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Posts Tagged ‘Interview’

Free Exchange with Dr. Donald Livingston of Emory University

In America, American History, Arts & Letters, Books, Conservatism, Economics, History, Humane Economy, Humanities, Law, liberal arts, Liberalism, Libertarianism, Philosophy, Politics, Scholarship, Southern History, The South, Western Civilization, Western Philosophy on January 18, 2017 at 6:45 am

In 2014, Dr. Donald Livingston sat for an interview for “Free Exchange,” a program of the John W. Hammond Institute for Free Enterprise at Lindenwood University.  The interview appears below. Dr. Livingston is Professor Emeritus in the Philosophy Department at Emory University, President of the Abbeville Institute, and Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

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Allen Mendenhall Interviews Jeffrey Tucker

In Arts & Letters, Austrian Economics, Creativity, Economics, Humane Economy, Humanities, Liberalism, Libertarianism, Literary Theory & Criticism, Literature, Philosophy, Writing on March 26, 2012 at 1:00 am

Jeffrey Tucker is the publisher and executive editor of Laissez Faire Books. He is the author, most recently, of Bourbon for Breakfast: Living Outside the Statist Quo (2010) and It’s a Jetsons World: Private Miracles and Public Crimes (2011). The former editorial vice president of the Ludwig Von Mises Institute, he is an adjunct scholar with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a research fellow with the Acton Institute, and a faculty member of Acton University.

Q: Jeff, this interview is exciting for me. It’s something of a reversal of the interview that we did together in January 2011. This time, I’m interviewing you. I’d like to start off by asking about your two recent books, Bourbon for Breakfast and It’s a Jetsons World. Tell the readers of this site a little about both books.

A: Both books cover the unconventional side of private life as governed by the market and human volition. I guess you could say that this is my beat. I’m interested in the myriad ways in which the government’s central plan — and there is such a thing — has distorted and changed our lives, and also interested in the ways we can get around this plan and still live fulfilling lives. I take it as a given that everything that government does is either useless or destructive or both. The government does a tremendous number of things, so this is a huge area. Bourbon is more focused on the rottenness of the state and its harm, while Jetsons is more the marvelous things that markets do for us. Neither subject gets the attention they deserve.

Q: These books are available in PDF format online. Explain why you’ve chosen to make your work freely and widely available.

A: Every writer wants to be read, so it only makes sense for all writers to post their material. Of course publishers tend to intervene here with promises of royalties in exchange for which you become their slave for the rest of your life plus 70 years (that’s when they dance on your grave). This is the essence of copyright. It is a bad deal for writers. Those who go along with it these days nearly always regret it later. If they actually earn royalties — and very few actually do — it is likely they would have earned more had the material not been withheld pending payment. The bestselling books of 2012 — the Hunger Games series — are posted by pirates everywhere, even against publisher wishes. But, you know, this is starting to change. Publishers are gradually seeing the point to posting material online. Sadly, they aren’t budging on the copyright issue, which is really pathetic. No libertarian should ever publish anything with any institution that is not willing to embrace a very liberal policy on reprints, and one that is likely enforceable such as Creative Commons – Attribution. Meanwhile, the government is using copyright, a phony form of property rights, to step up its despotic control over the digital age. The situation is extremely dangerous. One hundred years from now, they will be laughing at our times and poking fun at how the anachronistic state tried its best to thwart progress.

Q: You strike me as an optimist. Is that true?

A: Not as a matter of principle but there are certain rational reasons to be very hopeful about the future. The future is always uncertain except in this one sense: it will be different from today. The state is very bad at managing change. Freedom is very good at managing change. Freedom is a form of play, a relentless process of adaptation, trial and error, of testing and pushing out the boundaries. Freedom is really marvelous at implementing an infinite world of ideas, whereas the state pretty much has only one idea: push people around. This is why freedom always ends up outrunning the ability of the state to manage it. Freedom is smarter, and connects more closely with human ambitions and dreams, and this is especially true in a digital age. For this reason, I think we have reason to be full of confidence and hope.  

Q: After a long tenure at the Ludwig Von Mises Institute, you recently became publisher and executive editor of Laissez Faire Books. A lot of people are anxious to see what you’re going to do with that enterprise. What can you tell them at this point?

A: Well, I’m glad to report that we are selling books and that’s fantastic. We also have some two dozen books in the process toward publication. I’m being pretty fussy with the books overall, commissioning excellent introductions and writing all sort of editorial prefaces and things. As we approach summer, you will see many more wonderful things happen, things that have never been done before, but I think I’ll let the details be a surprise.

Q: What is Laissez Faire Books? Many readers of this site are probably unfamiliar with it.

A: The company has this brilliant history that traces to 1972. Murray Rothbard was in many ways at the center of its founding but there were also many Randians involved. Between that point and the digital age, it was the main way that people received libertarian literature. Oddly, one thing I’ve noticed since coming to work here is that the “curator” role is still something that Laissez Faire can play. If we can guarantee a certain number of sales on a particular book, we can make the difference as to whether it is published or not. Much to my surprise, this seems to be happening already.

I’m extremely pleased that Agora Financial took over LFB in 2011. Agora is a for-profit company with offices all over the world, and the firm has a dynamic ethos that embraces commerce, change, and progress. The past is just data in a company like this, while all the energy action is in the future. As you might imagine, I like this environment. It is a natural home for me.

Thank you so much for taking the time, Jeff. Is there anything else you’d like to say before we conclude?

A: I have a strong sense these days that libertarianism, broadly considered, is undergoing huge changes in strategic outlook, and I’m happy about that. We are moving away from the “movement” mentality of the analog age and into a broader sense of the global universe of ideas. This means taking more risks, exploring more areas, and generally having more fun than ever. It’s a good time to love liberty.

Thank you so much.  This was really great, and I hope we can do it again.

Allen Mendenhall Interviews Julie Cantrell

In Arts & Letters, Book Reviews, Creative Writing, Fiction, Humanities, Literature, News and Current Events, Novels, Southern Literary Review, The South, Writing on February 29, 2012 at 6:10 am

Julie Cantrell was editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review.  She teaches English as a second language to elementary school students and is a freelance writer who has published two children’s books. Julie and her family run Valley House Farm in Mississippi.  Her first novel, Into the Free, was released by David C. Cook in 2012.

 

Julie, so glad to be doing this interview.  First of all, congratulations on the publication of Into the Free, which, at the moment, is number 23 on the Amazon Kindle bestseller list.  What does it feel like to have completed your first novel?

It’s amazing! The entire journey has been joyful for me, but to see it reach readers across the world is incredible. Having it become a bestseller is simply surreal. I admit I’m a bit numb watching it climb the charts, and I keep thinking it will end in a few minutes – a strange little bubble of joy that is about to pop. For that reason, I’ve been doing the happy dance nonstop and am just going to enjoy the fun while it lasts.

The main character of the book is Millie Reynolds.  How did you come up with Millie?  Did you know what she would be like—her personality, her attitudes, her struggles—before you started writing, or did she sort of come to you as you worked?

Well, to be honest, I never intended to write from a child’s point of view. I originally set out to write about the “Gypsy Queen,” but it just wasn’t the voice I heard. Then I saw a scene of a poor, depressed woman standing on a porch watching the Travelers leave town. She wanted to leave with them, but she was too afraid to take the first step. So I sat down to write her story, but it wasn’t her voice I heard either. Instead, Millie sat in her tree and told me her story. I know it sounds kooky, but I guess I just have a very vivid imagination. I’m happy to introduce Millie to readers, and I hope they love her as much as I do.

You once told me that you had two kids, four cows, three goats (two of which were then due with babies that you’d have to bottle feed), two dogs, two cats (one stray that arrived pregnant), a horse that likes a lot of attention, a flock of hens, a newly arrived carton of chicks, a husband, and a full-time job as a speech therapist.  How did you ever manage to finish writing Into the Free

It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? In fact, we’ve grown bigger since then! I still work in an elementary school, but now I teach English as a Second Language, so I was able to reduce my hours to part-time this year. With a full-time farm, a teaching job (which is never really part-time, as any teacher will tell you), two kids, a wonderful hubby, freelance gigs, and an active community life, we stay very busy. I usually write between the hours of 3 am and 5 am, when the rest of the world is sleeping. I just love it more than sleep.

Tell us a little about your choice of setting for the novel?

I am a southern girl, through and through. I spent my childhood in Louisiana before leaving the south after graduate school. I loved living in various states across the country, but our family relocated to Mississippi seven years ago, returning to our southern roots. I find this state incredibly rich with everything needed to whip up a story. I never considered setting it anywhere other than Mississippi. However, I like to mix things up a bit, so let’s see where the sequel takes us.

Any advice for aspiring novelists who might come across this interview?

Yes. I say, Go for it! If writing is what you love, be willing to make sacrifices to keep that in your life. Only you know what you were born to do, and only you know how to live the life that makes you happy. Life is short. Choose wisely.

Thank you, Julie.  This has been a great interview.  I’m thrilled to see the success of Into the Free, and I would encourage readers of this site to purchase a copy right away. 

Thank you, Allen. I am honored to be interviewed here on a site I have always loved. You’ve done a fabulous job with Southern Literary Review, and I know your readers all agree. Kudos!

Allen Mendenhall Interviews Joyce Corrington

In Art, Arts & Letters, Creativity, Fiction, Film, History, Humanities, Information Design, John William Corrington, Law, Literature, News and Current Events, Novels, Philosophy, Screenwriting, Television, Television Writing, Writing on September 22, 2011 at 8:31 am

Joyce Corrington is a writer who, with her late husband John William “Bill” Corrington, wrote several films, including The Omega Man (1970), Box Car Bertha (1971), and The Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973).  Also with Bill Corrington, she co-authored four novels: So Small a Carnival (1986), A Project Named Desire (1987), A Civil Death (1987), and The White Zone (1990).  She was head writer for such television series as Search for Tomorrow, Texas, General Hospital and Superior Court, and she has been a co-executive producer for MTV’s The Real World.  She holds a Ph.D. from Tulane University.  Her latest book, Fear of Dying, is available in both Kindle e-book and paperback format.  Formerly a Malibu resident, she now resides in New Orleans. 

Photo by Robert Corrington

Joyce, thank you so much for doing this interview.  I’m surprised we haven’t done one before.  You’ve been an enormous help to me over the years.  You even allowed me to stay at your home in New Orleans so that I could do research on your late husband, Bill.  During that time I learned that you hold a Ph.D. from Tulane University, and taught Chemistry at Xavier University for ten years.  Tell me, how did a person with that background become a writer?

I’m sure it would never have happened if I hadn’t met and married Bill when we were both at Rice University.  He was working on a doctorate so he could earn a living teaching, but he wanted to write.  Bill succeeded in publishing a number of well-received novels, which I typed and edited for him.  But we did not become co-writers until Roger Corman read one of Bill’s novels and invited him to write a movie script.  This was not something Bill especially wanted to do.  But it paid better than college teaching, so we evolved a film writing partnership, whereby I would create a detailed story structure and Bill would write a script following my outline.  After six films, we became involved in writing television series and continued our writing partnership there and in the four New Orleans mystery books we published.  Bill passed away as the fourth was being written, so I completed it.

Why did you choose to continue the series?

After Bill died I found it difficult to get the same kind of writing jobs we had been used to doing.  I think this was because all of my credits were as half of a writing team and producers felt uncertain whether I could do the job by myself.  Thus I had about two years where I had little to do and, while I read a lot during that time, I also began writing a sequel to our New Orleans mystery series.  I think I wanted to prove that I could do it by myself.  Just after finishing the manuscript for Fear of Dying, I was hired to help produce The Real World, a job which I held for eleven seasons.  I did not get around to publishing Fear of Dying until I retired from that job. Read the rest of this entry »

Allen Mendenhall Interviews Richard Miles

In Advocacy, Arts & Letters, Communication, Ethics, Law, News and Current Events, Politics, Prison, Rhetoric, Rhetoric & Communication, Teaching, Writing on September 14, 2011 at 9:23 am

Richard Miles spent years in prison after being wrongly convicted and sentenced to 80 years.  He lives in Texas and speaks about false imprisonment.

Richard, thanks for doing this interview.  You and I have gotten to know each other through email correspondence.  I believe you first contacted me after reading my review of Dorothy and Peyton Budd’s Tested: How Twelve Wrongly Imprisoned Men Held Onto Hope (Dallas, TX: Brown Books Publishing Group, 2010).  You are one of those twelve men.  Tell us how you became part of the book.  What do you think of the book, now that you’ve seen the final product?

The first time anyone heard of or read anything about Richard Ray Miles was in The Dallas Morning NewsI remember that morning as if it was yesterday.  To be arrested for murder and attempted murder, at the age of 19, was a horrific experience, but to wake up Monday morning and read that I was the shooter, in a murder I didn’t commit, tore out my insides.  Mr. Mendenhall, my fight for innocence was not just for me—I knew I was innocent—but for my mom and dad.  I didn’t want the story to be the last thing that my father—a minister in the neighborhood who had to hear accusations about his son—to read.  So, when the book Tested was completed, it was like a dream come true: now Dallas residents could read about MY INNOCENCE. 

You’ve been through a lot.  Would you mind telling us your story?  Start wherever you want to start.

I was born in Dallas to Thelma Malone and Richard Miles.  My parents split when I was young, but not long after my mom met William Lloyd and married him.  I was probably about five when that happened, so to say I was without a father is false.  My dad, William, became a minister when I was still young, so I grew up in a very strict, religious household.  Going to church every day was not out of the ordinary.  For the most part, my older sister, two younger brothers and I had a very good upbringing.

As far as schooling goes, I was very smart and interested in learning.  I went to an academy for middle school and then to Skyline High School, which was one of the most prestigious schools at the time.  When I made it to Skyline, I began to feel something different.  I felt that my parents were way too strict on me.  As young children do, I began to rebel—nothing too extreme, but rebellious nevertheless.  I was kicked out of Skyline at the end of 11th grade and was transferred to Kimball.  Kimball and Skyline were two totally different places to learn.  To be more precise, Kimball was a Hood School; its reputation preceded itself.

By the time I got into Kimball and got ready to take my senior exams, I got a reputation for coming to school drunk.  Mind you, I was not a drinker, so any little thing was not good.  The long and short is that I made it all the way to the 12th grade, but did not graduate.  I left home a little after that, never to be in the streets or in a gang because I was working at McDonalds, and I actually liked the idea of having a job.  All that changed when my friend came to pick me up from my parents’ house.  He asked me about selling drugs.  I had never been introduced to that, and by mere peer pressure, my entire life was turned around.

I struggled on the streets for probably one year, but that was enough to experience a life I will never return to.  On May 15th, I was walking home, not knowing there was a shooting miles away, and I got picked up for a murder and an attempted murder.  I have never shot a gun in my life, nor ever thought about stealing or tried to steal someone’s things by force.  So, I knew I would be going home soon. The whole interrogation lasted probably five or six hours.  Because my friend had driven me home and wasn’t with me when I was walking and got picked up, I gave the detective phone numbers of people who could identify my whereabouts.  My friend had gone to his girlfriend’s place.  That’s why I was walking by myself.  All in all, I gave the detective four phone numbers of people who could verify my whereabouts and confirm that I was not the shooter. The detective left and came back about an hour later.  He said, “Your story checked out, but you killed that man, and you’re going to prison.”  I was lost at that point.

I stayed in the county jail for 17 months before I went to trial.  I was given a court-appointed lawyer. In August 1995, I had a jury trial.  

There were ten witnesses, nine of whom said I was not the shooter.  No weapon was ever found, and the fingerprints that were retrieved were neither mine nor the victims’. One person who was shot testified that I did not look like the shooter, and my alibis came as well.  Nevertheless, I was found guilty of murder and attempted murder and sentenced to 80 years in prison. 

After I had sent out numerous letters and spent 14 years in prison, I was contacted by an organization out of Princeton, New Jersey, that picked up my case and found in the police record an anonymous phone record received before I went to trial.  This record mentioned the real shooter as well as other confidential information.  This stuff had never been turned in.  Based on that and other exculpatory evidence, I was released in October 2009; I was the first non-DNA release under District Attorney Craig Watkins

Now I’m awaiting full exoneration, even though the DA and my judge pronounced me innocent. Read the rest of this entry »

Allen Mendenhall interviews Mary Jennings, Singer-Songwriter

In Art, Artist, Arts & Letters, Creativity, Humanities, Melody, Music, Singer, Singer-Songwriter, Song on June 1, 2011 at 6:52 am

The old adage “big things come in small packages” has perhaps never been more fitting for an artist than in the case of Jennings, the one-name moniker of New York based siren Mary Jennings.

Standing just a shade over five feet tall, Jennings delivers a robust and heartfelt sound that is anything but small-scale.  Her music reflects an enormous strength and drive that is uniquely hers, combining a deep range of rock and pop influences with an unabashed sense of vintage style that few, if any, could ever pull off. 

“I believe that the difference between an artist and the average person is a fearless and relentless willingness to expose their quarks, oddities, secrets, and passions for all of the world to see and hear,” says Mary.

Mary’s surge in musical expression started after the sudden death of her mother in 2001.  “This tragedy rocked me to the core, but there is so much beauty in what it allowed me to do,” she says.  “All of my emotions came pouring out in the form of melody.”

At the time, her father, a former musician himself, gave her the option to go through therapy or record an album.  He knew both would be equally helpful to her, but by recording her music, she would be able to have something to hold on to and share with others for a lifetime.

It was on that first album that Jennings established her creative foundation, crafting music that bonds her to the listener in a genuinely honest and relatable way.  That openness, and the raw emotion that she has shared on subsequent records, has attracted praise from fans and press alike.  “Jennings’ music is sweet, lush, powerful, full of great hooks, intelligent and meaningful to boot! I love it!” said Heather Miller-Rodriguez of 100.1FM KRUU.  Platinum award winning producer John Rowe agrees, calling Jennings’s music “creative and original… A breath of fresh air!”

Recent years have seen Mary’s musical aspirations starting to take shape.   She has worked with Billboard-charting songwriters, toured with national acts and has had a number of her songs placed on popular television shows.  While the professional growth and the accolades are nice, she values most the simple act of connecting with a live audience.  “Live performances give me such a rush,” she says.  “They are one of the best parts about being a musician.  To me, they are what really brings the music to life.  To know that you only have a few moments to capture an audience and keep them engaged long enough to fall in love with you and your music is a difficult task, but one that I wouldn’t trade for any other profession.”

Jennings’s growth continues with the release of her latest album, Collapse Collide.  It’s a project that reflects an artist, and a woman, who has confidently found her voice over the course of a long, and, at times, heart-breaking journey and the beginning of what many have already predicted: a bright and promising future for a truly one-of-a-kind talent.

Read the rest of this entry »

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