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Showing posts from January 9, 2005
In our post yesterday, we hung the blame for the collapse of poetry, which is surely one of the salient features of our time, on academia. This is way too easy. Perhaps the blame should be fixed, rather, on the end of walking. Most adult Americans do not notice the landscape in terms of walking. But those of us who don’t own cars (LI is of that miserable number) have a keen sense of the difficulties thrown up by roads. Absurdly, a system that theoretically shunts people from one place to another at speeds that were impossible before the twentieth century also creates a prison. This prison, like all prisons, simply by containing certain spaces renders them unfit for human habitation. It erects areas the passage of which is forbidden on pain of death. The walker is hemmed into certain areas and certain routes, not because these routes are naturally difficult – mountains and jungles and such – but because they are humanly convenient – concrete, asphalt, and lots of metal hurling about
On New Years day, LI had dinner with a group of very literate folks in Mexico City. One of them, our friend L., was talking about poetry – we were all trying to think of appropriate poems for New Years Day – and she mentioned that she considered, at one point, translating Dylan Thomas into Spanish. But then she learned (she sadly said) that critics say that Thomas is a bad poet. I know that feeling: the fear of having bad taste, of some soft spot in one’s intellectual armor. Taste, one imagines, is corrected by the larger experience. There are critics I admire who have condemned Thomas’ poetry – Kenner, apparently, couldn’t stand it, or separate it from the man who made it. We respectfully disagree. Jan Morris, in a review of a bio of Dylan Thomas in the New Statesman, quotes two disparagers: “Dan Davin of Oxford University Press thought that Thomas's brain was not of the first class and that he spent "a great deal of noise on perceptions which are either obvious or a
Looking around the blogosphere, I see many fine and solid whacks at the Bush administration’s plan to gut social security. On all the standard left leaning sites -- Angry Bear, or Max Sawicky, or Brad DeLong, or Matt Yglesias – arguments are being forged that will surely be at the heart of the Democratic counter-attack. They all conclusively demonstrate that the Bush administration’s figures are outrageously cooked to make social security seem like it is in crisis. They demonstrate that the figures are also internally inconsistent, cranking out returns on private investment that depend on robust growth in the GDP and at the same time cranking out anemic and dire growth in the Social security fund, based on bad or no growth in the GDP over the same period. Yet, LI has a sinking feeling that this strategy won’t work. Why? Because it hasn’t worked before. Combating a Bush program by saying it isn’t so seems to have had zero success in the past. Meanwhile, in another world – the rea
Polls Normally, we don’t read David Brooks column in the NYT. However, because the discontinuance of the failed U.S. effort in Iraq is going to depend on how the right paints a smiley face over the retreat, we read Brooks column today – Brooks being a specialist in smiley faced conservatism. W e were surprised to read this, however: “The newspaper Sabah recently published a poll of 4,974 Iraqis living in and around Baghdad. Nearly 88 percent support military action against the terrorists. A survey by the Iraq Center for Research and Strategic Studies suggests that the insurgents' archfoe, the prime minister Ayad Allawi, is the most popular prospective leader in the land.” So we went to Al-Sabah. Admittedly, the site LI went to was obviously translated into English, which made the article summaries seem amateurish. However, the English doesn’t seem to be the problem in the way Al-Sabah does polls. Here’s a report on an Al-Sabah poll: “ MOST IRAQIS PREFER CEN
Via a clever blog we are adding to our links ( the King of Zembla) , we came upon this article from Newsweek about the “Salvador option” in Iraq – train death squads, murder selectively and unselectively. In general, the plan, as Newsweek describes it – including the incursions into Syria – is to act like Americans have traditionally acted in Central America. LI put it like this, back in November of last year: “Given that the model in Iraq is the same model the U.S. has pursued in Central and South America, LI’s hope, floating somewhere in the distant future, is that Iraq will go through the furnace of the American occupation with its major industry and structure intact – a state owned petroleum company at the center of it – and resolutely and democratically break with the logic of neo-liberalism. It is a continuing astonishment to LI that Vietnam (or, on the right, WWII) have been the template comparisons for a black bag op that has all the indices of the usual slimy Latin A
LI, having a soft spot in our lungs, er, our heart for unfairly treated corporate behemoths – takes up the case of two victims today: W.R. Grace and Dresser. W.R. Grace is mentioned by an article in this week’s Chemical Market Reporter, in an article hailing – or salivating over -- the coming breakthrough in Tort “Reform” legislation, in which little litigants everywhere will be forced to cram their iron lungs, their expensive pills, and their seedy little declining lives, as well as those of their worthless children, up their asses. These people have the gall to expect justice in a system that is built for profit. But as the CMR explains, breathlessly: “Over 70 companies have been forced into bankruptcy by asbestos, including W.R. Grace & Co., and the problem seems to be growing as new claims continue to pour into the legal system.” Now, that must hurt Bush-ites everywhere. Remember Reagan’s favorite entrepreneur, J. Peter Grace? Remember the award for ceos – the Grace aw