paper trail

Walter Mosley on the legacy of Cave Canem; Qatar crisis jeopardizes Al Jazeera's independence

Walter Mosley. Photo: David Shankbone

The diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its neighboring Gulf states has put pressure on the Qatari government to shut down Al Jazeera, or significantly curtail the new organization’s editorial independence. Saudi Arabia has canceled Al Jazeera’s broadcasting license and ordered the company to close its offices in the country. The organization’s website was also the victim of a cyberattack.

The New York Times attempts to identify which part of their February report on contacts between Trump advisers and Russian intelligence officials was inaccurate, after former FBI director James Comey testified that the story was “in the main . . . not true” but declined to explain his claim. The paper continues to stand by the article, and notes that its findings were corroborated by other major news outlets in the months that followed.

Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs has accepted an apology from Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte, who assaulted the journalist at a campaign event. In his letter to Jacobs, Gianforte admitted that his “physical response” to a question about health care policy “was unprofessional, unacceptable, and unlawful.” Gianforte is also donating $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists, “in the hope that perhaps some good can come of these events.”

In a speech at the twentieth-anniversary celebration of Cave Canem, Walter Mosley reflected on the poetry organization’s legacy as a refuge for African-American poets in a literary world dominated by white culture. “I feel at home here because my understanding, my experience of this institution brings up many feelings I have about being black and a writer in a world that hasn’t given us the kind of support or attention we deserve and more importantly that we need,” he said.

Rivka Galchen and Anna Holmes try to find the line between cultural appropriation and artistic license. Invoking the Wu-Tang Clan’s reverence for Chinese culture, Galchen writes that “the difference between appropriation and exchange” might be found in the quality of the work itself. “Maybe when we say it’s wrong to take something, we really mean, What you’ve given back is far too poor, too mediocre.” Holmes notes that the subjective nature of what constitutes appropriation makes it difficult to identify. “You can’t always prove appropriation,” she writes. “But you usually know it when you see it.”