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Showing posts from April 7, 2002
In the book LI mentioned in the last post � The Siege, by Conor Cruise O�Brien � there�s a quotation from a critic, Edward Alexander, that is much on our mind today. Alexander, glossing a poem, exudes a telling phrase: �... the Jewish people finds itself caught in a conflict between the covenant and the historic necessity to survive within history...� Indeed. But we are living, just as the evangelists say, in the end time -- the time when this kind of talk, this pattern of thinking, this use of a coy theology to justify the regretable theft, the imperial murder, has collapsed in on itself, corrupted by its own sentimentality. The covenant and the historic necessity have converged; the messianism of one coincident at all points with the irrationality of the other. Covenant and historic necessity are hauled out by thugs, ultras, gunmen, and news personalities to rhetorically drape any wretched activity whatsoever that can be enforced on one set of skin and bones by another, favor
Remora Okay, LI is obsessed. You are tired of the Middle East. You want things the way they used to be around here. The eccentric flights into biz-olect. The homey essays about encyclopedias. Well, forget it. David Remnick's Talk of the Town piece in this week's New Yorker is a bouquet of Cold War flowers of rhetoric. It exudes a sweet, poisonous smell. He even writes of the "parlor politicians" in Europe -- is this derived from the phrase, parlor pinks? Surely it is. I suppose the contrast is between those effete guys enjoying teas in roccoco-ish chambers and speaking French to each other (yuck!) while on the other side of the world, in the New World, our politicians are up at the crack of dawn, donning grease stained t shirts, smoking marlboros, roping and wrangling and squinting into the sun and getting long and tall and philosophical. Our politicians are like our usurping Potus. They are like Trent Lott. They are as honest and funloving a bunch of guys as yo
Remora Headline politics At least 8 killed in Bus Bombing in Israel ( NYT ) Toll Rises as Israel Presses on: 13 soldiers die; bus explosion kills 8, hurts 14; Sharon resolute ( Boston Globe ) 8 killed after Passenger Bus attacked in Israel ( Washington Post ) Ambush in West Bank Kills 13 Israeli Soldiers ( San Jose Mercury Mercury) That much gone from the world, of skin,tissue, the delicate, fine optic nerve, the hands, the genitals, thought (thethinker dying), bad moods, bad relationships, love, the taste of coffee, hair. Burned, battered, bloody, done. Bad news. But somehow, the headlines never seem to read: 150 dead inJenin; or, Israeli Troops Kill 150 in Camp. Somehow the headline writers neverget around to Palestinian dead except as the sort of cortege of Israeli dead.Somehow Palestinian dead never make the grade, never deserve the caps.Something about them, no doubt. They are, after all, living in a camp. And look at what they are finding in those ca
Remora Museum or Masoleum According to a story in the Ha'aretz , thirteen Israeli soldiers were killed in an ambush in Jenin this morning. "Thirteen IDF soldiers were killed following a series of clashes in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank on Tuesday morning. In addition, an officer with the paratrooper brigade was killed during gunfights in the Nablus casbah. Also Tuesday, in Dura, south of Hebron, another paratroop brigade officer was critically wounded after the IDF thrust into the village. All of the casualties in Jenin were reserve soldiers. Nine other soldiers, also predominately reservists, were hurt in the clashes, two moderately and seven lightly. They were taken to Afula's Emek Hospital for treatment. " According to the paper, there are a dozen Palestinian dead, at least, scattered through the camp. According to the Washington Post , Palestinians estimate that there are many more dead: "more than 100 Palestinians have be
Remora LI has previously sighed over the marvelous Gretchen Morgenson. She is a beacon among financial writers, a reporter who has never churned out fatuous praise, or bogus analysis, or ideological pap, or any of the 101 flavors usual to biz journalism. Gratifyingly, ours is not a minority opinion. GM won a Pulitzer prize for, as the NYT puts it, beat reporting, with the citation praising her "for her trenchant and incisive Wall Street coverage." So, reader, we aren't always out of the loop. We aren't always out of the mainstream. We aren't always the stray from the herd, the doggie that won't get along. So there.
Remora Sharon The Financial Times commences its portrait of Ariel Sharon with an unlikely comparison to Charles De Gaulle. "A few weeks ago, an Israeli newspaper columnist revealed that Ariel Sharon's latest bedside reading was a history of France's Algerian war. It may turn out to be useful study for a leader who, despite his warrior history, was billed by some as Israel's Charles de Gaulle, a strongman who would ultimately understand his adversary's yearning for statehood and deliver peace." Luckily, the portrait doesn't pursue that fantasy very far, because as we say in Texas (and as is infinitely repeated in the press, which can never let go of a faux folksy phrase), that dog don't hunt. You can't go through Sharon's life and find glorious moments of defiance in the face of implacable odds. You can't find a sense of nationhood in the modern sense (vague yearnings for the return of King David don't count). You can'