Skip to main content


Showing posts from September 5, 2004
Bollettino Perhaps LI’s mood, lately, has effected our vision. We are seeing black in black. Our worst case scenario for this election seems to be coming true. Not only does Bush seem to be winning it, but he seems on the verge of winning it by a large margin. So, is this just a case of a population taking a large detour from the reality principle – a mass neurosis? Mass neurosis among males has another name – war. Tom Friedman, the warmonger, gave as his reason for supporting the war in Iraq that we had to attack somebody after 9/11. You don’t have to charge 150 per to recognize a classic case of substitution and compulsion when it drops a bomb on you, or shanghais your kids making part time money in the Guard into a pointless death in the desert. We fight one war – a real one – with a comic dearth of troops and follow up, prolong it by way of incompetent mercenaries in Peshawar, while we turn our soldiers into mercenaries for an ex-Ba’athist president-for-life in waiting
Bollettino A tape that the murderers made in Beslan has been released. An account in the Independent describes it as a minute long pan showing the hostages in the gym, and the bombs strung up on the basketball hoops. It seems to LI that the disaster of last Friday was fatally bound up with the way the murderers strung the bombs. It was as simple as that. In an overheated school with 1,200 prisoners and dissension among the murderers themselves, there was every chance of accident. The point at issue, in the media, was whether the Security forces responded too hastily to the initial explosions heard in the school. Yet given the circumstances, it is hard to see how the crisis could have proceeded to a peaceful settlement, given the criminal nature of the terrorists, the lies of the government, and the fury of the inhabitants of Beslan. Reports from the survivors claim that when the murderers disagreed among themselves, some were even murdered by the chief. There are two diffe
Bollettino The WP gives one of those “let’s pretend to care about the casualties’ articles that are bound to occur as US casualties hit 1,000 – and will reoccur at 1,500 and 2,000 – that contains some astonishingly stupid grafs generated by the WP line that “nobody” could have guessed what a butcher shop Iraq was going to become. “Before the war, predictions by even the most skeptical Bush administration critics did not include scenarios of escalating violence this long after the invasion, or of the U.S. military issuing a news release such as the one it sent out Tuesday morning, headlined "Fighting Continues in Eastern Baghdad." In addition, several cities near Baghdad have slipped from U.S. control in recent months and have become "no-go zones" for U.S. troops. "No one that I know of, to include the most pessimistic experts, predicted a full-scale insurgency would break out within a couple of months of the overthrow of the old regime," said Stev
Bollettino LI decided that, due to world events, the best thing to do at the moment would be to read some Tolstoy. So we’ve been reading a novella – The Cossacks – and the Prisoners of the Caucasus. We were pointed to the latter story by an essay in Russian Studies in Literature, Spring 2004 by Paula A. Michaels (Prisoners of the Caucasus: From Colonial to Postcolonial Narrative), which considers Tolstoy’s stories and two films which derive from it. Now, we are grateful for Ms. Michaels pointer. But we read the story in a state of recoil from Ms. Michaels article. You see, Ms. Michaels is infected with the American penchant for fundamentalism. Fundamentalist Christians read the bible literally – fundamentalist academics operate with the same procedures, but (usually) different sacred text. In Ms. Michaels case, Edward Said’s Orientalism is holy writ, and she happily applies it like a treasure map on which the magic x that marks the spot stands for racism. Thus, she can guide h
Bollettino The most depressing news of the day comes from the NYT article about the one murderer who was taken in Beslan. “Among the most arresting television images here on Monday, along with the parade of coffins and the keening of crowds of mourners, was the face of a terrified man, gripped tightly by two masked soldiers, who was identified as the only hostage-taker to be captured alive."By God, I did not shoot!'' he mumbled when asked if he had fired on fleeing hostages. "By God, I have not killed!''Asked by the soldiers if he had not had pity on the children he had held for 51 hours without food or water, he pleaded: "Yes, I did have pity! I have children, too.''Speaking in a slurred voice, he said, "They gathered us in a forest, a person known as 'commander,' and they said that we must seize a school in Beslan.'' He said the orders had come from Aslan Maskhadov, a Chechen rebel leader, and Shamil Basayev, a militant warl
Bollettino LI has been grimly trying to accommodate ourselves to the thought that Bush will be the president for the next four years. This looks more and more probable. The NYT includes a story about the laughable Kerry campaign – a campaign that has spent a month focusing on foreign policy without suggesting what Kerry’s foreign policy would actually be, which is quite a feat – with a story of how the Kerry-ites are trying to reinvigorate themselves by connecting to Clinton. The story includes this immortal line: “On Saturday, Mr. Johnson drew applause from Democrats assembled for a weekly strategy meeting at Mr. Kerry's headquarters when he reassured aides that the campaign had settled on a clear line of attack against Mr. Bush, people at the meeting said. “ Is there anything more pathetic? Since the Dems rolled over about Iraq – after all, isn’t the real issue that Kerry was a GENUINE hero back in the days when Mick Jagger was young? – the media has been left in a va
Bollettino We are still stunned here about events in Beslan. The best report about the hostage taking is this extremely frightening story in the Washington Post . According to the people the Post interviewed, there were no “Arabs” at the scene, just Basaev’s Chechen jihadists. However, given the grotesque and largescale nature of the seizure of the school and the segregation of the hostages, it is hard to tell whether the Russian claim is correct or not. LI has been rather stunned, too, by the ignorance or indifference shown in the American response to Beslan. For example: one of the blogs we go to daily, Crooked Timber , is made up of some of the Internet’s best and brightest academic bloggers, yet in the two comments they have posted so far, it is as if no background knowledge about Chechnya whatsoever has penetrated to this group – and, by inference, outside of the small circle that has been concerned with the inhumane and sinister war that has devastated Chechnya since 1995.