Nobel Judge Attacks ‘ignorant’ US Literature

From The Guardian:

Permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy Horace Engdahl told the Associated Press that US writers were “too sensitive to trends in their own mass culture”, which he said dragged down the quality of their work. “The US is too isolated, too insular. They don’t translate enough and don’t really participate in the big dialogue of literature,” Engdahl said. “That ignorance is restraining.”

“Of course there is powerful literature in all big cultures, but you can’t get away from the fact that Europe still is the centre of the literary world … not the United States,” he said, later adding that “what I said expresses a conviction resulting from more than 10 years of assiduous labour”. Toni Morrison was the last American to win the prize, in 1993.

Contacted by guardian.co.uk this morning, Engdahl claimed a misunderstanding had occurred and that the Swedish Academy strictly adhered to Alfred Nobel’s wish “that in awarding the prize no consideration whatsoever be given to the nationality of the candidates”. He added: “It is of no importance, when we judge American candidates, how any of us views American literature as a whole in comparison with other literatures. The Nobel prize is not a contest between nations but an award to individual authors. It is essential to remember that when national feelings run high.” He maintained that there was “no reason for any particular author to get upset by my observations.

(via Gerry Canavan)

Can I Wear My Obama T-shirt to Vote on Election Day?

From The Root:

Oct. 2, 2008–An ominous e-mail has been causing quite a bit of confusion for voters recently. With an urgent warning to recipients, the e-mail claimsthat election officials have the right to turn away any voters wearing campaign paraphernalia to the polls. So what’s up? Can you rock that “Obama Mama” T-shirt to cast your vote on Nov. 4?

In most states, you’re in the clear. Wearing campaign paraphernalia—a button, a sticker and, of course, a T-shirt—in support of any candidate is seen as passive electioneering. Some states are more lenient. In Kentucky, Marylandand Florida, election officials most often make no fuss about voter attire. The only thing banned there is the display of excessive campaign garb (i.e. head-to-toe Obama gear) or outright solicitation. Wearing campaign paraphernalia and lingering in the polling station is also a no-no in those states.

Other states, such as Pennsylvaniaand New York, maintain laws on passive electioneering while remaining lax in enforcement. In New York, for example, refusing to comply with the request of election officials to remove an item is considered a misdemeanor, but arrests have rarely—if ever—been made.

Not everyone is as laid-back about the issue. In the District of Columbia, strict rules apply. Prior to entering a polling station in the District, everyone is required to remove or cover up any exposed campaign paraphernalia. No exceptions.

Obama Launches iPhone App

From BarackObama.com:

Obama ’08 is your official, comprehensive connection to the heart of Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s campaign, giving you the tools you need to make an impact and stay in the know.

Making a difference takes only moments using the Call a Friend feature. Want to do more? Find your local Obama for America HQ or look up local campaign events.

Download Obama ’08 from the App StoreYou’ll have instant access to Barack’s positions on important issues, as well as local and national campaign news as it happens. Photos and videos from the campaign trail are all here, too.