Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Intellectual Sophistry and the David Dan Prize

Just following up the David Dan Prize issue. Its all over the web, i'm linking some interesting pages.

http://kafila.org/2010/04/20/boycott-of-israel-would-serve-any-useful-tactical-purpose-amitav-ghosh/

Here is Amitav Ghosh's response, on Margaret Atwood's page:

http://marg09.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/1266/

Here is a follow-up piece, citing Ghosh's open letter, on kafila. The comments are particularly interesting:

http://kafila.org/2010/05/17/an-acceptance-of-israel%E2%80%99s-legitimacy-does-not-imply-an-acceptance-of-all-that-it-does-amitav-ghosh/

I'm very disappointed.

It's the same fallacy, every time. A writer writes, and you, as the reader, assume that he or she has some kind of sympathy, perhaps tending to an ideological leaning. This effect is intensified when they pick topics, locations, characters that seem to address issues of the marginalized, and the dispossessed.

And then comes realpolitik, and everything else becomes irrelevant in the face of a million dollars and recognition from the first world. lovely. I am becoming more and more proud to be Indian.

Well, i'm imposing my own blockade. Neither Margaret Atwood nor Amitav Ghosh are getting any more money from me. Its personal, and its all i can do.

Not that it matters; a million dollars goes a long, long way.

2 comments:

Sue said...

What purpose would it serve, if Ghosh had turned the prize down?

And if he accepts it, how does it change your world view or mine as far our opinions of the actions of Israel are concerned?

RBC said...

Speaking as an impoverished writer, I would say that there aren't enough literary prizes in the world, and they're important for people like me who don't earn from our books. If the Israeli government expected either Atwood and Ghosh to sing its praises in return for the money, it would be ten kinds of immoral. But marginalising Israelis only pushes them closer to the US, and that's no answer. In any case, that lit prize makes no difference either way.