Although the cultural divide between Europe and the U.S. has narrowed over the years, the legal fate of director Roman Polanski shows there are still major differences. Polanski’s arrest in Switzerland on Sept. 26 was greeted with satisfaction in the U.S., where authorities hope he will face sentencing for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977. Europeans, meanwhile, are shocked and dismayed that an internationally acclaimed artist could be jailed for such an old offense.
“To see him thrown to the lions and put in prison because of ancient history — and as he was traveling to an event honoring him — is absolutely horrifying,” French Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand said after Polanski was arrested upon arrival in Switzerland to attend the Zurich Film Festival, where he was to receive a lifetime achievement award. “There’s an America we love and an America that scares us, and it’s that latter America that has just shown us its face.” In comments that appeared to be directed at Swiss and American authorities to free Polanski, Mitterrand added that both he and French President Nicolas Sarkozy hoped for a “rapid resolution to the situation which would allow Roman Polanski to rejoin his family as quickly as possible.”
So far, the app I use the most on my iPhone is the Stanza e-book reader. I had shied away from e-readers up until getting an iPhone but the chance to have a library of public domain books at my fingertips persuaded me to put my prejudice of non-paper books on hold long enough to install the Stanza app.
I haven’t used a Kindle or any other e-reader before so I have nothing to compare Stanza with but I was surprisingly pleased at how well the interface worked (tap on the right to turn a page, left to go backwards and center for bookmarking or to see how far into the book you are) The text is highly customizable and once adjusted to your personal tastes, is quite easy on the eyes.
But what to read, what to read? The Stanza reader comes with a connection to Project Gutenberg and a half dozen other sites with books that are in the public domain. I downloaded about 25 books before remembering to breathe.
So far I’ve only read short stories. The first one was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (It comes pre-loaded. And I don’t think I had actually ever read the book). Since then it’s been all Lovecraft.
The Call of Cthulhu
At the Mountains of Madness
The Dunwich Horror
The Shadow Over Innsmouth
The Rats in the Walls
I have downloaded the Kindle App for the iPhone, but I just haven’t gotten around to playing with it yet.
Oh, and I finished House of Leaves. Remember how I said you either loved it or hated it? Well, I meh’ed it. The Zampano story was entertaining. The Truant story was boring. And having to turn the book upside down or sideways to read some of the text was infuriating.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civil award, and is given to individuals who have contributed to: 1) the security or national interests of the United States, 2) world peace, or 3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
In his new book, Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor, former Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer reveals how politicized the revered Presidential Medal of Freedom became during the Bush administration.
Latimer writes that administration officials objected to giving author J.K. Rowling the Presidential Medal of Freedom because her writing “encouraged witchcraft” (p. 201):