"..those artificial landscapes, are very significant. The landscape in the World Park includes famous sights from all over the world. They're not real, but still they can satisfy people's longing for the world. They reflect the very strong curiosity of people in this country, and the interest they have in becoming a part of international culture. At the same time, this is a very strange way to fulfil these demands. To me, it makes for a very sorrowful scene. The World Parks in Shenzhen and Beijing might as well be the same place. Every time I went to one of the parks for the shooting, I saw all the tourists and how overjoyed they were to be there, and for me it was all very sad. How should I put it? This is what Chinese reality is like. And so, in the film, a lot of action takes place under the “Arc de Triomphe”, or in front of the “Taj Mahal”, or in “London”, or in “Manhattan”. Of course all of these landscapes are fake. But the problems our society faces are very much Chinese issues, and I think all this is not unrelated to that. We're living in a globalised age, in a world saturated by mass media, in an international city, as it were. But despite all that, the problems we're facing are our own problems. So these landscapes are intimately related to what's going on in the film."
I do find a lot of food for thought in ideas of independent filmmakers like Jia Zhangke, the underground filmmaker of China who now goes aboveground with his film, "The World". An interview with Jia Zhangke
Kill Taslima and take money. A new fatwa from the clerics of Bengal, touted as the most secular state of India! They have also sought her ouster from this state within one month, otherwise they would murder her. Taslima has now been living in Kolkata on a visa that gets renewed for six months every now and then. Which itself is a precarious living of sort.
I'm no fan of Taslima, but I have some regard for her. I loved her 'Lajja'- that wonderful novella about the atrocities on minorities in Bangladesh soon after Babri Mosque demolition. It takes a lot of courage and humanity to write such a book. She has plenty of these things, but she seems to have an agenda against the males in most of her writings, which is silly. I appreciate her rant against religions, but she never seems to get her reading of the society right, for whatever reasons.
But is it right for the clerices to announce fatwa for her?. Here is Asghar Ali Engineer, a Mumbai-based Islamic leader, in an article in The Times Of India":
I disagree with Taslima's views and think she is ignorant of Quranic teachings. But holding that view does not give anyone the right to violently attack her or incite people to attack her.
The Paris Review has published an interview with Norman Mailor in its current issue (Issue 181,Summer 2007). Sorry, no link. You have to purchase the issue.
if you’re writing a good novel then you’re being an explorer—you’re getting into something where you don’t know the end, where the end is not given. There’s a mixture of dread and excitement that keeps you going. To my mind, it’s not worth writing a novel unless you’re tackling something where your chances of success are open. You can fail. You’re gambling with your psychic reserves. It’s as if you were the general of an army of one, and this general can really drive that army into a cul-de-sac.
When I think anybody can be a blogger and publish shit on the net, I get a little demoralised. But then net is, at the same time, an avenue - very affordable indeed - where a talented writer can get to build up his audience bit by bit(may be not that worthy in the current market scenario) by publishing his work. I have kind of vision that the digital will one day be at par with the print and be as valued and respected by the audience. Give it some time to evolve.
The Net will be seen as a repository of current and historical primary-source texts, its authors ambitious thoughtful writers, belle-lettrists, feuilltonists, memoirists, epistolary writers, daybook-keepers, fiction writers, poets, literary travel writers, pensées writers, epigrammists, unpaid journalists, humorless shits, propagandists, hacks, ranters, pollyannas, pricks, and illiterates—the same rogues as in print.
Never let go of your vision. Listen to the opinions of teachers and friends and agents and editors and publishers but listen closer to your own voice. It is your job to bring your vision to someone. It is not your job to bring their vision to someone. That is not what art is all about.
RON SAVAGE has an inspiring and insightful anecdote from his writing life.