Gandhi biographer fights back against salacious overseas headlines
By Joe Pompeo
A new biography of Mahatma Gandhi has created outrage in India while putting its author, former New York Times Executive Editor Joseph Lelyveld, at odds with the press.
Lelyveld’s book on the iconic leader of India’s independence movement, “Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India,” has drawn positive reviews. But articles in at least two British papers have created a firestorm by focusing on passages that characterize Gandhi’s close relationship with another man.
Lelyveld’s book was described by a reviewer in his former newspaper as “not a full-scale biography. Nor is it for beginners. … But [it] is a noteworthy book, nonetheless, vivid, nuanced and cleareyed.”
However, less staid publications, as the AP notes, focused on passages characterizing Gandhi’s close relationship with the German-Jewish architect and amateur body-builder Hermann Kallenbach, who lived with Gandhi in South Africa for several years in the early 1900s. The implication of such coverage is that Gandhi was bisexual, though Lelyveld—author of the 1986 Pulitzer Prize winning study of apartheid rule in South Africa, “Move Your Shadow”—has issued a statement saying that “the word ‘bisexual’ nowhere appears in the book.” The overseas press has also dwelled on a single instance in which the word ‘racist’ appears to characterize comments made by the late Indian independence leader and civil-disobedience pioneer.
“Gandhi ‘left his wife to live with a male lover’ new book claims,” blared the headline in the U.K. Daily Mail. And the opening sentence of the Daily Mail dispatch doesn’t pull any punches: “Mahatma Gandhi was bisexual.”
Likewise, the Telegraph, another U.K. daily, proclaimed: “Mahatma Gandhi ‘racist and bisexual’ claims new book.” The Telegraph prominently featured this salacious anecdote: “The book alleges that as an older man he held ‘nightly cuddles’—without clothes—with seventeen year-old girls in his entourage, including his own niece.”
Even the Wall Street Journal’s review led with the explosive allegations. “Joseph Lelyveld has written a generally admiring book about Mohandas Gandhi,” wrote Andrew Roberts in the investors’ broadsheet.”Yet ‘Great Soul’ also obligingly gives readers more than enough information to discern that he was a sexual weirdo, a political incompetent and a fanatical faddist—one who was often downright cruel to those around him.”
The early reviews have prompted “outrage” in India, where the book, published by Alfred A. Knopf, has yet to be released. (It hits American bookshelves today.) Some Indians, including Gandhi’s relatives, took the claims as an affront to their loved-one’s legacy. “These western writers have a morbid fascination for Gandhi’s sexuality,” his great-grandson told a Delhi-based newspaper. “It only helps them sell their books. It is always open season with Gandhi.”
Now Lelyveld is swinging back. The author dismissed the articles, claiming the press sensationalized his Gandhi biography.
“I do not allege that Gandhi is racist or bisexual,” Lelyveld said in a statement his publisher issued to the AP. “. . . . The word ‘racist’ is used once to characterise comments by Gandhi early in his stay in South Africa . . . the chapter in no way concludes that he was a racist or offers any suggestion of it.”
Gandhi scholars have also pushed back on the reviews.
“Lelyveld asks me what I think of Gandhi’s relationship with Kallenbach and I say, ‘It is almost like a couple’,” one of them, Tridip Suhrud, who was consulted during the biography’s research phase, told The Times of India. “The two had a deep bond that borders on attraction of a Platonic kind. Joseph is not talking about what the reviewers are claiming,”
Suhrud also said the “racist” claims were inaccurate, ultimately concluding: “It is a fascinating work. Lelyveld shows there is continuity in Gandhi as well as major points of departure.”
I am very happy that Meagan Good’s new movie Video Girl will be released on April 29th 2011! I remember Meagan from her breakthrough role in the 1997 film Eve’s Bayou. Meagan is a very talented actress, she finally has her first leading lady film role. I sincerely hope people support this movie. We complain so much about the paucity of leading lady roles for black women. We need to take action and prove our support by purchasing tickets and watching the movie.
EW Article Shocking News: Sarah Lane The Black Swan Body Double Says Natalie Portman Only Did 5% Of Dancing!!!
Black Swan’ double claims Natalie Portman only did ’5 percent’ of full-body dance shots in the movie
The ballerina who served as a dancing double for Natalie Portman’s Oscar-winnning role in Black Swan tells EW she has been the victim of a “cover-up” to mislead the public about how much dancing Portman actually did in the film. “Of the full body shots, I would say 5 percent are Natalie,” says Sarah Lane, 27, an American Ballet Theatre soloist who performed many of the film’s complicated dance sequences, allowing Portman’s face to be digitally grafted onto her body. “All the other shots are me.”
Lane’s claim follows a March 23 L.A. Times article in which Portman’s fiancé and Black Swan choreographer Benjamin Millepied said Lane’s work in the film was far less significant. “There are articles now talking about her dance double [American Ballet Theatre dancer Sarah Lane] that are making it sound like [Lane] did a lot of the work, but really, she just did the footwork, and the fouettés, and one diagonal [phrase] in the studio,” he said. “Honestly, 85 percent of that movie is Natalie.”
Lane disagrees. “The shots that are just her face with arms, those shots are definitely Natalie,” she says. “But that doesn’t show the actual dancing.” Lane admits that she was never promised a particular title for her six weeks of work on the film, though she was disappointed to see that she is credited only as as “Hand Model,” “Stunt Double,” and “Lady in the Lane” (a brief walk-on role).
Lane also says that Black Swan producer Ari Handel specifically told her not to talk about her work to the press, even though she claims there was no such stipulation in her contract. “They wanted to create this idea in people’s minds that Natalie was some kind of prodigy or so gifted in dance and really worked so hard to make herself a ballerina in a year and a half for the movie, basically because of the Oscar,” says Lane. “It is demeaning to the profession and not just to me. I’ve been doing this for 22 years…. Can you become a concert pianist in a year and a half, even if you’re a movie star?”
Reps for Portman, Fox Searchlight, and Handel have yet to provide comments on the matter.
Lane is barely seen in promotional materials for the movie, including a VFX reel posted by studio Fox Searchlight that appears to show all the digital alterations made to key dance sequences. An unverified version of that reel, leaked to YouTube, seems to shows how digital face replacement was used to put Portman’s head on Lane’s body. (The clip was included in a blog post by Dance Magazine‘s Wendy Perron, who wrote about Lane’s story earlier this month.)
According to Lane, Portman’s dramatic transformation into a ballerina — a narrative firmly at the center of her successful Oscar campaign — wasn’t as impressive as the public was led to believe. “I mean, from a professional dancer’s standpoint, she doesn’t look like a professional ballet dancer at all and she can’t dance in pointe shoes. And she can’t move her body; she’s very stiff,” says Lane. “I do give her a lot of credit because in a year and a half she lost a lot of weight and she really tried to go method and get into a dancers head and really feel like a ballet dancer.”
In interviews, Portman didn’t hide the fact that she had used a body double for key sequences in the film, though Lane’s name, and the extent of her work, were played down. “I do have a double for the complicated turning stuff,” Portman told EW last November. “It was not anything I ever could have done in a year, nothing I could’ve caught up with. But I think it was just better for all of us if I did as much as possible.”
Lane insists she isn’t speaking out of jealousy over Portman’s acclaim. “[Natalie] is an amazing actress, for sure,” she says. “I know that it’s not a personal thing against me. I know that it’s just a political thing. It’s just unfortunate that I kind of lost credit.”
CBS News Sex Scandal Alert: Clerical Worker That Worked In Sex Industry As A Porn Star Suspended From Job In Quebec!!
Samantha Ardente (PICTURE): High School secretary suspended for being porn star
(Credit: Pegas Productions)
(CBS/AP) MONTREAL – Samantha Ardente, a Canadian high school secretary, is waiting to see if she gets to keep her day job after officials discovered that she moonlighted as a XXX porn star.
The Quebec City-area school board is now considering whether she deserves more than a suspension for cavorting in the movie “Serial Abusers 2″ and other films.
The woman known as Ardente on screen was undone after a high school student spotted her in the porn video.
The student tried to get her autograph – and she tried to get him to keep her secret.
But, not surprisingly, her plea was rejected and the video spread like wildfire.
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City should set Toronto Island as Red Light District: Mammoliti
Natalie Alcoba Mar 22, 2011 – 9:51 PM ET | Last Updated: Mar 23, 2011 9:17 AM ET
A proponent of regulating and taxing an industry he maintains the city has turned a blind eye to, under the guise of “massage parlours,” Mr. Mammoliti, who represents York West, tackled the topic in a radio interview Tuesday.
He says the island could be a possible candidate for a red-light district, along with industrial wastelands.
“I’ve always suggested that the best way to deal with this is to create one area that is away from the rest of the city and residential community for the most part,” Mr. Mammoliti said in an interview.
“If you do this properly and legally you would have a designated place that would work for the city as well, not just organized crime. Right now the only people taking advantage of this is organized crime.”
He argues that an Ontario Superior Court ruling that struck down prostitution laws last year gives the city an opportunity to put in a licensing regime he thinks could rake in “a couple hundred million” dollars over time and help create a tourist attraction. Prostitution remains illegal while the landmark ruling is under appeal. City staff are preparing a report on the issue of illegal holistic centres for early fall.
Islanders were flummoxed by the idea.
“It’s totally against the culture. This is a family place, where families come to escape,” said Dawson Whitfield, 18, who was raised on the island.
His father, Steven Whitfield, said there are other ways to boost tourism in Toronto. “I’m shocked that he would think that this community is not worthy of the same kind of respect of any other community in the city,” he said. “How about his neighbourhood?”
But Mr. Mammoliti, who touted regulation of prostitution during his short run for Mayor last year, says he is doing this precisely to get illicit brothels out of his area, north of Highway 401.
“In my neighbourhood, prostitution is not wanted. On the island, prostitution is going on in the nude beach,” said Mr. Mammoliti. He says people have called him “saying they see it happen.”
Councillor Pam McConnell pleaded with her colleague to stop “blowing smoke.”
“You know we have serious issues in our city, and he makes a joke out of our city government,” said Ms. McConnell, who represents the island community. “How would we possibly ever think about putting brothels in a place that is for families and children and is, of all of our natural heritage, the most iconic. It’s nonsense, it’s ludicrous.”
As for Mr. Mammoliti’s claim of paid sex on the beach, Ms. McConnell said she hasn’t heard of such a thing.
Detective Peter Harmsen, of 52 division’s vice squad, is also unaware of prostitution problems at the clothing optional Hanlan’s Point Beach.
“It’s a nude beach. I’m not going to say that sex doesn’t happen, but we don’t get complaints about it being for money,” he said.
I love Butterfield 8, even though Elizabeth Taylor says she hated this film it is just a lot of fun! In Butterfield 8, Elizabeth’s character Gloria Wandrous is a prostitute that falls in love with a married man. Taylor won her first Oscar for her performance in this film!