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Showing posts from August 1, 2004
“…nay, is not the Universe itself, at bottom, properly an Intrigue?” – Thomas Carlyle In the late nineties, Norma Baig was in trouble. She had, for instance, the FBI on her tail. They were interested in whether she had tried to defraud her mother, Asma Bagain, by claiming that her mother’s house was her own in order to borrow money against it. Then there was the court complaint that she had beat her mother in law and threatened to kill her, which was part of the general mess, apparently, of being married to John Toliopoulos. During one of her separations from Toliopoulos, she stayed with a woman named Brandy Murphy. According to the Australian paper The Age, Brandy only learned that she was living with a genius when Norma left : "Norma left Chicago on the Labour Day weekend in August 1999. I had been her best friend for five years. We were inseparable. I thought I knew everything about Norma, so when she left I was really upset. I used to sit in her room and cry." …
Bollettino LI can’t pretend to understand the atrocity unfolding in Sudan – the latest atrocity. The “government” of Sudan is a criminal organization that happens to run a state – or at least fulfill the one state function of directed violence. The direction had been towards fighting the South – with the division between Arab Moslem and African Christian being the rubric by which bystanders tried to make sense of the thing. It was obvious, however – and we noted this in our posts on Libya in December – that the next problem in Sudan was going to be in the West. What is happening there is a more traditional mass murder, on ethnic lines. We recommend the article by John Ryle in this week’s NYRB on “the harrowing of Darfur.” “In the case of the south, where the victims were non-Muslims, the official rhetoric justifying the attacks used the vocabulary of holy war, of jihad. Murahaliin were transformed into Mujahideen. But the unofficial rhetoric of the conflict was racial, emp
Bollettino I’ve wanted to do a post about Joseph Glanvill for a while. Glanvill’s name has fascinated me ever since, as a kid, I encountered it in Poe’s story, Ligeia. That story is a typical Poe atmospheric, in which the matter seems to condense briefly out of a dense mental fog and proceed intermittently to some shocking horror that always just escapes the visceral. It is this flickering aspect of Poe that makes his stories seem like the way we remember our dreams – which is mostly what we mean by dream-like. Here’s how Poe begins the story: “I CANNOT, for my soul, remember how, when, or even precisely where, I first became acquainted with the lady Ligeia. Long years have since elapsed, and my memory is feeble through much suffering. Or, perhaps, I cannot now bring these points to mind, because, in truth, the character of my beloved, her rare learning, her singular yet placid cast of beauty, and the thrilling and enthralling eloquence of her low musical language, made their way in