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Lionel Shriver Controversy About Cultural Appropriation

Officials in charge of an Australian writers festival were so upset with the address by their keynote speaker, the American novelist Lionel Shriver, that they publicly disavowed her remarks. …

Ms. Shriver had been billed as speaking on “community and belonging” but focused on her views about cultural appropriation, a term that refers to the objections by members of minority groups to the use of their customs or culture (or even characters of their ethnicity) by artists or others who do not belong to those groups.

Ms. Shriver criticized as runaway political correctness efforts to ban references to ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation from Halloween celebrations, or to prevent artists from drawing on ethnic sources for their work. Ms. Shriver, the author of 13 novels, who is best known for her 2003 book, We Need to Talk About Kevin, was especially critical of efforts to stop novelists from cultural appropriation.

Article in The New York Times

Homer’s Iliad


Interest in Homer has been boosted by a remark by Jennifer Lopez’s school-teacher character in the film The Boy Next Door. Given a copy of the Iliad she exclaims: “Oh my God – this is a first edition?” See The Guardian article.

‘Three millennia after its composition, there are many obstacles to understanding this pillar of western literature – but the effort is worth it’ argues San Jordison desapite the catalogue of ships’ captains.

Read a short section from the latest edition of Homer’s great epic of the Trojan wars – the first English translation by a woman.

Symbolic Service in Henry VIII’s Hampton Court

On February 9th the first Roman Catholic service was held in Hampton Court since the English Reformation. Cardinal Vincent Nichols celebrated evening prayer with the Anglican bishop of London and dean of the royal chapels, Dr Richard Chartres. Hampton Court was originally owned by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey who surrendered it to Henry VIII when the cardinal fell out of favour.

New York Times (with convenient summary of the historical background)

The Telegraph (with good photos)

Cardinal Wolsey Christ Church.jpg

Cardinal Wolsey

Wikipedia and gender

“The encyclopedia that anyone can edit” is at risk of becoming, in computer scientist Aaron Halfaker’s words, “the encyclopedia that anyone who understands the norms, socializes him or herself, dodges the impersonal wall of semiautomated rejection and still wants to voluntarily contribute his or her time and energy can edit.” An entrenched, stubborn elite of old-timers, a high bar to entry, and a persistent 90/10 gender gap among editors all point to the possibility that Wikipedia is going adrift.

See the full article here.