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Sign Language Political crusader Jim Hightower takes his case to the people of Bookshop Santa Cruz on Sept. 13.

Knowledge Is Power

Schoolhouse Rock exposed as Gnostic conspiracy, lit events reviewed

By Jessica Neuman Beck

As students slowly extricate themselves from the grasp of summer vacation, I'm reminded of the immortal words of Schoolhouse Rock: "It's great to learn, cuz knowledge is power!" And while I may not be entirely sure about the grammatical accuracy of the word "cuz," I am sure that the Saturday morning cartoons of my youth are coming back to haunt me.

Every time I walk into the mall, it's like an acid flashback. Care Bears leer at me from shop windows. Rainbow Brite dolls dangle mockingly from key chains. Walking into Hot Topic, I have to avert my eyes, lest I be assaulted by all manner of Muppets T-shirts, sized for people who were mere zygotes while Kermit was singing about how it's not easy being green.

Equally disturbing is Diary: A Novel from Chuck Palahniuk, the man who brought us Fight Club and inspired a generation of bored yuppies to beat each other up in parking lots. Not disturbing at all, however, is the fact that Mr. Palahniuk will be reading from his new book on Sunday, Sept. 7, at 7:30pm at Bookshop Santa Cruz.

On Saturday, Sept. 13, at 7:30pm, also at Bookshop Santa Cruz, political commentator Jim Hightower will be appearing with his new book Thieves in High Places: They've Stolen Our Country and It's Time to Take It Back.

On Wednesday, Sept. 17, at 7:30pm at the Capitola Book Cafe is an event sponsored by Poetry Santa Cruz. Diane di Prima, hailed as the first women Beat poet, and Maria Maziotti Gillan, author of Italian Women in Black Dresses, will be reading. It's a good month for poetry--celebrated local poet Maude Meehan will be at Bookshop Santa Cruz at 7:30pm on Thursday, Sept. 25, reading from her newest work, As If The World Made Sense.

Thursday, Sept. 18 brings Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife, to the Capitola Book Cafe at 7:30pm. This novel about a chronologically challenged couple garnered a lot of buzz at the 2003 Book Expo of America.

Anyone faced with the daunting task of adding up overdrafts at the end of the month will benefit from Vicki Robin's Your Money or Your Life workshop on Sunday, Sept. 28, at 2:30pm. It's rumored that most people who take her advice find that their expenses drop by about 20 percent. Think of how many more Smurfs figurines one could afford with all that extra cash.

I wonder if today's Spongebob Squarepants-fed kids will be as influenced by their cartoon viewing as I was. Without Lolly and his adverbs, I might not have even been able to write this column. And don't even get me started on Sesame Street.

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From the September 3-10, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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