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Showing posts from October 12, 2003
Bollettino LI likes to consider that we are a moral shrew � that we prod against the dead mass of atrocity in this world, to the extent that a Lilliputian can prod against a leviathan; that we unhesitatingly criticize our own country knowing that the only moral force that has ever moved America is that force which is unafraid to confront the crimes of the powerful and label them as crimes; that we are, in a word, militantly informed. Such BS. Well, we�ve been writing for two years, and we haven�t even delved into Chechnya. We haven�t said word one about the perhaps two million who have disappeared in the great ten years war in Central Africa. As a moral shrew, you�d have to say that LI is a very parochial moral shrew. So let�s repair a bit of this. We have been trying to catch up with Chechnya, lately, reading the reports of Anna Politskovskaya, a Russian journalist who courageously went into the country in 99, during the course of the second great battle of the post Soviet
Bollettino Tom Friedman is up to his old tricks again. At the moment, he is sounding much like Dick Nixon. At least Nixon had some reason to speak about a 'silent majority" of Americans in the 1970s. Friedman's grotesque parody of the Nixonian moment is to talk about the silent majority of Iraqis. You will be unsurprised that Friedman, equipped with superspecial ESP, has tapped into the libido of this group. Yes, Virginia, there is a silent majority of Iraqis stolidly husking the corn out there, and Friedman is their prophet. Much as the tailors in the Hans Christian Andersen tale demonstrated their skill with invisible thread, Friedman, having given his views this mass status, is free to represent the Iraqi man in the street. And why not? After all, it looks like the constitution, which will make Iraq a find and dandy permanent representative of the Republican party, is a bit off in the future -- say ten to twenty years -- so at present, the governing symbols of Iraq a
Bollettino I�ve just reviewed one of those annual best of anthologies that picks poems, fiction, and that whore, creative non-fiction from the leading journals and tosses em up, in a huge, indigestible salad. There were maybe fifteen poems in the anthology. And here�s the thing: the poems weren�t even there enough to pronounce them as bad. They were a turned off tv in the room � a blank, blind gaze. Why is poetry so bad right now? There are maybe ten novelists and short story writers who broke into prominence in the nineties. At least five of them could be identified by any medium reader. You might not have read Infinite Jest, but you will recognize David Foster Wallace�s. You might not have read Secret History, but you will recognize Donna Tartt�s name. The same test would turn up approximately zero British or American poets. This isn�t because of some great scandalous overthrow of technique. The make it new credo lasted, I�d say, about through Olson. I�m an eclectic ki
Bollettino In this country, the drug war is shaped by a cycle as inexplicable as the Mayan million year year. Every decade or so, a celebrity overdoses or generally gets in trouble with a drug. In the eighties, Len Bias, a basketball star, and -- it turned out - an avid tooter, suffered a heart attack, died, and was discovered to have traces of cocaine in his blood stream. Congress went bonkers , and built him their sweetest little memorial, all made out of millions of people�s lives, ticking away, 5- 15 years at a shot. Prison populations, you embrace multitudes, the Congress cried, faintly echoing Whitman. The thing was called the Drug Abuse act of 1986. The thing is with us still. Unexpectedly, Rush Limbaugh, who one would imagine to have more trouble with bourbon than with heroin, is the celebrity for this year�s cycle. I�m not really interested in Rush Limbaugh as a person or as a controversialist, and I think it is rather funny that we are being treated to various snippets