Time has a special issue on the Asian Journey–it features some excellent writing. It’s introduced by Pico Iyer, the man who has always stumbled over the question, where do you come from: “For the Asian diaspora, home, like everything in the modern floating world, has gone global and fragmented, portable and underground. What once might have resembled a well-creased snapshot now looks more like an MTV video.”
In parochial vein, there’s Pankaj Mishra on Mashobra: “Yet the village also made possible a life of some dignity and leisure—which is rarer than it seems in India, where poverty and deprivation are always relative. In Mashobra, not comfortable but sheltered from the meanness and cruelty of the larger world, I began to write.” Also Ved Mehta on Lahore. It’s an interesting piece, but as always, brevity is not Mehta’s strong suit. ”
Paglia cuts against the grain of standard cultural oppositions. A feminist herself, she decries the feminist critique of Western capitalism and insists that ‘capitalism produced the modern independent woman.’ Despite embracing much of the program of libertarian capitalism, she expresses reservations about Ayn Rand. An emphasis on capitalism and strong individuals is insufficient without an attention to culture and education, to the sources of human excellence found not just in reason but in art and religion, the latter of which Paglia refuses to construe as fairy tales of consolation for the weak.” Camille Paglia explained, and by a Distinguished Professor, no less.
Adams Williams is the new James Clavell. Everyone was bored with the Old James Clavell. One of these days, if Williams does well enough, he’ll read about some bright spark who will then be dubbed the New Adams Williams.
“I think that parents feel to give voice to what they don’t like about parenthood is to betray their children and that is why I found a number of woman, in particular, have been grateful for this book. It’s someone giving voice to his or her reservations.” Lionel Shriver, author of We Need To Talk To Kevin, in conversation with Robert Birnbaum.
Almond: I have a secret, that I don’t mind you publishing at all. I wear women’s undergarments when I’m writing a female character. I know a lot of other writers who do that. They don’t talk about it, but there’s an entire community of us. Cross writers.
Jessa: Is Norman Mailer in that community?
Almond: I’m not going to talk about Mailer. I told you before the interview, I’m not going to get into whether Norman Mailer wears ladies’ undergarments or not. I don’t want my name near anything that says Norman Mailer wears women’s undergarments.
* Fox News owns the trademark rights to “fair and balanced”, so it’s suing Al Franken for using it in the title of his book. The Babu, who remembers their unabashedly partisan coverage of the Gulf War, thinks a) they’ve got to be joking b) of all the words in the English language for Fox to claim, “fair and balanced” have to be the funniest.