• The publishing offices are closed. Many now salivate for fireworks, barbeque, and more intriguing acts of lunacy that serve as an excuse to celebrate the 232nd occasion of this nation’s existence. What then does another roundup bring to all this putative jingoism? Perhaps not much. Which is just as well. Perhaps I shall expatiate further into where my own doubts cross into solemn Americana on Friday. But for now, I collect links and annotate.
  • Morgan Freeman will, at long last, play Nelson Mandela. So the headline says. This is all fine and dandy, but I’m a bit alarmed. Are we to infer that USA Today believes that Freeman can play no other part? Freeman is an actor — at times, a very good one. But it seems to me that a very good actor should avoid typecasting whenever possible. Freeman is more than Mandela. He can play a good deal more than an elder statesman. So aside from the years of studying here, why then should we expect him to “finally take” this role? Because he’s 71? Because he comes across as authoritative? Will Samuel L. Jackson face similar problems in twenty years?
  • Dirk Gently is set to crossover into the Hitchhikers universe. Shall we expect the worst? I mean, the guy who’s whipping this up is using the whole “It came from Douglas Adams’s notes” excuse. And The Salmon of Doubt was hardly the great book we expected, despite coming from Douglas Adams’s hard drive. Is Douglas Adams the new V.C. Andrews? Can we expect more books and adaptations and liberties with the man’s name attached? Only time and the estate’s need for money will tell.
  • For those interested in the long tail’s effect on the book industry (there are still people who swallow this?), the Harvard Business Review has a longass article that challenges Chris Anderson’s theory. By the way, Chris, I’ve got your long tail here. It’s called long-term poverty. (via Richard Nash)
  • So where do you find John Banville interviews these days? Could it be Mark’s?
  • A lengthy review of How Fiction Works. (via ReadySteadyBook)
  • How ignorant is the average American voter? (via Pages Turned)
  • Some French historians are now claiming that King Arthur was propaganda. They have also lodged complaints against the Round Table, finding it an implausible invention because its elliptical design is unsuitable for adulterous affairs. I suppose they have a point. After all, a good rectangular table is more practical when bending another person over.
  • Benjamin Lytal revisits Revolutionary Road, which Callie is understandably ruined by.
  • How Hunter S. Thompson beat his writer’s block. Or did he? Is talking really writing? And is the editor not so much editing as he is enabling? (via Enter the Octopus)
  • Lost now has a book club. The hope here is that all the folks committing their energies in message forums over what the show actually means (here’s a hint: they’re making this shit up as they go along) will translate into similar theorizing about books. (via The Literary Saloon)
  • And is it just me, or do I get the sense that Kidz In the Hall’s pretensions will sound laughably dated in ten years? I’m telling you, The In Crowd is about as tough as a puppy running up to you in the hood and licking your hand. This is hip-hop for cowards and poseurs.


  1. Re: Morgan Freeman

    “Because he comes across as authoritative?”

    More because he’s neuter; sexual neutrality, in Hollywood code, reads as benevolence and wisdom. Jackson isn’t neuter (though his sexual activity, in most of the films I’ve seen him in, is only implicit), which is why he’s the first choice when they need a dangerous black man (funny or not) for the part. (Wesley Snipes is too black and too dangerous and unavailable, in any case).

    Be interesting to do a close-reading on black male actors of note and how they fit in the picture: a psychosexual map of American racial morality. Also interesting how Chiwetel Ejiofor has seemingly escaped the taxonomy by being British.

    Next question: do you suppose Will Smith is already in talks to play Obama?

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