William Burroughs on trial for corrupting Turkish morality?

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Almost 14 years after his death, William S Burroughs is on trial for corrupting Turkish morality. The Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation into Burroughs’ novel The Soft Machine, which was recently translated and published by Sel Publishing House in January. Tukey’s English Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review reports:

The court referred to a report written by the Prime Ministry’s Council for Protecting Minors from Explicit Publications that accused the novel, The Soft Machine, of “incompliance with moral norms” and “hurting people’s moral feelings.” Sel Publishing issued a press release that included parts of their testimony in the court.

“It is impossible to understand the insistence in sending books written and published for adults to councils that specialize in minors. If we consider things from this perspective, then dozens of such reports could be written about TV channels, newscasts and thousands of books,” read the testimony given by the publishing house.

The testimony also argued that the Prime Ministry’s council had no credentials in literature, aesthetics or translation, thus causing what the representatives of the publishing house called a “freakish” decision by the council.

The council also accused the novel of “lacking unity in its subject matter,” “incompliance with narrative unity,” for “using slang and colloquial terms” and “the application of a fragmented narrative style,” while claiming that Burroughs’s book contained unrealistic interpretations that were neither personal nor objective by giving examples from the lifestyles of historical and mythological figures. None of the above, argued the publishing house, constitutes a criminal act.

The council went further and said, “The book does not constitute a literary piece of work in its current condition,” adding it would add nothing new to the reader’s reservoir of knowledge, and argued the book developed “attitudes that were permissive to crime by concentrating on the banal, vulgar and weak attributes of humanity.”

The representatives of the publishing house responded to these charges. “Just as no writer is under any special obligation to highlight humanity’s fair attributes under every circumstance, the measure of whether a book has any literary value or not, and the judge of what the book may add to the reader’s reservoir of knowledge, is not an official state institution, but the reader himself,” they said.

“Once again, societies comprised of modern, creative and inquisitive individuals are formed by reading and being exposed to literary texts and works of art that can be considered as the most extreme examples of their kind,” further asserted the defendants’ statement.

The testimony also invited members of the council to conduct “a simple Internet research” about the writer, and learn about the fact that Burroughs was one of the pioneers the “Beat Generation” that rebelled against the stagnant morality of the middle class in post-World War II America. The testimony also drew attention to the fact that the “cut-up” technique used in the book was once heralded as a great novelty among literary circles.

“Through this technique, Burroughs runs counter, not just to entrenched attitudes in people’s lifestyles but also in contradiction to [older] literary techniques. That being the case and since the aim of the book itself is to push boundaries, it is clearly absurd to search for criminal elements in the book by suggesting that the book does not conform with social norms,” further stated the press release.

“Moreover, it is also meaningless to expect William S. Burroughs, who was not raised in accordance with the National Education Law, or as an individual who ‘identifies with the national, moral, humanitarian, material and spiritual cultural values of Turkish society, and who always tries to exalt his family, country and nation,’ to have produced a text within this framework,” read the testimony. “It is clear and obvious that this case carries no weight nor any respectability outside of the borders of our country.”

“We demand an end to investigations that constrain our activities and the prosecution of books for any reason whatsoever,” concluded the statement.

 

Bonus: William Burroughs reads ‘Junky’ (abridged version)
 
With thanks to Steve Duffy
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Wal-Mart CEO: Our shoppers are ‘running out of money’

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Wal-Mart, America’s largest retailer, where 140 million people shop each week, is not seeing much of a recovery for the U.S. economy. The low-price behemoth has now seen seven straight quarterly declines in sales figures. According to the company’s CEO, it’s because their customers—who let’s face it ARE America—are simply too damned broke to buy much anymore. From CNN/Money:

Wal-Mart’s core shoppers are running out of money much faster than a year ago due to rising gasoline prices, and the retail giant is worried, CEO Mike Duke said Wednesday.

“We’re seeing core consumers under a lot of pressure,” Duke said at an event in New York. “There’s no doubt that rising fuel prices are having an impact.”

Wal-Mart shoppers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, typically shop in bulk at the beginning of the month when their paychecks come in.

Lately, they’re “running out of money” at a faster clip, he said.

“Purchases are really dropping off by the end of the month even more than last year,” Duke said. “This end-of-month [purchases] cycle is growing to be a concern.

I must say that I’m far more inclined to trust Wal-Mart’s sales figures as a barometer of the economy’s health than the suspect reports put out by the government. They’re a public company, they can’t get away with lying with impunity the same way Uncle Sam can…

Doesn’t this make you wonder: How much more do the working class and the poor still have left to lose before things start to get really, really hot for Republican politicians? Even online loans have become a resort to many struggling to make ends meet. Imagine that you are the parent of a handicapped child, you can’t find work, you have no health insurance, first fuel and now FOOD is out of your reach? The people who are making decisions to reward billionaire racists like Donald Trump with tax cuts while your family suffers, well, they do have street addresses…

Normally, I am not one for violence, but this position is—how shall I put it—evolving. As the Republican pols around the country continue to cut the social safety nets that allow our society to rise above the barbaric, I sure hope to see the sight of hungry, angry mobs showing up with pitchforks and torches at their homes for a lil’ chat.

What do they expect them to do, just roll over and die?

Previously on Dangerous Minds
Mad Max in American: Our Republican Future?

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Happy Birthday Kim Gordon

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Today is Kim Gordon’s birthday - founder member of Sonic Youth and Free Kitten, producer, actress, designer, director, all round one of the coolest people in rock’n'roll. Here’s a few clips in celebration -  any excuse to post about Kim or Sonic Youth on DM is worth it.

Kim Gordon reads the Riot Grrrl Manifesto
 

 
Kim Gordon talks to Style.com about her label X-Girl, shopping in New York and working with Chloe Sevigny.
 

 
More Kim Gordon after the jump…

Previously on DM:
Unedited interview with Kim Gordon from 1988
More late 80s Sonic youth interviews
‘1991: The Year Punk Broke” Classic alt-rock documentary

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Donald Trump says ‘China is raping this country’
04.28.2011
12:02 pm

Topics:
Current Events
Fashion
Politics

Tags:
China
Donald Trump

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Photo by Justin Elliott
 
I think this speaks for itself.

(via The High Definite and The Daily Beast)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Morrissey brands Royal Family ‘benefit scroungers’

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Y’know, sometimes he does speak the truth. From the NME:

In an interview broadcast on BBC 5live this morning (April 27), the singer said he won’t be watching the wedding, which is set to be seen by a global audience of two billion people.

“Why would I watch the wedding? Why would I watch it?” Morrissey said. “I couldn’t take any of that seriously. I don’t think the so-called royal family speak for England now and I don’t think England needs them. I do seriously believe that they are benefit scroungers and nothing else. I don’t believe they serve any purpose whatsoever.”

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Plexus: The late-60s French psychedelic Playboy
04.28.2011
10:14 am

Topics:
Art
Literature
Sex

Tags:
Plexus

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Will Schofield over at 50 Watts currently has an awesome collection of scanned images from the late-60s French magazine Plexus. These are bloody brilliant! From 50 Watts:

John Coulthart at feuilleton turned me on to the late 60s–early 70s French magazine Plexus, a sexy offshoot of Planète. (John found it through DRTENGE.) It’s an intriguing mix of surreal-fantastic-psychedelic art, interviews with writers (Jacques Sternberg was the literary editor), Playboy-style comics and the occasional Popeye comic, science fiction stories, Gilles de Rais profiles, philosophy, and—though there are few traditional photo spreads—lots and lots of boobs. Each early issue features a full-color “pin up”: an erotic work by an artist like Leonor Fini.

I strongly encourage you to visit 50 Watts. Wow!

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More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Trump Unable To Produce Certificate Proving He’s Not A Festering Pile Of Shit

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Via The Onion

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Richard Devine’s eerie recording of tornado sirens tonight in Atlanta
04.27.2011
10:27 pm

Topics:
Art
Current Events
Music

Tags:
Tornado
Atlanta
Richard Devine

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Fresh from the Particularly Dangerous Situation in Atlanta comes this beautiful and haunting field recording made by mad genius composer/sound designer Richard Devine.  I only wish this went on for at least a half hour more !

Recording of Tornado Sirens in the distance tonight in Atlanta GA. The sounds of the strong winds and rain can be heard moving through the trees creating for a eerie atmosphere. Short recording made with the Neumann RSM-191 A/S and Sound Devices 702 Digital Recorder at 24-bit 96khz. Recorded at Midnight April 27th 2011.

 

  
 
Big thanks to Alessandro Cortini !

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
Music to zone out to: 25 Boards of Canada tracks in 33 minutes
04.27.2011
04:12 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Boards of Canada
DJ Oscar

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This seems like a nice way to end a Wednesday. Enjoy.

From DJ Oscar: “Here are 25 tracks in little over 30 minutes, celebrating those wonderful small pieces of sound and music that piece together the much loved Boards of Canada albums and early tapes.”
 

Bits And Bocs by Sofamixes on Mixcloud

 
(via KFMW)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Magic Christian: May 1 is Terry Southern Day in Dallas

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I’ve been a huge Terry Southern fan for as far back as I can remember—I’d even go so far as to say that I’m a Terry Southern nut. Posting some of his unpublished work here on Dangerous Minds has been a thrill for me. In my day, I have gone about collecting a fair amount of first editions, magazines, memorabilia and just stuff that relates to Southern’s career. In fact, as I sit here typing this, there is a framed poster of The Magic Christian hanging on the wall in my office (it’s the exact one you see above). Terry Southern is a charter member of my personal pantheon of 20th century heroes.

In case you don’t know who the grand and groovy Terry Southern was, here’s a brief bio, taken from the Open Road Media website, where his books are being made available as e-books beginning May 3rd:

Terry Southern (1924–1995) was an American satirist, author, journalist, screenwriter, and educator and is considered one of the great literary minds of the second half of the twentieth century. His bestselling novels—Candy (1958), a spoof on pornography based on Voltaire’s Candide, and The Magic Christian (1959), a satire of the grossly rich also made into a movie starring Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr—established Southern as a literary and pop culture icon. Literary achievement evolved into a successful film career, with the Academy Award–nominated screenplays for Dr. Strangelove, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), which he wrote with Stanley Kubrick and Peter George, and Easy Rider  (1969), which he wrote with Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper.

Truly a “writer’s writer,” Southern was lauded by the likes of William Burroughs, Norman Mailer, Stanley Kubrick, Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe. Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut. He also wrote or co-wrote the screenplays for Barbarella, The Loved One and The Cincinnati Kid and for a while, worked for Saturday Night Live in the 1980s. He was declared “the most profoundly witty writer of our generation,” by novelist Gore Vidal, no slouch in the wit department himself and is one of the “people we like” chosen by the Beatles for the Sgt. Pepper’s collage. Now the city of Dallas, TX has proclaimed May 1st, 2011, “Terry Southern Day” in recognition of one of the Lone Star State’s few genuine literary legends.

On that day Dr. Strangelove will screen at the historic Texas Theatre (where Lee Harvey Oswald was apprehended, btw) and Dallas City Councilwoman Delia Jasso will present Southern’s son, Nile Southern, with the official proclamation for “Terry Southern Day.”  Nile Southern will also be showing a portion of his upcoming documentary Dad Strangelove, about his famous father. A Q&A session will afterwards will be moderated by The Dallas Observer’s Robert Wilonsky, who recently wrote a fascinating article about Nile and the important job he performs of archiving his father’s legacy for cinema historians and literary scholars of the future.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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