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Showing posts from July 20, 2003
Bollettino Since I am working on a novel, I am reading novels. Novelist sum, ergo I steal. For some reason, I've decided to give myself a dose of Conrad, since my novel is about politics and murder. But I've also been treating myself to Raymond Queneau's Le Chiendent. This was translated as "The Barking Tree" a long time ago. Recently, NYRB re-issued it as witchgrass -- since that variety of plant is what Chiendent literally means. Barbara Wright's intro to the book is here . Here, according to Wright, is how the book germinated: He [Queneau] has described how, on his voyage to Greece: "I had taken Descartes' Discourse on Method with me, so I decided to translate it into spoken French. With this idea in mind I began to write something which later became a novel called Le Chiendent. You will find a good deal of popular language in it, but also a few efforts in the philosophical sense, I seem to remember." That seem to remember is g
Bollettino Dis.sense is a German site. This month, they are emphasizing doing nothing -- Nicht-tun. And as part of that theme, someone translated Kasimir Malevich's legendary essay on laziness into German . Well, yours truly has translated the first part of it into English. Enjoy. Laziness as the actual Truth of Mankind Work as an instrument to reach truth Philosophy of the socialistic Idea It has always made a strange impression on me to hear or read some family member or bureaucrat making a contemptuous remark about laziness. �Laziness is the mother of all vices� � which is how the collective wisdom of humanity and all peoples has branded this particular style of human activity. But for myself, I�ve always been of the opinion that this condemnation of laziness is unfair. Why is work so great? Why is it elevated to the throne of praise and fame, while laziness is forced to sit in the pillory and all the lazy are shamed and have to wear the burden of viciousness; mea
Bollettino The best account of Saddam's boys brief and one hopes brutish life in the ruins of the country they beset like Biblical locusts is by Patrick Cockburn, in the New Zealand Herald . "Neither Uday nor Qusay, the sons of Saddam Hussein, were cut out to be resistance leaders. They were brought up in luxury. While other Iraqis were living in poverty in the 1990s Uday still employed two pastry cooks as part of his personal staff. Not surprisingly, if American claims about their deaths are correct, they were discovered in a large mansion in Mosul. "In so far as Saddam Hussein ever trusted anybody he trusted his two sons, Uday, a sadistic playboy, and Qusay, more studious but equally violent. Both were entirely dependent on their father. They never contradicted him, restrained him or had any ideas of their own." And here's an item typical Uday's beastliness: "Uday, in particular, was even more loathed by Iraqis than Saddam himself. Ud
Bollettino Good news from Iraq about the death of the meat machine�s brats, Uday and Qsay. They were killed in a firefight, the radio is reporting. Patrick Cockburn, in Out of the Ashes, has a wonderful account of the attempted assassination by two Iraqi students of the miserable Uday � the man who played the part of Iraq�s subdeb Beria. There�s a story in the WP about the revivification of the Peace movement. It is coalescing around, natch, the Bush lies. We are happy about the dogging of Bush; we are unhappy that the peace party wants to jump into the past with both of its boots on, however. The real problem right now is the War in Iraq, and how to extract the U.S. from its occupation of same. We think it is a big mistake to show no concern a., for the American troops that have been essentially shanghaied there, and b., to let the Bush agenda there get a simple pass. We�ve reached a moment in which pressure can make a difference: the administration is starting, vaguely, to l
Bollettino LI was off line for a bit there, kids. The power company switched off the juice. We have many and sundry comments to make about that, but none of them are interesting. On to the Whirlwind Wolfowitz tour. We've eagerly soaked up news of Wolfowitz touring his domain, liberated Iraq, this weekend. It is a topic loaded with satiric possibilities that cry out for an Evelyn Waugh, or at the very least, a Joseph Heller. Major Major Major among the Marsh Arabs for the photo op ... this is life imitated art with a vengeance. Enjoy it: after all, we are spending 4 billion dollars a month for the ticket. In coordination with his boss, Wolf was on topic about the nasty Syrians and Iranians -- wars that look increasingly like the last presents in Santa's bag. Here is the semantically clueless graf from MSNBC about our man's latest bromide: "MOSUL, Iraq, July 21 � U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz warned foreigners on Monday not to interfere in