June 6, 2023

Will There Be Bookstores On Mars? . . . By Bishop,


“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of all true art”
–Albert Einstein
“It is not what people know that worries me; it is what they know that’s wrong” –Will Rogers

It is any wonder that more and more folks gladly avoid reading or watching the news. Day after day, they avoid learning that glaciers are melting, wolves are back, America is at war, repeatedly, the Verde River may not be flowing much longer, and Arizona’s tough new governor hopes to spend more money on prisons than on education.
Prisons? Could it be that because of Arizona’s third-worldly anemic wages, hungry citizens commit crimes to feed their families, and end up to prisons—and more are needed. The news that news-avoiding, non-voting citizens also miss is that ten years ago, 23 percent more was spent on education than on prisons. Under the proposed budget, people avoid reading and barely voting, the new governor (his name rhymes with Lucy) proposes that Arizona spend 51 percent more on prisons than on universities.
In the same vein, do they know or care that Democracy is in rags what with voter turnout running lower and lower, leaving lots of room for Dark Forces to have their way with our nation, and our constitution.
$486 million spent by outside groups on Senate races in 2014.
More than $1 billion in super PAC spending since Citizens United
Fewer than 200 people were responsible for more than $600 million of super PAC spending since 2010.

“Endless money forms the sinews of war.”
As for Arizona, there was a time when political hijinks were regarded as humorous, from time to time rendering our state the laughing stock of the nation, if not the world.
However, few laugh at the wicked antics of Rep. Trent Franks whose latest assault on the rights of women shocks the American Medical Association, the British Royal College of Obstetricians, medical professionals everywhere. Cost to taxpayers: $500 million over the next ten years. Only a counterattack by women will defeat this attack on their rights. Word is spreading that Franks should have a staffer explain to him that his proposed law is not only unconstitutional it is medically unsound and dangerous. Frank will not stop until he can control what women do with their bodies. People ask, what does he see when he looks in the mirror in the morning?
Questions ring through the chilly, winter air. Where have all the independent bookstores gone? As for book stores, one by one like cavalry troopers at Little Bighorn they fall and fade into sad memories. It cannot happy here, people say, not in literate Sedona. Truth be told, it has already happened enough what with the death of The Worm in uptown and Kate’s Shaw’s near Bashas. Even Borders went bust in New York. However, that was there. Indeed, until recently there was some reassuring good news in our fair area.
From a small shop in West Sedona Joe and Chris created an atmosphere of joy for seekers of fiction, poetry, advice and a kind word of struggling writers. Spontaneous browsers were also welcome. Then came the farewell e-mail. “It couldn’t happened but it did”, signed legendary editor Benny Blake. No point looking for evil developers who wanted the shop’s land or rapacious landlords or any of the usual suspects among darker powers in the are. “It was just time,” said Joe, holding back years during awake, alive with music and cake. “We are off to new careers,” added Chris. What are we left with? Twitters, tiny screens endlessly being recharged, and developers that go bump in the night.
For ten years, we had two pros in town who actually knew what they were doing—and cared about the written word. As for your correspondent, a trip to Mars is starting to look like a good idea. Scientists there may be the remains of ancient civilizations there, maybe even a good bookstore, maybe even decent railroads so hobos can ride, and no need for prisons for hungry people where one of four kids in Arizona go hungry at day’s end.

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