Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Copyright Abuse

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  • Stephen Judd,

    Did anyone else see the takedown of Mister Pip, inexplicably buried in the "Indulgence" section of the weekend DomPost, which argued convincingly that it was just another patronising tale, that the author had failed to convincingly portray the POV that the characters would really have, and generally deconstructing all the colonial white man's burden baggage in the novel? I thought it deserved greater prominence than being sandwiched between the recipe of the week and the kitty pictures.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Yes. I agree.

    Hard to say this without sounding tall poppyish, but I wasn't so keen on the book. I found it, well, thin. However I had just read Great Expectations, which is very dense, so perhaps I wasn't in the best space for reading it.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    Now I have to go construct an elegantly paranoid three minute rave about how the Booker Prize judges are incompetent to judge graffiti on a toilet wall.

    What do you expect from English referees?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Craig wrote:

    Ouch. I'm going to steal that, and don't expect attribution or actual money. :) Still, you've got to love a country where when it comes to dealing with disappointment: Arty-Farties 1; Rugby-Heads nil.

    Thanks Craig.

    That will really add to my bitterness.

    No Single Malt prizes for good smart-arsed comments about the Booker I note.

    Plenty for the rugby, oh yes.

    And they say we've become a more diverse and sophisticated society, well I say, BOLLOCKS!

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Charles Mabbett,

    I just finished reading Mr Pip last night to see if the fuss was deserved. I thought it was quite good. I'd give it a 7/10. But as I haven't got a handle on the competition it's hard to make a judgement on whether Lloyd Jones was overlooked against because he was antipodean or if the other book was better or if there were a myriad of other reasons. The Wellington part of the Mr Pip story seemed unnecessary and some of the writing seemed a bit clunky. Oh course it would have been nice for a New Zealand author to win and maybe Jones would have won if the judging panel were rugby followers disgusted by the Wayne Barnes show in the game against France.

    PS Did everyone notice the unusual fact that in the second rugby semi final that a herd of herbivores savaged a pride of carnivores? I'm assuming the collective noun for pumas is pride. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Since Nov 2006 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • stephen clover,

    They gave a Booker to The Bone People.

    I've read worse...

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 355 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Stephen Judd:

    I read it, thought it was rather interesting but rather disquieting but I'll have another look so my response is a little more specific. Sorry to digress, but I'm currently re-reading Neil Gaiman's __A Game of You__ - and was interested by criticism that it was also 'patronising' that a heterosexual man (which Gaiman is) was writing a story from the POV of female characters (including a lesbian couple); and that it was even homophobic that a transgendered character dies near the end. Not least because women and GLBT critics have been some of the staunchest defenders of the work. What should matter isn't that the creator fits into the 'correct' box of ethnicity, gender or sexuality; but that they bring to the table all the insight, empathy and pure skill they can.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Charles Mabbett,

    Having done some research I can inform PA readers that pumas are solitary animals except when they are in a litter in a juvenile state.

    Russell, I notice you didn't get any traction on the rumour about Langwell possibly getting the role as editor. Interesting. If it happens I wouldn't hold my breath in for any improvement in quality. But happily for RL it would reunite her with her 'award winning' friend who writes a weekly column in said publication.

    I dunno about you but for many of us with an Asian backdrop, the Asian Angst article Langwell commissioned was an unforgiveable piece of hostile polemic dressed up as journalism. We'll be watching this space with interest.

    Since Nov 2006 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • Charles Mabbett,

    Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics are quite brilliant!

    Since Nov 2006 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    What should matter isn't that the creator fits into the 'correct' box of ethnicity, gender or sexuality; but that they bring to the table all the insight, empathy and pure skill they can.

    Precisely. If the characters don't ring true that's a fault with the author's writing, not their ethno-gend-uality.
    Otherwise its like saying Lord of the Rings is crap cause Tolkein wasn't a hobbit.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Craig: the criticism wasn't that Jones was inherently disqualified from portraying non-SWM characters, but that he didn't do a good job of it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    Can't remember the titles of all the Neil Gaiman comics I have read but I did read one featuring a lesbian couple. It was great I thought. When writers manage to succeed at getting us anywhere like close to the experience of another person it is magic. A reminder to exercise our own capacity for empathy.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • daleaway,

    All literary "competitions" are to an extent artificial. It's like making a contest of breastfeeding, or gargling.

    People take what they need from fiction, and some don't need it at all.

    And the idea that you can only write about things whose pre-ticked boxes you already fit is just plain bizarre. A gentle reminder that fiction means made up. It's all baloney, however nicely sliced.

    Anyway Gaiman's erstwhile stablemate Terry Pratchett writes bloody wonderful female characters and nobody's smacked his keyboard for that..

    Since Jul 2007 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Otherwise its like saying Lord of the Rings is crap cause Tolkein wasn't a hobbit.

    I know grrl Role-players who used to get dead upset any time a guy wanted to play a female character. Dwarf, fine, wizard, whatever, super-stealthy gorgeous poncy Elven Ranger, just dandy. But they don't know what it's like to be a woman...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • daleaway,

    So THAT's the reason LOTR is crap....!

    Since Jul 2007 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    So THAT's the reason LOTR is crap....!

    Oh, I'm so not getting sucked into THAT argument again. (But it is.) But that may be the reason there are no girls in the Fellowship.

    However.

    It's like making a contest of breastfeeding, or gargling.

    I'm not sure how, neither of those things being bloody hard work. But I do agree that literature isn't empirically 'good' or 'bad' but just a matter of taste, except when it's really, really execrable.

    A gentle reminder that fiction means made up. It's all baloney, however nicely sliced.

    Yeah, but there's a difference between a portrayal that allows you to suspend disbelief and get really involved, and one that makes you call Bollocks straight off. Some authors are very good at presenting a very different headspace from their own, and some are absolutely terrible.

    A reminder to exercise our own capacity for empathy.

    Which I think is what makes the difference.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Charles Mabbett,

    One of my issues with Mr Pip was that the girl hero Matilda comes across in her narrator's voice as younger than the 14 years of age she is meant to be. I am also a little critical of how dispassionate she seems as she relates the events she is witness to. But this is quite possibly a characteristic of someone who has survived atrocities. And in some places, the writing seems to be trying too hard. Having said that there's lots to praise about Mr Pip including how much it has made me appreciate Great Expectations. Also the circular nature of narrative arc is very clever and in the end it is very moving.

    As for Neil Gaiman, you can find some of his stuff in the Graphic Novels section of the Wellington Public Library. Worth checking out.

    Since Nov 2006 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Back OT...

    The program also described a massive international flow of cash, nick-named the "Brethren Express", in which members ferry money in envelopes across borders for unknown purposes.

    Covert foreign interference in national elections is a serious issue. I have huge questions about the funding of EB campaigns and whether it is entirely from their own pockets or whether they also act as a front for other interested parties.

    Tin foil hat? Maybe, but they are building up some tack record here of pretty despicable undermining of confidence in our electoral systems.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    If the characters don't ring true that's a fault with the author's writing, not their ethno-gend-uality.
    Otherwise its like saying Lord of the Rings is crap cause Tolkein wasn't a hobbit.

    Good summary.

    I think one of the reasons this sort of thing becomes an issue - apart from feminism and gay/lesbian rights activism - is the 20th Century notion, implicit and explicit, that fiction is what someone called Higher Autobiography.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    So ... can someone tell me why the Booker Prize is considered the pinnacle of world literary achievement, when it's only open to work in English and excludes three-quarters of the World's population (including American novelists)?

    Just asking :-)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Charles Mabbett,

    The Man Booker Prize for Fiction, also known in short as the Booker Prize, is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original full-length novel, written in the English language, by a citizen of either the Commonwealth of Nations or the Republic of Ireland. (Wikipedia)

    Since Nov 2006 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • Charles Mabbett,

    With regards alternative literary awards to the Booker, there's the Pulitzer Prize for Literature which was won this year by Cormac McCarthy (the Border trilogy guy) with The Road.

    And the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature went to Doris Lessing.

    Since Nov 2006 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    So ... can someone tell me why the Booker Prize is considered the pinnacle of world literary achievement, when it's only open to work in English and excludes three-quarters of the World's population (including American novelists)?

    THE MONEY

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    If the characters don't ring true that's a fault with the author's writing, not their ethno-gend-uality.

    I was really astonished with how well Margaret Atwood seemed to write a male in Oryx and Crake when she does such powerful evocative female characters - so acutally I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised. Talent is talent.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Charles Mabbett,

    There's a fascinating list of literary awards from around the world in all kinds of languages at this link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_literary_awards

    Since Nov 2006 • 236 posts Report Reply

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