Friday, December 10, 2004

Yeah It's Friday!

Take a holiday literature quiz. I scored 11 out of 15 which came with a cheerful holiday message: "Good try but the tinsel is looking a little tatty and your needles are starting to drop. Spruce up and give it another go." Bah, humbug. The Dispute continues. The government says that in order for publishers to publish original works by authors in countries deemed enemies of the United States, the publisher must apply for a license. It all

centers on a Treasury Department interpretation this year of regulations rooted in the 1917 "Trading With the Enemy Act," which allows the president to bar transactions with people or businesses in nations during times of war or national emergency. A 1988 amendment by Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., relaxed the act to effectively give publishers an exemption while maintaining restrictions on general trade. In April, OFAC regulators amended an earlier interpretation to advise academic publishers that they can make minor changes to works already published in sanctioned countries and reissue them. But the regulators said editors cannot provide broader services considered basic to publishing, such as commissioning works, making "substantive" changes to texts, or adding illustrations. The regulations seem shaded by Joseph Heller's classic novel "Catch-22." U.S. publishers are allowed to reissue, for example, Cuban communist propaganda or officially approved books but not original works by writers whom the Cuban government has stifled.
Let freedom ring. (link via Bookninja) If you thought Gerald Allen, a Republican legislator in Alabama who has proposed a bill that would ban state funding to public institutions that purchase gay themed materials, was just confined to his state think again. Mr. Allen will be meeting with President Bush to talk about his bill. There is a great interview with Allen in the Guardian. When asked to give specific examples of incidents that prompted the bill, Allen couldn't do it. Instead he made vague accusations that "Traditional family values are under attack," and that Hollywood, the music industry, and the internet are orchestrating our moral downfall. When asked if schools would be able to perform Shakespeare plays he responded
"Well," he begins, after a pause, "the current draft of the bill does not address how that is going to be handled. I expect details like that to be worked out at the committee stage. Literature like Shakespeare and Hammet [sic] could be left alone." Could be. Not "would be". In any case, he says, "you could tone it down". That way, if you're not paying real close attention, even a college graduate like Allen himself "could easily miss" what was going on, the "subtle" innuendoes and all.
This man is going to give me nightmares. (link via Maude Newton)