Forever Under Construction

A Loose Screw

Posted in Literature, Society by homeyra on April 7, 2008

Here is conversation between Canadian writer Margaret Atwood and the Turkish recipient of Noble literature prize in 2006, Orhan Pamuk.

An excerpt from Pamuk‘s talk:

[…] I think there is one essential distinction, perhaps in my part of the world is more important … There are two kinds of people, especially in writing, printing, journalism, media and so forth and so on.

One, who can – in his or her life – consistently manages to side away, by … in a very continuous and in fact rather dignified way, not to say the unsayable while maneuvering, and in a nice way … and there are … I have so many good friends, which I respect – who maneuver like that around the bounds of unsayable taboos. And there are people, I like them better but they … most of the time in trouble or say … I have this feeling that sooner or later they will break a jar or a … or a mirror or a glass, sooner or later find themselves, because perhaps one they are not very caution, because one perhaps they are really angry, because perhaps one they fancy themselves freer than really they are. Say something. I am not here referring to myself. But essentially these people push the limits imposed on freedom of speech, not that they are brave but then – there is a screw loose in their mind … I mean it […] hear more

7 Responses

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  1. Linda said, on April 8, 2008 at 3:57 am

    Um. I would say that these certain people are willing to break jars or mirrors or glass not because they’re brave, but because they have to. And it’s not that they have a loose screw, but that they are in stark contrast to so many other people whose minds are screwed down tight by various limitations.

    But then, what do I know?

  2. Pedestrian said, on April 8, 2008 at 4:08 am

    Perhaps this is a meaningless distinction (not Pamuk’s! The one I’m going to make) because both groups are operating in a society- a live, vibrant entity – and will leave their mark permanently …

    But I can’t help but think that the first group are wiser, not just that they question things without getting into too much trouble, but that they are the ones who have a more influential impact in their societies. Given the nature of these localities, (and their governments are only but one small detail) people never accept or let in opinions that are too critical or too different. The slow, underlying progress that happens is, in part, due to them it seems to me.

    I don’t know if that makes sense at all …

    Thanks for the last post! I couldn’t find it on YouTube, so basically I was logged on to McLaren’s page all day long … isn’t it just beautiful?

    And on a side note: do you know anything of “Shadi Parand”? The Iranian fashion designer? I read an interview of hers in Zanan a long time ago, and although the black and white photos of her designs were fuzzy, I think I liked them … I also liked what she was saying about haute couture: it seemed very wise. And just a few days ago, I was reading an old article by a pretty well known fashion commentator written in the 90s (her interview was last year) and it was identical to hers … word by word! … I was disappointed, … But nonetheless, would love to know more about her … Her website has been under construction forever now …

  3. 99 said, on April 8, 2008 at 8:47 am

    The first group drives the second group to break things. The first group is more selfish, less altruistic, and the second group are people who have been squashed by that in their formative years. The breakers of boundaries want the real, want true intimacy, and are crushed by the mounting weight of silent perfidies from those who will not meet them where they live. The second group always give their lives for the first. The first is never fast enough to save the day. Nirvana is dropping that barrier once and for all.

  4. 99 said, on April 8, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    This is relevant: What is missing is the sense of urgency.

    [half hour TED talk video, by Al Gore]

    The people of the first group are why.

  5. homeyra said, on April 9, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Later in his talk Pamuk develops the implications of both attitudes. I’ll add a few lines later.
    I can’t see the movie. I totally agree with the title:
    What is missing is the sense of urgency.

  6. Sophia said, on April 12, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    I think someone like Atwood won’t understand Pamuk.
    Read this portrait: between two worlds
    http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,2223794,00.html
    And also I recommend ‘Snow’ a fascinating political story which explains very well how an imposed secularism is actually producing this fervor for Islamists. Many of my Canadian friends weren’t able to understand how Pamuk can actually empathise with Muslim fundamentalists. They confuse Islamists and Turkish nationalists (the military and extremists secularists)

  7. homeyra said, on April 13, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Thanks for the link Sophia. I liked the way that smart Pamuk describes subtleties of this part of the world.
    What you wrote is also true among Iranians, the dead end of confronting the black and white views. To his credit Pamuk portrays a lot of the in between.


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