At the New Yorker’s Page Turner blog, Salman Rushdie says goodbye to Günter Grass, who died yesterday. In 1982, after making his “genuflections” before the great man in a village near Hamburg, Rushdie recalls getting drunk on schnapps with Grass and then singing his praises to the German press—”they would have preferred something cattier, but I had nothing catty to say,” Rushdie reports. And he still doesn’t: regardless of Grass’s war record, Rushdie defends him as the author of “the greatest anti-Nazi masterpieces ever written, containing passages about Germans’ chosen blindness towards the Holocaust that no anti-Semite could ever write.” Also respectfully remembered yesterday, despite his own modesty about his most famous book, The Open Veins of Latin America, was Eduardo Galeano.
After Hillary Clinton at long last declared her candidacy (she doesn’t appear till a minute and a half into the video), some wondered what likably spontaneous hi-jinks would be coming next. Marco Rubio announced his own run as a quantum leap into the future, but the Fix dug up a fetching shot of him striving to unseat an earlier Clinton back in 1996.
It’s tempting to reproduce some time-lapse graphics showing social media’s Hillary-fest, but that kind of thing can land you in trouble nowadays. Whether or not it’s been swiping Nate Silver’s charticles, though, Vox.com also spends time pondering the ethics of reporting on pseudoscience: “The doubt industry knows that journalists actually do want to get things right and reflect nuance,” says doctor, writer, and optimist Ivan Oransky, “and they have figured out how to craft their messages and arguments in such a way that they seem like honest academic questions.” How to talk about Food Babes or anti-vaxxers without stirring up fake controversies or “turning cranks into martyrs”? Undeterred, later this week a host of writers will take part in a marathon reading of Eula Biss’s On Immunity.
A debut novel about a dystopian beehive got its author Laline Paull onto the shortlist for this year’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (the Orange Prize that was) alongside some more familiar contenders, including Sarah Waters (the British bookies’ favorite), Ali Smith, and Rachel Cusk.
The United States Telecom Association just struck the first blow against net neutrality with a lawsuit claiming the rules were “arbitrary and capricious”; après USTA, the pile-on. Meanwhile, at the Columbia Journalism Review, a dark vision of the Facebook-NYT-Buzzfeed future: “News organizations have always been at risk of bending to the will of their advertisers,” writes Trevor Timm, but “Standard Oil or Pfizer or General Motors never had the power to ensure millions of New York Times subscribers would not get their paper the next day. Yet with one click, Facebook could pull off the modern-day equivalent.” Still, if you thought there was no standing up to this kind of censorship, Arabelle Sicardi, whose anti-Dove soap post was briefly suppressed, has a parting message for you (and Buzzfeed).