Turkish Publisher Raided, More Than 2,000 Books Confiscated

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Editor's Note:

Censorship is aggressively alive in Turkey! This, a new romance featuring, um, Colonel Sanders, and more – all in today’s Daily Blunt.

It couldn’t happen here … could it? The Istanbul-based offices of Belge Publishing, an independent publisher specializing in works of dissent, was raided by anti-terrorism forces this weekend, and more than 2,000 of its books were confiscated. This is part of an ongoing, nationwide crackdown in Turkey; as the article points out, the Turkish government also recently blocked access to Wikipedia (here’s the wiki on that turn of events). As Americans continue freaking out over each new episode of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” hopefully greater attention will be paid to the places around the world where the pretense of democracy has already given way to autocratic (or even theocratic) rule.

Here’s some literature that even the most open-minded bibliophile might be tempted to suppress, fearing the loss of their lunch: In celebration of Mother’s Day, fast food chain KFC has published its own romance novella featuring Colonel Sanders. However, reading the linked excerpts reveals that instead of going the jokey route with chicken-themed puns, their writer has forgone references to herbs and spices in favor of a fairly straightforward (if not terribly original) classic romance story between a young Sanders and Lady Madeleine Parker, who we can presume is fictional since she’s not mentioned on Sanders’s Wikipedia page (see how easy that was for me to look up?). The book is free to download for a limited time, and KFC is giving away a limited number of hardback copies to Facebook fans.

These days, few people have either the guts or the talent to bring Samuel Beckett’s plays back to the stage, let alone Happy Days, his 1961 script that opens with its main character buried up to her waist in sand – and then, after intermission, up to her neck. Fortunately we still have Dianne Wiest, and according to Brooklyn Mag‘s review, the Oscar winner’s performance is more than up to the challenge presented by the material: “She also makes us see the deadening effect of routine on a person who refuses to despair and cheerfully and sometimes just ‘cheerfully’ submits to the torture of an unending life without shade or much sleep or much company.” If Wiest can do all that at nearly seventy years old, we officially have no excuse for slacking off this week.

In other theater news, a new Canadian production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd is getting an unconventional leg up from Thea and Jonathan Avis, owners of the local shop Meat Street Pie, who have been hired by producers to dress in period clothing and sell pies outside Alberta’s Westbury Theater. In addition to charming (and nourishing) passersby, the pair will also be providing the pie that will be eaten onstage by the show’s youngest cast member. Apparently it was a viewing of the 1982 stage version starring Angela Lansbury that convinced the Meat Street gang that this wouldn’t be a total PR nightmare. Take a look below at the grand dame waltzing through “The Worst Pies in London” and see if it has any effect on your dinner plans.