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EDITORIAL Summer Books IIK CC ill every dog, every cat,” writes author George Saunders in a short story from his collection In Persuasion Nation. “Kill every mouse, every bird. Kill every fish. Anyone objects, kill them, too.” Now that we have your attention, we’d like to point out, as writer Edward Nawotka does in his essay, “George Saunders’ Rebel Yell,” that Saunders might be the perfect writer for our era the age of pre-emptive warfare, the age of George W. Bush. The Amarillo native is blessed with the gift of “making the strange make sense”a noble goal for any era and one that describes what we try to do here at the Observer 24 times a year. Twice a year we do that by dedicating an issue to “Books & the Culture” pages of this year’s Summer Books Issue, we go from George Saunders and Persuasion Nation to Hector Tobar and Translation Nation, with a timely take on immigration by longtime contributing writer Debbie Nathan. Molly Ivins weighs in on media sinners and saints, with recommendations for superb Former Observer editor Dave Denison pulls together the long, strange saga of Mary Mapes and Dan Rather, and Ben Barnes and George W. Bush, in Former Observer internand soonto-be published authorEmily Rapp describes the perils of writing memoir in the age of James Frey \(“How James Summer Books Issue we profiled El Paso native Christine Granados [“Texas Writers Observed,” July 22, 20051. This year we’re proud to present “The Bride,” from Brides and Sinners in El Chuco, Granados’ wonderful short story collection, published last February by the University of Arizona Press. There’s much more to say about our writers, but a few words are needed about some of the artists whose work appears in this issue. Our cover art is by Anna Mayo. As a longtime Village Voice staff writer, Mayo reported on everything from Three Mile Island to Jesse Jackson to Jesse Helms. Her byline has also appeared in the Observer, and we’re delighted to have her magical painting on the front and back covers. The photographs that accompany Debbie Nathan’s review, “This American Life,” are by Dulce Pinzon. Born in Mexico City, Pinzon now lives in Brooklyn. The images are part of an ongoing project, “The real story of Superheroes,” which has been exhibited in Mexico as well as in the United States. Her portraits of immigrant workers dressed as comic book heroes may well be the perfect antidote for the Age of AntiImmigrant hysteria. As Pinzon has written, her goal “is to pay homage to these brave and determined men and women that somehow manage, without the help of any supernatural power, to withstand extreme conditions of labor in order to help their families and communities survive and prosper?’ Finally, a big mil gracias, a note of thanks to our art director and webmaster extraordinaire Matt Omohundro, who has assembled an amazing amount of text and art with remarkably good humor. And thank you to summer intern Victoria Sanchez, who’s been diligently researching, fact-checking, and typing in manuscripts \(yes, even in Wi-Fi City it’s sometimes necessary With this issue we take a well-deserved break. Your next issue will be dated September 8just in time for what promises to be one of the strangest political campaign seasons in the history of Texas and the nation. Better be prepared. To borrow a phrase from George Saunders, watch out for “squat little men with detachable megaphones growing out of their clavicles?’ THE TEXAS OBSERVER I VOLUME 98, NO. 16 I A Journal of Free Voices Since 1954 Founding Editor Ronnie Dugger Executive Editor Jake Bernstein Editor Barbara Belejack Associate Editor Dave Mann Publisher Charlotte McCann Associate Publisher Julia Austin Circulation Manager Lara George Art Director/Webmaster Matt Omohundro Poetry Editor Naomi Shihab Nye Copy Editors Rusty Todd, Laurie Baker Staff Writers Forrest Wilder, Tim Eaton Editorial Interns Rachel Mehendale, Victoria Sanchez, Kelly Sharp, Richard Whittaker Contributing Writers Nate Blakeslee, Gabriela Bocagrande, Robert Bryce, Michael Erard, James K. Galbraith, Dagoberto Gilb, Steven G. Kellman, Lucius Lomax, James McWilliams, Char Miller, Debbie Nathan, Karen Olsson, John Ross, Andrew Wheat Staff Photographers Alan Pogue, Jana Birchum, Steve Satterwhite Contributing Artists Sam Hurt, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Gary Oliver, Doug Potter Editorial Advisory Board David Anderson, Chandler Davidson, Dave Denison, Sissy Farenthold, Lawrence Goodwyn, Jim Hightower, Kaye Northcott, Susan Reid Texas Democracy Foundation Board Lou Dubose, Molly Ivins, Susan Hays, D’Ann Johnson, Jim Marston, Gilberto Ocafias, Bernard Rapoport, Geoffrey Rips, Sharron Rush, Ronnie Dugger In Memoriam Bob Eckhardt, 1913-2001, Cliff Olofson, 1931-1995 The Texas Observer \(ISSN 0040-4519/ righted 2006, is published biweekly except during January and August when there is a 4 week break between non-profit foundation, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Telephone E-mail [email protected] World Wide Web DownHome page . Periodicals Postage paid at Austin, TX and at additional mailing offices. Subscriptions One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students $18 per year; add $13 per year for foreign subs. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Indexes The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index to Periodicals; Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 1981, The Texas Observer Index. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Books & the Culture is funded in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts. CUlmsel Arts DhIslan AUGUST 11, 2006 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3