From The British Council brings more shame on us, by Nick Cohen in the Guardian. Cohen writes:
Publishers want to break into the Chinese market. To help them “seek out and capitalise on new business partnerships”, the organisers said that this year’s “focus” will be on China. They are keeping Beijing sweet by refusing to invite writers – as “visiting authors” – who might upset the regime. …
… Ma Jian, a Chinese novelist, listed the ways in which the British Council was working against cultural freedom. “These big events give China’s Communist party the international face it craves and helps normalise its repression of free speech back at home,” he told me. He went on to make the unarguable point that the British Council was harming the British public as well as the cause of the Chinese reformers. “By excluding all genuinely independent and critical voices,” he said, “the book fair has allowed the Chinese authorities to export their censorship to a western democracy.”
by Nona Willis Aronowitz, on Good
Behind the bar of a fancy New York restaurant, a 27-year-old bartender tidies her olive-and-cherry box. She attempts to look distracted while a middle-aged financial analyst holds her captive with small talk.
“So what else do you do?” he slurs, four Manhattans deep.
“Nothing,” she says. “I just do this.”
“Oh!” he answers. “That’s cool. Did you go to college?”
“Yup. I went to NYU.”
The man makes no attempt to hide his confusion. She leans forward and wipes away a few whiskey drops in front of him.
“I have loans,” she says, with a touch of attitude. “Don’t know what to tell you.”