Saturday, December 08, 2018

“Only fiction has to be credible.” TF

It was Mark Twain who said “Only fiction has to be credible.”

Extract from a speech given in Frankfurt by (courageous)  a wonderful woman writer ...
Literature is my religion. I have learned from literature that we are all flawed—all of us humans are flawed. But I have also learned that we are capable of goodness. That we do not need first to be perfect before we can do what is right and just.
I have two homes, in Nigeria and in the US. I used to roll my eyes at people who, when they were asked where they lived, would name two places. But I have become one of those people—and sometimes I roll my eyes at myself...
Art can illuminate politics. Art can humanize politics. But sometimes, that is not enough. Sometimes politics must be engaged with as politics. And this could not be more urgent today.
The world is shifting; it’s changing; it’s darkening. We can no longer play by the old rules of complacency. We must invent new ways of doing, new ways of thinking. The most powerful country in the world today feels like a feudal court full of intrigues, feeding on mendacity, drowning in its own hubris. We must know what is true. We must say what is true. And we must call a lie a lie.
This is a time for courage, and my understanding of courage is not the absence of fear. It is the resolve to act while also being afraid.
This is a time for more complex stories: it is not enough to know about how refugees suffer or how they do not fit into a new society; we must also know about what hurts their pride, what they aspire to, and who arms the wars that made them refugees in the first place, who bears responsibility.
This is a time to proclaim that economic superiority does not mean moral superiority.
This is a time to parse the subject of immigration, to be honest about it. To ask whether the question is about immigration or whether it is about immigration of specific kinds of people—Muslims, black people, brown people.
This is a time for boldness in storytelling, a time for new storytellers. It is important to have a wide diversity of voices-not because we want to be politically correct, but because we want to be accurate. We cannot understand the world if we continue to pretend that a small fraction of the world is representative of the whole world.
This is a time to revisit how we think about stories. The question of human rights is not just about the big stories of government repression. It is also about the intimate stories. Domestic violence is as much a question of human rights as refugee asylum. Eleanor Roosevelt said of human rights: “Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we will look in vain for progress in the larger world.””

Uwe Johnson, the Faulkner of East Germany, wrote a 1,700-page tome describing America's empty grandiosity. Is it the most ambivalent immigration novel ever written?  EAST  German

The path to literary glory is paved with calumny, envy, bias, and malice. Past those obstacles, many others await... Gory Glory

Besides book blurbs, there are “pre-blurbs” and even “pre-pre-blurbs.” The blurbing industrial complex is out of control and must be destroyed  

Want to be an artist? Jerry Saltz has some advice: Know what you hate, scavenge, be delusional, and, of course, accept that you will probably be poor 

Toward the end of his life, René Girard’s views darkened. “More than ever, I am convinced that history has meaning,” he wrote. “Its meaning is terrifying” Cold War Meaning 

To understand the semiotics of sleep, consider its opposite. Insomnia feels like collage, like looking at the world atilt 

Former The New York Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus has (temporarily) fled the country and is: "teaching two courses at the University of Toronto this term as a visiting professor for book and media studies", and at U of T News Mary Gooderham has a Q & A with him, Former New York Times books editor on what makes a great review and why U.S. political coverage needs to change, ahead of a discussion he will moderate tomorrow on The Art of Book Reviewing
       Among his observations:

Do not believe any author who tells you that he or she doesn't read reviews. It's just not true.

Guardian has their: "favourite authors on the most outstanding books they read this year" -- personal choices by the likes of Jonathan Franzen, Hilary Mantel, and Ian Rankin, among others -- in Best books of 2018: Hilary Mantel, Yuval Noah Harari and more pick their favourites 

       Meanwhile, at the Open Letters Review Steve Donoghue continues his listing of the best (and worst ...) of the year in various categories -- including now The Best Books of 2018: Works in Translation ! 
       Lots of re-translations here -- only three of these books are entirely new --, and classical works -- and missing Uwe Johnson's Anniversaries ..... 
       Only one of these titles is under review at the complete review: Vuillard's The Order of the Day

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was the keynote speaker at the opening press conference of the Frankfurt Book Fair held earlier this week, and at Publishers Weekly they now print her speech in its entirety -- well worth a read (and you can also watch it). 

KYLE SMITH: Hollywood Is a Sex-Grooming Gang.

When you see a lot of movies and TV shows, you do a lot of wondering about what happened behind the scenes. Why did that actress get so many parts? Why did this one rise so quickly? Why did that one disappear? Wasn’t that nude scene gratuitous? Put on the magical sunglasses and you see the ugliness. Salma Hayek said Weinstein came to the set of her 2002 film Frida and threatened to shut it down unless she filmed an out-of-nowhere nude lesbian sex scene to put in the picture. Dewy young things are apparently told that this sort of thing is “the price of admission” by the male producer-director-agent nexus. Judging by her subsequent choices, I’m guessing the privately educated 21-year-old Reese Witherspoon wasn’t thrilled to be told to go nude for the 1998 film Twilight. She came to Los Angeles to act, not to strip. But, hey: price of admission. Now those images are out there, forever.
Read the whole thing. And as Smith goes on to note:

“Nobody knows anything” was the Hollywood mantra popularized by the late screenwriter William Goldman. Yet in a town that does nothing more assiduously than it does gossip, we’re expected to believe nobody knew anything about what was happening in Les Moonves’s office, and in Harvey Weinstein’s, and in Bryan Singer’s? It beggars belief. They knew. They all knew. The men knew. The women knew. The potted plants certainly knew. Nobody said anything. They didn’t want to jeopardize their next gig.
Which means all of these people knew

 Feminists justifiably angry at gay men for not being attracted to females: A cultural push for female acceptance within the gay male community. “Men don’t understand how hard we women work to feel beautiful. We shouldn’t have to. We should be able to eat what we want, when we want it not feel pressured to work out or take care of ourselves. I haven’t showered in four weeks and I’ve had Hardee’s four times a week for a month. Men should find us beautiful but gay men simply don’t. It’s sexism to the highest degree.”

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON GETS THE #METOO TREATMENT: Two More Women Accuse Neil deGrasse Tyson of Sexual Misconduct.
And since I didn’t link yesterday: This New Les Moonves Accusation Changes Everything.
Beginning with first Roger Ailes in July of 2016, and then Harvey Weinstein in October of the following year, the media has been flooded with similar headlines regarding powerful men in showbiz, the news, and politics, culminating in the efforts last month to entirely upend Brett Kavanaugh’s life in a (fortunately failed) attempt to keep him off a Supreme Court seat. Add to all of the above toxic identity politics, which gave us the phrase “male privilege.” And then media scratches their brows and runs headlines such as this item at Time in late October, “Why Are We All Having So Little Sex?,” and a similar one at the Atlantic last week, “Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex?
It’s a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, as the man who was the bête noire of both national socialists and modern international socialists would say.
Or to put it another way: The Sexual Revolution Is Over.

Gavagai: the film (it has very good reviews and is Norwegian).