Unsolicited Endorsements XXXI

Because sometimes you just want friends to tell you about cool things… the Brew House team offers up its weekly mix of author-supported goodness.

Summer Concert Series: “Fox & Friends All-American Summer Concert Series”

Everything about the Fox News Channel is stunning, when you step back and look at the bigger picture. Whether you agree or disagree with the notion an entity like Fox News – or MSNBC, for that matter – should attempt to pass itself off as a reputable news organization, you can’t really deny the channel’s influence (the same can’t be said for MSNBC). The main reason I love* Fox News is that everyone involved is clearly in on the joke. To truly appreciate the operation’s genius, you have to forget about the whole “ruining our nation” thing for a second and focus on the power it wields every Friday morning.

*Love might not be the right word.

The “Fox & Friends All-American Summer Concert Series” brings a crowd of several hundred to the corner of 48th Street and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan every Friday morning. Once assembled, the attendees start the morning by sitting at picnic tables on a fake grass lawn, consuming Famous Dave’s BBQ, and listening to music – usually country, usually espousing conservative values. This all happens IN THE HEART OF MIDTOWN MANHATTAN. AT EIGHT IN THE MORNING.

The great part of it is that everyone who organizes and profits from the show has to realize it’s ridiculous. They wrap up the week knowing advertisers paid to appear on a show that featured a) tourists eating chain-restaurant barbeque for breakfast, b) the guy from Staind playing “country” music, c) celebrity gossip, d) light-hearted banter, e) the slow death of journalism/America.

It might not be admirable, but it’s impressive. – Asher Fusco


Summer read: Chris Ballard’s “One Shot at Forever”

There’s nothing quite like pulling out a lawn chair, sprawling out in the back yard, and plowing through a book on a bright summer day in the Midwest.

Earlier this month, I picked up Chris Ballard’s latest book, “One Shot at Forever”, the beautiful story of a small town, a high school baseball team, and a season for the ages. In other words, the ideal summer read.

In 1971, the Macon Ironmen, a high school baseball team from a small, rural town in Illinois, advanced to the state finals. More than 40 years later, Ballard has delivered a ridiculously good re-telling of the story — a version that centers on the remarkable story of Lynn Sweet, a free-thinking high school English teacher who takes over the job as head baseball coach in conservative Macon. (Ballard originally documented the season in a lengthy SI piece a couple years ago.)

The research and reporting is tireless and detailed, and the story will stay with you. Baseball. Small towns. A changing country. And for a team of high school boys, the question that everyone must ask: What comes after Macon? — Rustin Dodd


Journalism: GQ’s Sean Flynn on the Norway massacre 

Read this. Now. — RD


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