The King Dork paperback is due out on December 26, 2007, and can be pre-ordered from Amazon now, if anyone feels like doing that.
The UK edition (out in August) can also be pre-ordered from Amazon.co.uk.
That's all I got right now.
All the links I've seen concerning Barack Obama's remark in re: Morgan Freeman characterize it as a "slip" or a "gaffe," but it's clearly a joke, and a pretty funny one, too.
I would argue, since 1994 with the Gingrich revolution, just take a look at Iraq, Venezuela, Katrina, what's gone down at Virginia Tech, Darfur, Imus. Take a look. This didn't happen accidentally, all these things.--Joe Biden, apparently.
Dinesh D'Souza's stock isn't too high these days in the wake of what I understand is a perfectly dreadful recent book, but I have to agree with Clive Davis that he has a point here. (I refer to the opening remarks quoted by Clive; I have no use for or opinion on the banal "politically correct guide to insulting people" which follows.)
The Mohammed cartoon affair and the Imus flap are not identical situations, to be sure, but deploring the first whilst applauding the resolution of the latter - a description that fits many, unless I'm mistaken - would appear to reflect an assertion of the "right to offend" that is inconsistently celebrated. I am aware that it's possible to wiggle out of this contradiction in various ways, e.g., to argue, as many have, that free speech doesn't enter into it, that firing Don Imus was simply a matter of companies exercising their right to bow to pressure when they judge it is in their economic interests to do so. But I really doubt such an argument would have persuaded many of the Mo-toon defenders in the face of even remotely similar circumstances. It sure wouldn't have persuaded me. (I grant, also, that the fate meted out to Imus obviously pales in comparison to that visited upon Theo van Gogh, as a commenter to Clive's post points out: '"we scream bloody murder and demand accountability and heads on a platter": ah, the difference between literally and figuratively.' Yes, at least we didn't stab anyone through the heart or set fire to anyone's embassy - something to boast about, indeed.)
Personally, I understand the offense caused by Imus's remarks far better and more intuitively than I can fathom the offense of the cartoons, but then that's kind of the point, innit? I recoil from the former, of course, like most in my broad demographic category; defending the latter as a matter of free speech is pretty much a no-brainer. But a conception of free speech that varies according to how much one recoils, that depends on whether or not one disagrees with the sentiment expressed, or the degree to which one can sympathize with the aggrieved, is an exceptionally weak one, it seems to me. Something to think about, anyway.
The minute you come near the general vicinity of the outskirts of the ballpark of anything distantly resembling the lower levels of something approaching "wealth," you find to your surprise that they are already well in to the process of "redistributing" it to someone other than you. Why does anyone bother, in the end? Communists...
Pravda has the real story about the Imus flap:
In a clear sign of its intent to reign in dissident American media personalities, and their growing influence in American culture, US War Leaders this past week launched an unprecedented attack upon one of their most politically 'connected', and legendary, radio hosts named Don Imus after his threats to release information relating to the September 11, 2001 attacks upon that country.(via Tim Blair.)
Well, it turns out my book won that Northern California Book Award, and no one was as surprised as I was. The program called for the winner in each category to read for three minutes. I realized on BART on the way over that I had taken the wrong briefcase and didn't have my book with me, but I figured it was unlikely that I'd win anyway. (I thought American Born Chinese would have it all wrapped up.) I stood at the podium stammering, not sure what I should do. I admitted I had forgotten to bring my book, and I think I might even have said that I had been "hoping I wouldn't win," on account of that. Fortunately, we were at a library and someone found a copy to lend me.
Still more ineptitude then ensued, during the phase of the presentation, familiar to anyone who has ever attended a reading of mine, in which I thumbed through the book for around four hours trying to find a suitable passage to read. Luckily, my book happens to have a glossary, and, even better, it happens to be in alphabetical order; so once I realized that, I was able to find the glossary entries for Jimmy Buffett and Bob Dylan, thank God. The last one went over a treat.
Till now, the only awards I'd ever won were: Most Improved Player for 5th grade soccer; and a Bammie one year for "Outstanding Punk Band." Oh, and "most likely to become a street person" at a small, sarcastic ceremony in the dining commons at my college dorm.
Lots of nice folks and writers far more distinguished than me (or should that be "than I"?) were there. Die Vegas was there, and Maxine Hong Kingston. And I met Richard Brautigan's daughter.
OK, back to work now.
I'm also going to be at this thing.
The Times Book Club Author Gala. Tues. May 1st. 7 PM. Hofmann Theatre at the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Locust Street at Civic Drive, Walnut Creek.
I've never been to Walnut Creek before, though they tell me it's nice.
By the way, I'm in a novel-writing vortex right now and even less on top of things than I usually am, but I just realized I should probably mention that I will be at the Northern California Book Awards at the San Francisco Public Library on Sunday, April 15. Signing books and so forth.
San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin at Grove, San Francisco, CA. Sunday, April 15. 1 PM. Free. Come on by if you want.
Today happens to be the anniversary of the publication of King Dork. It's been a hell of a year.
6500 euros' worth of Sefer Yetzirah from 1642:
A pretty impressive Malleus Maleficarum on ebay:
A supermarket chain got itself into a huge muddle over the meaning of Easter yesterday in its attempt to sell more chocolate eggs.
“Brits are set to spend a massive £520 million on Easter eggs this year — but many young people don’t even know what Easter’s all about,” said the press release from Somerfield after a survey.
It then went on to claim that the tradition of giving Easter eggs was to celebrate the “birth” of Christ. An amended version changed this to the “rebirth” of Christ. Finally a third press release accepted Church teaching that Easter celebrated the resurrection of Christ.
The press release was written by Hayley Booth, 30, of the PR agency Brando...
An explanatory note on her second release read: “Please find below the amended story revealing Britons’ mounting ignorance regarding Easter...