Monday, February 04, 2008

Strange things are happening

New Believer is out—you better "believer" it! Once again, lots of good stuff—Charles Baxter, Michael Almereyda on Mayakovsky, Eula Biss, Tayari Jones on Black History Month, Dean Young, the early career of Karl Marx, Steve Burt on a science-fictional poetry book that I need to check out...and much more. I like Karan Mahajan's interview with Suketu Mehta:

Another difference between Naipaul and me is that I like people a whole lot more than he does. I like all kinds of people. I grew up in Bombay, a city where if you don’t like people you’re going to be extremely unhappy.

I didn't know he'd written for the PTSNBN. This sounds...all too familiar, alas!:

After a year I came to the East Village to try my luck at freelancing. I wrote a couple of articles for the Village Voice—long pieces. I called up the Village Voice when I was leaving [on a trip to India]—I called cold and got an editorial assistant to put me on to an editor—and I said, “I’m going to India and there’s a big AIDS problem there.” The editor said, “India’s got AIDS?” I said, “Yes, strange things are happening. People who are suspected of being infected are actually being put in jail.” He said, “Ah, well, maybe you can do a five-hundred-word piece on it.” On spec! And I came back with a seven-thousand-word piece—my first long nonfiction article. “AIDS in India: Pandemic Out of Control” read the headline, back in 1995. I was roundly attacked here for allegedly exaggerating this problem, and now, of course, the figures speak for themselves. But back then there was a coalition of Indians who actually took out a petition against me and sent a letter to the Village Voice attacking my article.

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