Gandhi Biography by Joseph Lelyveld Roils India


Why would it matter if Gandhi was bisexual? His deeds wouldn’t change, only the description of his private life would be more precise. Banning books is never the correct answer.

GANDHI is still so revered in India that a book about him that few Indians have read and that hasn’t even been published in this country has been banned in one state and may yet be banned nationwide.

The problem, say those who have fanned the flames of popular outrage this week, is that the book suggests that the father of modern India was bisexual.

The book’s author, Joseph Lelyveld, does write extensively about the close relationship Mohandas K. Gandhi had with a German architect1, but he denies that the book, “Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India,” makes any such argument.

In an interview Mr. Lelyveld, a former executive editor of The New York Times and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, said he thought he had “treaded very carefully” with the information, which he knew was delicate.

“I lived in India, and there’s an Indian word called tamasha,” he said, which translates to “spectacle.” “I’m surprised to find myself at the center of one, because I think this is a careful book, and I consider myself a friend of India.”

Still, this week Gujarat, the state where Gandhi was born and grew up, banned the book after reviews and news articles about it appeared in Indian newspapers. Gujarat is particularly conservative — alcohol can’t be sold in there, for instance — and the state is governed by a Hindu nationalist party.

(click here to continue reading Gandhi Biography by Joseph Lelyveld Roils India –


  1. Hermann Kallenbach, the German-Jewish architect with whom Gandhi lived in Johannesburg []

Rick Santorum has an Anal Sex Problem

Really, couldn’t happen to a nicer guy1

Starbucks Pollution

Rick Santorum would very much like to be president. For the past few years, he has been diligently appearing at the sorts of conservative events—the Values Voters Summit, the Conservative Political Action Conference—where aspiring Republican candidates are expected to show up. But before he starts printing “Santorum 2012” bumper stickers, there’s one issue the former GOP senator and his strategists need to address. You see, Santorum has what you might call a Google problem. For voters who decide to look him up online, one of the top three search results is usually the site, which explains that Santorum’s last name is a sexual neologism for “the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.”

Santorum’s problem got its start back in 2003, when the then-senator from Pennsylvania compared homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia, saying the “definition of marriage” has never included “man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.” The ensuing controversy prompted syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage, who’s gay, to start a contest, soliciting reader suggestions for slang terms to “memorialize the scandal.” The winner came up with the “frothy mixture” idea, Savage launched a website, and a meme was born. Even though mainstream news outlets would never link to it, Savage’s site rose in the Google rankings, thanks in part to bloggers who posted Santorum-related news on the site or linked to it from their blogs. Eventually it eclipsed Santorum’s own campaign site in search results; some observers even suggested it may have contributed to Santorum’s crushing 18-point defeat in his 2006 campaign against Bob Casey.

(click to continue reading and giggling at Rick Santorum’s Anal Sex Problem | Mother Jones.)

  1. in other words, Rick Santorum is a horrible person, and deserves all the opprobrium he receives. []

Reading Around on December 23rd through December 29th

A few interesting links collected December 23rd through December 29th:

  • Fun phrases in Latin – Ridiculum sum, ergo sum
  • Glenn Greenwald – Karl Rove: Champion of “traditional” divorce – [he ] engineered multiple referenda to incorporate a ban on same-sex marriage into various states’ constitutions in 2004 in order to ensure that so-called “”Christian conservatives” and “value voters” who believe in “traditional marriage laws” would turn out and help re-elect George W. Bush. Yet, like so many of his like-minded pious comrades, Rove seems far better at preaching the virtues of “traditional marriage” to others and exploiting them for political gain than he does adhering to those principles in his own life:Karl Rove granted divorce in Texas
  • Animated stereoviews of old Japan ::: Pink Tentacle – In the late 19th and early 20th century, enigmatic photographer T. Enami (1859-1929) captured a number of 3D stereoviews depicting life in Meiji-period Japan.

    A stereoview consists of a pair of nearly identical images that appear three-dimensional when viewed through a stereoscope, because each eye sees a slightly different image.

Reading Around on December 9th

Some additional reading December 9th from 16:37 to 19:54:

  • Glenn Greenwald – Why don't the powerful get grilled like this? – One can watch what Rachel did in last night's interview — what made it so effective — to see why this virtually never happens on, say, Sunday shows when politically powerful people who interviewed:

    (1) Rachel had obviously done a substantial amount of work prior to the interview, having even read the guest's books and being able to refer to various parts of them quickly; doing real work and real reading is far too burdensome for most of our coddled, vapid media stars.

    (2) Rachel, despite being unfailingly civil and polite, was obviously indifferent to whether the guest liked her. She bombarded him with questions that made him extremely uncomfortable and which conclusively proved that he was simply lying. Media stars who host political interview programs would never subject powerful people to treatment like that for fear of losing access and/or their standing in the Beltway world.

  • Healthy Food Lithuanian Closing – Chicagoist – Healthy Food's closing marks the end of an era; they've been in business in Bridgeport since 1938 serving practically the same menu of fresh-squeezed juices, homemade soups, Lithuanian sausage dumplings (koldunai), blynai (rich Lithuanian pancakes stuffed with cheese and fruit), roast duck and the amazing potato and bacon bit pudding known as kugelis. Healt
  • Healthy Food Lithuanian Restaurant retiring along with its owner | Crain's Chicago Business – Healthy Food Lithuanian Restaurant, a Bridgeport staple, is closing Tuesday after 70 years of serving up kugelis and sauerkraut soup.
    Owner Grazina “Gina” Biciunas-Santoski said she is hanging up her apron and retiring after running the restaurant at 3236 S. Halsted St. for the past 30 years. Ms. Biciunas-Santoski took over the neighborhood spot in 1978 from her parents, who bought it in 1960. Healthy Food Lithuanian opened in 1938.

Reading Around on October 5th

Some additional reading October 5th from 10:44 to 17:11:

  • Study Proposes New Interstate To Link Illinois, Indiana – Chicagoist – The proposed interstate, dubbed The Illiana Expressway, could cut congestion significantly along with providing a surge to the region’s economy. The proposed 25 to 30 mile stretch, operating as a tollway, would connect I-57 in Will County with I-65 in Lake County, Indiana and would cost as much as $1 billion.
  • Kenny Be: “I’d rather be gay than GLAAD” – Denver News – The Latest Word – In this week’s cover story, longtime Westword cartoonist Kenny Be strikes back at GLAAD, which recently named Kenny the “worst” of July. Pick up a copy, or click through here to see the full cartoon.

    It is always nice to be noticed, but for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to name me the “Worst of the National Media” for July of 2009 only reveals GLAAD’s ignorance, not mine.

  • Bloggers Must Disclose Payments for Reviews – – “The Federal Trade Commission will require bloggers to clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from companies for reviewing their products.

    But the commission stopped short Monday of specifying how bloggers must disclose any conflicts of interest.”
    I haven’t gotten any schwagg, other than Amazon affiliate percentages, but I’m open to receiving free stuff in return for reviewing them…

Reading Around on July 4th through July 5th

A few interesting links collected July 4th through July 5th:

  • Can I Get a Witness? | TPM – yet more evidence that the Washington Post is in a death spiral”But it is bizarre to say that Palin is uncomfortable in the role of the victim. In fact I’m not sure I’ve ever found a better use for this much over-used word. As Noam Scheiber explained in one of the earliest and perhaps most insightful profiles of Palin, victimhood and resentment are Palin’s twin touchstones. They define who she is.”
  • Cat M.D.s prevent heart attack fatalities | The Daily Blank – Image by swanksalot via Flickr “Owning a cat could mean the difference between life and death. The University of Minnesota recently released a study that the risk of dying from a heart attack is 40% higher among people who have never owned a cat, compared to people who have.”
  • Confirmed: God is slightly gay – “Behold, the ongoing, increasingly startling research: homosexual and bisexual behavior, it turns out, is rampant in the animal kingdom. And by rampant, I mean proving to be damn near universal, commonplace across all species everywhere, existing for myriad reasons ranging from pure survival and procreative influence, right on over to pure pleasure, co-parenting, giddy screeching multiple monkey orgasm, even love, and a few dozen other potential explanations science hasn’t quite figured out yet. Imagine.

    Are you thinking, why sure, everyone knows about those sex-crazed dolphins and those superslut bonobo monkeys and the few other godless creatures like them, the sea turtles and the weird sheep and such, creatures who obviously haven’t read Leviticus. But that’s about it, right? Most animals are devoutly hetero and straight and damn happy about it, right?


  • Daily Kos: State of the Nation – Palins Poetry – Awesome.
    “The following is the complete text, directly transcribed, of the portion of Sarah Palin’s resignation speech available on video. The text is accurate and unaltered; a portion of the speech is missing from the beginning because the video does not start until then.The lines have been transcribed, however, in the form of vers libre poetry, which seemed appropriate under the circumstances.”
  • War: Retreat of the 20,000 — Printout — TIME – “Retreat, hell!” snapped Major General Oliver Prince Smith, commander of the 1st Marine Division, with which he had fought on Guadalcanal, New Britain, Peleliu, Okinawa (TIME, Sept. 25). “We’re not retreating, we’re just advancing in a different direction”

    Wait, you mean Sarah Barracuda Palin flubbed a quotation, again? She needs to stop letting Trig vet her speeches