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Showing posts from September 14, 2003
Bollettino When is a genocide not a genocide? When it doesn't fit in with anti-communist history, that 's when. In the Wash Post there is a jokey little article about the continuing presence of Lenin -- Lenin the evil -- in the former Soviet Union. The focus is on the controversy over taking Lenin's statue down in Kyrgyzstan. The article ends with this carefree paragraph: "Ibraimov said he always intended to put the statue back up elsewhere in deference to Lenin's role in freeing Kyrgyzstan from the last Russian czar, who oversaw a 1916 crackdown here that killed 120,000 Kyrgyz, roughly one-sixth of the population. "He saved us from dying off," Ibraimov said. "Our attitude toward Lenin is unique." Quite a crackdown there, for a saint of the Russian Orthodox Church. Frankly, we'd never hear of Czar Nicholas doing this. But surely, with all the concentration on Lenin's complicity in the construction of the Gulag -- a complicity
Bollettino When Chalabi and Chirac are singing the same song, you know something has gone seriously haywire. This administration, packed with Straussians who are so proud of their lack of a sense of irony -- that horrid thing, irony, which many a conservative commentator in the post-9/11 dysphoria proclaimed to be DOA -- has now produced a situation that generates a world historical irony every newscycle. That Chirac has reverted to the timetable that Donald Rumsfeld was using back in May -- back in the cheery days when the plan was that the US footprint would dwindle to 30,000 in Iraq by September, with the rest, one supposes, liberating Damascus or Teheran - does not seem to be admired as much as it should be. In a more just world, Chirac would be languishing in prison, convicted on various corruption charges. We don't live in a more just world, which is of course why we have irony in the first place. In the Spring, when France was opposing Bush's war, the internati
Bollettino For reasons I've noted before (abject poverty and systematic non-payment of Roger), I am about to lose my AOL account. My new mailing address is: I think I've caught everybody who needs to know this, but if I haven't -- well, if you send me an email and it bounces back, this is the reason why. Similarly, I'll be losing my phone service some time next week. Anybody who wants or needs to call me should be advised to do it before then. In the words of Lou Lou Lou Reed -- "I'm going out/on the dirty avenue."
Bollettino Car ce sont les conqu�tes qu'on est menac� de subir qui font horreur ; celles qu'on accomplit sont toujours bonnes et belles. -- Simone Weil Fishing the internet is one of the addicting sports. For those of you up to the French, I'd strongly recommend the Jean Marie Trembley's fantastic collection at the Universite of Quebec, Les Classiques des sciences sociales . They've just added Weil's Ecrits on history and politics, which includes the famous -- or to some people, infamous -- essay on Hitlerism and Rome. I've been reading it. Simone Weil used to mean a lot to me -- but I gradually turned against her. In fact, I view her with a bit of dread. She was a woman whose response to oppression was practically somatic. She had a strong case of Christ envy, which, I imagine, ever her death by starvation did nothing to assuage. It isn't often noted that Weil fascinated Georges Bataille, whose readers come from a very different pool than th
Bollettino Ledger of a writer. What a fabulous month. At the beginning of the month, I was informed by two New York papers for whom I had written reviews that appeared in the first week of August, who had me write them to deadlines by mid July, that they wouldn't be paying me until the last week of September. Now a friend, who offered me money to do some research for her, has pretty much told me that she is sending me a check -- through the post office of the country that she lives in -- that will reach me by the end of October, or November, or December. I made a grandiose gesture, and told her to forget it. But it really isn't that grandiose: who knows what address I will have when the wayward check hits my box? The torment of waiting for it overshadows the amount itself. I have offered to pay (with an I.O.U.) for her not to send the check. So: zero dollars has landed in my account, and I made zero in August. I am facing a bills of about 550 dollars. Oh, and that mo
Letter My friend T. has responded to my posts about reviewing. Here are some of the juicy bits. "I wasn�t going to do this. I had a plan. I left work and was going to get home a hellofalot earlier than my usual; I was not going to log on, jack in, read or research or write�no, I was going to drink beer and watch the Giants-Cowboys game, or a Steve McQueen movie and drift off to sleep earlier than is my usual�.but, no, not to be�I�d rather respond to your post regarding the book review. I will not disturb your account of the track of the book review unto nullity implicated in the fate of magazines and newspapers; I will accept it wholly as a report from a front that I have no interest in visiting. As for your account of the experience of finding books becoming a nullity in its absorption by academia, I will confirm that report as a fellow traveler. The quotes from Copperfield, MB and Middlemarch brought me great pause and teary eyes; thank you. From your
Bollettino "Ala and his friends - in the local patois - are 'capsilun': the capsule people, part of a drug culture that, in Iraq, has its very roots in violent criminality. Their drugs of choice - Artane, valium and other hypnotics, and powerful anti-epileptics like clonazepam - were the drugs of choice in Abu Ghraib prison, smuggled in by families or sold to inmates by corrupt doctors". -- The Guardian And thus runs a story in the Guardian about hopped up Baghdadi bandits. Capsilun is too good a term to reserve for those who rely on an all too physical pharamacopeia to get them through the night -- how about those, in D.C., who are drugged on power, arrogance and ignorance? Much worse drugs, all the way around. The Washington Post this Sunday is full of their bellowing. Not that the Post is against their bellowing. One must always remember that Iraq was D.C.'s war, and D.C. is a Republican establishment town. The Washington Post was in the forefront of th