Wednesday, April 30, 2008


In case you've not already seen this, believe me, it's worth a visit. Don't worry about the French, since the video doesn't exactly require any explanation.

Last week I wrote a review of The White Tiger in OUTLOOK magazine -- and a couple of friends called in response to the review -- one of them, while standing in Landmark Bookshop in Madras, with a copy of the book in his hand (he promised he wouldn't buy it ... but who knows? Maybe he lied)! On the rare occasions that someone calls to say he/she's read something of mine in the press, it'll be a slash'n'run review. When it's a favourable assessment the only person who MIGHT call is the author. Ah well. "Everyone Loves a Good Bloodletting" might make a good title for a collection of vicious book reviews.

Keeping this in mind, I'd love to post a link to a favourable review by me, this time in BIBLIO of Sara Paretsky's autobiography entitled WRITING IN AN AGE OF SILENCE -- but I CAN'T coz it's not "free" (i.e., it's not enough to register, you have to buy the right to read it). I liked the book and recommend it highly -- not just to admirers of Paretsky's novels -- very noir, very Chicago, centred on woman private eye, V I Warshawski -- but anyone who enjoys reading a tight, highly focused autobiography, as much about coming of age in the US of the sixties as about becoming a celebrated crime-fiction author.

I've been wanting to blog about the Starving Dog Exhibition for some time now. These pictures were being circulated along with an appeal to sign a petition to prevent the artist from repeating his "exhibit" -- but it turns out there may have been some mis-understandings regarding the artist's intentions. I signed the petition right away, feeling immediately nauseated by the pictures and the story and also forwarded the pictures on to friends. It's hard not to feel silly afterwards -- esp since I don't normally forward appeals or sign petitions. The artist claims that his intention was to draw attention to the wretched plight of street dogs in Nicaragua.

Regardless of what he and the gallery spokespeople now claim about the actual events (that the dog was NOT kept in the gallery to starve and die while callous visitors just looked on; that it was released in three hours and/or escaped anyway after the first day) it is surely deeply offensive to use a living creature in this way. It's bad enough that the poor creature and all its fellow-sufferers -- animal as well as human, everywhere in the world -- suffer at all, but for an artist to use that suffering to further his own career is really too degrading all around -- and supremely lazy. It's like, "Hey, I can't draw but so what? I can drag the subject of my artistic inspiration into the gallery and show it to y'all and call it an installation! Yow! Ain't I smart?"

He's received death-threats and universal condemnation, but what about all the visitors to the gallery who did not try to feed or water the poor animal, all those who did not react immediately with outrage? Everyone's to blame.

1 comment:

ElmerFuddnavis said...

Interesting post...