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Showing posts from October 19, 2003
Bollettino Alterman�s new column excoriates the Dems for their latest Dem failure. Basically, they blew their chance, again, on a no brainer -- using the 87 billion dollar Bush bill to take large, partisan, bloody hunks out of this administration's hide. It's the special Daschle incompetence. That Gephardt, who represents the other half of this losing duo, thinks he has a chance in hell of being elected president shows the astonishing things that can happen to your ego in D.C. It wasn't always like this. Dem pols were once a byword for hard cases. The Dems, after all, were a streetfighting party � they came out of East coast inner cities with a chip on their shoulders. Bobby Kennedy was this kind of Dem � underhanded, fierce, vengeful. And by and large, successful. The new, kinder Dems are roll-overs for the cannibal Christian wing of the Republican party. Here's how the issue was manipulated: the question became, how much of the sum was going to be con
Bollettino My friend H. (who has told me, in the past, to distinguish more rigorously, in this blog, between H., which always refers to H., and Saddam H., which always refers to the meat monster) � my friend H., to begin again, has sent me a piece he wrote for the Iranian on allergies. It�s a clever bit of troping on that sneeze inducing topic, beginning with Juliet�s question, �what�s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.� This phrase has been so trampled over the centuries that it has become a clich� for clich�s. But H. actually sees something in it from an unexpected direction. Nobody that I know has made the connection between names, roses, pollen, and histamines before. H. does . �Juliet's anxiety stems in part from the contradiction between a name and the reality it represents. Historical enmity between the Capulet and Montague families is an impediment to the desires unfolding in Juliet's body for a reality embodied by Romeo the lover. Ju
Bollettino Martin Jay, who has spent his life dissecting and explaining the texts of some of the 20th century�s most dialectically challenging thinkers (Adorno, Benjamin), is a strangely hamfisted writer. In this season�s Salmagundi, he has a long, and rather depressing essay entitled "Ariel Sharon and the rise of the new anti-semitism." The newness of the anti-semitism is, we suppose, that there are less accusations of ritual murder this time around � but otherwise, it seems pretty much the old story of Jewish conspiracies, traced by Norman Cohen all the way back to the first century. First things first. The most depressing part of the essay � depressing because it is so plain silly � is the end. �One place to begin on both sides would be to declare a total moratorium on comparisons of the actions of the others with the Nazis, which does nothing but close off any possible discussion of real grievances and how to resolve them. Playing the Nazi card discredits the
Bollettino I love history of science journals. Or, the higher antiquitarianism. So one of my favorite reads is Osiris . The winter issue of the journal is out, and it is all about the polis as the site of scientific research. We�d like to call the attention of readers of Limited Inc to two articles. The first is by Theresa Levitt, �Organizing sight, seeing organization: the diverging optical possibilities of city and country.� It is the very Balzacian story of two men who engaged in a fierce debate over light in the 1820s in Paris. Here�s Levitt�s establishing graf: �Francois Arago created the polarimeter in 1811, after discovering that polarized light, when passed through a doubly refracting prism and a piece of mica, divided into two, complementary-colored beams. This new instrument, whose colorful images indicated the presence of polarized light, was at the heart of what is often called the early-nineteenth-century revolution in optics. (1) Most histories characterize this
Bollettino You have read this before: the news story or opinion column that surveys the European scene and emphasizes the spooky number of Europeans who believe that 9/11 was a set-up. And you�ve read this before: the news story or opinion column that surveys the Middle Eastern scene and emphasizes the spooky number of Muslims who believe that 9/11 was the work of the Jews, or was planned by the Bush administration. Such exposes of mass gullibility have become a fixture in the American press, one answer to the perennial question: why do they hate us? Answer: they are cretins. A good example of this kind of thing is linked here: Anne Applebaum�s column about the Frankfurt Book fair for the Washington Post . She knits together the two popular motifs, moving from the claim that a German translation of Thierry Meyssan�s L�effroyable imposture, the most famous of the conspiracy books, had mounted to best seller status in Germany, to a news story about some German group that was demandin