Baseball, Bebop, Human Rights, and Freedom Movements in a New Short-Story Collection

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If you missed Michelle Obama’s powerful speech at the Democratic National Convention last night, catch it here. She vividly summed up “the story of America” by anchoring it in the lives of “all those folks who sacrificed and overcame so much.” “The story of America” is an expansive phrase that calls up endless places, people, and subplots, and it’s the subject of Mark Ruffin’s brilliant short-story collection about justice and equality in baseball and music. Bebop Fairy Tales is his first book in his 40-year career as a radio broadcaster, most recently a SiriusXM host, and it’s a detail-rich work of historical fiction that sets real athletes and artists in imagined circumstances.

One climactic story, “The Sidewinder,” alludes to Lee Morgan’s 1964 album and takes us to Philly, where a 12-year-old explores his passion for baseball and bebop and navigates racial, cultural, and class lines. The story arc is challenging and risk-taking, all the brilliance you can expect from Ruffin (who once wrote a screenplay in which Fats Waller is kidnapped by Al Capone). Michelle Obama here, Ruffin here, “The Sidewinder” here.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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