Summer Book Club: 'The Submission'

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

We're wrapping up our summer book club here at The Takeaway. As the tenth anniversary of September 11 approaches, our host John Hockenberry decided to focus his summer reading on novels about 9/11. This week's pick touches upon how we memorialize a tragedy, which can be extremely political. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, for example, faced a great deal of criticism for choosing architect Maya Lin's memorial design. Her nontraditional, minimalist approach sparked controversy, as did her Asian heritage, even though Lin was born in the U.S. to Chinese parents. A new book called "The Submission" centers on the 9/11 memorial, imagining what might have happened if a Muslim-American architect won a blind competition to design it.

We're speaking with author Amy Waldman. "The Submission" is her debut novel.

Guests:

Amy Waldman

Produced by:

Jillian Weinberger

Comments [2]

Jonathan Higbee from Salt Lake City, Utah

There's several non-sequiturs, strange connections, and weird phraseologies in this story. "Secular Muslim American?" What a strange phrase. Since I grew up in the Mormon Church and am now an atheist, does that mean I'm a Secular-Mormon-American? Islam isn't a race - it's a religion - a meme set, and meme sets don't define our so-called “race.” And when you add the word "secular" to a person's description, well, it sort of negates the need to mention the religion they may have a peripheral or pretty much no longer existing connection to. It’s an oxymoron, (or an oxy-Mormon or oxy-Islam).

Before your mention of Maya Lin in this story, it never occurred to me that there would be controversy over her creation of the Vietnam memorial due to her Asian ancestry. Also, her ancestry is from China, not Vietnam.

9/11 was a situation where Americans were the victims - victims of people who believed they would go to heaven for killing the infidel. Vietnam was a situation where the Vietnamese were the victims. So there's another non-sequitur.

And, the tonality of this story falls right in line with, as a liberal myself I'm sorry to say, is the all too common self-hating politically correct apologize-for-everything ideology and mind set that is present so much, well, on the coasts of this country.

I was sorry to hear of Maya Lin’s participation in this story, because of the many non-sequiturs, and because of my past appreciation for her work. If anti-Vietnam sentiment has translated into pro-Islam sentiment in the wake of 9/11, then maybe, as a left leaning anti-authoritarian socialist myself, I should rethink my own connections to the generalized self-hating culture of Chomskyeske liberalism that assumes by default that America is always to blame, even when 3000+ Americans die at the hands of believers in a certain rather abusive and human spirit destroying meme set.

Yes I’m in favor of people who can make Islam into an Age-of-Enlightenment-friendly faith. But while we wait for this to happen I’ll personally be in the camp of people who’ve lived real on-the-ground Islam first hand, people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Islam is simply at a different point in it's evolution. It's still in the middle-ages phase that Christianity has passed by.

Aug. 16 2011 10:37 AM
Lynn sztykiel from Detroit, mi

Can't let summer book club end without highly recommending Signs of Life by Natalie Taylor. though it is not a book about 9/11, it is a personal story of love and loss that is achingly and joyfully inspiring. this young woman's story will stay with you long after you've finished reading.

Aug. 16 2011 09:37 AM

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