snippets: Bo Xilai, JG Ballard, Laurie Penny.

I claim no connection between these paragraphs, except that I enjoyed them all:

Laurie Penny at her furious best:

And why is it that women are not permitted to be creative without having to speak for the entire condition of womankind? The most exhaustively discussed new cultural artefacts in recent weeks – ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and Lena Dunham’s new HBO show ‘Girls’ – are being treated as if they were straight memoirs, rather than, in one case, a piece of redrafted fan-fiction based around a story that was originally about vampires? Is it because we don’t believe that a woman can truly create fiction or write meaningfully without drawing entirely on her own experience? Is it because mainstream culture still lacks a language to talk about women’s issues and women’s lives that is not at once confessional and riddled with lazy stereotypes? Is it because most ‘fictional’ women are still created, cast and directed by men? Is it because we don’t believe women can actually be artists?

Current standard gossip on Bo Xilai, via B&T:

Wang did ask for asylum, and was carrying the Neil Heywood file. He claimed he’d been investigating it and was shut down by Bo and now feared for his life, but they got the strong impression this was a cover, and that what had happened was that he’d been investigated for corruption, was worried Bo was deserting him, and grabbed the biggest piece of dirt he had. So Heywood wasn’t the motivator, but there was, at the least, something dirty about his death.

Simon Reynolds on JG Ballard:

Science fiction writers love to think of what they’re doing as one really crucial, contemporary form of literature — a literature of ideas with elements of speculation and an estrangement effect.

Rock critics are just the same: they crave that validation from mainstream art criticism, but they also like being the renegade form. Ballard exemplifies this meta aspect of science fiction, although he goes beyond it as a great cultural critic.

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