God, Rankin, violence and librarians

In the cusp of time between duties done (2145) and crashing out (2200) I will attempt a blog post, especially as there is currently a (probably brief) moment of respite between soccer and tennis.  Just a few strange links, therefore.

Only 73 percent of atheists don’t believe in God, according to the latest Pew Foundation study, on Religion and Public Life. Admittedly this is reported by the blog Improbable Research, but they have a screenshot so it seems to be true. A Pew researcher was quoted in the Washington Post: "Twenty-one percent of those who describe themselves as atheists expressed a belief in God or a universal spirit, and more than half of those who call themselves agnostic expressed a similar conviction."

Via The Bookseller blog and The Sunday Times: Ian Rankin, creator of John Rebus, one of the UK's most popular fictional policemen, is to head a Labour commission into declining standards of literacy in Scottish schools. It is quite nice when you get a non-professional educationalist involved in these projects, as they tell the truth as opposed to spin, eg: "Rankin said parents were not doing enough to encourage reading and writing at home, and were often happy to allow their children to sit in front of the television." However, defining the problem is not the same as solving it, and I wish him luck, whether in Scotland or anywhere else.

Ian Rankin is mentioned again at Danuta Kean's blog, but only in passing, as the post is mainly an interview with Karin Slaughter, published in the Independent. The interview addresses the question, subject of a famous row between Rankin and Val McDermid, about the relative depictions of violence by male or female authors. Danuta Kean concludes: "Crime fiction contextualises violence, contains it, and removes that taboo. As far as Slaughter is concerned, that is her ultimate riposte to those who think she should show more decorum when detailing every violation in unflinching detail." I conclude that trying to analyse why or whether male and female authors depict violence differently from each other is a losing game. There is far too much variation from the "cosy" (male and female authors) to the extreme (ditto). I also recommend that analysers watch out for pseudonyms.

Be that as it may, one group that one should not mess with? Librarians. I know that anyway, but I got this link from Books, Inq. the Epilogue (who, appropriately enough, got it from Dave Lull.) There's some belly dancing going on in the Books, Inq. comments.

Time's up. Good night!