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Showing posts from February 27, 2005
LI was never a Maoist. Although we have a lot of contempt for the way the Western powers, for decades, subvented the Nationalist fascist forces, who were as bent on mass murder as Mao, but less successful at holding power, we’ve always thought Maoism was rural idiocy’s revenge on Marx. However, according to this scolding article in the NYT, have to credit Mao’s heirs with an activity that contains at least a true relic or two of good old Marx, not to mention Adam Smith. They are destroying the American constructed international IP standards. We love it. IP is a misnomer – intellectual property is what Adam Smith called monopoly. In the nineteenth century, there was a gradual acceptance of the need for very limited monopolies of intellectual products – books, music, designs. However, the sponsors of monopoly were very clear about what this entailed – the capture of an economic gain through a state supported monopoly does not and should not have the characteristic of ‘property rights”
Libertarians often talk of the state as a perpetual enemy. Marxists have an attitude to the state summed up by Lenin’s promise to make the state vanish. LI used to accept this as a basic principle. We don’t any longer. We have a new principle: all beasts are beasts of circumstance. The state, in itself, is neither good nor ill, and its existence does not reflect some terrible flaw in human nature or history. This doesn’t mean that the state isn’t a beast, at times, and the worst of beasts – a pennyante beast, a heart picker, a bad faith bad conscience. Clyde Habersham’s article in the Times this morning is about the familiar breath of the American beast – the racism, revanchism, and willingness to lynch that is encoded in U.S. attitude towards crime. Habersham compares the prospects of Martha Stewart, getting out of jail proclaiming her innocence, and Marc La Cloche. LA Cloche, of course, is a nobody. No politician will be inviting a man on welfare in the Bronx to dine with him or her
We admit, LI has a few weaknesses. One of them is Li’l Kim, who is just the kind of sex goddess for whom we would do all kinds of things, those both fitting and unfitting a man, things that would stretch our capacities and permanently injure our character. We fell in love with Kimberly Jones a long time ago. It was one of those things – we were innocently strolling down a street in New Haven. The sun was shining – which was nice, since our Southern heart was still carrying refugee baggage from winter’s abysmal solar absence. Our first year in the North. So, we passed a poster. Just another music poster, nothing to stop for – but stop we did. This poster was for a Li’l Kim CD, and the woman was posed as she poses – those gorgeous legs parted, that sexy scowl on her face. Little clothing. It was fatum – this woman was the very ideogram of our libido, first traced, long ago, by an old flame, D., with whom we worked at a hardware store back when we were 20. Unfortunately, as it turns out
LI has never felt that visceral contempt for Nick Cohen, the lefty supporter of Bush’s invasion, that gives us an ulcerous pang when we read Christopher Hitchens – that feeling of watching something seedy and disgusting, a declining rhetor re-positioning himself to stay in the dinner line in D.C. We appreciated Cohen’s ferret like attacks on Blair’s administration, and we grew to expect the ferret in any position he took. But his newest article in the New Statesman tears it – Cohen is officially on LI’s list of journalists who have devalued their worth to the ‘sell at a loss’ point. This is, of course, a very long list. Cohen, we should point out, is not a journalist, but a columnist. The columnist has become a sort of hybrid creature – at one remove from a journalist, in that columnist rarely puts on the gumshoes and actually does fieldwork – when they do, they bring along an entourage and grandly embed themselves with the powerful; at the same time, the columnist is at several
Ah, that liberal intelligentsia The title of Robert Reich’s op ed piece in the NYT yesterday is emblematic of the problem facing the liberal wing of the political elite: it is a rare medical condition called “not having a spine.” The title is “Don’t blame Wal Mart.” The liberal response to the power grab by the capitalist oligarchy in the last twenty years (a grab that has an exact metric – the relation between the average pay of the CEO and the average pay of the workers at his company) has been exactly this – to adopt a scolding, moral tone towards the ‘consumer’, i.e. those who make up the vast, underpaid bulk of the population, while suggesting self help ways we can make put the smiley face on the current neo-robber baron regime. Since Wal Mart has just been union busting in Canada, one would think Reich, a former labor secretary, might mention that. Don’t hold your breath – mentioning unions is so New Deal. The quicker you shoot them, the more we can open up the country to the own
Propaganda alert James Glanz’s article about Basra sets, perhaps, a new record for propaganda from the NYT. To understand why the course of American foreign policy is beset by serial disasters like a car with a bad transmission problem, one has to understand that the info Americans get about foreign countries is saturated with a corporatist, conservative and essentially ignorant world view, as reporters with a free marketing, America-centric mindset meet subalterns with the same mindset. Like means like, the group groupthinks, and the kids outside dance around torched American tanks. Glanz’s article centers on the fantasies of some of his informants – all of the upper class or working for them, all business people – about Southern Iraq. The most hilarious of the images he conjures up is Basra as another Singapore. Oh Singapore, where life has been totally sacrificed to the seven virtues of highly efficient people! It is the dead breath of the American dream in a small foreign place, an