Yeah, we at the L are of the opinion that the Beijing Olympics are, ultimately, shameful, but they’ve created/brought attention to a really fascinating social and political moment. (Moment? Preview of coming attractions?) To that end, in a pretty specific rejoinder to the smoothed-over pageantry of the Olympics, the PEN American Center is hosting a pretty big reading, Bringing Down the Great Firewall of China, at the New School tonight. Blockquote because it’s pretty straightforward:
Edward Albee, Russell Banks, Philip Gourevitch, Jessica Hagedorn, Hari Kunzru, Rick Moody, Martha Southgate, Francine Prose, and others will read new and previously untranslated statements and writings by several of the jailed writers and other dissidents and members of the Independent Chinese PEN Center.
The fate of Chinese dissident writers, and of freedom of expression in that country in general, has long been one of PEN’s major causes, and I can’t imagine it won’t be for some time after the end of the games. The reading is free and open to the public, of course.