February 22, 2006

Technorati Profile

PEN/Faulkner Awards for Fiction Goes to…
E.L. Doctorow for his novel The March.That gives him two, the first for Billy Bathgate in 1990. The other finalists included: William Henry Lewis (I Got Somebody in Staunton), Karen Fisher (A Sudden Country), Bruce Wagner (The Chrysanthemum Palace), and Jaems Salter (Last Night). Bob Thompson provides a good overview of the authors and their works in “Doctorow’s “The March’ Wins Top Honor” for the Washington Post

New or Beautiful—What’s More Important?
I become confused easily. I visit a friend’s home, recently built or remodeled, and more often than not, my friend celebrates the newness of the thing, how it does not look old. Grayson Perry in a London Times article finds the same thing in art [which I believe extends into writing]:

“We live in an age addicted to newness. It is a core attribute of any successful person or product in our consumer society. The whole economic system in the developed world depends on our continuing desire for new things that we often do not need. Do you remember the Innovations catalogue?

“How long has being new been a way of saying something is good in art? When did this quality take on a life of its own apart from being beautiful or thought-provoking? When I see something I have not seen before, a binary switch is thrown in my head and the memory is tipped into the box marked ‘new experience.’ This gives me a little thrill and I take it for granted that I have seen ‘a good thing.’”

Plagiarism
Stephen Watson, a poet and chair of the University of Cape Town’s English department, recently accused Afrikaner author Antjie Krog of plagiarizing. Rory Carroll covers the story for The Guardian in “South African Author Accused of Plagiarism.”

Meanwhile Dalia Gal says that Mary Higgings Clark stole the plot, characters, and key scenes in The Second Time Around from Gal’s screenplay about the drug industry. You can get more of the story from the “Daily Dish” in the Daily News.

Slash Fiction?
I must confess that until I read “Slashing through the Undercult” in The Telegram, I never heard of Slash Fiction, a bizarre genre spawned by the Internet and obsession with pop-cultural heroes.

Freedom of Expression?
When the European press published the pictures of the prophet, editors and writers came to its defense, but where are their voices when Jordanian writer Jihad Momani and editorial writer Muhammad al-Assadi published portions of the cartoons in articles that condemned the disrespect for the prophet. They were arrested. At the same time, Cocuk-Der is attempting to ban the movie Valley of the Wolves, a Turkish movie based on actual events depicts American troops in Iraq as villians. In the same New York Times piece, there are reports about actors being detained, bishops condemning South Park, and a Hindu organization protesting a French comedy. Where’s the outcry.

How do free press
advocates answer Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa’s question: “What about freedom of expression when anti-Semitism is concerned? Then it is not freedom of expression. It is a crime.” Moussa was referring to the sentencing of British historian David Irving for three years for the crime of Holocaust denial.

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