Month: June 2004

  • The Only Clinton Article We’re Linking To…

    …is the spoof suggesting that Clinton stole his book’s title from a Billy Joel number. “Legal experts suggest that Joel may have a solid case, particularly when you review the lyrics of the song. “It’s a quarter-century old,” noted attorney Mark Tunnell, “and yet the lyrics eerily foretell Clinton’s scandal-ridden second term, both in terms […]

  • Will that be mineral, Evian or plain?

    Jeffrey Whitmore on language traps: “They laughed when I sat down at the table and ordered a glass of laxative. I think that’s why they laughed. Maybe they were just amused at the sight of an old gringo fumbling with his school books, dictionary, street map, reading glasses, and the Spanish language. I wanted a […]

  • Abol Tabol: Bong chauvinism

    Picture this. You’re angst-ridden, deeply traumatised by the global hegemony of English, concerned about the lack of respect shown to the mellifluous Bengali language. How do you demonstrate your deep dissatisfaction with the state of affairs? From The Statesman: “After playing a couple of songs apparently to promote their cause, the language cops proceeded towards […]

  • Harry Potter and the Dark Arts of Book Publishing

    Daniel Stolar’s book came out at the same time as Harry Potter, and his account of what happened next is blunt: Boy Wizard-10, Talented Young Writer-0. The Reading Experience puts Stolar’s story in perspective. “We live in an era in which books are ‘units’ to sell just like any other product, and the process of […]

  • And Homer Simpson wrote The Iliad

    “The De Vere Society is marking the 400th anniversary of the death of Elizabethan nobleman Edward de Vere, who it says is the ‘real Shakespeare’. ‘To put it politely, they’re barking up the wrong tree,’ the Birthplace Trust’s chairman Professor Stanley Wells said.” Or just barking. De Vere gained ground as an alternative candidate for […]

  • The Ballard of East and West

    The Guardian has an interesting interview with J G Ballard. I’m beginning to warm to interviews conducted by email and fax: they tend to be less likely to degenerate into stitched-together soundbytes. Here’s the man on art: “Meanwhile, too much is made of conceptual art – putting it crudely, someone has been shitting in Duchamp’s […]

  • A Saint He Ain’t…

    …but Peter Finlay aka DBC Pierre, has found expiation of a sort after his Booker win, repaying friends and associates whom he’d conned or borrowed large sums of money from. He has interesting plans for his third novel (the second is already finished). “I’ve found a way to write a bannable book but not have […]

  • Manna for the Starving

    “You don’t have non-fiction in India,” a cynical publishing veteran told the Babu once, “you have naan fiction. It’s flat, mass-produced and not very satisfying on its own.” Ask Indian authors why there is only one Ramachandra Guha and only the occasional Princely Impostor, and they’ll tell you that money’s the stumbling block. A good […]

  • The HNWIs are different!

    The rich have their own chateaus, their own jet planes and now, their own language. You don’t get to do richspeak if you’re merely “mass affluent”, though. The Babu thinks it’s time to evolve a new language for the section of society he comes from: people whose ancestors have long since squandered the family millions, […]

  • Simon Says Bilinguals Rock

    Apparently we’re less distracted, less prone to Alzheimer’s and more able to keep our attention on complex tasks despite the onset of old age. The Babu’s a bit worried, though; he spoke pidgin Bengali, then heavily Anglicised Bong as a child, and began reading in Bengali only in his late teens–studies tested people who’ve been […]