April 24, 2014

Writing that draws on lived experience and real people never merely reflects, argues Leslie Jamison in the New York Times Bookends column: It distorts, inverts, reinvents; it offers “a set of parallel destinies.” The “peril” of using real people is two-fold: ”what it will do to your work, and what it will do to your life.”

Pavel Durov

Pavel Durov

Pavel Durov, the founder of Russia’s most popular social networking site, VKontakte, has been fired from his position as CEO. Durov claims that VKontakte is now under the “complete control” of two close allies of Putin. Russia “is incompatible with Internet business at the moment,” he told Techcrunch on Tuesday.

The Digital Public Library of America, which is trying to provide free online access to the material in the nation’s libraries, archives, and museums, has tripled in size over the past year, adding seven million items from more than 1,300 institutions.

How much gay sex should a novel have? Caleb Crain answers this “deeply silly” question at the New Yorker’s Page-Turner blog: “As much as it takes to tell the story.” Meanwhile, gay Christian activist Matthew Vines argues, in God and the Gay Christian, that the Bible’s ostensible prohibitions against homosexuality don’t prohibit same-sex marriage. The book’s publisher, Convergent Books, houses several evangelical imprints. “It is a sad and shameful day when a major Christian publisher releases such a book and claims that it is a solid evangelical publication,” squawks the Christian Post’s Michael Brown. “This is abhorrent, disgraceful, and terribly misleading.” At the New Republic, Marc Tracy finds it notable that “the chief question stirred by the book is not whether evangelical and other religiously orthodox Christians can reconcile same-sex marriage with their faith, but whether evangelical and other religiously orthodox Christians can reconcile their social conservatism with the free market.”

Charles Simic remembers a 1968 fistfight between a bunch of hungover poets at a poetry conference at Stony Brook. Looking on, from a porch, were the Chilean writer Nicanor Parra and the French writer Eugène Guillevic, both “delighted by the spectacle.” Was this “how American poets always settled their literary quarrels”?

The copyright on Mein Kampf runs out at the end of the year.

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