Posts Tagged: Politics

Photo May 21, 8 04 51 AM

Fresh Comics #2: Transmissions from Beirut

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What are the fundamental differences between telling your own story, telling the story of another, and telling your story about trying to understand someone else’s story?

I’ve been pondering this question since reading The Man Who Built Beirut, Bye Bye Babylon, and Baddawi, three graphic stories that focus on life in Beirut.

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NYPL as Budget Hostage

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A scathing indictment from Jim Dwyer at the New York Times this week accuses city leaders of depriving funding from the library system, and its mayors of holding the NYPL hostage for leverage in budget negotiations. As Dwyer points out, city libraries draw more annual visitors than the museums, sports stadiums, and performing arts institutions combined—and the funding just doesn’t add up.

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Politics, Lost in Translation

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Asymptote Journal takes a look at some of the concerns translators have when confronting a politically problematic text. The choice of text is of course the first decision a translator faces—but the challenges translators confront aren’t necessarily limited to pushing a political agenda or avoiding it, but also with the nuances of language itself:

For a translator, not all words are created equal.

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Song of the Day: “Straight To Hell”

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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.

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The Rumpus Interview with Benjamin Parzybok

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Author Benjamin Parzybok talks about his new novel, Sherwood Nation, climate fiction, the difference between post-collapse and post-apocalyptic, and how novels can predict the future if they try hard enough (and get lucky). ...more

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The Saturday Rumpus Essay: Transparent and the Evolving Culture of Shame

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There's a ray of nuclear longing at the center of Transparent... ...more

Satirical America

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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?

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Melville House to Publish Torture Report

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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.”

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Language Wars

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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.

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The Rumpus Interview with David Bezmozgis

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The Rumpus talks to David Bezmozgis about Israel, making fact into fiction, politics in novels, and his new book, The Betrayers. ...more

Fiction is Threatening

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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.

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Political Fiction, Without a Capital P

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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.

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Do Writers Also Have to Be Protesters?

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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?”

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Lou Reed’s Discobiography

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This week in The New Yorker, Nick Flynn writes a poem about Lou Reed. There have also been some other great articles about Lou Reed.

“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.

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Staving-off-Despair Roundup

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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.

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Victories for Pro-Choicers, Gay Marriage; Defeat for Voting Rights

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As you’re probably aware, we’ve been covering Texas’s grotesque anti-abortion bill SB5, and we’re overjoyed to report it did not pass.

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.

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