• April 13, 2015

    Zainub Priya Dala

    Zainub Priya Dala

    South African psychologist and novelist Zainub Priya Dala (ZP Dala) has been violently attacked, and is now being held in a mental institution—punishment, many allege, for a recent speech in which she praised Salman Rushdie. PEN America is demanding her immediate release.

    Vice has posted an excerpt from Farrar, Straus and Giroux publisher Jonathan Galassi’s forthcoming novel, Muse. The excerpt is, among other things, a portrait of the aggressive deal-making that takes place at the Frankfurt Book Fair, where Galassi’s novel was bought by Knopf in 2013. “Rights directors were the most visible players under the Frankfurt bell jar,” writes Galassi, “and the acknowledged queen of them all was Cora Blamesly, Farrar, Straus and Giroux’s mace-wielding Iron Maiden, who hailed from the arbor-draped hills of Carinthia and was a past master at brandishing her picked-up Sloane Ranger accent, with its ineradicable Germanic undertone, and her S/M selling techniques to extract outrageous contracts from her desperate European ‘friends.’”

    Judith Miller, the former New York Times journalist and author of a series of later-debunked stories arguing that Iraq possessed or was closed to possessing weapons of mass destruction, celebrated the release of her new book, The Story, last week at the Harvard Club. When asked about  Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the writer of the widely discredited Rolling Stone story about rape at a University of Virginia fraternity, Miller commented: “I’m glad she wasn’t fired. Everybody is entitled to a misstep. What she’s gone through is very painful and will make her a better journalist.” Meanwhile, at Politico, Jack Shafer explains the “real problem” with Miller: It’s not that she “got Iraq wrong,” but that in her new memoir she continues to make excuses, and doesn’t try to correct her mistakes.

    Virginia Jackson dwells on the work of Lauren Berlant in an essay on “the function of criticism at the present time.” Berlant is, Jackson writes, “a critic’s critic, a feminist’s feminist, and a thinker’s friend.”

    Last week, Buzzfeed ran a story critiquing a Dove Soap video ad. Soon, the story was pulled. “We pulled this post because it is not consistent with the tone of BuzzFeed Life,” claimed editors at the site. As Gawker points out, Dove is in fact a Buzzfeed advertiser. Gawker has also reported that Buzzfeed removed editorial content that criticized the game Monopoly after signing a deal with the board game’s manufacturer, Hasbro. Meanwhile, Buzzfeed is denying that the stories were removed due to advertiser pressure. “You also have a right to ask about whether we did this because of advertiser pressure, as Gawker suggested,” says Buzzfeed EIC Ben Smith. “The answer is no.”