Terrified of the Inevitable, Impending Sept. 11 Novels
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Feb. 19 2002 1:45 PM




Andrew Sullivan—I'm a fan, too—scares the hell out of me. He's becoming journalism's Joyce Carol Oates, a nonstop commentary machine. (Stop him before he posts again!)

After I filed my first e-mail today (an event that made me feel almost Andrew Sullivan-esque), I zipped onto Amazon.com to see what kind of response Native Speaker has been getting. You should have a look: There's a hilarious posting that's a preview of what a full-scale Chang-rae-Lee-athon would be like. (Here's a sample—the misspellings and mangled syntax aren't mine: "I have to write two essay 3-5 pages on Native Speakers by Chang-rae Lee. IT IS DO THURSDAY … I didn't really understand most of the story … Please help.")

(Katie: I just went back to grab the URL and the posting's gone! Spooky.)

You're right—I am terrified about all the lyrical Sept. 11 novels that are certain to be coming down the pike. This is a terrible comparison to make, I realize, but on some level they're probably going to be a lot like Holocaust novels. There will be some terrific, moving ones. And then there will be dozens and dozens in which a writer tries to smuggle Sept. 11 into the story as a cheap way to stir instant gravitas into an otherwise lame-o book. If only the gravity of an event had some remote correlation to the quality of the art, then we'd be someplace.

About the "Office of Strategic Influence" placing fake stories in the foreign press: I saw that headline this morning and almost spilled my coffee. I thought I was reading the Onion. We're entering Strangelove territory here. I also thought I was reading the Onion when I saw the story in today's New York Post about the "male sexuality" class at Berkeley that turned into an orgy. (The Post story doesn't seem to be online, but here's a report from the Sacramento Bee). Did you see that? It confirmed my suspicion that I went to the wrong college—or, at least, took the wrong classes.




Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 22 2014 8:07 AM Why Haven’t the Philadelphia Eagles Ever Won a Super Bowl?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 8:08 AM Slate Voice: “Why Is So Much Honey Clover Honey?” Mike Vuolo shares the story of your honey.
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 7:47 AM Predicting the Future for the U.S. Government The strange but satisfying work of creating the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends report.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 5:30 AM MAVEN Arrives at Mars
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.