Monday 1 November 2010

Web muster

Garry Trudeau, creator of Doonesbury, on the 40-year history of the cartoon

Censorship was straightforward, and Trudeau never complained because he says "I knew the editors were caught between a rock and a hard place". More sinister was the decision of about a third of the papers that carried him to switch him from the comics to the editorial page alongside their political commentators. "We resisted the move," Trudeau says. "For the simple reason that there are far more readers on the comics page than on the comment page and you want to be where the reader is."

Dwight Garner writes in the New York Times about the Paris Review's release of its entire backlog of author interviews online

The Paris Review interviews are famous, or infamous, for prying into how writers physically get their words onto the page. Things like No. 2 pencils are turned into fetishistic totems. Hemingway, we learn, wrote standing up; Capote, lying down; Raymond Carver often composed in his car.

Thompson, interviewed in 2000, decades after “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” makes delicious mockery of this sort of inquiry. He is asked: “Are there any mnemonic devices that get you going once a deadline is upon you — sharpening pencils, music that you put on, a special place to sit?” He leans back and replies, “Bestiality films.”

John Allen Paulos revisits C.P. Snow's declaration of the division between science and the arts, looking at statistics and storytelling

The focus of stories is on individual people rather than averages, on motives rather than movements, on point of view rather than the view from nowhere, context rather than raw data. Moreover, stories are open-ended and metaphorical rather than determinate and literal.

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