January 21, 2015

At n+1, Alicia Garza, one of the organizers (along with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi) behind #blacklivesmatter, talks about how the hashtag was born and where the movement is heading. Garza recounts her reaction to George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the killing of Trayvon Martin: “A lot of what I was hearing and seeing on social media was that they were never going to charge somebody and convict somebody of killing a black child. My thing was: I’m not satisfied with that. I’m not satisfied with the ‘I told you so’ and I’m not satisfied with the nihilistic ‘it’ll never happen’ kind of thing.”

The National Book Critics Circle has announced its finalists in six categories, along with its three annual awards, with Toni Morrison picking up the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, Alexandra Schwartz winning the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, and Phil Klay earning the Leonard Prize for an outstanding first book, awarded for his short-story collection Redeployment. Notable finalists include Claudia Rankine for Citizen: An American Lyric, nominated in both the “Poetry” and “Criticism” category (the first time a book has been considered in two genres); Lynne Tillman for her collection of essays, What Would Lynne TIllman Do?; Marlon James for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings; Thomas Piketty for his economics tome, Capital in the Twenty-First Century; and Marilynne Robinson for her novel Lila.

Simon & Schuster will soon be offering online video courses for a fee, taught by authors who have an established following and, as the New York Times puts it, a “well-defined philosophy or message.”

Paris wants to sue Fox News for comments it made about Muslim “no-go” zones in the city. The network is undoubtedly deserving of a good lawsuit of some sort, but this one will be unlikely to get very far. In the US, governmental bodies can’t sue for defamation; Paris has no jurisdiction over American news outlets; and of course the First Amendment.

The (controversial and really bad if occasionally funny) movie The Interview made $40 million dollars in online revenue, Sony reports, though it’s not clear whether it will be profitable, as it cost $75 million to market and produce.

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