…or, at least, the tiny corner of it known as Jackson, Mississippi. In a few weeks, she’ll conquer Africa.
Casey “Ironfist” Parks is a 23-year-old journalism grad student who graduated from my alma mater, worked for my favorite local alt-weekly, and generally kicked ass in this town. I don’t know her well enough to say that we’re close buddies, but I’ve been out drinking with her, ran into her socially a lot over the years, and we both like Sleater-Kinney way too much. (When I pronounced the band’s name correctly–SLAY-ter, not SLEET-er–at a party, Casey leaned over and whispered, beer breath and all, to me, “I’m so glad you finally got it right.”) I last ran into her at a coffeehouse in May 2004, where she tried enthusiastically to get me to read Jeanette Winterson’s Lighthousekeeping.
So, I’ve got a tenuous reason to feel proud of her. I’ll take it.
New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof announced a contest asking for essays from young journalists. The writer with the best essay would accompany him on a two-week reporting trip to Africa, and would blog about the experience for the Times and for a subsidiary of MTV.
As Casey herself has pointed out, another Mississippian was among the contest’s finalists. Turns out we’re not all hicks.