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When Writers Rebuke You/Us/We/Them/America

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Here's what we know: on Thursday night at 7pm, Walter Kirn (who we believe is a genius, but we cannot prove it), former U.S. Senator George McGovern, writer James Q. Wilson and editor extraordinaire Robert Vare will be in discussion at the Central Library.

What will they discuss? How literary masters of the past have both interpreted and rebuked American society and culture, as documented in the new anthology The American Idea: The Best of the Atlantic Monthly.

Yes, it does sound a bit hoity-toity. Even, dare we say it, a little boring. But. Well. Walter Kirn. He wrote The Unbinding as a serialized novel on Slate and then it became a print novel with hyperlinks. A. Print. Novel. With. Hyperlinks. He wrote Thumbsucker for crying out loud. And: George freaking McGovern. And: Robert Vare, editor at large for The Atlantic Monthly, former editor at Rolling Stone. Certainly with that kind of brainpower there will be something good coming out of it all, right? Plus, pitting conservative "no gun control" James Q. Wilson against the likes of Kirn, McGovern and Vare seems like a recipie for heated discussion, no?

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We're intrigued. Very intrigued. If the discussion proves less than thrilling, the anthology - which includes the work of far too many genius writers to mention (just look at the cover!) - definitely seems worthy of our time.