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Thursday, November 27, 2003

It's turkey time 

I thought about skipping out on blogging entirely today--in checking my referral logs this morning, I discovered that the numbers are about equivalent to what I get on Sundays--but a couple of things caught my eye on this (late) morning.

First, David McKie seems to be on the same wavelength as Sam Roberts, as he discourses about dedications, mostly that which appear in the novels of P.G. Wodehouse.

Seems Lord Black's in more hot water. An editorial in the National Post that appeared a couple of months back and attributed to David Asper was actually written mostly by Conrad himself. Not necessarily eyebrow-raising except that the op-ed was about his troubles in keeping control of Hollinger: "The jackals who are madly barking at Lord Black's door are evoking principles of 'corporate governance' to justify their allegations against him." Ah well, guess people weren't really out to get him after all, they just got him.

For someone who prides himself on being reclusive, J.M. Coetzee is practically everywhere--perhaps he's a bit of a media whore at heart after all...

In more controversial matters, poet Benjamin Zephaniah has publicly rejected the conferring of OBE upon him by the Queen. Here he explains why:

Me? I thought, OBE me? Up yours, I thought. I get angry when I hear that word "empire"; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds of thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised. It is because of this concept of empire that my British education led me to believe that the history of black people started with slavery and that we were born slaves, and should therefore be grateful that we were given freedom by our caring white masters. It is because of this idea of empire that black people like myself don't even know our true names or our true historical culture. I am not one of those who are obsessed with their roots, and I'm certainly not suffering from a crisis of identity; my obsession is about the future and the political rights of all people. Benjamin Zephaniah OBE - no way Mr Blair, no way Mrs Queen. I am profoundly anti-empire.

David Beckham, on the other hand, has no such qualms--though god knows why such a status should even be given to him. I mean, yes, he's a famous footballer, the poster boy for metrosexuality, married to Posh (though the gossips keep predicting imminent divorce of late) but...OBE? What next, Ali G gets the honor?

The National Post interviews Mitch Albom, who unsurprisingly, has some choice words about the "gulf" between literary and mainstream fiction as best embodied by the so-over reaction to Stephen King's NBA achievement award:

"I think sometimes journalists feel they have to be cynical in order to prove they're worthwhile," said Albom, who came to Toronto recently to promote the book.

"They think if something's sentimental it automatically has to be bad," he says of critics. "The sad thing is that reviews don't have anything to do with the way people read books."


Well...granted he has a point, but on the other hand, most books that do stray into sentimentality just come off as cheap and cloying. It's a fine line, and at least according to the reviewers he maligns, his novel didn't exactly cut it either.

Five years ago, Thomas DiBaggio was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He chose an unsual route of dealing with it: writing his memoirs chronicling the deterioration of his mind. Also at the Post is a review by Jonathan Yardley of former Harcourt & Brace head honcho William Jovanovich's memoirs.

Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, whose memoir MADAM SECRETARY has been getting favorable reviews, is interviewed at January Magazine.

Finally, Russian ballerina Anastasia Volochkova must be reinstated by the Bolshoi, the courts rule. She'd been fired back in September for allegedly being too heavy (at 5'6" and just about 110 pounds. Only in ballet...) Doesn't mean she's going to dance there again, though....

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