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Feb 19, 2014 brinsonian commented on To Become a UNESCO City of Literature, the City of Seattle Has to Take Action Now.
@7 That's a great question. I don't have access to that, though hopefully the people putting together the application are taking it into consideration.

@8 I'm a bit of a booster and an eternal optimist, and I can make quite a case when I'm passionate. One of the ideas with UNESCO designation, I think, is that people who don't have the energy and inclination to get all vociferous on the Internet about The Arts will still have that label to point to.

As far as nationally and internationally known name recognition in the field of literature, Seattle has...Amazon, pretty much. Yeah, we know how lucky and talented we are locally. But it'd be nice to make a case to the rest of the world that we are more than just Amazon.
Feb 19, 2014 brinsonian commented on To Become a UNESCO City of Literature, the City of Seattle Has to Take Action Now.
@5 Local writing programs--the MFAs, the Hugo Houses, UW extensions, the Antiochs, and the myriad other options for studying creative writing--will have added legitimacy in both their outreach/marketing for new students and funding applications (especially regionally/nationally). That'll help bring new writers (and their tuition dollars) and funders in.

Local writers that make it to larger stages (like Ryan himself, Sherman Alexie, Jess Walter, Maria Semple, Nancy Kress, Nicole Hardy, etc.; there are so many, it's so great!) and get reviews in the press will be able to talk about Seattle and the Northwest as a hotbed of literary creativity and have this specifically to point to. Can the value of this be really measured? Nope. But I don't think it should be discounted; spin is important.

And to speak specifically to your question about "tourists": tourists are people who visit the city who live elsewhere, yes? I don't have any hard data on how international tourists' habits change with UNESCO status (though I bet Dublin, Reykjavik, et al could share them with us), but I can point you to the city's 2012 report on arts & economic prosperit…. As you'll see on page nine, about 31% of Seattle arts event attendees are non-residents (that is, they reside outside of King County). Non-residents spend an average of 153% more than residents when engaging in cultural activities (particularly with lodging, meals, and transportation).

Between SAL, Hugo House, local bookstore readings, and other events (occasional literary Town Hall productions, indie readings series, and so on), there are, at a minimum, probably 200 days a year that at least one literary event is happening. I'd actually be surprised if that number turned out to be less than 300, but I don't have the time to parse it fully right now.

Obviously, the George Saunders and Gillian Flynns will draw a lot more "tourists" than the Breadlines or Cheap Wine & Poetrys, just because of marketing reach and name recognition. And yes, those tourists might be spending a bit more money at Ring Cycle performances at the Opera or at their annual "A Christmas Carol" viewing at ACT than they will at a SAL reading. But Gillian Flynn's press agent presumably booked her at SAL because Seattle is consistently the most or the second most literate cit…. We're far away from New York, and not super-close to San Francisco, but we're not a market that can be ignored. There is money and interest here, and now is the time to ratchet it up--for the readers, the writers, and the cultural consumers.

A UNESCO endorsement is a big, floppy feather in our cap that will attract more funding for literary orgs, generate attention through the press, give authors something to add to their query letters and bios, and give us access to other cities--and their knowledge base--who have already joined the club. My god, why would we not invest in this.
Aug 9, 2012 brinsonian commented on My Old Professor Has Been Debunked.
Um, Barton's work is still causing problems. Take a look at what's happening at Alabama Public Television these days:…
Oct 14, 2010 brinsonian commented on Joy and Whoopi Walk Out On Bill O'Reilly.
@12 There are a lot more evangelical christians than there are suicidal muslim extremists and the evangelical christians outnumber their 'moderate' counterparts (at least in this country:…) whereas the suicidal muslim extremists form a minuscule fringe section of Muslims.

Also 'moderate' or 'mainstream' muslim leaders already do what you're talking about, e.g.:……
Unsurprisingly, such messages rarely receive much media attention. People speaking out against violence draw far lower ratings than a couple yahoos with guns.

Regardless if mainstream leaders are speaking out against violence and terrorism, it's unclear that they can have any effect on the actions of the fringe. Angry people will seek out and find likeminded zealots and spiritual justification. Economically oppressed people with no hope will sell their lives cheaply, as long as they can take some of their perceived oppressors with them.
Oct 14, 2010 brinsonian reviewed Highline.
Food is ok, service slow, prices a bit high for the haphazard setting.
Decent option if you MUST have vegan food, otherwise look elsewhere.
Oct 5, 2010 brinsonian commented on Vive Airbus!.
Justin Bieber = Canadian. Let's just get that on the record.
Sep 27, 2010 brinsonian commented on Lunchtime Quickie: Finally, Proof That God Really Exists.
Beats negotiating with your healthcare provider.
Apr 26, 2010 brinsonian commented on New Restaurants and Bars: Benbow, Bisato, Burgers, and More.
RIP, Szechuan Bistro. I wish you were moving into the abandoned McDonald's on Greenwood Ave instead of the Coffee Bean. I do not need a Christian coffee shop. I do need hand-shave noodle.
Mar 10, 2010 brinsonian commented on Pluto IS a Planet Protest March and Rally.
Yeah, @13 nailed it. One of the components of Saturday is a workshop for kids on writing argumentative essays either for or against "planetary status." We come for the writing, we stay for the tongue-in-cheek protest!
Feb 16, 2010 brinsonian commented on Reading Tonight: Shame and Glory.
Paul...I've been trying and trying to like Boneshaker. Wil Wheaton blurbed it and I STILL can't make myself like it. I love the idea of the story, but I just cannot get over how slowly the prose moves, or how generic (even with the steampunk accoutrements) the characters seem. It reads like a too-detailed movie pitch, like the story was intended to be told in a visual medium but woke up one morning as a book instead and just decided to go with it.

I almost never don't finish books...but I'm about halfway through and I'm giving up on this one.

I'm very glad to hear that Cherie Priest is friendly, though. I'm glad for her that other people like her book.