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tv   Washington Ideas Forum Day 1 Afternoon Session  CSPAN  March 15, 2015 1:03am-1:22am EDT

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♪ ♪ >> the gridiron club hosted its annual dinner in washington, d.c.. it was founded by newspaper editors. the annual white tie affair is closed to cameras.
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here's a look at the arrival of some of the attendees earlier this evening. >> thank you. thank you. sure. >> how are you? how have you been? [indiscernible]
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>> next, from the washington ideas festival, an interview with authors. and a conversation with craig venter. then a discussion about fraternities and sororities.
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on the next washington journal former new mexico governor and ambassador to the u.n. talks about congressional involvement in negotiations with iran. president obama's request to use force against isis. and other issues. a reporter will talk about the possible 2016 presidential candidates spending time in new hampshire. and a roundtable discussion about legalizing marijuana. as always, we will take your calls and you can join the conversation on his book and twitter. -- on facebook and twitter. >> this sunday on q&a, the director of the georgetown university medical center watchdog project farmed out on how pharmaceutical companies lobby congress.
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>> the promotion of a drug starts 7-10 years before a drug comes on the market. while it is a legal for a company to market the drug before it has been approved by the fda, it is not illegal to market a disease. drug companies have sometimes invented diseases or exaggerated the importance of certain conditions. the particular mechanism of a drug. blanketed medical journals and meetings and other venues with these messages that are meant to prepare the minds of clinicians to accept a particular drug. also to prepare the minds of consumers to accept a particular condition. >> sunday night on c-span's q&a.
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>> now, another interview from the sixth annual ideas form hosted by the atlantic and the aspen institute. it brought together business entrepreneurs and science and technology experts. the editor of the atlantic speaks to joseph o'neill. this is about 20 minutes. >> thank you, and thank you for coming. it is a huge honor for me to be a peer with others because they are the best novelists working in english. i was at the southern festival of the book a couple weeks ago and i saw you walking to the lobby, and i contemplated going up to you and talk to you, and i thought you would run away.
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but now i realize you are a captive audience. i want to get down to serious business. i wanted to begin on a couple of lighter notes. i was reading in "the new yorker," and you noted that you passed 46 ativan tablets for your stage anxiety. how many did you end up taking?
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on other note, and i'm kindnesses of the fact it has been a long day, i want to make sure i can be fully awake. you have written many times in your memoir and some of your novels about the excessive hairiness of some of your protagonists. that is a self-conscious preoccupation of yours. i would say to the record, and maybe afterward we could have a shirtless competition, i am hairier than you. the national zoo would turn up.
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the national zoo will collect all of us and take us back to where we belong. anyway, getting down to serious business, i would say that with regard to your respective writing styles and sensibilities, and some ways you are extremely dissimilar novelists. and if you're looking for analogs, i will put a chill in the tradition of someone who has been compared to, scott fitzgerald, which is heady company to be in, gary. i would put you in the tradition of saul bellow and early philip roth, not just because of your preoccupation with jewish themes, but because of the exuberance of your voice. if in the russian tradition, i would say, come back, gary, you
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are more in the tradition of gogol, whereas with your restraint is more like chekhov. one place where you do overlap despite these differences is writing about immigrants and expatriates and what you might call the identity crisis. and in your debut novel you have the main character who is working in new york, the immigrants' immigrant's expatriot. and had to offer an unlikely and the characters in your book and are also expats, america dubai, your latest book. i saw you quoted in an interview you do that have on home turf, but you have no choice to float around on these post-national currents.
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you have spent your entire careers in some sense talking about this, but very briefly. how does being an immigrant or displaced expatriate inform your writing? >> when i came to america, it was 1980. being a russian was the worst thing you could be. everything was red. i was sentenced to eight years in hubris school for crimes i did not commit. when i was sentenced there, it was so bad being a commie that i had to pretend i was born in east berlin, not leningrad. i was trying to convince jewish kids i was a german. but years later i showed up at oberlin college, a small marxist college in ohio, and being an immigrant was the coolest thing
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you could imagine. nobody wanted to be that heterosexual white male. so i got as russian as i could be. i tried to annex another college. it was productive. >> you have not annexed in other colleges, like gary has. >> no, i have not. >> you came to america from holland, not turkey? >> i was born in ireland. my mother is turkish. i grew up in holland. i speak french with my mother. so in other words, new york was a good fit for me.
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>> we are in washington, so the perfect place to ask this question, what is the relationship of the novel to politics? you have both dabbled in novels and satire. in your book, i saw you say in an interview -- and this speaks to your own sensibilities -- did obama buy your own novel -- >> did he buy it? >> maybe somebody gave it to him. you said, i felt uncomfortable about it. i am sure it sold book, but been in office for six years and we are still force-feeding people in guantanamo bay, it is uncomfortable. for both of you, what bearing or relevance?
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>> yes. i think novels are inevitably political. but the political content of a novel depends on the reader. if you are to sports toward asking ethical questions, then practically any text becomes loaded with political meaning. i certainly feel that my most recent book in dubai is investigating all sorts of political things, how countries are structured. >> i think from the former soviets, whatever, you do get political. i want to capture the feeling of what it is like to be in these two giant countries when one
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does well and the other collapses. yeah, it is a very 20th century of experience that i have had. a part of me wishes i was working in a burger king in denmark and having a decent life instead of -- >> that is a good segue, because of the prospect of you working in a mcdonald's in denmark. what do you think the future of the novel is? philip roth a few years ago called the novel a dying animal, and he elaborated, saying a small group of people will be reading it. maybe more p


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