I’m newly back in Paris and don’t have time to chat just now, but you might be interested in these links:
This interview with Margo Martindale, the woman who stole the show in "Paris je t’aime".
"The thing that goes back and forth inside the old grandfather clock swung back and forth like a pendulum." That and other gems competing for the Bulwar-Lytton Prize for the worst opening line in fiction here.
An interesting article on "half-Jews"– a growing movement of adult children of intermarriage who feel they are "bi-cultural"– they might identify as Jewish but could never write off the non-Jewish part of their identity. Lord knows I’ve struggled with this, and it’s comforting to hear others have as well.
My latest entry for the Huffington Post has run.
Show people that art is for them and it becomes
so. Above all put a rigorous, rich language back at the centre of political
discourse. This can only happen when we realise that language is not just
about conveying information, but is in itself a way of thinking. If your
language is impoverished, your thinking will shrink to fit it.
Winterson’s argument takes her round to a critique of late capitalism as well, which I think is interesting. I did go through a phase as a Marxist critic when I started grad school (doesn’t everyone?) as a result of reading a whole lot of Raymond Williams, and some of that has surely stayed with me, but I think it is accurate to identify part of the malaise of our culture as having to do with the commodification of books. Winterson, however, looks at it the other way round, and argues that our lazy language about economics leads to lazy thinking and ends in "exploitation" both of labor and of "diminishing resources" and "climate destailisation." If Gordon Brown were to read more poetry, Winterson seems to suggest, the world, or at least Britain, would be a fairer and less capitalist place.
I don’t know if I’d take it that far. But who knows what world leaders were capable of if they’d pull their minds up above the language of muckraking journalism and read a bit more Keats, Shelley, Shakespeare and Blake?