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Showing posts from February 17, 2002
Remora There�s a nice review of God, Gulliver, and Genocide: Barbarism and the European Imagination, 1492-1945 by Claude Rawson in TNR last week . Limited Inc prepared for the worst in the intro grafs. Reviewer Jonathan Alter seemed to be heading into traffic in the usual way with the oblique hissing at the supposed �anti-Western� clique in the universities: �Over the past two decades, with evidently growing vehemence, the critique of Western civilization has become the great preoccupation of the humanities in American institutions of higher learning, especially in departments of literary studies. (Edward Said's Orientalism, which appeared in 1978, was certainly one point of departure for this general trend, though not all the current assaults on the pernicious influence of the West can be traced to Said.) It is Western civilization, we are repeatedly told, that has perpetrated the evils of colonialism on a global scale, and in the postcolonial era it is Western capitalism that
Remora Limited Inc reads the newspapers for much the same reasons that hard shell Baptists listen to hellfire sermons -- to produce a feeling of dys-empathy, an odd combination of melancholy and self satisfaction. Our love for all humanity is tempered by our satisfaction that humanity is being lead into various unbelievable disasters by the most greedy and dimwitted among us. Going to hell in a handbasket kind of thing, you know. But sometimes, sometimes an item peeks through the gloom like a ray of golden sunshine. The best news in the NYT is in the science section today. No way to say this without a tremor of emotion in the voice: the Ivory Billed Woodpecker may STILL BE ALIVE! "[] team that spent 30 days in a swampy Louisiana forest looking for a woodpecker long thought to be extinct reported yesterday that members may have heard the bird, but they did not see it." The ivory billed woodpecker isn't simply a bird, but like the dodo, the great auk, the eskimo
Remora Policy Review, a true blue, conservative journal, features a review by a Steven Menashi, of Mark Lilla�s new book . The Lure of Syracuse, the last chapter in Lilla's book, was published in the NYRB in the black month of September. Limited Inc didn't have the heart, at the time, to make with the commentary. Lilla uses the story of Plato's supposed attraction to the tyrant of Syracuse, Dionysus, to make a point. Or a couple of points. One is the point that the story should be about Plato's ultimate resistance to tyranny. The other is that twentieth century thinkers have been attracted to the philosopher slash murder king. The second point is the important one for Lilla. On the one hand, Lilla�s point is true. A large part of the intelligentsia in every decade has embraced the most obnoxious governors, a crew of murderous and venal men like Hitler, Stalin, Mao. So, for that matter, have carpenters and farmers. The problem with Lilla�s story is that it
Comments on yesterday's post from Alan: "Roger, I don't have access to the London Times article here at work so I'm flying blind here. But here are a couple of observations. --Rational self-interest, as conceived by free-market economists, would never lead anyone to try to be president of the United States. There are a whole lot less painful ways to get a whole lot richer. Besides, when you grow up a rich kid like Georgie-poo, I suspect the marginal utility of additional bucks is pretty much nil. I would think, in the absence of any more particular motivations, that maximizing utility would consist in finding ways to avoid boredom. --We've got two questions here: GWB's character and motivation, and Luttwak's. From a number of things I've read, I think it very likely that since 9/11, GWB genuinely regards himself as a Man on a Mission. However, unlike your version of Luttwak, I do not think that is a Good Thing. It scares t
Remora When the best aren�t the brightest, and the brightest have to console themselves with Noam Chomsky. Or, put that in a Venn diagram and stuff it in your pipe, sailor. Bush will go to war even if it puts him out of power is the headline of an article in the Sunday (London) Times by Edward Luttwak. Headlines are written by a specialized set of editorial room ghosts. This fact continually escapes readers. I know. I�ve written articles crowned by headlines that have the same relation to my article as the image of the barroom seen through a beer bottle by a drunk has to the barroom as seen by a sober boyscout. And in these cases, sophisticated readers (like you) often ask me to explain the headline, as though it flowed from my pen. But in this case the headline sums up this farrago of nonsense quite well. Oh, get used to it. This is the type of drivel we shall all be reading a lot of, pretty soon. Luttwak is jumping ahead of the curve, crafty syncophant that he is. Building
Remora How about them corpses? Surely the movie is coming. Surely some b movie producer, some Hollywood scientologist, is on this like white on rice. Psycho is one thing, but Georgia rednecks are a whole other level of grotesque. They were good enough for Flannery O'Connor, so they should be good enough for you. The NYT story about the corpses of Walker County is another sad reminder that these are times that try the non-tv watcher's soul. I mean, camera man's delight. The woods. The voiceover. The faux conversation (Tammy, what is the sherriff saying about the body up in the crook of the pine tree there?). Essential tv. And here's the essential graf: "After a dog walker stumbled over a skull on Friday, law enforcement officers discovered at least 120 rotting corpses in sheds and on the ground near the crematory, and state officials said that that figure could double by the time the area is fully examined. Some of the bodies had been there for years and we
Remora Limited Inc is back, and campers, campers, settle down. I know, the overwhelming cards and letters sequence. The concern. The offers of sexual healing, food, socks. But who else out there is gonna give you such quality bitching? Such reports from the stark underground that your ancestors, your great grandfather, maybe, thought he'd left behind in the Old World? Our, our.... ressentiment, to use Max Scheler's term for the terminal condition, the termite ridden condition, of our seedy thoughts, such as they are.. Limited Inc, back in the dreamtime of the race, used to be enamored of Marx. Marxists have a way of knocking that out of you. We still like Mike Davis, the author of Ecology of Fear, and a recent book on the "Late Victorian Holocaust." Davis has focused on the combination of incipient free trade capitalism and bad, bad weather at the end of the 19th century. The death toll from these converging forces, from India to Egypt to Brazil, is pretty start