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Cairo International Book Fair was cancelled last year and this year,attendance was poor. The contrast with the opulent Abu Dhabi International Book Fair could not be more marked,writes Maya Jaggi

Written by Arundhati Chakravarty | Published: April 17, 2012 2:45:32 am

The Daily Beast

Arab Spring tensions at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

Cairo International Book Fair was cancelled last year and this year,attendance was poor. The contrast with the opulent Abu Dhabi International Book Fair could not be more marked,writes Maya Jaggi. “The 22nd fair ended this month in the United Arab Emirates capital…With 900 exhibitors—most of them Arab—from 54 countries,the fastest-growing book fair in the Middle East and North Africa is part of a strategy to reinvent the richest emirate as a global ‘centre of culture and cosmopolitanism’.” As for censorship,books banned in some Arab states were on sale,as well as those by Egyptian publishers. But a small number complained that pledges made to buy from Egyptian stands were not fulfilled; that fewer books were bought,and at higher discounts. Jaggi writes,“The spat may be symptomatic of mutual suspicion since the Arab Spring. Conservative Gulf states have scrambled to contain the spread of rebellion,while voicing support for the revolutions (the UAE was the biggest investor in Mubarak’s Egypt).” She adds that the new assertiveness after the uprisings might also grate in Abu Dhabi’s deferential hierarchy,where it is a crime under the penal code to insult top officials. Jaggi’s article explores the tension between the emirate’s ambition and “reflex to silence”.

Bloomberg

How the Titanic made the modern radio industry

A hundred years after it sank,we remember the Titanic for its epic technological hubris. But the ship’s sinking also marks the moment when a more modest technology—the wireless radio—started becoming the industry it is today,writes Katherine Bygrave Howe. “While the speed was central to the ship’s operation,the wireless radio was considered a novelty. When 705 survivors of the disaster were taken aboard the Carpathia,the transatlantic steamship that came to the Titanic’s rescue,wireless transformed from a plaything into a necessity,” she writes. Radio,of course,wasn’t limited to the seas,but that was where its business began. Popular radio,as we experience it today,really stems from marine and especially transoceanic radio,and what we think of today as the purpose of radio—music and talk—was actually the “surprise”.

The Guardian

Welcome to Springfield: real life model for

The Simpsons

Rory Carroll welcomes you to Springfield. Not the cartoon version,where Bart Simpson wreaks mayhem in a fictional town,but the real place in the US,population 59,000,which originally inspired the television series and now,in some startling ways,seems to reflect it. “The animator drew on his experiences growing up in the 1970s,but today’s Springfield has a wackiness and poignancy to rival its cartoon equivalent,” writes Carroll. Matt Groening,the cartoon’s creator,recently said that the animated town was inspired by Springfield,Oregon. Oregon is mulling its gain. An ambivalent trophy. The longest-running US sitcom is a pop cultural phenomenon that has earned multiple awards and immortalised its characters—but it is also a merciless parody of family and societal dysfunction. Carroll writes about the town’s Latino Bart,a prank-loving police force,Indian convenience stores,a blue-collar underdog spirit,rumours of mutant amphibians,dingy taverns,cheap beer and doughnuts—all integral to the series.

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