Women are usually better than men at writing about women, because women have felt the distinct stab in the soul that happens when their gender is pulverized through oppressive language. It is time to let women write about their own gender and contribute to the recording of their own literary history. In writing poorly, male writers tacitly admit that women can do a better job.
Anyone who has a kid spends an enormous amount of his or her reading time with children’s books. This can be painful…The thing is, I love reading to my son, and there is almost nothing that thrills me more than when he begs me for just one more chapter. That he loves books is one of my greatest satisfactions. I just don’t always love his books. That’s why, when we first started The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, I hesitated.
“It’s something that I wrestle with enormously but, as I explained to the people of Annawadi, I will explain to you. In the work that I do, the general belief is that you don’t pay people to tell their stories. And I adhere to that. It’s not without ambivalence. But I also know that if I paid people in Annawadi for their stories it would have distorted the stories that I got. The one thing that I try to be very careful about wherever I’m working is that I don’t pull people aside and do interviews. I go with them when they work. I try not to get in people’s way to make a living, so at least [the interview] doesn’t financially deplete them. Anyway, I think it’s a better style of reporting because you get to see people in action. It’s a very troubling thing.”
- Katherine Boo, as interviewed by Paul Morton for The Millions
[Image via Denver Post]
“I have a difficult time drawing the eyes of people when they’re committing atrocious acts. It’s not like I don’t do it if I’m sure they’re sadistic. In this case I probably could have done it. Because in this case, [with] a soldier taunting someone, I can imagine their sadism and I can understand a sadist’s face, or I have the pretense of thinking I can understand a sadist’s face…”
Too Much Imagining: A Jonah Lehrer Roundup
Jonah Lehrer has resigned from his staff position at the New Yorker, after Tablet Magazine revealed he had fabricated quotes–from Bob Dylan, no less!–in his bestseller Imagine: How Creativity Works, which since has been pulled from the market. Michael C. Moynihan, the journalist who discovered the deception, was interviewed by the Observer, saying he felt “horrible” watching vitriolic reactions pour in. Previously the book saw critique for its loose science in both The New Republic andThe Millions. Roxane Gay wonders about the media system that allowed Lehrer to get so high up in the stratosphere to enable his fall from grace.