Foer, a Cause
In the past month and half, writers Jonathan Safran Foer, Dave Eggers and Nicole Krauss and director Spike Jonze have sent out letters to 120 authors soliciting them to contribute to a book they are putting together called Future Dictionary of America to raise millions of dollars to defeat President George W. Bush.
"100 percent of the proceeds, which should be quite substantial … will go to groups including MoveOn.org and 21st Century Democrats, P.A.C.’s dedicated to advancing democracy, defeating Bush, and insuring American leadership that better represents American values," the letter reads.
Writers are supposed to use or invent a word "for something whose existence would make America a better place."
Writers’ entries should be fewer than 1,000 words long and should create a dictionary "that is both useful and romantic. Hopeful and necessary. Pragmatic and idealistic."
Added instructions say: "Please use only one space after periods …. Please don’t forward this e-mail. We’re contacting many dozens of people over the next week or so. If too many people send in entries, we’ll get swamped …. Because of campaign finance laws, only American citizens can contribute to this."
So far, most of the 120 writers have agreed to contribute, including Stephen King, Art Spiegelman, Paul Auster, Joyce Carol Oates and Paul Muldoon. "If you name somebody, they’ve probably said yes," said Mr. Foer, who spearheaded the project. The book, to be assembled in coordination with Mr. Eggers’publishing house, McSweeney’s, will come with a CD with new music from about a dozen bands. They’ve invited Pearl Jam, Bright Eyes and the Beastie Boys to contribute. So far, he hasn’t publicized the book much, but "word will get out when the time comes."
He said he’s received only a few refusals. "People are so enthusiastic," said Mr. Foer. "It’s been really easy."
Any Republican authors?
"We haven’t yet had that kind of response, the conservative response, which is interesting in its own right," he said. "Thus far, we haven’t been able to find a writer on the other side of the proverbial aisle."
Mr. Foer has high hopes for his dictionary, which he predicts will be published in full by June.
"If you have 120 of America’s best-known writers in different styles and places saying, ‘This is something I want to stand up for,’ I think it will really mean something."
Before he introduced a reading called "Where’s My Democracy?" for Downtown for Democracy on March 25, Mr. Foer, 27, hadn’t been particularly active.
"I found the reading very energizing," he said. "I was inspired by how easily it happened and how enthusiastically it was received."
Mr. Foer was also having issues of his own with the current administration. "The President got me into being politically active," he said. "Every morning I would work myself up into an angry, depressed foam over The New York Times. ‘Maybe I can affect the process,’ I thought, ‘even in an incredibly strong way.’
"I am being misrepresented," Mr. Foer huffed, "and that’s not me—and as proven in the last election, it’s not the majority of the country either."
[observer (scroll to the bottom)]
unnecessary literary pun
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