Links: Crisis Mode

Following this week’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, the main spokesperson for the nation from the world of American literary fiction has been Edwidge Danticat, who’s spoken to the Wall Street Journal about the catastrophe and provided the paper with a brief primer on Haitian culture. A little surprisingly, I’d heard nothing from fiction writer Ben Fountain, who famously visited the country more than 30 times while researching his excellent short-story collection, Brief Conversations With Che Guevara. But Texas Lawyer caught up with him:

I expect that recovery will be long, difficult, expensive and complex. It may well be that the country never recovers in this generation. On the other hand, I think there’s a possibility, however hard it may be to focus on at this point, that the earthquake provides the impetus for a sustained, concerted and well-planned effort by the international community to help Haiti overcome its problems. In any event, Haiti certainly won’t be the same country that it was on Jan. 10.

My new favorite litblog: Years of BASS, in which a Virginia researcher makes his way through the Best American Short Story series.

Films inspired by the films described in David Foster Wallace‘s Infinite Jest will screen soon at Columbia University.

Joyce Carol Oates: “It’s very clear to me now—as I’d always supposed—that we can’t really choose what we write about in any passionate way: the material chooses us.”

Just because Twitter forces you to be concise doesn’t mean it’s going to make you an Ernest Hemingway.

Jill McCorkle goes off-Broadway.

Christopher Hitchens on Gore Vidal going off the rails.

Jaws meets Deliverance, with bears“—the elevator pitch an author needs to catch a publisher’s attention grows ever shorter.

On a related note, here’s Charles Bock on pursuing fiction writing as a career: “A teacher of mine once told me that as a writer you’ll be humiliated, then you’ll be humiliated again, and when you think you can’t be humiliated any more, they’ll find new ways to humiliate you.”

2 responses to “Links: Crisis Mode

  1. It seems most of Hitchens’s problem with Vidal is political and in which case, Vidal hasn’t said anything (more or less) that Noam Chomsky hasn’t said. Of course, neoconservative Hitchens probably couldn’t bear to be friends with Chomsky, either, given the opportunity.

  2. Edward Morningstar

    Hitchens -was- friends with Chomsky, and for quite a while. He was probably Chomsky’s most vocal defender during that whole Faurisson affair. Of course, September 11th changed all that, and the spat was had rather publicly on the pages of The Nation magazine.

    That said, Gore has come off the rails a bit. I say that as a longtime admirer of his work. These days he’s a bitter old man, and Hitchens isn’t so far off the mark in his piece, the only glaring error I see is that Vidal has never said 9/11 was an inside job or that Bush was behind it.

    Still, it’s a bit ironic for Hitchens of all people to write how 9/11 turned someone into a crackpot. Hitchens’s thirst for blood since that awful day has not yet be satiated, and maybe it never will be.

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