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Showing posts from January 27, 2002
Remora There's a weblog of the plutocrats ball in NYC . It has links to what's going on and how it is reported. The weblogger, Lance Knobel, seems mildly shocked by conspicuous consumption of the type reported by Alex KUCZYNSKI with her typical dry cocktail style -- mix champagne and battery acid, stir. We, of course, love it: "Heidi Klum, the blond supermodel perhaps best known for her ability to display the charms of the Victoria's Secret Miracle Bra, stood in a crowd of bankers, diplomats, Nobel Prize winners and executives at Brasserie on Wednesday night, marveling at the roster of parties accompanying this year's World Economic Forum, held for the first time in New York. There are so many, she said, some so exclusive that even she might not be invited, like the private Elton John concert for 200 guests sponsored by Lehman Brothers tonight at the Four Seasons restaurant. Ms. Klum turned to her publicist, Desiree Gruber, and asked: "Well, a
Dope We put up our hot little relativism post [1/30/02] in much the same spirit that the Duke nailed up his posters for the Royal Nonesuch, with its final line: LADIES AND CHILDREN NOT ADMITTED: "if that line don't fetch them, I don't know Arkansaw!" Alas, our line didn't fetch em. Lately there has been a royal falling off of site hits. Proof, perhaps, that our obsessions are not those of the zeitgeist. Or proof that Limited Inc. should sprinkle our posts with "girles" or "tits" to fetch that crowd (peculiarly concentrated in Saudi Arabia for some reason) looking for a combo of both. But no, no, this is how far our head is up our ass: we figure to draw the multitudes with relativism. So we wrote to one of our readers, Alan, who has previously figured on this site before as our in-house critic. We asked why our post didn't fetch him. Here's his reply: One reason I didn't respond was I wasn't real sure what you were tr
Remora The terrorists are the ones eating mango mousse. Two reports in the Village Voice today on the plutocrat's ball, otherwise known as the World Economic Forum. Usually this enclave of the disgustingly wealthy and unintelligently powerful meets at Davos. Unfortunately, we live in a world where loopholes in environmental regulations sometimes allow the importation of alien species -- the tiger mussel has invaded the Great Lakes Ecosystem, and the WEF has migrated to NYC. Anarcho protesters are going to try to make the place hot for them -- mais alors, there is the problem that in the USA, right now, dissent is automatically equated to terrorism. Prepare to read about anarchos vandalizing Starbucks and such; the word vandalize won't be used about the police use of water cannons and nightsticks on the fragile skeletal structure of protestors, since presumably one skeletal structure can be replaced with another, while the destruction of a Starbucks is an attack on a thi
Dope My friend was, indeed, dissatisfied with yesterday's post (and if you don't know what I mean, lunkhead, see yesterday's post). Limited Inc, like Coolidge's secretary of state, Henry Stimson, believes that gentlemen don't open other gentleman's mail -- so we aren't going to quote our friend's animadversions about our post, except to sum them up as the observation that we ramble on entertainingly, but to little point. However, we we will quote our own email reply: "... I have a pretty straightforward view that the Middle East is not that exotic, or incomprehensible, vis a vis the West; and that the necessary framework for a civil society is missing in most Middle Eastern countries because of the convergence of two seemingly opposing interests: on the one hand, the theocratic, and on the other hand, the Western. While the theocratic impulse gets its strength, I think, from a false sense of nostalgia that becomes politically powerful when bo
Remora Unwisely, Limited Inc pledged to write about Bernard Lewis yesterday. A friend sent us a Paul Kennedy's review of B.L.'s latest book. This friend remarked on the last graf of that review, which reads: "What, then, is to be done? At the end of the day, Lewis argues, the answer lies within the Muslim world itself. Either its societies, especially those in the Middle East, will continue in ''a downward spiral of hate and spite, rage and self-pity, poverty and oppression,'' with all that implies for a horrible and troubled future; or ''they can abandon grievance and victimhood, settle their differences and join their talents, energies and resources in a common creative endeavor'' to the benefit of themselves and the rest of our planet. Perhaps the outside world can help a bit, though probably not much. ''For the time being, the choice is their own.'' With this final sentence, and all that precedes it, L
Remora Fame and consequences Limited Inc doesn't understand celebrity, but we suspect that celebrity culture and modern forms of tyranny -- the personality cult, the panopticon corporation, the junta with the franchise torture chambers -- are related to each other in numerous unmentionable ways, joined in dark hallways and needle strewn toilet stalls. Obviously, at this site we are doing our best to remain obscure, so that we don't have this problem. The Observer, Sunday, had a series of articles about modern celebrity. Some were trite -- for instance, this idea that Lord Byron was the first modern celebrity, which gets bandied about like a truism, just doesn't seem to be true. Marie Antoinette, who figured as a woman of capacious orifices and voracious sexual appetite in innumerable little street pamphlets in the 1780s, was a celebrity of the Britney Spears type. And what about Werther? Although a fictional character, he was a celebrity of the Harry Potter type
Remora According to a NYT article today , Cayman Island hosts more than 400 banks and 47,000 partnerships. Not to fear, however, upscale reader. The NYT is infinitely understanding of the necessity, in the hot to trot global economy, of such multitudinous activity: "Although Enron's multitude of partnerships have raised suspicions, officials and executives here said such companies are legitimately used by major corporations to defer taxes, maximize profits or provide a tax-neutral setting for deals involving businesses in two countries with different tax rates. Aircraft deals have become popular here, for example, because the island's stability is acceptable to manufacturers and insurers who worry about the political climate or legal protections of some Third World clients." Ah, we understand now. If it is about Maximizing profits -- words that issue in thunder from the American exec's lips -- and we must, as the Nine Inch Nails song advises, bow d
Remora "There is a sense in which, if you chafe at the present complacently 'liberal' consensus, the reputation of Isaiah Berlin stands like a lion in your path," wrote Christopher Hitchens in an almost perfect takedown of that reputation a couple of years ago in The London Review . Sadly, the essay is unavailable on the Net, so I am quoting from Ignatieff's refutation in the Guardian. There's a recent demonstration of Berlin's general mediocrity in the New Republic -- a letter to George Kennan, no less, mandarin to mandarin communication, which we acolytes and students tremble in our boots to hear. Words of the mighty, man. Shall I excerpt, reader? Here is an example of country and western music masquerading as philosophy : " say (and I am not quoting) that every man possesses a point of weakness, an Achilles' heel, and by exploiting this a man may be made a hero or a martyr or a rag. Again, if I understand you correctly, you think
Remora Campaign finance reform. Lives there a man with heart so dead, that to himself he has not said, I don't give a good goddamn about campaign reform? It is the kind of issue favored by newspaper editors, and the H.L. Mencken part of my heart already finds that suspicious or, what is worse, laughable. On the other hand, my hero, Ralph Nader, loves it. So why does Limited Inc feel mal de mer every time the subject comes around? It isn't that we think campaigns can't be regulated. Politics is a market, and markets are necessarily subject to regulation of one kind or another, as previous posts have abundantly announced. Our idea is that, before we talk about amounts of money, we talk transparency. Transparency is a condition for understanding just how the market works -- and that primitive condition is still not met in politics. We think that disclosure laws that would force politicians who vote for, say, softening laws on tax havens, to list those contributors to the