Posts Tagged: Politics
In 2015, to be an influential fiction writer means only to wield influence within a niche audience of people who are already of the same mind…
American political discussion is fond of one-note oversimplification of complex issues. So where do we make room for the nuanced discourse novelists offer?...more
The fictions of literature declare themselves as fictions — they are lies which admit they are lies and are therefore able, at their best, to tell profound truths. The fictions of politics declare themselves as truths and are therefore, often, just lies.
How exactly did Joan Didion go from writing for conservative weekly the National Review to serving as a leading voice for the left? The New Yorker offers an answer:
What changed was her understanding of where dropouts come from, of why people turn into runaways and acidheads and members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, why parents abandon their children on highway dividers, why Harlem teen-agers go rampaging through Central Park at night, why middle-class boys form “posses” and prey sexually on young girls—and, above all, why the press fixates on these stories.
Nearly every page of this book is wet with the tears of a pedant.
Nostalgic for the wordplay of the Republican primary debate? Barton Swaim has got you covered in his memoir detailing the three years he spent as a speechwriter for Mark Sanford, who absconded from his life as governor of South Carolina to visit his mistress in Argentina–but not before he mixed metaphors, made up grammatical rules, and invented verbs....more
Fiction written under an authoritarian or totalitarian government often dares readers to view the work as a critique of that society.
In a review of two science fiction works by Cuban authors, Electric Literature takes a look at the surprising connection between oppressive political ideologies and fantastical worlds in fiction....more
In a truly wonderful keynote speech reprinted at Lit Hub, Aminatta Forna tears down the false divide between art and politics:
To tell writers not to tackle political themes because it will spoil the beauty of their work sounds very much to me like telling an attractive woman she is far prettier when she keeps her mouth shut.
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....more
The Wall Street Journal has an article that questions the traditional interpretations of A Wrinkle in Time:
Ms. Voiklis said she wanted readers to know the book wasn’t a simple allegory of communism. Instead, it’s about the risk of any country—including a democracy—placing too much value on security.
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.
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
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