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Showing posts from August 21, 2005

oh that liberal political strategy

LI is still on vacation. We tried, unsuccessfully, to get one of our far flung correspondents, C., to write a post about her first pregnancy – a report from the frontlines. This might still happen, if we turn on the Svengali. Small topic today: if our readers want to know why the Democratic party is brain dead, go to the Wesley Clark op ed in the Washington Post today. The tone and feel of it – the inanity surmounted by arrogance – the blindness – it is all there, like an indigestible stew served to a dying invalid in a poorhouse. We particularly liked this graf, both for its meaninglessness and as a true gauge of how D.C. thinks about their war, three years after: “On the political side, the timeline for the agreements on the Constitution is less important than the substance of the document. It is up to American leadership to help engineer, implement and sustain a compromise that will avoid the "red lines" of the respective factions and leave in place a state that both we an


In an essay on Peron’s dictatorship, Borges claimed that recent argentinian history happened on two levels: one, a sordid theatrical farce, and the other, a literature for washerwomen – the paperback romance. The Bush culture, more straightforwardly, takes its cues from Ubu Roi. Thus the latest sequence from Iraq. In one way, it is heartening. As readers of this blog know, the Iraq that emerged from the election was a theocracy in formation, with the Sunnis operating as the appalled but powerless spectators and the Kurds maneuvering to save their autonomy even at the risk of planting the seeds of a monster to the South. The Kurdish leadership, remember, found it convenient, at one point in the now forgotten civil war between warlords that occurred in 1996, to call in Saddam Hussein. This is the same leadership routinely praised, nowadays, for its commitment to democracy. The defenders of the war, and even its opponents, have the disturbing habit of ignoring Iraqi reality when it doesn’

liberation in chelsea

I am in a museum dedicated to Himalayan art in Chelsea. The site was formerly occupied by a Barneys. There are two musicians, arrayed in white, seated at the foot of the staircase, playing trancelike music representative of a certain Pakistani genre. The staircase is a holiday for architects -- a crooked, cubist thing that ascends up six flights. I like the staircase. My friends and I decide to listen to the guide, who appears at 2:30. The guide is a loud, gray haired Brooklyn-ite with the Yogi Bear figure towards which middle aged American avoirdupois seems inevitably to tend. In a barker's voice he points out salient aspects of Buddhist iconography, and gives a compressed version of Gautama Buddha's message to the world: the letting go of craving, fear, anger and attachment. Later, my friend K. tells me that she is plagued by craving. She wishes she could purify herself, annihilate it. Now, I am not a stranger to the purifying impulse. I, too, would like to toss into some ul