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Dan Perkins, whom Kurt Vonnegut calls “the wry voice of American common sense, humor, and decency,” is better known as Tom Tomorrow, creator of the award-winning syndicated strip “This Modern World.” This year, he published his third anthology, The Wrath of Sparky (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin).

Mother Jones asked Perkins what he’s been reading lately. He suggested re>Wired (New York: HarperPerennial, 1996):

“This Wired parody captures the magazine’s smug, self-contained, and ultimately empty techno-libertarianism while satirizing digital elitists Nicholas Negroponte, John Perry Barlow, and Wired co-founder Louis Rossetto (here ‘Lewis Risotto’). Unfortunately, while the concept is on target, the follow-through tends to fall flat. But the two-page spread that takes Wired‘s read-me-if-you-can design to its logical extreme is worth the price in itself.”

Perkins also recommends:

A cynical, charming, and unpredictable road novel-slash-romance set in and around Alamogordo, N.M., Cathryn Alpert’s Rocket City (New York: Vintage Contemporaries, 1996) begins with a classic opening line — “Three melons and a dwarf sat in the front of Marilee’s ’72 Dodge, but the cop was not amused…” — and it just gets better from there.

On Grown Man (New York: Virgin Records, 1995), Loudon Wainwright III sings about aging, infidelity, genetic predetermination, his acknowledged failings as a father (in a brutally honest duet with his daughter), and his response to a female friend who idly wishes she was a lesbian (“…now at that point,” he sings, “I wanted to say, you mean you wish you were a lesbian, because grammatically…”).

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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