years, but reaching the A... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2017 at Southern Bookman
City council members Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood are headed as expected to a Dec. 5 runoff in the Atlanta mayor's race. Each candidate will fight voter apathy. A crowded field in Tuesday's primary failed to draw 100,000 total votes. With the holiday season in full swing, even fewer will head to the polls for the runoff. The Democrats' good showing nationally reached into local elections with Democrats Jen Jordan and Jaha Howard headed to a runoff for the District 6 State Senate seat, which Republican incumbent Hunter Hill gave up to run for governor. The seat was Democratic... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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Turner Classic Movies Monday night spotlighted the Hollywood 10, the screenwriters and directors blacklisted in Hollywood for their refusal to testify about their communist backgrounds. Along with movies written or directed by the Hollywood 10, TCM showed "Hollywood on Trial," David Helpern's 1976 documentary about the group's persecution by the government and ostracism by the film industry. The film examines the repressive postwar era in which fear of communism and the Soviet Union led to a shredding of constitutional rights. The 10 were called to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947 about alleged communist influence in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2017 at Southern Bookman
"Keep Atlanta black," said a recent robocall to my home telephone. The mysterious message arrived as City Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms, endorsed by Mayor Kasim Reed and top recipient of contributions from city contractors hoping to keep the flush times going, edged out longtime front-runner Mary Norwood in the latest WSB-TV poll. Rewarded for her service as Reed's main city council supporter with an appointment as recreation chief, Bottoms would maintain city hall's "pay to play" culture, as AJC columnist Bill Torpy said in his Monday column. Bottoms has called for an investigation into the robocall, purportedly backed by a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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The Houston Astros' first championship in 56 years left me with tears of joy. I saw them play in their first season, when they were the Colt .45s, a rag-tag expansion team. Over the years, my family and friends followed the team with a passion only exceeded by the LSU Tigers. Sweet to see the Astros of Springer, Altuve, Bregman, Correa, McCann, Gurriell, Keuchel, Morton, Verlander, Peacock, Gonzales, Reddick, McCullers, Musgrove, Harris, Beltran, Gattis, Devenksi, Harris, Giles and Liriano succeed after all of these seasons. The team's often zany history stretches across long patches of horrible play broken by the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2017 at Southern Bookman
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NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle awarded New Orleans its pro football franchise on All Saints Day 1966. The Saints, whose owners threatened to move the team to another city over the years, is now an "interwoven part" of the old French city, as The Times-Picayune noted Wednesday. The newspaper featured the Saints for its excellent "300 for 300" series on New Orleans' history. The series marks the 300th anniversary of the city's founding. The column notes that the Saints played their home games at old Tulane/Sugar Bowl Stadium for seven years before the completion of the Louisiana Super Dome. Built in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2017 at Southern Bookman