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The novelist Zadie Smith is an attractive lady of mixed-race background from London. She seems like a nice person with less hostility than is common these days and an urge to hold herself to old-fashioned standards. She seems cognizant that she has benefited from affirmative action urges for part-black people like herself and is one of the rare individuals to be grateful for these opportunities.

I’ve only skimmed White Teeth, her famous first novel published in the 2000. White Teeth is kind of a nature-nurture novel involving identical twins and DNA and parents of different cultures — the kind of materials that usually get channeled into sci-fi novels, but in this case was used in the more prestigious contemporary realist genre. The book got all sorts of literary accolades. My impression from a few hours with it is … it’s not quite that good. But on the other hand it’s awfully good for an ambitious novel by a person in her early 20s.

Commenter YetAnotherAnon points out that Smith said something similar herself recently:

The writer Zadie Smith laid into identity politics in a headline session at the 14th Hay Cartagena festival, insisting novelists had not only a right, but a duty to be free…

Returning to the issue of political correctness, she reflected on her debut novel White Teeth, which had depicted characters from many backgrounds but, she said, had been given an easy ride by the white critics because “[its characters] were mostly brown. It had all sorts of mistakes I’m sure but if I didn’t take a chance I’d only ever be able to write novels about mixed-race girls growing up in Willesden.”

Here are bits from a short story in The New Yorker, “Now More than Ever,” by Zadie Smith, author of White Teeth and a professor of creative writing at NYU.

… In my apartment building, as in many throughout the city, we have this new routine. We stand at our windows, all of us, from the second floor to the seventeenth, and hold aloft large signs with black arrows on them. The arrows point to other apartments. In our case, to the apartments of our colleagues at the university. The only abstainers are the few remaining Marxists (mainly in the history department, though we have a few in English and sociology, too) who like to argue that the whole process is fundamentally Stalinist. Which is like calling a child Mary. Who even uses that kind of language these days? Bendelstein, Eastman, and Waite are pointing at me. (A purely defensive move; I have done nothing wrong and am no one, and they are only trying to distract attention from themselves.) I am pointing at Eastman, in his dank little studio with the paisley carpet. Yes, since my illuminating discussion with Scout I have decided to join the majority of my colleagues in the philosophy department and point at Eastman, because who doesn’t know about Eastman? How Eastman still has a job we really don’t know. Not only does he not believe the past is the present, but he has gone further and argued that the present, in the future, will be just as crazy-looking to us, in the present, as the past is, presently, to us, right now! For Eastman, surely, it’s only a matter of time.

… I bumped into someone on Bleecker who was beyond the pale. I felt like talking to him so I did. As we talked I kept thinking, But you’re beyond the pale, yet instead of that stopping us from talking we started to talk more and more frantically, babbling like a couple of maniacs about a whole load of things: shame, ruin, public humiliation, the destruction of reputation—that immortal part of oneself—the contempt of one’s wife, one’s children, one’s colleagues, personal pathology, exposure, suicidal ideation, and all that jazz. I thought, Maybe if I am one day totally and finally placed beyond the pale, I, too, might feel curiously free. Of expectation. Of the opinions of others. Of a lot of things. “It’s like prison,” he said, not uncheerfully. “You don’t see anybody and you get a lot of writing done.”

… Then I made a mistake. This was yesterday. If you’re anything like Scout, you probably heard about it already. (Scout e-mailed me fifteen minutes after it happened to commiserate and also to alert me to the fact that she would not be e-mailing me anymore.) How it happened was: one of our poets said something beyond the pale. … All arrows pointed to him. And I said, Look, politically you’re absolutely within your rights to be angry, but existentially you’re wrong—existentially this particular poet just wants us all to be free. As a matter of fact, he’s not even a poet at all, he’s a philosopher. Yes, I said it: He’s one of us. But then the poet himself said that philosophy makes nothing happen and also that he happened to quite like the Devil—whom we sometimes call “the adversary” and sometimes nothing at all—and then he said that he was glad that he-who-shall-not-be-named had come to power, because he admired his energy, his inability to distinguish between past, present, and future, and soon after that the poet got cancelled and, soon after that, me, too.

I wonder who Eastman, the beyond the pale guy, and the poet are. My wild guess is the poet is film director David Lynch, although Lynch may have proven to have gotten away with expressing a certain amount of sympathy for Trump last summer, on the grounds that, well, he’s David Lynch.

 
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  1. You’re making the mistake of giving a flying f!ck what a trained seal like Zadie Smith thinks about anything. Check it out! She can play a Mozart ditty on arranged bicycle horns! Ain’t multiculturalism magnifi-zizzie-ent?

    btw I’m pretty sure I know which apartment bldg she’s talking about, and I even know its denizens, because centuries ago I used to, um, socialize there.

    God give them strength to put up with the likes of Zadie Smith. Then again, they deserve each other.

  2. I thought, Maybe if I am one day totally and finally placed beyond the pale, I, too, might feel curiously free. Of expectation. Of the opinions of others. Of a lot of things.

    Related: The Intellectual Dark Web is more hard core than I realized.

    https://twitter.com/fightc1ub/status/1089013663770595330

    • LOL: Cloudbuster, MEH 0910
    • Replies: @AndrewR
    Wtf I love Jordan Peterson now
  3. Ive only read her second novel the autograph man. It was univerally panned and it sucks.

    • LOL: bomag
  4. Imran Khan had no quarrel with the Indians and no plans or ambitions outside Pakistan. But the Modi Administration violated international law by giving illegal military aid to belligerents, and drew India into a foreign war that was not our affair and none of our business. Four hundred thousand young working-class males, almost all of them Hindus and Sikhs, died to prop up Trump and install Salvini, Putin, and Leo Varadkar in power–less than five years after Modi’s henchmen, almost all of them members of the White Christian Tribe that shall Not be Named, murdered thirty million Black Christian Nigerians. And we put his face on the coinage and name government buildings after him.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    What am I reading?
    , @AndrewR
    You lost, boy?
    , @Escher
    One too many whiskeys, my head bobbing friend?
    , @Federalist
    Finally. Someone else understands what's really going on.
    , @MBlanc46
    It appears that you’re off your meds.
  5. White people are getting old and white women are increasingly getting pregnant with non whites.

    I was in Gstaad for the past 2 weeks and I didn’t post anything.

    I observed that there were a lot of interracial couples with Black Man and White woman.
    Surprised to see so many Blacks in heartland of Europe.
    Most white couples were old.
    The effect of that perfidious tribe on our people has been very baneful.

    The fear of being stigmatized as “racist” ‘haters” paralizes people and prevents us from stating scientific truths, from promoting the policies that best help all people of all races, from voting for politicians and parties that pursue such humane goals. To extirpate the horrible consequences of misinformed anti-racist policies⇓, the derogatory term “Racist” must be reclaimed as virtuous and owned with pride.

    • Troll: IHTG
    • Replies: @Spaulding Smails
    Gstaad for two weeks? Taki, is that you?
    , @Charles Erwin Wilson 3

    The fear of being stigmatized as “racist” ‘haters” paralizes people and prevents us from stating scientific truths, from promoting the policies that best help all people of all races, from voting for politicians and parties that pursue such humane goals. To extirpate the horrible consequences of misinformed anti-racist policies⇓, the derogatory term “Racist” must be reclaimed as virtuous and owned with pride.
     
    Good luck with that. Let us know how it turns out.
  6. They really are not sending their best.

  7. • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
    Just before he encounters evil incarnate hiding behind the garbage bin.
  8. You must have gotten a lot of sleep last night. My eyes completely glazed over trying to read that shortish short story. Even your excerpts.

    There’s an audio version. But no …

  9. From her Lunch w/ The FT interview a couple of years ago, Zadie Smith came across like sort of a literary Obama:

    Just how, I wonder as I talk to her, did this young woman, remarkable as she is, become a sort of national living treasure? In Britain at least, there is hardly a literate being who doesn’t smile at the mention of her name. Well, to start with, her timing was perfect. She arrived with the millennium — in January 2000 the world did not end, instead we got White Teeth — and she was the perfect Y2K package. Clever, articulate, self-assured, sociable, of mixed race and from an unprepossessing estate in a then dull area of north London (and with an eye to her image, too: when she was still a teenager she had grafted the zippier “Z” on to the more prosaic “Sadie” bestowed by her parents), she was the good news we craved. Her success was the proof, among all society’s sadness and badness, that education works. (If it can be accessed, that is: as Smith said to me, “plenty of people from my school could have got to Cambridge, it’s just that they didn’t know it existed”).

    It was not even that the novels were so super-great: readers love the books as much as admiring them, and reviews have often been mixed. Even for Swing Time, the New York Times reviewer paid homage to Smith’s “formidable talents” but pronounced the novel “clumsy”. Her deep strengths lie as a teacher, universally liked and revered for her seriousness and her kindness to young talents in her care, as an inspir­ation and as the public intellectual the liberal world wants and needs.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The general impression I get is that she's a good person.
    , @AndrewR
    "The millennium" arrived in 2001. There was no year zero.
  10. @New Jerseyian
    Imran Khan had no quarrel with the Indians and no plans or ambitions outside Pakistan. But the Modi Administration violated international law by giving illegal military aid to belligerents, and drew India into a foreign war that was not our affair and none of our business. Four hundred thousand young working-class males, almost all of them Hindus and Sikhs, died to prop up Trump and install Salvini, Putin, and Leo Varadkar in power–less than five years after Modi’s henchmen, almost all of them members of the White Christian Tribe that shall Not be Named, murdered thirty million Black Christian Nigerians. And we put his face on the coinage and name government buildings after him.

    What am I reading?

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
    • LOL: AndrewR
  11. Ms Smith, one of the whitest black people ever (she’s got freckles in the Guardian pic, only the headscarves and big earrings make her ‘black’) is well on her way to being unpersoned. (And I see the Hay literary festival now has a Colombian offshoot. No Hay Amigo!)

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/feb/02/zadie-smith-political-correctness-hay-cartagena

    The writer Zadie Smith laid into identity politics in a headline session at the 14th Hay Cartagena festival, insisting novelists had not only a right, but a duty to be free…

    Returning to the issue of political correctness, she reflected on her debut novel White Teeth, which had depicted characters from many backgrounds but, she said, had been given an easy ride by the white critics because “[its characters] were mostly brown. It had all sorts of mistakes I’m sure but if I didn’t take a chance I’d only ever be able to write novels about mixed-race girls growing up in Willesden.”

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Thanks.
  12. @YetAnotherAnon
    Ms Smith, one of the whitest black people ever (she's got freckles in the Guardian pic, only the headscarves and big earrings make her 'black') is well on her way to being unpersoned. (And I see the Hay literary festival now has a Colombian offshoot. No Hay Amigo!)

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/feb/02/zadie-smith-political-correctness-hay-cartagena


    The writer Zadie Smith laid into identity politics in a headline session at the 14th Hay Cartagena festival, insisting novelists had not only a right, but a duty to be free...

    Returning to the issue of political correctness, she reflected on her debut novel White Teeth, which had depicted characters from many backgrounds but, she said, had been given an easy ride by the white critics because “[its characters] were mostly brown. It had all sorts of mistakes I’m sure but if I didn’t take a chance I’d only ever be able to write novels about mixed-race girls growing up in Willesden.”
     

    Thanks.

  13. @Dave Pinsen
    From her Lunch w/ The FT interview a couple of years ago, Zadie Smith came across like sort of a literary Obama:

    Just how, I wonder as I talk to her, did this young woman, remarkable as she is, become a sort of national living treasure? In Britain at least, there is hardly a literate being who doesn’t smile at the mention of her name. Well, to start with, her timing was perfect. She arrived with the millennium — in January 2000 the world did not end, instead we got White Teeth — and she was the perfect Y2K package. Clever, articulate, self-assured, sociable, of mixed race and from an unprepossessing estate in a then dull area of north London (and with an eye to her image, too: when she was still a teenager she had grafted the zippier “Z” on to the more prosaic “Sadie” bestowed by her parents), she was the good news we craved. Her success was the proof, among all society’s sadness and badness, that education works. (If it can be accessed, that is: as Smith said to me, “plenty of people from my school could have got to Cambridge, it’s just that they didn’t know it existed”).

    It was not even that the novels were so super-great: readers love the books as much as admiring them, and reviews have often been mixed. Even for Swing Time, the New York Times reviewer paid homage to Smith’s “formidable talents” but pronounced the novel “clumsy”. Her deep strengths lie as a teacher, universally liked and revered for her seriousness and her kindness to young talents in her care, as an inspir­ation and as the public intellectual the liberal world wants and needs.
     

    The general impression I get is that she’s a good person.

    • Replies: @Kaganovitch
    Yup. My wife dragged me to a couple of her book signings/ literary evenings in NYC a few years ago. A lovely person.
    , @anonymous
    Good person inverted commas or like actually a decent human being?
    , @Jack D
    My impression of Barack Obama is that he is a good person too, more or less. But he was overpromoted (both in the sense of advertising and rank) as being the Great Harbinger of Hope and Change purely due to his race. If the grad student that knocked up Stanley Dunham had been a Boer from S. Africa instead of a Kenyan, Obama would have had an okay career as a non-profit executive or a corporate lawyer - no one would have EVER considered him Presidential timber. And ditto for Zadie - she would have been a high school English teacher who once in a while got a poem published in some obscure poetry journal. They are both creatures of AA.
    , @black sea
    Good people, or at least, nice people, generally don't make good novelists.
    , @syonredux
    Nobody who reveres Katharine Hepburn can be completely bad...

    Katharine Hepburn was the star of my very favourite film, The Philadelphia Story. She was also the star of my second favourite film (Adam’s Rib), and my third (Woman of the Year),
     

    From the earliest age I was devoted to her. My teenage bedroom, for many years a shrine to the Golden Age of Hollywood, reserved a whole half-wall for her alone. Amid the pictures of Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Donald O’Connor, Ava Gardner, and the rest, Ms Hepburn – imperious, regal and red-headed (although this last was often disguised in the publicity shots) – sat high up by the cornice of the ceiling, like a madonna looking over the lesser saints.
     
    https://www.theguardian.com/film/2003/jul/01/film.zadiesmith
  14. Sooner or later, anyone who just wants to try to tell the truth, or a good story, or a funny joke, walks over the cliff — Lawrence Summers, Jim Watson, David Reich, Jerry Seinfeld, Zadie Smith…

    How long will it be before all sane people look at each other and come to realize, just like the population of Russia In August 1991, that our would-be rulers and cultural leaders are all insane and that we all know that we all know this?

    • Replies: @Mark P Miller
    These unstable Schelling point shifts are notoriously difficult to predict. Could be next week or the next century.
  15. As novelists, only lesbians & fugly looking women are worth reading (George Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather & the best of them all, Marguerite Yourcenar). Others, straight & average/beyond average looking female novelists- forget it.Waste of time.

    • Replies: @Cowboy Shaw
    Patricia Highsmith would fit into that category too.
    , @YetAnotherAnon
    Is Jane Austen in that category? She certainly never married.

    I guess the young Marina Warner proves your point. Iris Murdoch also proves it (i.e. is worth reading but not a beauty).

    https://collectionimages.npg.org.uk/large/mw249931/Marina-Warner.jpg

    , @David
    I have a huge collection of novels and am just returned from the stacks where I informally counted authoresses and authors. I'd say about 40% of the novels acquired by my family over the past hundred or more years were written by women. Maybe a bit more.

    Only in the past year have I started to read books by Christie, Thirkill, Heyer -- ie, a random selection of prolific 20th cent female authors that we have large collections of -- and I've enjoyed them all.

    I agree with your select list, especially special mention of Yourcenar, but women have always been strongly represented in prose fiction, both by quantity and quality. Dr Johnson was wrong on this subject.

    In terms of looks, the Bronte sisters were pretty hot.
    , @vinteuil
    Add Mary Renault to your list. Just brilliant. I'd rank The Last of the Wine above even The Memoirs of Hadrian.
    , @Anonymous
    I was trying to think about whether there were any plausible counterexamples, but...
    ...sometimes a picture can say many things at once:
    https://i.postimg.cc/gc6Nhc4R/MacJK.png
    , @sayless
    Iris Murdoch.
  16. “Man this ain’t a dream no more, it’s the real thing.” (Bob Dylan)

    The “regressive left” (Dave Rubin) runs out of the air to breathe – and interesting thoughts to think. And Zadie Smith notices this and finds some good metaphors and scenes to illustrate this: The paranoia and the tendency to make prisoners, no matter what, so that in the end, they even manage to imprison themselves.

    It takes courage to think. Kant said that, and Zadie Smith shows it. – “Where will (she) go from here?” (Bob Dylan and the Band)

  17. @Jenner Ickham Errican

    I thought, Maybe if I am one day totally and finally placed beyond the pale, I, too, might feel curiously free. Of expectation. Of the opinions of others. Of a lot of things.
     
    Related: The Intellectual Dark Web is more hard core than I realized.

    https://twitter.com/fightc1ub/status/1089013663770595330

    Wtf I love Jordan Peterson now

  18. @Dave Pinsen
    From her Lunch w/ The FT interview a couple of years ago, Zadie Smith came across like sort of a literary Obama:

    Just how, I wonder as I talk to her, did this young woman, remarkable as she is, become a sort of national living treasure? In Britain at least, there is hardly a literate being who doesn’t smile at the mention of her name. Well, to start with, her timing was perfect. She arrived with the millennium — in January 2000 the world did not end, instead we got White Teeth — and she was the perfect Y2K package. Clever, articulate, self-assured, sociable, of mixed race and from an unprepossessing estate in a then dull area of north London (and with an eye to her image, too: when she was still a teenager she had grafted the zippier “Z” on to the more prosaic “Sadie” bestowed by her parents), she was the good news we craved. Her success was the proof, among all society’s sadness and badness, that education works. (If it can be accessed, that is: as Smith said to me, “plenty of people from my school could have got to Cambridge, it’s just that they didn’t know it existed”).

    It was not even that the novels were so super-great: readers love the books as much as admiring them, and reviews have often been mixed. Even for Swing Time, the New York Times reviewer paid homage to Smith’s “formidable talents” but pronounced the novel “clumsy”. Her deep strengths lie as a teacher, universally liked and revered for her seriousness and her kindness to young talents in her care, as an inspir­ation and as the public intellectual the liberal world wants and needs.
     

    “The millennium” arrived in 2001. There was no year zero.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    That’s a wonderfully pedantic point you can write to the editor of the FT.
  19. @New Jerseyian
    Imran Khan had no quarrel with the Indians and no plans or ambitions outside Pakistan. But the Modi Administration violated international law by giving illegal military aid to belligerents, and drew India into a foreign war that was not our affair and none of our business. Four hundred thousand young working-class males, almost all of them Hindus and Sikhs, died to prop up Trump and install Salvini, Putin, and Leo Varadkar in power–less than five years after Modi’s henchmen, almost all of them members of the White Christian Tribe that shall Not be Named, murdered thirty million Black Christian Nigerians. And we put his face on the coinage and name government buildings after him.

    You lost, boy?

  20. Even though she is still young she is like a relic from a prior age. Back in London in 2000 it actually seemed like things were going to be okay. No one much mentions Zadie Smith anymore. Now it’s Afua Hirsch who is in the ascendency. No one thinks it’s going to be okay.

    • Agree: Tyrion 2
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Today’s London has Slumflower.

    https://twitter.com/ft/status/1088664074416807936?s=21
    , @anonymous
    'Even though she is still young she is like a relic from a prior age. Back in London in 2000 it actually seemed like things were going to be okay'

    Yeah in her debut work moslem terrorism is played for laughs (released 2000) and she was a mixed race (biracial) oxbridge graduate- she was,by adoption, one of them.

    Now they are talking about lowering standards at Oxford and Cambridge to let more blacks in, somthing which I distinctly remember as being generally regarded as completely insane. Sure you might sacrifice some, even most of your tertiery education to lowering standards- but you would never level your elite of the elite. How times change.

    Things arent looking so rosy any more.
  21. @Bardon Kaldian
    As novelists, only lesbians & fugly looking women are worth reading (George Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather & the best of them all, Marguerite Yourcenar). Others, straight & average/beyond average looking female novelists- forget it.Waste of time.

    Patricia Highsmith would fit into that category too.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    Yeah. Of course, there are few, very few exceptions. For instance Charlotte Bronte (yet, she should be read only during adolescence). And most late 20 C/early 21st C female fiction is full of disgusting gynecological & women physiology expatiations no man wants to hear about, let alone read.
  22. @Cowboy Shaw
    Patricia Highsmith would fit into that category too.

    Yeah. Of course, there are few, very few exceptions. For instance Charlotte Bronte (yet, she should be read only during adolescence). And most late 20 C/early 21st C female fiction is full of disgusting gynecological & women physiology expatiations no man wants to hear about, let alone read.

  23. [Reply to Baron Kaldian and Cowboy Shaw]

    Mary Renault.

  24. She misused ‘presently’.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    She misused ‘presently’.

     

    Presently is often misused at present. But its rightful use will make its comeback presently.
  25. @Cowboy Shaw
    Even though she is still young she is like a relic from a prior age. Back in London in 2000 it actually seemed like things were going to be okay. No one much mentions Zadie Smith anymore. Now it's Afua Hirsch who is in the ascendency. No one thinks it's going to be okay.

    Today’s London has Slumflower.

    • Replies: @Spaulding Smails
    Dearie me. She’s in full bloom and already wilting.
  26. Needless to say, she married a white guy (Irish). Also, she seems to constantly be wearing a headscarf in a kind of “yes, I’m so very Jamaican and not English at all” snub to half her heritage. Bottom line, she may be kind of inoffensive as these things go nowadays, but had she been white she would have disappeared into the mish-mash of the ten thousand other marginally talented white female wanna-be authors. Instead, she has had a lucrative career full of excessive, over-the-top hagiography (“19 Times Zadie Smith Was The Epitome Of Brains And Beauty”), and garnered a series of sinecures (e.g. Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University) that are hers entirely because of her blackish-ness.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    I have no idea about the UK, but something percolating in the U.S. recently seems to be a bit of ressentiment directed at those black-enough-to-benefit (e.g., Kamala Harris) by those who are more traditionally African American (e.g., Tariq Nasheed).

    Would be interesting if Stacey Abrams weighs in on this.



    https://twitter.com/tariqnasheed/status/1092448744841216000
  27. @The Real Ambrose Kane
    White people are getting old and white women are increasingly getting pregnant with non whites.

    I was in Gstaad for the past 2 weeks and I didn't post anything.

    I observed that there were a lot of interracial couples with Black Man and White woman.
    Surprised to see so many Blacks in heartland of Europe.
    Most white couples were old.
    The effect of that perfidious tribe on our people has been very baneful.

    The fear of being stigmatized as "racist" 'haters" paralizes people and prevents us from stating scientific truths, from promoting the policies that best help all people of all races, from voting for politicians and parties that pursue such humane goals. To extirpate the horrible consequences of misinformed anti-racist policies⇓, the derogatory term "Racist" must be reclaimed as virtuous and owned with pride.

    Gstaad for two weeks? Taki, is that you?

    • Replies: @slumber_j
    My thought precisely. But probably not.
  28. @Dave Pinsen
    Today’s London has Slumflower.

    https://twitter.com/ft/status/1088664074416807936?s=21

    Dearie me. She’s in full bloom and already wilting.

  29. Then again, she thinks the history of Britain has been multicultural from the beginning. I wouldn’t put an enormous amount of faith in her.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    Hey, Britain has plenty of diversity: English, Welsh, Scots, Irish....
  30. @Steve Sailer
    The general impression I get is that she's a good person.

    Yup. My wife dragged me to a couple of her book signings/ literary evenings in NYC a few years ago. A lovely person.

  31. @New Jerseyian
    Imran Khan had no quarrel with the Indians and no plans or ambitions outside Pakistan. But the Modi Administration violated international law by giving illegal military aid to belligerents, and drew India into a foreign war that was not our affair and none of our business. Four hundred thousand young working-class males, almost all of them Hindus and Sikhs, died to prop up Trump and install Salvini, Putin, and Leo Varadkar in power–less than five years after Modi’s henchmen, almost all of them members of the White Christian Tribe that shall Not be Named, murdered thirty million Black Christian Nigerians. And we put his face on the coinage and name government buildings after him.

    One too many whiskeys, my head bobbing friend?

  32. Well Zadie Smith is “mixed-race” but she is the product of a White father and a Black mother, which is a clearly advantageous mix compared to the alternative and is likely to be a union of love rather than lust.

    • Replies: @Cowboy shaw
    That's an interesting observation. And clearly true. One way is literary awards. The other way is prison.
    , @Anonymous
    Well, there is an interesting social science study that will not get done in the Current Year.
    I'm a white man and have lusted after women, but I have never lusted after a black woman. But there have been a few black women of my acquaintance that I have felt some real desire for, and it has invariably been due to their emotional warmth and openness when speaking with me.
  33. @Steve Sailer
    The general impression I get is that she's a good person.

    Good person inverted commas or like actually a decent human being?

  34. That is a beautiful excerpt from the New Yorker. Makes you want to read her.

  35. @AndrewR
    "The millennium" arrived in 2001. There was no year zero.

    That’s a wonderfully pedantic point you can write to the editor of the FT.

    • LOL: Tyrion 2, keuril
    • Replies: @AndrewR
    No need for the defensiveness, bud. I obviously wasn't directing my "pedantry" at you.
  36. anonymous[426] • Disclaimer says:
    @Cowboy Shaw
    Even though she is still young she is like a relic from a prior age. Back in London in 2000 it actually seemed like things were going to be okay. No one much mentions Zadie Smith anymore. Now it's Afua Hirsch who is in the ascendency. No one thinks it's going to be okay.

    ‘Even though she is still young she is like a relic from a prior age. Back in London in 2000 it actually seemed like things were going to be okay’

    Yeah in her debut work moslem terrorism is played for laughs (released 2000) and she was a mixed race (biracial) oxbridge graduate- she was,by adoption, one of them.

    Now they are talking about lowering standards at Oxford and Cambridge to let more blacks in, somthing which I distinctly remember as being generally regarded as completely insane. Sure you might sacrifice some, even most of your tertiery education to lowering standards- but you would never level your elite of the elite. How times change.

    Things arent looking so rosy any more.

  37. @New Jerseyian
    Imran Khan had no quarrel with the Indians and no plans or ambitions outside Pakistan. But the Modi Administration violated international law by giving illegal military aid to belligerents, and drew India into a foreign war that was not our affair and none of our business. Four hundred thousand young working-class males, almost all of them Hindus and Sikhs, died to prop up Trump and install Salvini, Putin, and Leo Varadkar in power–less than five years after Modi’s henchmen, almost all of them members of the White Christian Tribe that shall Not be Named, murdered thirty million Black Christian Nigerians. And we put his face on the coinage and name government buildings after him.

    Finally. Someone else understands what’s really going on.

  38. ” … the more prestigious contemporary realist genre.”

    Literature has been the imprimatur of dusty-brained English professors for far too long. What is truly literature moves about like magnetic north, according to the interests and desires of the dwindling few who still read fiction. Politics, as usual, plays a role in determining what is worthy of attention. And the current political milieu of the culture gate-keepers and academia is pure poison.

    One can find more realism and relevance in the novels of dead men Elmore Leonard and John D. McDonald than in the authors proffered by the gate-keepers. And the craftsmanship found in contemporary genre fiction like science fiction and horror is outstanding.

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
    For exposing the simple corruption , vanity and ultimately self-defeating behavior of the run of the mill petty criminal, Leonard had no peer.
  39. @Clifford Brown
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UozhOo0Dt4o

    Just before he encounters evil incarnate hiding behind the garbage bin.

  40. @Steve Sailer
    The general impression I get is that she's a good person.

    My impression of Barack Obama is that he is a good person too, more or less. But he was overpromoted (both in the sense of advertising and rank) as being the Great Harbinger of Hope and Change purely due to his race. If the grad student that knocked up Stanley Dunham had been a Boer from S. Africa instead of a Kenyan, Obama would have had an okay career as a non-profit executive or a corporate lawyer – no one would have EVER considered him Presidential timber. And ditto for Zadie – she would have been a high school English teacher who once in a while got a poem published in some obscure poetry journal. They are both creatures of AA.

    • Agree: bomag
    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson 3

    My impression of Barack Obama is that he is a good person too, more or less.
     
    Your assessment is not new. That was the take on Lucifer before he corrupted the 1/3.

    Obama is an evil bastard. If you don't see that, I never knew you.
    , @Craken
    Standards for Presidents have been low since the Founding generation bowed out. The problem with Obama wasn't that his talent fell below the standard; it was that he was probably the most (consciously) anti-American President in history.

    As to Zadie, she will not enter the Canon, but her talent is at least a match for Obama's. Read her essay on Kafka, "The Limited Circle is Pure."
  41. @PhysicistDave
    Sooner or later, anyone who just wants to try to tell the truth, or a good story, or a funny joke, walks over the cliff -- Lawrence Summers, Jim Watson, David Reich, Jerry Seinfeld, Zadie Smith...

    How long will it be before all sane people look at each other and come to realize, just like the population of Russia In August 1991, that our would-be rulers and cultural leaders are all insane and that we all know that we all know this?

    These unstable Schelling point shifts are notoriously difficult to predict. Could be next week or the next century.

  42. @Steve Sailer
    The general impression I get is that she's a good person.

    Good people, or at least, nice people, generally don’t make good novelists.

    • Replies: @Bill B.

    Good people, or at least, nice people, generally don’t make good novelists.
     
    I was just thinking that Evelyn Waugh in his prime might have made that pointing-at-each-other passage quoted above enjoyable. So that probably supports your comment.

    I have not been able to read Ms Smith although I attempted a couple of her books.

    My general attitude now is that I am very wary of any book purporting to tell of the immigrant/minority/cute ethnic family experience, especially in the UK. Very few are any good.

    , @David
    Who's a bad person that you think is a good novelist?
    , @rbbe brod
    To quote Hemmingway's 2nd wife: "He was a great writer; there was'nt anything else good about him."
  43. The Academy needs to be divided into two domains: One in which objective and verifiably correct answers can be obtained (The Department of Truth); and another in which everything is just a relativistic socially-constructed consensus by self-defined experts (The Department of Fashion and Opinion).

    That way, it would be much easier to identify who to ignore.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    No, Marxists have to be purged and the Real Humanities must be re-established. Not only is that the correct position, but leaving Marxists any foothold means letting them retake everything.
  44. @black sea
    Good people, or at least, nice people, generally don't make good novelists.

    Good people, or at least, nice people, generally don’t make good novelists.

    I was just thinking that Evelyn Waugh in his prime might have made that pointing-at-each-other passage quoted above enjoyable. So that probably supports your comment.

    I have not been able to read Ms Smith although I attempted a couple of her books.

    My general attitude now is that I am very wary of any book purporting to tell of the immigrant/minority/cute ethnic family experience, especially in the UK. Very few are any good.

  45. @black sea
    Good people, or at least, nice people, generally don't make good novelists.

    Who’s a bad person that you think is a good novelist?

    • Replies: @black sea
    I'm not going to say that any of the following are "bad" people, since almost all people are a mass of contradictory traits. I will, however, say that the following writers don't stand out as being particularly nice or good individuals:

    Michel Houellebecq
    Martin Amis
    Robert Stone
    Phillip Roth
    Evelyn Waugh (as mentioned by an earlier commenter)

    Novelists often draw a lot of creative energy from narcissism and self-pity. These qualities don't make for very nice people, but they do tend to feed the creative fire.

  46. @Bardon Kaldian
    As novelists, only lesbians & fugly looking women are worth reading (George Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather & the best of them all, Marguerite Yourcenar). Others, straight & average/beyond average looking female novelists- forget it.Waste of time.

    Is Jane Austen in that category? She certainly never married.

    I guess the young Marina Warner proves your point. Iris Murdoch also proves it (i.e. is worth reading but not a beauty).

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    Austen was your super-plain Jane. Although not as fugly as George Eliot, who would have needed more cosmetic surgery than Michael Jackson to make her moderately passable.
  47. @Bardon Kaldian
    As novelists, only lesbians & fugly looking women are worth reading (George Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather & the best of them all, Marguerite Yourcenar). Others, straight & average/beyond average looking female novelists- forget it.Waste of time.

    I have a huge collection of novels and am just returned from the stacks where I informally counted authoresses and authors. I’d say about 40% of the novels acquired by my family over the past hundred or more years were written by women. Maybe a bit more.

    Only in the past year have I started to read books by Christie, Thirkill, Heyer — ie, a random selection of prolific 20th cent female authors that we have large collections of — and I’ve enjoyed them all.

    I agree with your select list, especially special mention of Yourcenar, but women have always been strongly represented in prose fiction, both by quantity and quality. Dr Johnson was wrong on this subject.

    In terms of looks, the Bronte sisters were pretty hot.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    They were very bangable, especially Charlotte (Emily seems to have been too freakish for any man's taste. Truffaut said about one of his movies that he imagined its central theme as Proust alternately screwing Bronte sisters. Well, even if Proust were straight, given temperamental differences- I don't think that this polyamorous relationship would have worked).

    Women have been modestly represented in narrative fiction from, say, mid 19th C. Just, there are no supreme writers (Dostoevsky, Proust) among them, and hardly any truly great author comparable to, say, Flaubert, Conrad or Faulkner. I would put only Yourcenar in that category or close. George Sand, for instance, is virtually unreadable & even Marguerite Duras had not aged well.

    Female fiction writers are over-represented in some genres (romance, fantasy, light crime); also, re serious/ambitious literature, those from past, say, 50-80 years are not too numerous. Most of them cannot create believable male characters; "female experience" bores even females.

    On the other hand-I'm writing from memory- LeGuin is readable, also Munro, ... Oates, Mary McCarthy, Williamson...I forgot those broads.

    Jared Taylor from AR once wrote that only authors dead more than 50 years were worth reading. I disagreed. We settled for the limit of 30 years.

    , @vinteuil

    ...women have always been strongly represented in prose fiction, both by quantity and quality.
     
    For some reason, they seem to excel especially in historical fiction. Maybe because the ability to empathize with others unlike oneself is so important there?

    Glad to see that Georgette Heyer is on your list - there are at least a dozen of her novels that deserve big-budget movie treatment before yet another version of Emma or Pride & Prejudice.
  48. @Hypnotoad666
    The Academy needs to be divided into two domains: One in which objective and verifiably correct answers can be obtained (The Department of Truth); and another in which everything is just a relativistic socially-constructed consensus by self-defined experts (The Department of Fashion and Opinion).

    That way, it would be much easier to identify who to ignore.

    No, Marxists have to be purged and the Real Humanities must be re-established. Not only is that the correct position, but leaving Marxists any foothold means letting them retake everything.

  49. The novelist Zadie Smith is an attractive lady of mixed-race background

    attractive lady of mixed-race background

    attractive lady

    attractive

    Lol, wut?

    All yours fellas!

  50. Shirley Jackson is an example of a very good person who was also a great writer. (More known for her stories than her novels, but her surviving classics “Hill House” and “Castle” beat anything produced nowadays by a country mile.). The most wickedly malevolent writer of mid-20th century America was a jolly housewife and mother who managed a chaotic household and had zany literary friends on the side.

    She is a very great stylist of modern American English prose (honestly, I can think of few who rival her; Capote and Flannery O’Connor come to mind, and Pynchon for his sheer cussedness and weird originality, but please don’t bore me with Franzen and DFW and their ilk). But nobody beats Shirley for that weird combination of clarity and sobriety, mixed with a hideous cat-that-ate-the-canary innocuous grin.

    Bonus points: she got the idea for “The Lottery,” the spookiest thing since peak Lovecraft, while she was walking home from grocery shopping, pushing her baby in a stroller. And she also discovered the first bags of hate mail for “The Lottery” again while walking home with her baby in a stroller.

    Now THERE’S somebody I’d be eager to have over for…. dinner.

    • Replies: @sayless
    Why would anyone hate Shirley Jackson for “The Lottery”?
  51. @David
    I have a huge collection of novels and am just returned from the stacks where I informally counted authoresses and authors. I'd say about 40% of the novels acquired by my family over the past hundred or more years were written by women. Maybe a bit more.

    Only in the past year have I started to read books by Christie, Thirkill, Heyer -- ie, a random selection of prolific 20th cent female authors that we have large collections of -- and I've enjoyed them all.

    I agree with your select list, especially special mention of Yourcenar, but women have always been strongly represented in prose fiction, both by quantity and quality. Dr Johnson was wrong on this subject.

    In terms of looks, the Bronte sisters were pretty hot.

    They were very bangable, especially Charlotte (Emily seems to have been too freakish for any man’s taste. Truffaut said about one of his movies that he imagined its central theme as Proust alternately screwing Bronte sisters. Well, even if Proust were straight, given temperamental differences- I don’t think that this polyamorous relationship would have worked).

    Women have been modestly represented in narrative fiction from, say, mid 19th C. Just, there are no supreme writers (Dostoevsky, Proust) among them, and hardly any truly great author comparable to, say, Flaubert, Conrad or Faulkner. I would put only Yourcenar in that category or close. George Sand, for instance, is virtually unreadable & even Marguerite Duras had not aged well.

    Female fiction writers are over-represented in some genres (romance, fantasy, light crime); also, re serious/ambitious literature, those from past, say, 50-80 years are not too numerous. Most of them cannot create believable male characters; “female experience” bores even females.

    On the other hand-I’m writing from memory- LeGuin is readable, also Munro, … Oates, Mary McCarthy, Williamson…I forgot those broads.

    Jared Taylor from AR once wrote that only authors dead more than 50 years were worth reading. I disagreed. We settled for the limit of 30 years.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    "Women have been modestly represented in narrative fiction from, say, mid 19th C. Just, there are no supreme writers (Dostoevsky, Proust) among them, and hardly any truly great author comparable to, say, Flaubert, Conrad or Faulkner."

    Dunno.Lady Murasaki is usually ranked as one of the very greatest Japanese authors…..And I would argue that George Eliot and Jane Austen are both in the top-tier of 19th century Anglophone writers….

  52. @YetAnotherAnon
    Is Jane Austen in that category? She certainly never married.

    I guess the young Marina Warner proves your point. Iris Murdoch also proves it (i.e. is worth reading but not a beauty).

    https://collectionimages.npg.org.uk/large/mw249931/Marina-Warner.jpg

    Austen was your super-plain Jane. Although not as fugly as George Eliot, who would have needed more cosmetic surgery than Michael Jackson to make her moderately passable.

  53. The poet is meant to be Kanye West.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Right.
  54. @Bardon Kaldian
    As novelists, only lesbians & fugly looking women are worth reading (George Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather & the best of them all, Marguerite Yourcenar). Others, straight & average/beyond average looking female novelists- forget it.Waste of time.

    Add Mary Renault to your list. Just brilliant. I’d rank The Last of the Wine above even The Memoirs of Hadrian.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    As a Sapphic, Mary Renault conforms to the Kaldian Rule of women writers worth reading ("only lesbians & fugly looking women").
  55. @eggplant
    Well Zadie Smith is "mixed-race" but she is the product of a White father and a Black mother, which is a clearly advantageous mix compared to the alternative and is likely to be a union of love rather than lust.

    That’s an interesting observation. And clearly true. One way is literary awards. The other way is prison.

  56. @David
    I have a huge collection of novels and am just returned from the stacks where I informally counted authoresses and authors. I'd say about 40% of the novels acquired by my family over the past hundred or more years were written by women. Maybe a bit more.

    Only in the past year have I started to read books by Christie, Thirkill, Heyer -- ie, a random selection of prolific 20th cent female authors that we have large collections of -- and I've enjoyed them all.

    I agree with your select list, especially special mention of Yourcenar, but women have always been strongly represented in prose fiction, both by quantity and quality. Dr Johnson was wrong on this subject.

    In terms of looks, the Bronte sisters were pretty hot.

    …women have always been strongly represented in prose fiction, both by quantity and quality.

    For some reason, they seem to excel especially in historical fiction. Maybe because the ability to empathize with others unlike oneself is so important there?

    Glad to see that Georgette Heyer is on your list – there are at least a dozen of her novels that deserve big-budget movie treatment before yet another version of Emma or Pride & Prejudice.

    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist

    Glad to see that Georgette Heyer is on your list – there are at least a dozen of her novels that deserve big-budget movie treatment before yet another version of Emma or Pride & Prejudice.

     

    I'm still waiting for the definitive adapation of Mansfield Park. But as the years go by, and the multiculti diversity reconning of historical movies and TV gains pace, I'm not holding my breath.
  57. @vinteuil
    Add Mary Renault to your list. Just brilliant. I'd rank The Last of the Wine above even The Memoirs of Hadrian.

    As a Sapphic, Mary Renault conforms to the Kaldian Rule of women writers worth reading (“only lesbians & fugly looking women”).

  58. Lol. Our Stevie is being disingenuous. He knows damn well that Smith is considered a joke in literary circles. She’s brilliant like Spike Lee.

  59. I’ve looked at all the fiction writers in Harold Bloom’s Western Canon list and evaluated them based on looks. I have not looked at anyone before the 1700s, because portraits were not terribly common before then.

    I’ve tried to judge based on pictures from their early 20s, if possible. It’s unfair to judge a woman’s looks after she’s turned into an old crone. Furthermore, substance abuse has not uncommonly taken a toll on some of these.

    Evaluations like this are subjective, but a few quibbles aside, I think this gives a fair picture.

    The plurality tends towards the average and below average, with the below average having a slight edge. A non trivial number can be called cute. None of them can truly be called hot.

    Above average – Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Shelley, Maguerite Duras, Edna O’Brien, Miles Franklin, Katherine Mansfield, Katherine Anne Porter, Ursula LeGuin.

    Average – Fanny Burney, the Brontes, Sarah Orne Jewett, Colette, Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bowen, Iris Murdoch, Jeanette Winterson, Isak Dinesen, Sigrid Undset, Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Christina Stead, Edith Wharton, Ellen Glasgow, Flannery O’Connor, Toni Morrison.

    Below average – George Eliot, George Sand, Louisa May Alcott, Kate Chopin, Natalia Ginzburg, Nathalie Sarraute, Marguerite Yourcenar, Christa Wolf, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Willa Cather, Gertrude Stein, Zora Neale Hurston, Eudora Welty, Kay Boyle, Carson McCullers, Gloria Naylor, Grace Paley, Cynthia Ozick,

  60. @Spaulding Smails
    Gstaad for two weeks? Taki, is that you?

    My thought precisely. But probably not.

  61. @Change that Matters
    Then again, she thinks the history of Britain has been multicultural from the beginning. I wouldn't put an enormous amount of faith in her.

    https://youtu.be/5NWkuiDTMYk?t=1490

    Hey, Britain has plenty of diversity: English, Welsh, Scots, Irish….

    • Replies: @Change that Matters
    To be fair, she also made one of the most insightful comments on the US Right under the Obama Years I've heard. She's no fan of the Right, but she's not all in with the Left either.

    https://youtu.be/4LREBOwjrrw?t=518
  62. @Steve Sailer
    The general impression I get is that she's a good person.

    Nobody who reveres Katharine Hepburn can be completely bad…

    Katharine Hepburn was the star of my very favourite film, The Philadelphia Story. She was also the star of my second favourite film (Adam’s Rib), and my third (Woman of the Year),

    From the earliest age I was devoted to her. My teenage bedroom, for many years a shrine to the Golden Age of Hollywood, reserved a whole half-wall for her alone. Amid the pictures of Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Donald O’Connor, Ava Gardner, and the rest, Ms Hepburn – imperious, regal and red-headed (although this last was often disguised in the publicity shots) – sat high up by the cornice of the ceiling, like a madonna looking over the lesser saints.

    https://www.theguardian.com/film/2003/jul/01/film.zadiesmith

  63. She’s right about Mary. It’s fallen to about #120 on the Social Security Administration’s yearly lists for newborns. Some faddish names are probably higher than that more than once, under different spellings.

    Like Steven and Stephen 60 years ago.

  64. @Anonymous
    She misused 'presently'.

    She misused ‘presently’.

    Presently is often misused at present. But its rightful use will make its comeback presently.

  65. @vinteuil

    ...women have always been strongly represented in prose fiction, both by quantity and quality.
     
    For some reason, they seem to excel especially in historical fiction. Maybe because the ability to empathize with others unlike oneself is so important there?

    Glad to see that Georgette Heyer is on your list - there are at least a dozen of her novels that deserve big-budget movie treatment before yet another version of Emma or Pride & Prejudice.

    Glad to see that Georgette Heyer is on your list – there are at least a dozen of her novels that deserve big-budget movie treatment before yet another version of Emma or Pride & Prejudice.

    I’m still waiting for the definitive adapation of Mansfield Park. But as the years go by, and the multiculti diversity reconning of historical movies and TV gains pace, I’m not holding my breath.

    • Replies: @Tyrion 2
    Mansfield Park was always about a young transgirl called Aisha who was sent by "her" impoverished but brave single mother to live with "her" famous, wealthy aristocrat uncle Mohammed and escape the evil cishet white bigots called Fanny and Thomas who were conducting a campaign of hate against them.

    "Jane Austen" was just the pen name that the incredibly talented author of colour 100% British (but also Asiak, in all the good ways) "Priyanka Modi" had to use.

    I particularly liked the ending where the child Aisha gets the marriage match of her dreams to her gentleman uncle...
    , @Alden
    The last adaption of Mansfield Park with Fanny as a teen age feminist was the absolute worst. The whole point of Mansfield Park was Cinderella gets her man just by waiting till her rival Mary reveals her selfish social climbing self. Then Edmund proposes to Fanny

    Emma was great except for the horrrible terrible miscasting of the Harriet Smith character. In the book Harriet was the prettiest girl in town. In the movie Harriet was not pretty at all.
    The latest Pride and Prejudice had ancient Donald Sutherland staggering around as Mr Bennett looking like he was 90 years old. The book made it very clear that the Bennett’s married young, early 20s and Mr Bennett was in early middle age late 4os at most early 50s. I know ancient actors need jobs, but Sutherland looked like he belonged in the near death of old age wing of a nursing home.

    Best adaption of Mansfield Park was one of the BBC tv series.

    Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey adaptions were excellent in every way.
  66. @Bardon Kaldian
    As novelists, only lesbians & fugly looking women are worth reading (George Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather & the best of them all, Marguerite Yourcenar). Others, straight & average/beyond average looking female novelists- forget it.Waste of time.

    I was trying to think about whether there were any plausible counterexamples, but…
    …sometimes a picture can say many things at once:

  67. @peterike
    Needless to say, she married a white guy (Irish). Also, she seems to constantly be wearing a headscarf in a kind of "yes, I'm so very Jamaican and not English at all" snub to half her heritage. Bottom line, she may be kind of inoffensive as these things go nowadays, but had she been white she would have disappeared into the mish-mash of the ten thousand other marginally talented white female wanna-be authors. Instead, she has had a lucrative career full of excessive, over-the-top hagiography ("19 Times Zadie Smith Was The Epitome Of Brains And Beauty"), and garnered a series of sinecures (e.g. Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University) that are hers entirely because of her blackish-ness.

    https://img.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeed-static/static/2014-10/24/20/campaign_images/webdr01/zadie-smith-is-a-goddess-2-15522-1414197061-9_dblbig.jpg

    I have no idea about the UK, but something percolating in the U.S. recently seems to be a bit of ressentiment directed at those black-enough-to-benefit (e.g., Kamala Harris) by those who are more traditionally African American (e.g., Tariq Nasheed).

    Would be interesting if Stacey Abrams weighs in on this.

    • Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease
    There are no "Foundational Black Americans". There's literally no such thing. Doesn't mean there aren't --or weren't-- Black "Americans" whom we can or could ret-con into viewing as "important" in some manner or another.

    But we can't speak seriously about present political (and, exasperatingly, racial) matters unless and until we can use language accurately.

    Wittgenstein is not always your friend, but sometimes, he turns out to be your friend.
  68. @JamesH
    The poet is meant to be Kanye West.

    Right.

  69. @SunBakedSuburb
    " ... the more prestigious contemporary realist genre."

    Literature has been the imprimatur of dusty-brained English professors for far too long. What is truly literature moves about like magnetic north, according to the interests and desires of the dwindling few who still read fiction. Politics, as usual, plays a role in determining what is worthy of attention. And the current political milieu of the culture gate-keepers and academia is pure poison.

    One can find more realism and relevance in the novels of dead men Elmore Leonard and John D. McDonald than in the authors proffered by the gate-keepers. And the craftsmanship found in contemporary genre fiction like science fiction and horror is outstanding.

    For exposing the simple corruption , vanity and ultimately self-defeating behavior of the run of the mill petty criminal, Leonard had no peer.

  70. Anonymous[241] • Disclaimer says:
    @eggplant
    Well Zadie Smith is "mixed-race" but she is the product of a White father and a Black mother, which is a clearly advantageous mix compared to the alternative and is likely to be a union of love rather than lust.

    Well, there is an interesting social science study that will not get done in the Current Year.
    I’m a white man and have lusted after women, but I have never lusted after a black woman. But there have been a few black women of my acquaintance that I have felt some real desire for, and it has invariably been due to their emotional warmth and openness when speaking with me.

  71. @syonredux
    Hey, Britain has plenty of diversity: English, Welsh, Scots, Irish....

    To be fair, she also made one of the most insightful comments on the US Right under the Obama Years I’ve heard. She’s no fan of the Right, but she’s not all in with the Left either.

    • Replies: @Bill B.
    Taking about right-wing website reaction to Black Lives Matter. Starts 11' 30":

    "What is it about white people (she chuckles) that finds the idea of any collectivity that excludes them so upsetting? I've always found that very interesting." (She then goes into a story about seeing 'white people' on a bus allegedly getting angry because a group of Bengalis were talking Bengali.)
     
    BLM quickly became a power grab that shamelessly ignored black disfunction and rates of criminality even if it made some valid points. That is why whites disliked BLM not because they are peculiar or oddly racist.

    White English people upset at losing their country to aliens who seek to separate themselves off from the locals? Shocking.

    I have found nothing in Miss White Teeth that strikes me as perceptive or interestingly intelligent. I think Steve is wrong to consider her mixed race; she obviously thinks of herself as black.
    , @Anonymous
    Wow! That is not merely good for someone identifying as a leftist, but I think she has some insights for everyone. There are a few leftist tropes tropes there, but there is a lot to work with, and she seems to be thinking and engaging. Identifying with your body and wanting to have babies - do the most hard rightists disagree?
    , @bomag
    I'm inclined to punch the "disagree" button.

    She seems pretty much all in with the Left's agenda: change for change's sake -- for other people; "minority" experience trumps all other.

    Her take on the Right seemed pretty superficial: dismissing them as Obama complainers.
  72. @The Real Ambrose Kane
    White people are getting old and white women are increasingly getting pregnant with non whites.

    I was in Gstaad for the past 2 weeks and I didn't post anything.

    I observed that there were a lot of interracial couples with Black Man and White woman.
    Surprised to see so many Blacks in heartland of Europe.
    Most white couples were old.
    The effect of that perfidious tribe on our people has been very baneful.

    The fear of being stigmatized as "racist" 'haters" paralizes people and prevents us from stating scientific truths, from promoting the policies that best help all people of all races, from voting for politicians and parties that pursue such humane goals. To extirpate the horrible consequences of misinformed anti-racist policies⇓, the derogatory term "Racist" must be reclaimed as virtuous and owned with pride.

    The fear of being stigmatized as “racist” ‘haters” paralizes people and prevents us from stating scientific truths, from promoting the policies that best help all people of all races, from voting for politicians and parties that pursue such humane goals. To extirpate the horrible consequences of misinformed anti-racist policies⇓, the derogatory term “Racist” must be reclaimed as virtuous and owned with pride.

    Good luck with that. Let us know how it turns out.

  73. @Jack D
    My impression of Barack Obama is that he is a good person too, more or less. But he was overpromoted (both in the sense of advertising and rank) as being the Great Harbinger of Hope and Change purely due to his race. If the grad student that knocked up Stanley Dunham had been a Boer from S. Africa instead of a Kenyan, Obama would have had an okay career as a non-profit executive or a corporate lawyer - no one would have EVER considered him Presidential timber. And ditto for Zadie - she would have been a high school English teacher who once in a while got a poem published in some obscure poetry journal. They are both creatures of AA.

    My impression of Barack Obama is that he is a good person too, more or less.

    Your assessment is not new. That was the take on Lucifer before he corrupted the 1/3.

    Obama is an evil bastard. If you don’t see that, I never knew you.

    • Agree: sayless
  74. @New Jerseyian
    Imran Khan had no quarrel with the Indians and no plans or ambitions outside Pakistan. But the Modi Administration violated international law by giving illegal military aid to belligerents, and drew India into a foreign war that was not our affair and none of our business. Four hundred thousand young working-class males, almost all of them Hindus and Sikhs, died to prop up Trump and install Salvini, Putin, and Leo Varadkar in power–less than five years after Modi’s henchmen, almost all of them members of the White Christian Tribe that shall Not be Named, murdered thirty million Black Christian Nigerians. And we put his face on the coinage and name government buildings after him.

    It appears that you’re off your meds.

  75. @black sea
    Good people, or at least, nice people, generally don't make good novelists.

    To quote Hemmingway’s 2nd wife: “He was a great writer; there was’nt anything else good about him.”

  76. @Dave Pinsen
    I have no idea about the UK, but something percolating in the U.S. recently seems to be a bit of ressentiment directed at those black-enough-to-benefit (e.g., Kamala Harris) by those who are more traditionally African American (e.g., Tariq Nasheed).

    Would be interesting if Stacey Abrams weighs in on this.



    https://twitter.com/tariqnasheed/status/1092448744841216000

    There are no “Foundational Black Americans”. There’s literally no such thing. Doesn’t mean there aren’t –or weren’t– Black “Americans” whom we can or could ret-con into viewing as “important” in some manner or another.

    But we can’t speak seriously about present political (and, exasperatingly, racial) matters unless and until we can use language accurately.

    Wittgenstein is not always your friend, but sometimes, he turns out to be your friend.

  77. Women have been modestly represented in narrative fiction from, say, mid 19th C. Just, there are no supreme writers (Dostoevsky, Proust) among them, and hardly any truly great author comparable to, say, Flaubert, Conrad or Faulkner.

    Lady Murasaki is usually ranked as one of the very greatest Japanese authors…..And I would argue that George Eliot and Jane Austen are both in the top-tier of 19th century Anglophone writers….

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    Lady Murasaki belongs to a very different culture & epoch most readers find it difficult to relate to. George Eliot, of course. Among 20th C Anglophone female writers I admire now sadly neglected Ivy Compton-Burnett.
  78. @Bardon Kaldian
    They were very bangable, especially Charlotte (Emily seems to have been too freakish for any man's taste. Truffaut said about one of his movies that he imagined its central theme as Proust alternately screwing Bronte sisters. Well, even if Proust were straight, given temperamental differences- I don't think that this polyamorous relationship would have worked).

    Women have been modestly represented in narrative fiction from, say, mid 19th C. Just, there are no supreme writers (Dostoevsky, Proust) among them, and hardly any truly great author comparable to, say, Flaubert, Conrad or Faulkner. I would put only Yourcenar in that category or close. George Sand, for instance, is virtually unreadable & even Marguerite Duras had not aged well.

    Female fiction writers are over-represented in some genres (romance, fantasy, light crime); also, re serious/ambitious literature, those from past, say, 50-80 years are not too numerous. Most of them cannot create believable male characters; "female experience" bores even females.

    On the other hand-I'm writing from memory- LeGuin is readable, also Munro, ... Oates, Mary McCarthy, Williamson...I forgot those broads.

    Jared Taylor from AR once wrote that only authors dead more than 50 years were worth reading. I disagreed. We settled for the limit of 30 years.

    “Women have been modestly represented in narrative fiction from, say, mid 19th C. Just, there are no supreme writers (Dostoevsky, Proust) among them, and hardly any truly great author comparable to, say, Flaubert, Conrad or Faulkner.”

    Dunno.Lady Murasaki is usually ranked as one of the very greatest Japanese authors…..And I would argue that George Eliot and Jane Austen are both in the top-tier of 19th century Anglophone writers….

    • Replies: @Alden
    Faulkner’s just too provincial, parochial?? Focused on early 20th century American southern weirdness to be considered great. That’s just me. I consider Robert Penn Warren much better than Faulkner. His books were set in the early 20th century American south, but not so provincial and focused on the weirdest people in town.
  79. Or as better poets and linguists than me once put it…

    “I’m your only friend.
    I’m not your only friend.
    But I’m a little glowing friend.
    But really, I’m not actually your friend.”

  80. @Change that Matters
    To be fair, she also made one of the most insightful comments on the US Right under the Obama Years I've heard. She's no fan of the Right, but she's not all in with the Left either.

    https://youtu.be/4LREBOwjrrw?t=518

    Taking about right-wing website reaction to Black Lives Matter. Starts 11′ 30″:

    “What is it about white people (she chuckles) that finds the idea of any collectivity that excludes them so upsetting? I’ve always found that very interesting.” (She then goes into a story about seeing ‘white people’ on a bus allegedly getting angry because a group of Bengalis were talking Bengali.)

    BLM quickly became a power grab that shamelessly ignored black disfunction and rates of criminality even if it made some valid points. That is why whites disliked BLM not because they are peculiar or oddly racist.

    White English people upset at losing their country to aliens who seek to separate themselves off from the locals? Shocking.

    I have found nothing in Miss White Teeth that strikes me as perceptive or interestingly intelligent. I think Steve is wrong to consider her mixed race; she obviously thinks of herself as black.

  81. Anonymous[241] • Disclaimer says:
    @Change that Matters
    To be fair, she also made one of the most insightful comments on the US Right under the Obama Years I've heard. She's no fan of the Right, but she's not all in with the Left either.

    https://youtu.be/4LREBOwjrrw?t=518

    Wow! That is not merely good for someone identifying as a leftist, but I think she has some insights for everyone. There are a few leftist tropes tropes there, but there is a lot to work with, and she seems to be thinking and engaging. Identifying with your body and wanting to have babies – do the most hard rightists disagree?

  82. @David
    Who's a bad person that you think is a good novelist?

    I’m not going to say that any of the following are “bad” people, since almost all people are a mass of contradictory traits. I will, however, say that the following writers don’t stand out as being particularly nice or good individuals:

    Michel Houellebecq
    Martin Amis
    Robert Stone
    Phillip Roth
    Evelyn Waugh (as mentioned by an earlier commenter)

    Novelists often draw a lot of creative energy from narcissism and self-pity. These qualities don’t make for very nice people, but they do tend to feed the creative fire.

    • Replies: @David
    Thanks. Of those I know only Evelyn Waugh. I agree he had some rough edges but I really like him. Reading is like being in the company of the author, so if you're reading him, it stands to reason you like him. I suppose that goes for almost any kind of writer. Steve Sailer's readers seem to really like him, the man.

    Samuel Butler makes an aside, something like, "I know in telling you about my subject I'm telling you even more about myself. I wish there were something I could do about that, but there isn't." I'm with him, I think you really do get to know the author, that an unlikable person can't fake it to make likable prose because he uses the same judgement in society as in writing. As does the reader in reading.

    But Dr Johnson says (rather stiffly):

    Those whom the appearance of virtue, or the evidence of genius, have tempted to a nearer knowledge of the writer in whose performances they may be found, have indeed had frequent reason to repent their curiosity; the bubble that sparkled before them has become common water at the touch; the phantom of perfection has vanished when they wished to press it to their bosom.
     
  83. @syonredux

    Women have been modestly represented in narrative fiction from, say, mid 19th C. Just, there are no supreme writers (Dostoevsky, Proust) among them, and hardly any truly great author comparable to, say, Flaubert, Conrad or Faulkner.
     
    Lady Murasaki is usually ranked as one of the very greatest Japanese authors.....And I would argue that George Eliot and Jane Austen are both in the top-tier of 19th century Anglophone writers....

    Lady Murasaki belongs to a very different culture & epoch most readers find it difficult to relate to. George Eliot, of course. Among 20th C Anglophone female writers I admire now sadly neglected Ivy Compton-Burnett.

  84. @Dave Pinsen
    That’s a wonderfully pedantic point you can write to the editor of the FT.

    No need for the defensiveness, bud. I obviously wasn’t directing my “pedantry” at you.

  85. @Change that Matters
    To be fair, she also made one of the most insightful comments on the US Right under the Obama Years I've heard. She's no fan of the Right, but she's not all in with the Left either.

    https://youtu.be/4LREBOwjrrw?t=518

    I’m inclined to punch the “disagree” button.

    She seems pretty much all in with the Left’s agenda: change for change’s sake — for other people; “minority” experience trumps all other.

    Her take on the Right seemed pretty superficial: dismissing them as Obama complainers.

  86. @The Last Real Calvinist

    Glad to see that Georgette Heyer is on your list – there are at least a dozen of her novels that deserve big-budget movie treatment before yet another version of Emma or Pride & Prejudice.

     

    I'm still waiting for the definitive adapation of Mansfield Park. But as the years go by, and the multiculti diversity reconning of historical movies and TV gains pace, I'm not holding my breath.

    Mansfield Park was always about a young transgirl called Aisha who was sent by “her” impoverished but brave single mother to live with “her” famous, wealthy aristocrat uncle Mohammed and escape the evil cishet white bigots called Fanny and Thomas who were conducting a campaign of hate against them.

    “Jane Austen” was just the pen name that the incredibly talented author of colour 100% British (but also Asiak, in all the good ways) “Priyanka Modi” had to use.

    I particularly liked the ending where the child Aisha gets the marriage match of her dreams to her gentleman uncle…

    • Replies: @Alden
    Some think Fanny Price was actually the illegitimate mulatto daughter of Sir Thomas by one of his oppressed and abused black slaves in Antigua. Somehow she ended up in England and like King Lear’s daughter Cordelia defeats the bad daughters and inherits the Kingdom.
  87. Zadie is a female Obummer – Obmammy. She is black through and through. She’s an earlier version of Ta-Nehesi Coates.

  88. I read the babbling word salad twice and couldn’t figure out what the idiot was trying to say. She’s as incoherent as Toni Morrison.

    Has anyone figured out the purpose of the black arrows and why they stood at the windows holding them?

  89. @syonredux
    "Women have been modestly represented in narrative fiction from, say, mid 19th C. Just, there are no supreme writers (Dostoevsky, Proust) among them, and hardly any truly great author comparable to, say, Flaubert, Conrad or Faulkner."

    Dunno.Lady Murasaki is usually ranked as one of the very greatest Japanese authors…..And I would argue that George Eliot and Jane Austen are both in the top-tier of 19th century Anglophone writers….

    Faulkner’s just too provincial, parochial?? Focused on early 20th century American southern weirdness to be considered great. That’s just me. I consider Robert Penn Warren much better than Faulkner. His books were set in the early 20th century American south, but not so provincial and focused on the weirdest people in town.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Faulkner’s just too provincial, parochial?? Focused on early 20th century American southern weirdness to be considered great. That’s just me.
     
    Faulkner's had a big impact outside the Anglophone world....
  90. @The Last Real Calvinist

    Glad to see that Georgette Heyer is on your list – there are at least a dozen of her novels that deserve big-budget movie treatment before yet another version of Emma or Pride & Prejudice.

     

    I'm still waiting for the definitive adapation of Mansfield Park. But as the years go by, and the multiculti diversity reconning of historical movies and TV gains pace, I'm not holding my breath.

    The last adaption of Mansfield Park with Fanny as a teen age feminist was the absolute worst. The whole point of Mansfield Park was Cinderella gets her man just by waiting till her rival Mary reveals her selfish social climbing self. Then Edmund proposes to Fanny

    Emma was great except for the horrrible terrible miscasting of the Harriet Smith character. In the book Harriet was the prettiest girl in town. In the movie Harriet was not pretty at all.
    The latest Pride and Prejudice had ancient Donald Sutherland staggering around as Mr Bennett looking like he was 90 years old. The book made it very clear that the Bennett’s married young, early 20s and Mr Bennett was in early middle age late 4os at most early 50s. I know ancient actors need jobs, but Sutherland looked like he belonged in the near death of old age wing of a nursing home.

    Best adaption of Mansfield Park was one of the BBC tv series.

    Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey adaptions were excellent in every way.

    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist
    Yes, that Billie Piper version of Mansfield Park is unwatchable. I also found that latest film version of Pride and Prejudice to be hard going. You're absolutely right about Donald Sutherland: he was a bizarre choice as Mr Bennet.

    For Emma, are you talking about the 2o08 Romola Garai version, or one of the 1995 versions, i.e. the ones with Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Beckinsale?

    Coincidentally, I've got Austen on my mind, because we Calvinists used this week's Chinese New Year break to do a head-to-head comparison of the 1995 Ang Lee/Emma Thompson version of Sense and Sensibility with the 2008 BBC adaptation. Verdict: mixed, but on the whole the 2008 version comes out ahead. Emma Thompson, in spite of her solid acting chops, is a distraction in the 1995 film because she is also way, way too old for her role. She should have accepted chronological reality and taken the role of Mrs Dashwood in S & S, or she could have adapted Persuasion instead, and starred somewhat more plausibly as Anne Elliot.

  91. @Tyrion 2
    Mansfield Park was always about a young transgirl called Aisha who was sent by "her" impoverished but brave single mother to live with "her" famous, wealthy aristocrat uncle Mohammed and escape the evil cishet white bigots called Fanny and Thomas who were conducting a campaign of hate against them.

    "Jane Austen" was just the pen name that the incredibly talented author of colour 100% British (but also Asiak, in all the good ways) "Priyanka Modi" had to use.

    I particularly liked the ending where the child Aisha gets the marriage match of her dreams to her gentleman uncle...

    Some think Fanny Price was actually the illegitimate mulatto daughter of Sir Thomas by one of his oppressed and abused black slaves in Antigua. Somehow she ended up in England and like King Lear’s daughter Cordelia defeats the bad daughters and inherits the Kingdom.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    SJWism is a helluva drug....
  92. @Alden
    Faulkner’s just too provincial, parochial?? Focused on early 20th century American southern weirdness to be considered great. That’s just me. I consider Robert Penn Warren much better than Faulkner. His books were set in the early 20th century American south, but not so provincial and focused on the weirdest people in town.

    Faulkner’s just too provincial, parochial?? Focused on early 20th century American southern weirdness to be considered great. That’s just me.

    Faulkner’s had a big impact outside the Anglophone world….

  93. @Alden
    Some think Fanny Price was actually the illegitimate mulatto daughter of Sir Thomas by one of his oppressed and abused black slaves in Antigua. Somehow she ended up in England and like King Lear’s daughter Cordelia defeats the bad daughters and inherits the Kingdom.

    SJWism is a helluva drug….

    • LOL: Tyrion 2
  94. @Bardon Kaldian
    As novelists, only lesbians & fugly looking women are worth reading (George Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather & the best of them all, Marguerite Yourcenar). Others, straight & average/beyond average looking female novelists- forget it.Waste of time.

    Iris Murdoch.

  95. @The Germ Theory of Disease
    Shirley Jackson is an example of a very good person who was also a great writer. (More known for her stories than her novels, but her surviving classics "Hill House" and "Castle" beat anything produced nowadays by a country mile.). The most wickedly malevolent writer of mid-20th century America was a jolly housewife and mother who managed a chaotic household and had zany literary friends on the side.

    She is a very great stylist of modern American English prose (honestly, I can think of few who rival her; Capote and Flannery O'Connor come to mind, and Pynchon for his sheer cussedness and weird originality, but please don't bore me with Franzen and DFW and their ilk). But nobody beats Shirley for that weird combination of clarity and sobriety, mixed with a hideous cat-that-ate-the-canary innocuous grin.

    Bonus points: she got the idea for "The Lottery," the spookiest thing since peak Lovecraft, while she was walking home from grocery shopping, pushing her baby in a stroller. And she also discovered the first bags of hate mail for "The Lottery" again while walking home with her baby in a stroller.

    Now THERE'S somebody I'd be eager to have over for.... dinner.

    Why would anyone hate Shirley Jackson for “The Lottery”?

  96. @Alden
    The last adaption of Mansfield Park with Fanny as a teen age feminist was the absolute worst. The whole point of Mansfield Park was Cinderella gets her man just by waiting till her rival Mary reveals her selfish social climbing self. Then Edmund proposes to Fanny

    Emma was great except for the horrrible terrible miscasting of the Harriet Smith character. In the book Harriet was the prettiest girl in town. In the movie Harriet was not pretty at all.
    The latest Pride and Prejudice had ancient Donald Sutherland staggering around as Mr Bennett looking like he was 90 years old. The book made it very clear that the Bennett’s married young, early 20s and Mr Bennett was in early middle age late 4os at most early 50s. I know ancient actors need jobs, but Sutherland looked like he belonged in the near death of old age wing of a nursing home.

    Best adaption of Mansfield Park was one of the BBC tv series.

    Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey adaptions were excellent in every way.

    Yes, that Billie Piper version of Mansfield Park is unwatchable. I also found that latest film version of Pride and Prejudice to be hard going. You’re absolutely right about Donald Sutherland: he was a bizarre choice as Mr Bennet.

    For Emma, are you talking about the 2o08 Romola Garai version, or one of the 1995 versions, i.e. the ones with Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Beckinsale?

    Coincidentally, I’ve got Austen on my mind, because we Calvinists used this week’s Chinese New Year break to do a head-to-head comparison of the 1995 Ang Lee/Emma Thompson version of Sense and Sensibility with the 2008 BBC adaptation. Verdict: mixed, but on the whole the 2008 version comes out ahead. Emma Thompson, in spite of her solid acting chops, is a distraction in the 1995 film because she is also way, way too old for her role. She should have accepted chronological reality and taken the role of Mrs Dashwood in S & S, or she could have adapted Persuasion instead, and starred somewhat more plausibly as Anne Elliot.

  97. I haven’t been to England in about 5 years, but I used to go there quite frequently. This is what I noticed:

    Generally speaking, white men have a higher SMW among women of colour than white men in North America do. The white privilege narrative didn’t seem to make as much of an impact there, except among truly nebbish and sensitive types. Perhaps that has changed though.

    Unless they’re heavily into the grievance racket, women of colour tend to have a more pleasant disposition in the U.K. They don’t want to be seen as unfeminine and won’t go out of their way to needlessly piss white men off.

    White girls in the U.K. are often such overweight slags that many British men will look to Indian and black women as suitable mates. It’s an interesting phenomenon you don’t see too often in North America. Many upper-middle class British men take Spanish, French or Italian wives.

    If you’re a decent looking white guy living in London and you have a good job, you can have a pretty variated dating life. I spent a few months in London around 10 years ago and it seemed I was dating a new woman every evening from places such as Sweden, Eastern Europe, Spain, South America, Iran, etc. In North America, a white man is pretty much confined to white women and East Asian women.

    I find it hard to be truly intimidated by Pakistani pimps and thugs who are all over England’s formerly working-class boroughs. Maybe it’s the accents or the choice of attire, but they seem comical more than anything else. There’s a reason why the Ali G character resonated so strongly with me.

  98. @black sea
    I'm not going to say that any of the following are "bad" people, since almost all people are a mass of contradictory traits. I will, however, say that the following writers don't stand out as being particularly nice or good individuals:

    Michel Houellebecq
    Martin Amis
    Robert Stone
    Phillip Roth
    Evelyn Waugh (as mentioned by an earlier commenter)

    Novelists often draw a lot of creative energy from narcissism and self-pity. These qualities don't make for very nice people, but they do tend to feed the creative fire.

    Thanks. Of those I know only Evelyn Waugh. I agree he had some rough edges but I really like him. Reading is like being in the company of the author, so if you’re reading him, it stands to reason you like him. I suppose that goes for almost any kind of writer. Steve Sailer’s readers seem to really like him, the man.

    Samuel Butler makes an aside, something like, “I know in telling you about my subject I’m telling you even more about myself. I wish there were something I could do about that, but there isn’t.” I’m with him, I think you really do get to know the author, that an unlikable person can’t fake it to make likable prose because he uses the same judgement in society as in writing. As does the reader in reading.

    But Dr Johnson says (rather stiffly):

    Those whom the appearance of virtue, or the evidence of genius, have tempted to a nearer knowledge of the writer in whose performances they may be found, have indeed had frequent reason to repent their curiosity; the bubble that sparkled before them has become common water at the touch; the phantom of perfection has vanished when they wished to press it to their bosom.

  99. @Jack D
    My impression of Barack Obama is that he is a good person too, more or less. But he was overpromoted (both in the sense of advertising and rank) as being the Great Harbinger of Hope and Change purely due to his race. If the grad student that knocked up Stanley Dunham had been a Boer from S. Africa instead of a Kenyan, Obama would have had an okay career as a non-profit executive or a corporate lawyer - no one would have EVER considered him Presidential timber. And ditto for Zadie - she would have been a high school English teacher who once in a while got a poem published in some obscure poetry journal. They are both creatures of AA.

    Standards for Presidents have been low since the Founding generation bowed out. The problem with Obama wasn’t that his talent fell below the standard; it was that he was probably the most (consciously) anti-American President in history.

    As to Zadie, she will not enter the Canon, but her talent is at least a match for Obama’s. Read her essay on Kafka, “The Limited Circle is Pure.”

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