Thursday, July 26

What is the Morally Appropriate Language in Which to Think and Write? - Arundhati Roy

"At a book reading in Kolkata, about a week after my first novel, The God of Small Things, was published, a member of the audience stood up and asked, in a tone that was distinctly hostile: 'Has any writer ever written a masterpiece in an alien language? In a language other than his mother tongue?' I hadn’t claimed to have written a masterpiece (nor to be a 'he'), but nevertheless I understood his anger toward a me, a writer who lived in India, wrote in English, and who had attracted an absurd amount of attention. My answer to his question made him even angrier. 'Nabokov,' I said. And he stormed out of the hall. The correct answer to that question today would of course be 'algorithms.' Artificial Intelligence, we are told, can write masterpieces in any language and translate them into masterpieces in other languages. As the era that we know, and think we vaguely understand, comes to a close, perhaps we, even the most privileged among us, are just a group of redundant humans gathered here with an arcane interest in language generated by fellow redundants. ..."

2008 May: Arundhati Roy, 2010 April: "Walking With The Comrades", 2015 November: Politics by Other Means