“Literary Topographies” by Daniel Green

Time for a change?

Recently Lev Grossman explained how he chooses books to review. “I review books,” he proclaimed, “if they do something I’ve never seen done before; or if I fall in love with them; or if they shock me or piss me off or otherwise won’t leave me alone; if they alter the way my brain works; if I can’t stop thinking about them; if for whatever reason I absolutely have to tell people about them.”

Scott Esposito appropriately enough questions how candid Grossman is being, pointing out that his sinecure at Time necessarily constrains Grossman to “a very limited range of choices.” As Scott reminds us, “in most cases he’s functioning as an adjunct of a publisher’s marketing department, essentially adding whatever institutional and personal authority he has to the marketing push for a book that has almost certainly been acclaimed 10 times over by ‘reviewers’ that are similarly empowered.”

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Feature Friday: “The Baby of Mâcon” (1993)

Time Magazine, Peter Greenaway had you beat back in 1993—and then some. Below the jump you’ll find the polemical Welsh director’s response to a similar debate in 1993, when the perennially outrageous United Colors of Benetton ultra-outraged Britons with an ad featuring a newborn baby (still bloody, its umbilical cord still attached). Greenaway replied:

What is so horrible about a newborn baby? Why is that image (one that is seen many times a day in hospitals all over the country) so unacceptable, when much more horrific images are presented on television and the cinema, featuring murder and rape, but glamorized and made safe?

And thus he set out to make a film that would be exactly what he thought audiences wanted.

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