n+1 provides a fascinating study of today’s divisive concept of cultural elitism: “Today, though, it’s the bearers of culture rather than the wielders of power who are taxed with elitism. If the term is applied to powerful people, this is strictly for cultural reasons, as the different reputations of the identically powerful Obama and Bush attest. No one would think to call a foul-mouthed four-star general an elitist, even though he commands an army, any more than the term would cover a private equity titan who hires Rod Stewart to serenade his 60th birthday party.”
Neurotic writers or friends-of-writers are likely to have asked themselves an uncomfortable question: do the writers I know use my foibles for material? At The New Statesman, Oliver Farry lists a number of proofs that they do, citing Dante’s Inferno, Madame Bovary and Beckett’s debut novel Murphy.
“I have always had faith that the best writers will rise to the top, like cream, sooner or later, and will become exactly as well known as they should be—their work talked about, quoted, taught, performed, filmed, set to music, anthologized. Perhaps, with the present collection, Lucia Berlin will begin to gain the attention she deserves.” An excerpt from Lydia Davis‘s foreword to Berlin’s A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories is now online.
“We have documented cases of at least 47 writers and journalists currently imprisoned in China. The average sentence for a writer is eight years in prison, and some sentences are even harsher.” PEN American Writers send a letter to Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, in response to his visit to the U.S. We have a few pieces about censorship to pair with it.
“They would have closed, if the community hadn’t stepped forward.” The Guardian reports on the rapidly growing number of British libraries being run by volunteers, a trend driven by austerity cuts (which Corinne Purtill wrote about in these very pages just a few weeks ago).
Movies on Mars–that’s Avatar director James Cameron‘s newest project and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab will reap the benefits. At the Pasadena Star News, the story of how Cameron’s camera will give a 3D eye to the next Mars rover.
“Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I myself was no stranger to being othered.” Over at The Literary Hub, Carla Bruce-Eddings recounts some reading lessons from her teenage self. For a bit of perspective from the other side, here’s our own Nick Ripatrazone on teaching high school and college.