January 16, 2007

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Erik Bulatov, The Way the Clouds Moveā€”the Way Things Are Going, 2001, oil on canvas

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

3. Dick Cheney

"But don't worry about all that - the Bush administration has things firmly under control. And if you don't agree, well, you must love Osama bin Laden.

"Last week Dick Cheney appeared from his undisclosed location to announce on Fox News that '(The terrorists) are convinced that the current debate in the Congress, that the election campaign last fall, all of that is evidence that they're right when they say the United States doesn't have the stomach for the fight in this war against terror. ... If we have a president who sees the polls going south and concludes we have to quit, all it will do is validate the Al-Qaeda view of the world.'

"Now where have I heard that before? Oh yes - just about every time Dick Cheney opens his frickin' yap. I mean, come on Dick. Hasn't that old chestnut gone stale by now? Hasn't the American people's sound rejection of your fascist fearmongering given you a clue yet?

"Cheney went on to say that withdrawing troops from Iraq would be 'the most dangerous blunder.' But then, Cheney also said almost two years ago that, 'The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.'

"So please do feel free to ignore the miserable old asshat."

* From an interview of Jonathan Baumbach, author, father to Noah Baumbach, and founder of Fiction Collective. excerpt:

Q: Who was Jonathan Baumbach when you started the press and who is Jonathan Baumbach now?

Baumbach: In 1973, I was a fiction writer going on his own way, a teacher of writing, a film critic, husband and father of four. In 2003, I'm the same person 30 years old, with a different wife and grown up children, one a filmmaker whose movies I've acted in.

Q: What impact did Fiction Collective have on your own writing?

Baumbach: I don't know that Fiction Collective had any particular impact on my writing beyond-this during the period I was co-director with Peter Spielberg-that it gave me less time to do my own work. Working with other writers may have made a better person of me but writing itself is a private matter and there is no way of determining how I might have developed as a writer if Fiction Collective never existed.

Q: At the time Fiction Collective was being formed, you called Reruns your best novel. What would you now consider your best novel?

Baumbach: The books of mine I like best are the ones I hardly recognize as products of my labor after they appear. That is, they come from some uncharted place inside that is smarter and more daring and more interesting than I am. Though I haven't looked at Reruns for some time I still feel warming toward it. For an extended period, now past, Chez Charlotte and Emily was my favorite of my books. These days, it's the one I've just published or the one I'm working on at the moment that I tend to prefer. It's difficult to go on writing if you think you've already written your best novel.
...
Q: How did you feel about the congressional uproar in 1997 and what did that make you think about FC2's future?

Baumbach: In a sense, notoriety-trumped-up scandal-is useful for a small press because it puts it on the big map for awhile and so helps to sell books. Of course, no one wants censorship except regimes deep into hypocrisy who feel threatened by whatever undermines their agenda. Art by definition undermines all totalitarian agendas. At the same time, its prohibitively difficult for serious literature in our culture to sustain itself financially over the long haul without some outside support. In a democracy, the government belongs as much to us as to Jesse Helms-I'm being theoretical here-which means we have a aright to be subsidized at least in part by the NEA. That is, for as long as we continue to publish without compromise important innovative fiction.

* "Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love." -- Martin Luther King Jr., December 11, 1966

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