1. Probably my favorite thing I’ve seen all week: Encyclopedia Brown for District Attorney. Matthew Baldwin, who writes defective yeti (a blog I enjoy), has proposed that this political season, we make election signs for fictional characters. Brilliant, no? So fire up your printers, your cameras, and your creativity — it’s a contest, and should be a lot of fun.
2. Salman Rushdie says that veils suck, meaning, of course, that he thinks that hijab worn by Muslim women is a form of oppression. The argument about this has been going on a long time in feminist circles and probably won’t see a conclusion anytime soon. But I suppose it’s nice that Rushdie — who may perhaps be better known for the fatwa declared against him after the publication of The Satanic Verses than anything else — is still into riling up one of the world’s major religious groups. Or something. In more Rushdie news, the author will be Writer-In-Residence at Emory University starting next semester, and will donate his archives to the school.
“Sometime last week–I think it was right when Condi admitted that she couldn’t remember being explicitly warned that Al Qaeda was about to attack inside the US and then it turned out that she WAS explicitly warned–I made up my mind that more than anything on earth I hope that the Republican party is destroyed beyond resurrection or recognition, that the political career of every Republican, from the “president” down through every consultant (especially them) all the way to your local selectman, is smashed to sub-atomic particles, and that in the future every Republican would shrink from ever disclosing that he or she had once been a Republican. And because they have no ideas and, apparently, no emotions apart from fear and greed, I know for sure that retaining a majority in the Congress is the surest way for the Republicans to get right where I want them to be.
Oh Jane, you had me at “sub-atomic particles.”
4. In even more political-literary news, is Azar Nafisi’s popular memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran a work of neoconservative propaganda? Iranian scholar Hamid Dabashi thinks so. (And here’s something about the book’s cover, which we know is a really important factor in judging a book.) [Links via Arts & Letters Daily, possibly the handiest site on all of the internets.]
5. The finalists for the National Book Award have been announced. On the list for fiction are two books I’m excited about — Jess Walter’s The Zero and Mark Z. Danielewski’s Only Revolutions — the former because I’m reading it now, and the latter because I’ll be reading it soon. I should’ve been reading Danielewski’s book about a month ago, I suppose, but I guess I’m just not hip enough. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about these books a little later, but for now, I thought the list of nominees deserved a mention.
6. In celebrity-turned-children’s-book-author news, Terrell Owens is writing a series of children’s books with titles like Little T Learns to Share, which is slightly old news, but it amuses the hell out of me, so I can’t let this week go by without writing a sentence about it.