Harvard Book Store welcomes acclaimed author of fiction and nonfiction FATIMA BHUTTO for a discussion of her latest book, New Kings of the World: Dispatches from Bollywood, Dizi, and K-Pop.
A vast cultural movement is emerging from outside the Western world. Truly global in its range and allure, it is the biggest challenge yet to Hollywood, McDonald’s, blue jeans, and other aspects of American mass-produced popular culture. This is a book about the new arbiters of mass culture―India’s Bollywood films, Turkey’s soap operas, or dizi, and South Korea’s pop music. Carefully packaging not always secular modernity combined with traditional values in urbanized settings, they have created a new global pop culture that strikes a deeper chord than the American version, especially with the many millions who are only just arriving in the modern world and still negotiating its overwhelming changes.
Fatima Bhutto, an indefatigable reporter and vivid writer, profiles Shah Rukh Khan, by many measures the most popular star in the world; goes behind the scenes of Magnificent Century, Turkey’s biggest dizi, watched by more than 200 million people across 43 countries; and travels to South Korea to see how K-Pop started. Bhutto’s book is an important dispatch from a new, multipolar order that is taking form before our eyes.
“Fatima Bhutto is one of the most stylish, thoughtful writers in the world today. This book will make you gurgle with cultural pleasure.” —Johann Hari
“Fatima Bhutto doesn’t miss a thing. From the Bollywood fan clubs of Lima to the refugee camps of northern Lebanon, she records and observes the terrain of global pop with curiosity, compassion, scalpel-sharp smarts, quiet humor, and an unfailing eye for the absurd. New Kings of the World is cultural reporting at its best.” —Ben Ehrenreich
“A delight, a must-read. Fatima Bhutto is the modern renaissance woman: after a searing memoir and an exploration of ‘ISIS brides,’ she turns her diagonal gaze across global pop culture, away from and beyond the lingua franca of English. The result is as effervescent as her subject matter: a hilarious and intelligent understanding of pop as primal need in contemporary life from Peshawar to Istanbul, Seoul to Lima—replete with characters, differences, and common rip-tides—and of the global economy that creates, and manipulates, that need.”
Certain books were “banned in Boston” at least as far back as 1651, when one William Pynchon wrote a book criticizing Puritanism.