Skip to main content


Showing posts from July 25, 2004
Bollettino There is an aspect about the argument over the causes of the invasion of Iraq that bugs LI. The arguments, pro and con, over the Bush administrations justifications for the war systematically ignore the larger context of the war. In the rush to subject the minutia of justification to microscopic analysis, the connection of these minutia to the overall schema, as well as the outlines of that schema, are silently forgotten. To my mind, the standard can’t just be: Iraq presented a gathering threat. It has to be closer to what Bush has said himself: in the post 9/11 world, we need to evaluate these threats differently. If we use that standard, then we have to ask: were all the claims to justify the invasion consistent with the larger context of winning the war against the particular network of terrorists that attacked us on 9/11? If, in fact, the time and circumstances of the war in Iraq were separate from, or even diversionary from, the larger context, than the growing threat
Bollettino The man who isn’t there There’s an article by Lawrence Wright in the New Yorker about the bombings in Madrid that dilates into an examination of the current state of play in the terrorist world. Here’s a clip from it: “On April 15th, the voice of Osama bin Laden spoke again. “This is a message to our neighbors north of the Mediterranean, containing a reconciliation initiative as a response to their positive reactions,” bin Laden said on the Arab satellite channel Al Arabiya. Now it was the Al Qaeda leader who cast himself in the role of a rational political actor. “It is in both sides’ interest to curb the plans of those who shed the blood of peoples for their narrow personal interest and subservience to the White House gang.” He proposed a European committee to study “the justice” of the Islamic causes, especially Palestine. … The fact that bin Laden was addressing nations as an equal showed a new confidence in Al Qaeda’s ability to manipulate the political future. Exploiti
Bollettino When LI ruminated this joint into being, we decided that we were not going to spend our time exclusively referring people to other blogs. Our idea was that the Internet is so incredibly big that we could wander through it the way a Borges character might wander through the Library of Babel, randomly pulling out sites, spilling contents, going on eccentric and timewasting tangents. In this library, there is definitely a place for blogs (and for porno, and for pictures of cats, and for listservs, etc., etc.) and we try to sneak in links to those blogs we like or those that have caught our interest for some reason; but the blogosphere is so intensely inward looking that we felt that we couldn’t compete with those bloggers who do this much better.  For this reason, we’ve never constructed a permanent list of links, since the goal was, and is, to embed the shock of recognition contained by the link in the post.  LI has been re-thinking that of late. Should we surrender to the
Bollettino My God! Somebody gets it! Last week, the NEA issued a report, "Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America." The report lamented the decline of the reading of novels and poetry and such in America. The reports about the report lamented the same thing. Party line about reading is that it is always a good thing in itself. Carlin Romano’s column in the Chronicle of Higher C. examined the report, and found some of the statistics not so dire. That is interesting, but what rivets yours truly, a book reviewer who desperately wants out of the trade, is the end of Romano’s article. I could hardly believe it. They are almost word for word what I have been telling people forever – in fact, what I told the book editor at the Austin Chronicle just last week.      "Almost nothing in our culture," the distinguished New York book editor Elisabeth Sifton memorably observed in a Harper's symposium years ago, "encourages the private moment o