Monitor: From Wolfe to lion as seen by the world's newspapers

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The Independent Culture
[TOM] WOLFE clearly sees the South more as something that shaped him than as something he is unduly taken with today. He may rhapsodize about his mother's iced tea with mint or the "genteel Richmond accent". He may give concise voice to the Southern fixation on manners. ("I don't mind hypocrisy as long as courtesy comes with it.") But despite his claim to being taken with Atlanta's "hypomanic" business culture and incessant chatter about being world-class, what he seems to like best about the South is what used to be there, like the view from his Richmond window or the seemingly genetic grace and courage of his mostly Southern flyboys in The Right Stuff. Wolfe knows what a big target he has become with his grand pronouncements about the proper role of the novel, his Southern planter meets Savile Row attire, his artful dismantling of cultural icons and, perhaps most of all, his pitiless eye for the failures of the flesh. [But] all seems well as his publisher offloads Titanic-like mounds of A Man in Full, which has a 1.2 million first printing.

- New York Times

WITH DAKAN, the first African movie about homosexuality, Guinean actor Mohamed Camara tells a touching and humble love story, his first feature as a director and scriptwriter. "Homosexuality is a dead-end in the African tradition, a taboo. Especially coming from a Muslim upbringing, like I do." Camara's only problem was finding an actor fit for the leading role of Manga. Being too old for the part himself, he resolved to play (the lover's) father, and asked his younger brother to play the leading role. "He still hasn't seen himself on the screen. It could provoke a kind of a shock. We Africans have a strong belief in pictures. We don't always separate the actor from the role."

- South Africa Mail and Guardian

[WILLIAM] DALRYMPLE, now 33, kurta and chappal-clad, of piercing gaze and loud, un-English laugh, of prodigious energy and boundless love for this country, is not simply another Englishman-in-the-tropics. He drinks not only the chai but sometimes even the water. We natives tend to be a little touchy nowadays and accuse our new interpreters ... of "peddling exotica" or "reducing India to set of stereotypes". But Dalrymple says he simply cannot understand Indian Anglophobia. "As far as the British literary intelligentsia or middle class is concerned, India is an object of worship," he shouts. "Look at the 50-year celebrations, Britain was celebrating long before India, curry's still the favourite food, this is the first year in several that an Indian [hasn't been] on the Booker shortlist and the majority of backpackers who come to India are English.

- Outlook, India

CLIFF PEARCEY collects "Noisy Toys". Roy Reed collects Marvel comics. Jane Reynolds collects snails. These are among some 40 collections that are being shown at "The Museum Of [Collectors]", the first of a series of temporary museums, which over the next two years, will celebrate the collections of ordinary people. Tim Miller has been collecting found objects from the banks of the Thames since he was nine. He can tell you how many inches you dig to reach certain periods of the past. Nine inches is Georgian. Three feet is Elizabethan. "The Museum Of" is dedicated to exploring what museums are for. After "The Museum of Collectors", there will be "The Museum of Me", "The Museum of Emotions", "The Museum of The Unknown".

- Guardian

ONSTAGE, DAD gave his fear a sound. "Gnong, gnong, gnong!" It was a primitive, hilarious yawping, which seemed to sum up all his wide-eyed loss and confusion. Offstage, there was no defining it. The clinical words wheeled out these days for his symptoms - "manic depressive", "bipolar" - can't convey the sensual, dramatic, almost reverent power of the moroseness that Dad could bring with him. If Dad had had a tail, he would have twisted it just as the Lion did; instead, he had to make do with his buttons and with the cellophane from his cigarette packs. What was Dad afraid of? We never knew exactly. Even a fly intruding into his airspace could bring a sudden whirlwind of worry.

- John Lahr on his father Bert Lahr, The Wizard of Oz's cowardly lion

New Yorker

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