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Showing posts from August 19, 2001
Remora The Financial Times claims that Gustav Rau has the second largest private art collection in the world. I emphasize 'claims' - the largest art collectors are notoriously eccentric. It wouldn't surprise me if Rau's collection were surpassed by the odd Japanese billionaire. In any case, the collection is, controversially, making a tour. The controversy is over whether Rau is of sound mind. Rau was a doctor in Zaire for many years. And he is also incredibly wealthy - which leaves a large gap between the lines. You don't become wealthy in Zaire without having had to do with Mobutu. But the article doesn't mention the tyrant's name, so one will just have to speculate. Anyway, the Swiss government claims an interest in the collection. Here's the explanation: "The Rau Foundation might have remained anonymous had the doctor not retired in 1993 to Monaco, where he was later found disconsolately wandering the streets. A Lausanne court declare
Dope As I said in my last post, today is Plutarch day. Let's see - there is an incredibly large amount of info about Plutarch on the Net -- which is intriguing, considering that Plutarch was also a favorite of the printers when the printing press produced the book revolution in the Renaissance. The parallel might have been intentional - for instance, MIT's Perseus people surely had that in mind. Let's start with Roger Kimbell's essay on Plutarch, for The New Criterion. Unfortunately, Kimbell writes in an insufferable high table manner. I assume the name rings a bell - he's one of the warriors in that dreariest contemporary phenom, the Culture Wars - author of Tenured Radicals, etc. Poor Kimball - when he has some hair up his butt, he can get his rocks off, but without an opponent to caricature - writing in the belles-lettres format - he comes off sounding like he'd been suckled on bottle of port. What kills me is the High Table affectation combined with
Remora It is Plutarch day tomorrow. My Mom used to sing me the song Plutarch day comes once a year and on that day be of good cheer and then we would all gather round and listen to her read the Comparison of Pompey with Agesilaus. Brings a tear to my eye, still. So I thought I'd point you all to this translation of one of his essays. It is in French though. LIVRE IV So okay, first in the French, continuing the discussion of the parts of the soul: Pythagore, Platon, � le prendre � la plus g�n�rale division, tiennent que l'�me a deux parties, c'est � savoir la partie raisonnable, & la partie irraisonnable: mais � y regarder de plus pr�s & plus exactement, elle a trois parties, car ils sous- divisent la partie irraisonnable en la concupiscence & en l'irrascible. Les Sto�ques disent, qu'elle est compos�e de huit parties, cinq des sens naturels, le sixi�me, la voix, le septi�me, la semence, le huiti�me, l'entendement, par lesquelles t
Remora I've dealt with some heavy stuff this week - but this is the most startling news of all! ==> brainsluice ==> extra ==> nasa fakes moon landing! . I suspected those crafty NASA people of faking that moonlanding, but these pics are so overwhelmingly conclusive -- and also, the muppets crawling out of the craters are sorta cute. ... Now if only someone would get to the bottom of the notorious SURVIVOR scam. Outback of Australia, they said -- sure. Those Survivor folks were marooned on a lot behind a Shoney's in Hackensack, New Jersey. Far from dining on grubs and goat, they called out for pizza during the breaks. How do I know this? Secret sources that I can only divulge to the National Enquirer for a certain to be determined amount of up front incentive.
Dope It is time to talk about... Argentina . That's right. The country that, in the early 90s, made foreign investors cream in their boxers by adopting those golden Chile policies - free markets for everybody was the slogan. Tie the peso to the dollar, slay that inflation, and what do you have? An investors dream. Luckily, when an investors dream turns into a nightmare, you always have the government. So, the IMF loaned de la Rua's government its money. Is this good news? The Times Analysis was characteristic of the Times. Here's a move that is mainly going to benefit those speculators that have loans to Argentina. And those investors, those emerging market managers, are they headquartered in Buenos Aires? Is the pope a Mormon? Of course they aren't. Look for their offices in shady Westport, Connecticut, or in the LatinAmerican sections of the Morgan bank, and Citicorp. But no - in keeping with the fiction that foreign policy in the US responds strictly to our id
Remora I'm sunshine this week, ladies and germs. First I harangue you about Hiroshima, and now here's a link to a discussion of Rwanda: Conversation with Philip Gourevitch, p. 4 of 7 I'm reading Gourevitch's book for a job I'm doing, and it is impressive. Here's a quote from the Conversation -- "People like to go to the Holocaust Museum and say, that's who I relate to, the guy who did right. Either they relate somehow to the victim and feel bad about themselves and sorry for themselves, or they relate to the good guy. Very few go in there and say, oh yeah I probably would have been just like an ordinary conformist Nazi murderer, right? But probably the great majority of people who go through that museum would have been, because that's what the great majority of people in Europe were. They were either bystanders, collaborators, or in some other way morally reprehensible positions which are all too understandable. But there they are. But no,
Remora. Alan suggested I visit this site: The Simple Living Newsletter - The Simple Living Network I like what these people stand for - better living through less stuff - but they lack a certain --- punchiness. This opinion might say more about me than the Simple Living guys, however - lately I've just felt aggressive. Hmm, time for a vacation, I think.
Dope In last night�s post, I bastinadoed the defenders of the Hiroshima bombing � many of whom came out in force in 1995, like ancient ghouls, to censor the Smithsonian�s exhibit on the Enola Gay. Let�s start out tonight by conceding one thing to that crowd. The revisionist historians � led by Gar Alperowitz - who so expertly mapped the evasions and maneuvers of war policy in the Truman administration messed up big time by concluding, in one of the often sited proto-scripts to introduce the exhibit's theme, that �for most Japanese, it was a war to defend their unique culture against Western imperialism.� That is an outrageously stupid claim � as well claim that German Einsatzgruppen in the Ukraine were trying to spread the sweetness and light of high German culture. No, the Japanese empire, from around 1932 to 1945, were one of the century�s great criminal regimes. From the looting of Manchuria to the rape of Nanking to the horrific �defense� of Manila, in 1945, when Japane
Remora Hey - I've always been anti-work - or workin for the steal, if that is how that line from the Public Enemy song goes - but an organization that takes up where the situationalists left off - an anti-economy league, in short - was a pipe-dream. Others couldn't possibly feel the way I do, right? No, wrong! Check out the Committee for Full Enjoyment, and the anti-economy manifesto: The Anti-Economy League
Dope. In 1995, for the 50th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing , the Smithsonian planned on a special exhibit on the Enola Gay, using information that had been gradually released since the war. An ad hoc coalition of the American Legion and a lobbying front group supported by defense contractors mounted a successful resistance to the exhibit, portraying it as some kind of weird propaganda coup for communism and the Imperial Japanese Army Headquarters. This line was eagerly taken up by the Washington Post, the tone being set by a Charles Krauthammer column . The controversy replayed a battle that has been going on a long time. The locus classicus of the defense of the bombing is a piece by Paul Fussell entitled, "Thank God for the Atom Bomb". Sorry, guys, no copy of this is available on-line. I'm going to reduce it to its arguments, although the piece really relies on its rhetoric. Still, the Fussell's three arguments for the bomb are common to his camp. I�
Dope A day that will live in infamy passed without it being properly anathematized by your humble spirit this month. No, it was not the day the movie Pearl Harbor outgrossed the cost of the real thing, but August 6. The 56th anniversary of Hiroshima. When I was a kid in 1968 or 9, my best friend was Mike Sears. It was Mike Sears who brought the John Hershey book, Hiroshima, to class. And I read a little bit of it. And it scared the living shit out of me. I had nightmares about it � oddly erotic nightmares. Since the bomb�s effect was to burn the clothing into the skin or off the skin, Hershey�s account shows a dazed city of survivors wandering about naked, a landscape of burned and flowing skin, and this impressed my prurient sixth grade subconscious. The first nightmare I had about Hiroshima, I woke and discovered that I wet myself � and then I discovered that this fluid was stickier than urine. For a long time, Hiroshima was too frightening for me to read about � and I am
Remora I've always thought Christopher Hitchens was right about Mother Theresa - a nasty ghoul with an uncanny knack for palling around with the most unsavory rich people in the world, when she wasn't forcibly converting the dying, for breadcrumbs and a bed, to an ersatz belief in Jesus Christ . My favorite heroine from India is the anti- Mother Theresa - Phoolan Devi, the bandit queen, who kicked ass - and knocked off 22 men, supposedly - after being given the usual gangbang treatment in rural India. No passive resistance for this girl. Bought, raped, misused, she was one lowcaste virgin/whore who danced her own return of the repressed on the heads of a typical village ruling clique. She even got elected to Parliment - hell, if she had only been running for the Senate in New York State, we would have had a real feminist in American politics, even. Anyway, she was murdered. Here's a depressing story about the wholse sordid affair. Fierce Struggle for Spoils of Slain &#