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In Print: Alumni Books
New books by Alumni
As Dan Dion '92 was coming of age, stand-up comedy was his punk rock: eye-opening, soul-stirring, rule-breaking, you-can't-do-that (but you just did) exuberance. So it's no surprise that he turned his talents as a photographer upon comics and, along the way, earned international respect for his portraits of the comically disrespectful. (Read a profile of Dion in the Spring 2007 SCM.) Now comes his love letter to comedy: ¡Satiristas! (HarperCollins, 2010), which combines his talent behind the lens with spot-on interviews by Paul Provenza with “comedians, contrarians, raconteurs, and vulgarians.” To narrow the field—and to capture the tenor of our times—the women and men who populate these pages are on the front ranks of satire, exploring the relationship between humor and society, analyzing politics, the media, and “institutionalized ignorance.” Behold Stephen Colbert and Sarah Silverman, Dave Chappelle and Margaret Cho, Amy Sedaris and Bill Maher. Generations of comics roam these pages: Steve Martin and the Smothers Brothers, Lily Tomlin and Chris Rock, Tom Lehrer and Cheech & Chong, Jello Biafra and Fred Willard (with a rubber duckie). Some of the gang mug for the camera, but not most; they lounge, they let down their guard, and they give the camera a straight-on look that says, This is who I am. After all, as satirists, they're offering social commentary, not pure slapstick. In Dion's introduction, he shares a bittersweet moment: George Carlin told him his photograph (Carlin perched on an upright piano) was the one he wanted to be remembered by—three weeks before dying. Dion also reveals, “The key to the guarded door of celebrity photography is trust. Without it, you don't get in. Betray it, and the drawbridge is raised and you are thrown to the alligators.”
The furor over immigration reform tends to drown out more measured explorations of Mexican American identity in the United States. Enter Tomás R. Jiménez '98, an assistant professor of sociology at Stanford University, whose Replenished Ethnicity: Mexican Americans, Immigration, and Identity (UC Press, 2010) offers marked insights into what makes Mexican immigrants different from European immigrants to the United States in years past. Jiménez spent months living in and studying the communities of Garden City, Kan., and Santa Maria, Calif., and found that Mexican-origin populations shared similar assimilation stories with European-descended equivalents—except for the fact that later generations have experienced ongoing Mexican immigration into their communities. This renewal reinforces a sense of ethnicity as an essential part of identity—as opposed to Americans of European decent, “whose ethnic identity has now become a symbolic and even optional heritage,” Jiménez says. The recurring immigrant influx cuts multiple ways: While no pervasive ethnic nationalism has emerged in the United States, later-generation Mexican Americans nonetheless experience discrimination for being “un-American.” Within their own ethnic group, they face accusations of not being “real” Mexicans who speak Spanish and retain ties to the immigrant community. (I fall into this second category.) Jiménez is the son of Laura Jiménez '67 and Francisco Jiménez '66, who himself emigrated from Mexico with his family as a boy, only to be deported by the INS and then later return. Many Santa Clara grads will recognize him as the Fay Boyle Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures at SCU.
Mass marketing isn't what it used to be. But marketing itself isn't about to go away. No Size Fits All: From Mass Marketing to Mass Handselling (Portfolio, 2009) offers an assessment and prescription for the brave new world of selling. Michael S. Malone '75, MBA '77 teams up with Tom Hayes to survey “The Fragmented Economy”—the diverse interests of multitudes of social networks and niche groups—and to take readers to “Marketing 3.0,” or “the rise of consumer communities.” The new approach to successful marketing: bottom up instead of top down, personal rather than public, subtle rather than full frontal. It's about earning loyalty and Trust with a capital T in a world where forces are at once driving people into microniches and into the “sometimes dangerous world of a multimedia interconnected global market.” This is where Plato makes an appearance, reminding readers that “man [is] a being in search of meaning.” With mass definitions retreating, there is both the freedom and opportunity “to become the directors, the authors, the entrepreneurs of our own lives.”
The latest pair of books from Steve Wiegand '73, award-winning journalist and history writer, offer the medicine of laughter for tough times. Lessons from the Great Depression for Dummies (Wiley Publishing, 2009) takes a broad and breezy look at what triggered the crash and describes the social, cultural, and economic ramifications. The Mental Floss History of the World (HarperCollins, 2008), co-authored with Erik Sass, turns the quirky style of Mental Floss the magazine onto the past to serve up chapters like “Athens, Alexander, and all that” and “The not really that dark (unless you lived in Europe) ages.”
From the Pews in the Back: Young Women and Catholicism (Liturgical Press, 2009) is a new collection of essays edited by Jennifer Owens, a doctoral candidate at the Graduate Theological Union who is affiliated with the Jesuit School of Theology at SCU. Essays examine what it means to be young and female and Catholic in the 21st century. Offering her insight in the chapter on “Being a Catholic Woman” is Jessica Coblentz '09, with her personal essay, “To Share a Meal with Jesus,” where-in she grapples with eating disorders, faith, and growing into womanhood. In the chapter on “Vocation,” Pearl Maria Barros '05 traces what drew her to the study of theology (most recently at the doctoral level) in the essay “On Memory and Vision: My Grandmother's Legacy.”
More than 70 years after he entered Santa Clara as a freshman, William P. Crawford '43 has penned his debut science fiction novel, The Lake (BookSurge, 2010), in which an extraordinary natural disaster transforms Southern California's Lake Crowley into a modern-day Fountain of Youth. People flock to the lake for the elixir, but the old adage “be careful what you wish for” is there waiting in the water. Water is something Crawford knows; he's published half a dozen nautical texts with W.W. Norton. Read his recollections on life at Santa Clara on pg. 4.
After the death of his wife of 56 years, veteran Washington newsman Orr Kelly '48 embarked on a journey to understand some big questions about life and death, heaven and hell, time and eternity. The result is Where Do We Go From Here? (Lulu.com, 2010), exploring theories of creation and the universe, body and soul. Kelly previously served as an editor and reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle and covered the Pentagon and department of justice for U.S. News & World Report and Washington Star.
Endodontist Richard Mounce '81 has traveled all over the world, and in his off time he likes to scuba dive in caves. Dead Stuck (Pacific Sky Publishing, 2009), his peripatetic collection of essays, includes travel stories from Cambodia, Riyadh, and Athens; letters to his daughters; and cave diving adventures, including getting “dead stuck” at 123 feet.
Robert T. Burson '73 has self-published several books this year. Financial Landscapes: Finance and Accounting Made Simpler sets out to give readers the wherewithal to ask the right questions when talking with an accountant, broker, or financial advisor. The novel Ponzi tells the tale of a wise-cracking FBI agent who stumbles across a get-rich-quick scheme and investigates a shady investment firm.