• Because of other deadlines and ancillary technological healing, I won’t be covering the New York Anime Festival today. But I will be there on Saturday and Sunday. In the meantime, Heidi McDonald has assembled a crazed journalistic army. So you can no doubt find coverage over at The Beat. Making sense of the daunting schedule does indeed require a strategy. So I have decided to simply throw myself on the floor with full gusto and see what happens. This always seems to be the best policy under such circumstances. Podcasts and reports are forthcoming.
  • It’s that time of the year again when Congress devotes its energies issuing ridiculously draconian Internet policies instead of showing a little backbone in relation to larger matters of war and corruption. CNETs Declan McCullagh reports on a bill known as the SAFE Act — not to be confused with the efforts a few years ago to curtail the PATRIOT Act — that seeks to punish anyone running a Wi-Fi network with a $300,000 fine if they do not report on someone downloading an “obscene” image. And The Nation‘s Larisa Mann reports on a House Resolution that threatens to do away with a school’s federal funding in toto if the school allows even one illegally downloaded song. Democrats in large part supported both of these bills. In fact, for the first bill, the only two people who voted against it were Republicans — including Ron Paul. These two pieces of legislation suggest that the Democrats have special interests in mind more than the First Amendment. And if you want to do something about both of these bills, Public Knowledge has an action page for the school bill. Meanwhile, the SAFE Act has now been received by the Senate and is being referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. Contact the Senate Judiciary Committee and let them know that asking a wi-fi network operator to consistently be on the lookout for an image that is “obscene” or “lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value” (the bill as passed by the House specifies U.S.C. Section 1466A as well as child pornography) places an undue hardship on coffee shop owners trying to attract customers and runs contrary to the First Amendment.
  • Three Percent lists the Best Translations of 2007.
  • On a related note, Scott observes that the book he voted for — Enrique Vila-Mata’s Montano’s Malady — didn’t make the longlist. I likewise think this is disheartening. And as NBCC Board Member, I hope to draw greater attention to translated titles. It’s bad enough that newspapers frequently ignore non-English titles for review, but the time has come to draw greater attention to the fact that not all books are written in English and that there are translators regularly doing hard and often thankless work, sometimes denied even a mention in book reviews! (For instance, in all the celebration of Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives, how many of you are aware that Natasha Wimmer translated the book? Wimmer’s name isn’t even on the cover. Thankfully, Scott interviewed Wimmer a few months ago.) For more insights into translation, see the Segundo interviews with translators Betsy Wing and Jordan Stump. And I hope to feature more translators in future Segundo shows.
  • Is Joshua Henkin a manly writer or not?
  • Why isn’t there more hypertext fiction? (via Maud)
  • Sign of the times? The Sacramento Bee has outsourced some of its advertising production work to India.
  • $3 million for Karl Rove’s memoirs? (via Quill and Quire)


  1. yeah, bring on those translator interviews. Those will be most welcome.

    Please interview Chris Andrews soon. Aside from him also translating Bolano, he translated Cesar Aira’s How I Became a Nun. Until i saw it listed on Three Percent the other day, i completely forgot that came out in English in 2007. It flowed beautifully.

    David Bellos seems highly approachable as well. I’ll always be fond of him for dropping in to post comments back over Kadare’s status as a “dissident writer.”

  2. The unfortunate provision regarding downloading and school funding in the bill — not, as you call it, a resolution — acted upon by the House Education and Labor Committee — is a tiny provision in the massive 700-plus page bill that would reauthorize the Higher Education Act and provide needed funding and other necessary provisions for American colleges and universities.

    The expectation is that the bill will either be amended to remove the offending position in a House roll call vote or it will be eliminated during a conference committee with the Senate.

    Ron Paul voted against it because he believes government should not fund higher education at all. The Arizona Congressman, Jeff Flake (AZ-06) who I am running against, is also a Club-for-Greed laissez-faire anti-government radical who often routinely votes with Paul and a handful of other rightwing extremists against funding of any social programs.

    For example, they were 2 of the minority on Wednesday when the House voted 408-3 to increase funding for the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. (I posted something about the Protecting Children Comes First Act on my campaign blog,, yesterday.)

    The Democrats and Republicans on the committee, including those opposed to the downloading provision, had no choice but to vote for the entire Higher Education Authorization Act refunding bill or vote against it. Given that, I too would have voted the bill out of committee.

  3. Hi Ed,

    re: Audio interviews with Translators

    Your audience might be interested in an interview I conducted with Lydia Davis recently. We talk about the role of the translator, her Swann’s Way, measuring rooms three inches at a time, becoming Proust as an actor might a character, dialogue being more of a translation challenge than description because speech is born of environment and times, and the goal of creating living language that’s timeless.

    You can listen here:

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