Zadie Smith will not appear on TV, particularly not on your dating show. Nor will she stand on her head in the park or “be made a freak” while she’s eating. (Random aside: I watched that new Bob Dylan documentary the other night. It’s not a great film per se, but it’s essential viewing for anyone with media-loathing tendencies. If there’s ever been a pro at turning inane questions back on a reporter, it was the young Bob Dylan. Nowadays he’s positively chatty — by comparison, at least.)
The 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature will be announced soon. Bookies are placing short odds on some familiar names: Ali Ahmad Said, Ko Un, Joyce Carol Oates, Tomas Transtromer, Philip Roth and Mario Vargas Llosa.
Under a new theory, the inspiration for Homer’s isle of Ithaca (home to Odysseus) was Paliki peninsula, which may once have been an island.
On the media and language: “there is a new American personality style that is structured by the media-spawned lingo. It is what [Leslie Savan] calls the Person Nouvelle — ‘a pop-culture ethnic of indeterminate heritage,’ mixing up bits of hip-hop, ‘Sopranos’-style wiseguyisms and redneck machismo in a way that is colorful yet also somehow colorless.”
The Internet is your friend. The Internet will tell you what books you like.