Saturday, December 28, 1996

Richard Grayson Op-Ed Column in Gainesville Sun: "Just Say No to Student Drug Tests"

The Gainesville Sun today (Saturday, December 28, 1996) has an op-ed column by Richard Grayson, "Just Say No to Student Drug Tests."

Thursday, December 12, 1996

Richard Grayson analyzes Morris v. Hill for the Human Rights Council of North Central Florida BULLETIN

Richard Grayson analyzes Morris v. Hill, (Alachua County, Fla. Nov. 22, 1996), Palm Beach Post, Nov. 24,1996 (applying Romer v. Evans and ruling unconstitutional anti-gay ballot measure) for the Human Rights Council of North Central Florida BULLETIN (December 1996).

Saturday, November 9, 1996

Orlando Sentinel interviews Richard Grayson on voters and politicians' ethics

In the Orlando Sentinel today (Saturday, November 9, 1996) Richard Grayson is interviewed in a post-election article, "Ethics Issue Hurts Incumbents at Polls," about the vote in Osceola County, Florida.

An excerpt:
It's true that voters often fail to distinguish among officials, according to Richard Grayson, a staff attorney at the Center for Governmental Responsibility at the University of Florida.

"Whenever you see a scandal in a particular area, there tends to be an automatic revulsion for incumbents -- whether they had anything to do with the wrongdoing or not," Grayson said.

But if ethics were so important this election, why did Osceola go for Bill Clinton -- the first Democrat to win the county since Harry Truman?

That's different, Grayson said. The public has very little tolerance for breaches in public ethics -- illegal personal gain from public office, he said.

Voters are a little more forgiving on questions of personal ethics. Unless it's in clear conflict with a public position -- such as former state representative and Christian Coalition member Marvin Couch's dalliance with a prostitute -- voters don't like to cast the first stone on private matters.

Moreover, Clinton is famous. He is associated in voters' minds with a multitude of issues, not just his ethics, Grayson said.

[Kissimmee city commissioners] Dorsett and Owen, on the other hand, might pop up in the news only in the case of spectacular events -- or scandals. "Most of these people are not very well known, so it's really easy to become connected with a scandal," Grayson said.

On the other hand, that same public ignorance may be become a positive if they decide to run for office again.

"The lower down you go on the ballot, the less like you are to really know who the candidates are," Grayson said. "Unless you're extremely interested in governmental affairs, it's unlikely these names would stick in your head."

Friday, November 8, 1996

UF Law's FLORIDA LAWYER Magazine features note on alumnus RIchard Grayson

Florida Lawyer, the magazine of the University of Florida College of Law, has a feature on alumnus Richard Grayson in the Fall 1996 issue.

Thursday, November 7, 1996

Richard Grayson on child custody and sexual orientation in the Human Rights Council of North Central Florida GUARDIAN

Richard Grayson analyzes legal developments involving child custody and sexual orientation in the Human Rights Council of North Central Florida GUARDIAN's November 1996 issue (Volume 2, Number 4).

Tuesday, August 6, 1996

Richard Grayson letter in The New York Times: "Bilingual Americans Serve Global Markets"

Richard Grayson has a letter in the New York Times today (August 6, 1996): "Bilingual Americans Serve Global Markets."

Saturday, June 29, 1996

Richard Grayson letter in The New York Times: "Why Concede Florida Seats to Republicans?"

Richard Grayson has a letter in the New York Times today (June 29, 1996): "Why Concede Florida Seats to Republicans?"

Tuesday, June 4, 1996

Richard Grayson analyzes Romer v. Evans for the Human Rights Council of North Central Florida GUARDIAN

Richard Grayson analyzes Romer v. Evans, 116 S.Ct. 1620 (1996)(holding Colorado's anti-gay Amendment 2 unconstitutional as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment) for the Human Rights Council of North Central Florida GUARDIAN's June 1996 issue (Volume 2, Number 2).

Thursday, May 23, 1996

American Book Review reviews Richard Grayson's I SURVIVED CARACAS TRAFFIC

The American Book Review has a joint review of Richard Grayson's I Survived Caracas Traffic and Jonis Agee's A .38 Special and a Broken Heart in its April/May 1996 issue:

Irony and/or Authenticity

A .38 Special and a Broken Heart
Jonis Agee
Coffee House Press, 27 N. 4th St., Minneapolis, MN 55401; 130 pages; paper, $10.95
I Survived Caracas Traffic: Stories from the Me Decade
Richard Grayson
Avisson Press, 3007 Taliaferro Rd., Greensboro, NC 27408; 144 pages; cloth, $21.00

Tyrus Miller

FOR today’s storyteller, irony is less a chosen mode, a figure of speech, than an atmosphere which one breathes of necessity, whether or not the surrounding air smells sweet. Starting from this recognition of irony as a kind of fated climate, the best Anglo-American short fiction writers of this century, from Joyce, West, and Barnes to Carter, Creeley, Davenport, and Abish, have explored ways to understand and inhabit an ironic literary cosmos, without either denying its existence or being consumed by it. It is fitting, then, that in reading new works of short fiction one measures them against the standards set by the masters of the genre in coming to grips with the problem of irony.

. . . .

Richard Grayson's collection I Survived Caracas Traffic is nearly the antipode of Agee's collection: cynical, comic-satiric, resolutely urban "East Coast." Grayson's book assembles twelve previously published pieces of magazine fiction. The topical references in the stories suggest, in fact, that the collection includes work from some time along, along with more polished recent work. For example, one story mentions "People's [sic] Express," the now-defunct Newark-based cut-rate open-seating airline: I pick up a strong aroma of 1984 or 1985 in this story. The risk of such immediate incorporation of topical detail is, of course, that it may lose its charge or even its meaning as time goes by. I can remember a lot of joking about People's [sic] Express about ten years ago, but now one would be lucky to find an audience who even remembers what it was.

Grayson's talents show themselves most fully with his swiftly drawn characters, rendering them in sharp paradoxical sentences. These character appear like walking non sequiturs. In fact, one of the most successful pieces in the book, "Mini-People," is a concatenation of these character sketches:
Dr. Bender has two daughters by his first wife. They call him up during his sessions with his patients and ask for help with their homework. When Dr. Bender cannot help them, he sometimes asks the patient who is with him to do so. Gail helped Dr. Bender's daughter do a report on off-track betting.

Dr. Bender is very much a male chauvinist. He says he is a phallic imperialist. He thinks this is very funny. ("Mini-People")

Grayson's limitations reveal themselves just as quickly, however, whenever he has to narrate anything. Exposition, the communication of background information in order to set up the story, seems to give him particular trouble. In other cases, he lets significant details fall from the narrator's mouth like a bolus of partly-chewed meat: "Some things I couldn't bring myself to talk about with Sean. Like his father ("I Survived Caracas Traffic"). The reader sits in suspense wondering just what the author is about to reveal about Sean's father! Obligingly, the author fills us in with his next paragraph: "At first I figured his parents were divorced, but when he talked about getting social security, I realized Sean's father had died, and from other things he said -- though he never mentioned his father -- I realized it was a hurt so deep I didn't dare explore it." That pretty much covers all we need to know about Sean's father, so we can move on to other things.

One story, entitled "A Clumsy Story," lays bare the mechanisms of short story writing. The "clumsy story" which is the internal object of the framing author's "Preface" and "Apology" bears an uncanny resemblance of style and character of other stories in the book. In a preemptive gesture of meta-fictional irony, thus, Grayson takes up criticisms of his work (such as the one I made above) and incorporates them as the premise of a new story. The question arises within the reader's head: Is Grayson a more proficient writer than I had thought? Maybe all those awkward passages were a sign of true sophistication! Yet it is not just the framed story that is clumsy; it is also the meta-fictional handling. There is none of the comic inventiveness of Barth or Sorrentino; nor is there the poetic play with narrative time that one finds in Calvino or Cortazar.

Yet still one last lingering doubt remains: perhaps this clumsy meta-fictionalizing is an even more subtl ironic criticism of the pretense of meta-fiction to refresh the text, to save it from its fall into conventionality. Perhaps Grayson is telling us that meta-fiction itself has become convention, that this war-horse of "post-modern fiction" is as flyblown as the conventions of Victorian realism. Perhaps. But may I be forgiven if I express my doubt that this is the case. The problem with irony, of course, as Schlegel had already noted nearly two hundred years ago, is that there is no sure way of telling where it begins and ends Irony tends to spread over everything it touches, whether by design or by unwanted extension. But as another man wisely said, just because I can't prove that an abyss won't gape before me when I open my door, doesn't mean I need to act as if it will. Accordingly, then, I draw this review to its meeted close with a timid profession of faith: sometimes "a clumsy story" is just that, and meta-fictional irony -- or is it meta-meta-fictional irony? -- can do nothing to persuade me that it is more

Tyrus Miller teaches Comparative Literature, English and Film Studies at Yale University, where he is working on a critical study of late modernist fiction. His most recent publications include articles on Beckett, Mina Loy, William Carlos Williams, C. Day Lewis, John Cage, and Massimo Cacciari.

Friday, March 29, 1996

Gainesville Sun reports on University of Florida Law School Forum on Affirmative Action with Richard Grayson

The Gainesville Sun today (Friday, March 29, 1996) has a report on yesterday's University of Florida law school panel, "Affirmative Action: Necessary or Outdated?" sponsored by the Center for Governmental Responsibility (CGR) and the Florida Bar Foundation and presented by the Florida Bar Public Interest Law Fellows. The panel included Richard Grayson, staff attorney in social policy at CGR and UF law professors Joseph W. Little, Kenneth B. Nunn, James C. Quarles and Sharon Rush and was moderated Assistant State Attorney Phyllis D. Kotey.

An excerpt:

Attorney Richard Grayson of UF's Center for Governmental Responsibility said that the issue is timely, coming on the heels of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down the University of Texas' affirmative action admission policy, ruling that preferential treatment cannot be granted to minorities.

Grayson said affirmative action also may be an important issue in this year's presidential race.

"Just last Sunday . . . Sen. Dole endorsed the California civil rights initiative, which is going to be on the ballot this November," Grayson said.

The initiative is against preferential treatment.

Friday, March 15, 1996

New York Times Book Review reviews Richard Grayson's I SURVIVED CARACAS TRAFFIC

This Sunday's New York Times Book Review contains a review of Richard Grayson's I Survived Caracas Traffic:

The New York Times Book Review

Sunday, March 17, 1996

Page 20

Books in Brief




Stories From the Me Decades.

By Richard Grayson.

Avisson Press, 3007 Taliaferro Roa,

Greensboro,N.C. 27408, $21.

The scrambled nature of things and events isn't what gets your attention in Richard Grayson's new book of short stories. No, it's the incessant familiarity of the writer's secret self that makes his world entertaining and bizarre. The latest in a line of oddball collections with names like "With Hitler in New York" and "I Brake for Delmore Schwartz," "I Survived Caracas Traffic" features stories that are thickly populated with accident-prone people. One piece portrays a man whose great-great-grandfather made a liverwurst sandwich for the surgeon and medical researcher Walter Reed. (Reed died, but not from the sandwich.) Another has its protagonist slouching around a Brooklyn apartment with the Pope, who suggests they go out for a beer: " 'Oh, I don't know, Your Holiness, I feel awfully guilty about not writing anything lately. . . .' 'Don't be like that,' he admonishes me. 'You know what a useless emotion guilt is.' " The dialogue is consistently, even ingeniously funny. However, it's unsettling to find that you've polished off this entire batch of stories but can't remember exactly what they're about. Mr. Grayson excels at diverting the flow of action so nothing expected ever happens. But his results are inconclusive. This book is a perplexing piece of gadgetry: hard to come to grips with, not sturdy enough to make a good can opener for the conscience, far too bright and keenly made to flick casually away.

Sally Eckhoff

Friday, March 1, 1996

HAPPY features Richard Grayson's story "Suspicious Caucasians"

Richard Grayson's story "Suspicious Caucasians" appears in the current issue (#4, Winter 1996) of Bayard's New York-based literary journal Happy.

Saturday, February 17, 1996

Richard Grayson column in Orlando Sentinel: "It's '101 Dalmatians' vs. Woody Allen's Neurotics"

Richard Grayson has a column in the Orlando Sentinel today (Saturday, February 17, 1996), ""It's '101 Dalmatians' vs. Woody Allen's Neurotics."

Thursday, January 11, 1996

Kirkus Reviews reviews Richard Grayson's I SURVIVED CARACAS TRAFFIC

In its January 15, 1996 issue, Kirkus Reviews reviews Richard Grayson's I Survived Caracas Traffic:


With this issue, we're pleased to introduce a new fiction column, entitled, as you can see, "And in Briefer." It will be written by Bruce Allen, who will also select the works to be reviewed. The column will appear from time to time, enabling us to provide coverage of titles that, due to considerations of space, might otherwise be neglected. — Anne Larsen

Grayson, Richard
Stories from the Me Decades
Avisson (3007 Taliaferro Rd., Greensboro, NC 27408)

I Survived Caracas Traffic ($21.00; February 15, 1996; 144 pp.; 1-888105-04-6):
An eighth collection from an underground post-modernist who writes Barthelme-derived comic fiction crammed with details adopted from pop culture and the daily news. Troubled Barbie dolls, desiccated yuppies, and dysfunctional singles populate Grayson’s slick lampoons—though the long title story, a resonant meditation on the themes of relationships, AIDS, and mortality, proves him capable of less self-conscious, more serious (though not less comic) work.