Friday, October 12, 2007

"Life of Pi" Illustrated; Gore Wins; Lessing Wins; Bloom Pooh-Poohs

If any of you have read Yann Martel's "Life of Pi", this might be of interest to you. My wife and I read/listened to this book on our drive cross-country back in 2005 and liked it generally (though I remember tiring pretty quickly of the cheerful, Indian-accented narrator who read the book. A little bit of him went a long way). Aside from some problems I had with its vaguely evangelical ambition, I thought it was well-written and made its points elegantly.

I just found out that the publisher of "The Life of Pi" has decided to put out an illustrated edition of Martel's novel.

I just ran across this link on a favorite blog of mine,, (which, by the way, is a great place to see what's going on in the world of illustration). The publisher of Martel's novel ran a contest to find the best illustrator for the assignment, and decided a Croatian artist named Tomislav Torjanac was the best guy for the job. Judging by the example above, it's hard to argue. If you click on the first link there, you can find out more about Torjanac's process, which is to sketch first, then paint, then photograph, and finally run that photograph through Photoshop where he adjusts it, sexies it up, and creates the final image. Anyway, I thought this image was striking and made me wish I were a painter.

The illustrated edition just came out Oct. 1st, and in it there are 30 (count 'em 30!) illustrations; might be a worthwhile purchase, or at least fun to flip through next time you find yourself in a Barnes or a Borders. I wish publishers would do this sort of thing more often.

In other news, some notable Nobels were handed out this week.

First, my man Al Gore split the Nobel Peace Prize with the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Will this award push Gore to a presidential run, as Christopher Hitchens hopes it will?

At this point, I'm not sure I even hope he will run anymore. The odds seem stacked against him. Aside from tens of millions of Democratic voters (and maybe some independents these days), no one seems to be poised to jump into the fray and fight with him. The so-called "liberal media" who unfairly trashed him in 2000 might cast a favorable eye on him this time around, or they might just decide to trash him again in '08; the Supreme Court helped Bush steal the Presidency from him -- in a close election, what's to stop the Republican machine (and an even more radically conservative court) from stealing a second election?; the right-wing press continues to trash him and the volume level will only increase if he does run as they try and tear him down, which would be demoralizing; and Hillary's so entrenched right now as the frontrunner, you'd have to have a keener understanding of on-the-ground Democratic politics than I do to see how it's possible to wrench the necessary number of donors and fundraisers and endorsers away from the Hillary juggernaut and over to Gore. And if he did decide to run, there would be the unseemly but inevitable attempt by the Clinton campaign to trash Gore with snide insinuations and whispering campaigns; and Hillary would have no choice but to publicly attempt to define Gore with soft but damning adjectives (witness what she's done with Obama, calling him "inexperienced" and "naive", apparently to great effect). And as the weeks drew down closer to nomination time, the knives would really come out. None of that would be fun to watch.

But if he does decide to run, I will, of course, support him. He would be the best candidate.

One further interesting observation Josh Marshall of TalkingPointsMemo made after hearing the news of the Nobel: "You know, with Al Gore winning the Nobel Prize for his environmental activism, it really makes the Nader voters look prescient, doesn't it?" Word.

And finally, novelist Doris Lessing won the Nobel for Literature this year, which makes her the oldest recipient ever awarded the prize. In response Lessing said, "Oh, Christ. I couldn't care less." I guess you have to be 3 years shy of 90 years old to understand why that could be so. Anyway, no sooner than the award's announced than that fat old gasbag Harold Bloom, who always seems to be on-hand immediately whenever one of these prizes is handed out, called the award "pure political correctness". I haven't read Lessing, so I don't know if it is or not, but why is it Bloom can't wait a week before he rains on an old lady's parade? Even one she doesn't care about? Anyway, what an asshole.

Enjoy your weekends, folks.


harwell said...

Damn. That seems pretty cruel of Harold Bloom to say regardless if it's even got a shred of truth to it. And I kind of like that she said she couldn't care less, though don't you just suspect that when she's alone and no one's watching she probably does a little celebration dance or something? Just a little. I mean, it's a Nobel for god's sake. They don't hand those out to just anyone (unless you're one of the two THOUSAND scientists who worked on this climate change panel).

As for Gore getting into the election, I think it's a long shot because as seems to be the case now given the lives of Carter, Bush Sr., and Bill Clinton, it's easier to actually DO something when you're NOT in the office. I wouldn't blame him from staying far, far away and I agree that he would probably meet much resistance from the media and others should he join at this point.

Though, lest I haven't said this here before, I really would love for those supporting Hillary to think about the simple fact that if she wins by 2012 we will have had 32 of the past 35 years (and that's only giving her one term) with either a Bush or a Clinton in the White House. They may be different parties, different families, and different philosophies, but there's really nothing about this prospect that strikes me as very democratic whatsoever. I know Hillary isn't her husband, but still...something to think about.

blankfist said...

I figure no one reads beyond the first post except for you, Crane, so here's what I had to say to you, because I'm lazy to email you...

Ron Paul says [government] should start doing only what it's authorized to do, which they should start by reading Article I. Section 8 and find those 21 things that Congress can act on...

Here's one of those 21 things:
"To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;"

blankfist said...

And here's another video for you... I think you may laugh...