The Clash are famous for their album London Calling and their ubiquitous single, “Rock the Casbah,” which is notable perhaps for its incendiary political message—a denunciation of the Iranian ban on Western music following the 1979 revolution. But it’s “Straight to Hell,” a commemoration of immigrant struggles in the UK and abroad, that best blends political panache with a strong melody....more
Posts Tagged: Politics
Has the US turned into a satire of itself? Consider how quickly Congress has gone from championing Freedom Fries to chastising President Obama’s absence from the Paris peace march. Over at the LA Times, David L. Ulin looks at why Americans are choosing irony over satire:
Is it coincidence, then, that the rise of postmodernism in the 1970s overlaps almost exactly the decline of satire?
Melville House will publish the Senate Torture Report in paperback and e-book on December 30th. The report, released Tuesday, is currently available to read online, but Melville House hopes that publishing it in print form will reach a wider audience. “It’s probably the most important government document of our generation,” says co-publisher Dennis Johnson, “even one of the most significant in the history of our democracy.”...more
Most writers aspire to clarity in language. Politicians, of course, are the exception. Legislators are turning to language to obscure their intentions, claims Steven Poole over at the Guardian. Poole cites a trade deal between the EU and the United States that confounds the issue of tariffs known as TTIP:
One might be forgiven for concluding from this, and in general from the obfuscatory and often downright misleading bureaucratese in which TTIP’s aims are framed, that they are trying to hide something.
Hilary Mantel wrote a story imagining the death of Margaret Thatcher. Predictably, people went nuts.
Luckily The Daily Mail was on hand to remind us all of the real values of Britain. The newspaper described how Mantel’s story has “provoked fury across [the] political spectrum”, more so, we can imagine, than any debate about the Middle East or say, last week’s Scottish Referendum.
Those who do not adhere to self-censorship are likely to face pressure from the state. Al-Masdar website features political news and is loosely affiliated to the recently banned secular activist group April 6 Movement.
Suzi LeVine became the first U.S. Ambassador sworn into office on a Kindle. She also took her oath of office not on the Bible, but on the U.S Constitution (open to the Nineteenth Amendment, the amendment granting women the right to vote)....more
Dan Carter Beard wasn’t just one of the founders of Boy Scouts of America; he was also Mark Twain’s most trusted illustrator. Twain said of Beard’s work:
Dan Beard is the only man who can correctly illustrate my writings for he not only illustrates the text, but he also illustrates my thoughts.
Last Friday, the CIA officially joined Twitter with a joke:
We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.
But the New York Review of Books wasn’t laughing. The highly respected literary journal staged a protest, rapidly tweeting out some reminders of the CIA’s less-than-respectable behavior....more
Political fiction can come across as heavy-handed, but avoiding all politics in writing may overlook the fact that people lead political lives. Over at the Atlantic, author Molly Antopol talks about how reading the fiction of Grace Paley taught her to write about political characters without sounding preachy—as she puts it, political fiction without a capital P:
When political fiction fails, it can be because it manifests a kind of moral certitude, an assured sense that one worldview is better or truer than another.
Pankaj Mishra has always been a politically outspoken writer, so when Mo Yan, who has defended the Chinese government’s censorship, won the Nobel Prize, Mishra was the last person anyone expected to defend him.
But he did, asking, “Do we ever expose the political preferences of Mo Yan’s counterparts in the West to such harsh scrutiny?”...more
“Discobiography” might sound like the title of a cheesy 70s memoir, but according to Erich Kuersten it’s the perfect name for the genre in which Lou Reed’s Great American Novel resides....more
When there’s an injustice as great a man walking free after killing an unarmed teenager, at least we have writing to turn to.
Our essays editor Roxane Gay has done some of that writing for Salon in a piece about the George Zimmerman trial titled “Racism is every American’s problem.”An essay or an Op-Ed won’t solve anything,” she says....more
Texas State Senator (and now folk hero) Wendy Davis filibustered the bill for close to thirteen hours under the state legislature’s stringent rules: no sitting, leaning, drinking water, using the bathroom, or speaking about subjects not germane to the topic at hand....more
The debate about political poetry in the United States sometimes has an arid feel to it. Essential, yes. But fatally so? Not very often.
But poets caught up in violent political events are brethren. I believe it is essential for fellow poets to honor their struggle....more
DC is traffic circles, non-working fountains in some circles’ centers, jammed downtown corridors and quiet Anacostia neighborhood streets no taxi driver wants to know after midnight. It’s Muslim taxi drivers unfurling prayer mats in alleyways near the homeless guy singing to himself...more