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Showing posts from April 16, 2006

homework tonight: v is to blank...

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should see V., and write about it. So, last night LI did our duty. We’ve read many finely drawn theorizations of the movie. Here’s one, and here’s one. These people know their shit. The way I saw the movie was influenced, a bit, by the recent re-translation of We. I just did the review for that and interviewed Natasha Randall (a lovely, talented woman who I aim to publicize to the extent I can -- read WE!) for Publishers Weekly. In We, D-503 becomes a free man, politically, as he becomes a slave, erotically, to the sexy I-330. I’m not sure if anybody associated with V ever read We, but the S/M subtext under the political message certainly influenced Orwell and Huxley, and presumably has crept into the dystopian genre. It is a sort of contingent conjunction, really – the original We is influenced less by the experience of Stalinism (it was written in the early 1920s), than by art no

forbidden zones among the statistics

Last year, the UN’s IAEA along with the WHO published a revisionist account of the Chernobyl disaster. It put the long term death toll estimate at 9,000, gave a much lower estimate of the radiation released from the plant than any previous one, gave a much lower estimate of the number of people involved in the cleanup of the disaster than any previous estimate, and dismissed 20 years of death and health impairment as so much psychosomatic folderol. It should be said that the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency loves atomic energy. It is composed of believers. And the report was written as part of a campaign to de-demonize nuclear power. As Michael Flynn pointed out in a review of the report for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: “But according to other observers, while the report seems to demonstrate that Chernobyl’s devastation is less dramatic than once thought, it can hardly be called “reassuring.” They argue that the report provides little solace to those still suffering fr


Recently, LI has noticed another blog trend that is passing us by. Apparently, if you are anybody nowadays in the blogosphere, somebody is threatening you with death. Ezra Klein published an account of how Malkin published the phone numbers of anti-recruitments students, and how these students got death threats. Then Malkin got death threats. On CT, some friend of one of the group is getting death threats. And how about moi? Is LI chopped liver or something? Not only do we heartily approve of the anti-recruiting students, we heartily approve of the little tire slashing action engaged in by some of them. The spirit of the Boston tea party is not dead! Those who want to phone in death threats (no creditors please) should call us at 513-478-3699. That said, it won’t do to just say, I want to kill you, or fuck you up the ass, or that kind of thing. So yesterday! Let’s have a little creativity among the death threat group. First, set the atmosphere. I’d recommend music for this. Black Reb

a subplot from shame

Sad times at LI – even our faithful and long time reader, Mr. T., said about the post a couple of days ago: “the terms "common sense" and "manifesto" appeared in the headline - I could not proceed to read the post; those terms have a garlic-like effect on this vampire.” LI’s frantic attempt to intervene in the discussion of the Euston Manifesto – our comments on threads, our two posts – seem to have been spoken in Hittite. We get so frustrated that nobody is ever outraged by LI! Nobody listens to us! The tears glisten. Is it because we have gone over the edge? Surely this is what goldbugs feel like -- those culty rightwingers who blame all of the world's ills on the retirement of the gold standard, in spite of the fact that the world is immensely more prosperous without the gold standard. So is our fight for re-democratizing foreign policy a sort of anachronistic re-enactment? Didn't the strong executive branch lead the Free World to victory in the Cold War?

i'm with stupid

Sometimes, it does seem like the American unconscious speaks not through our novels or songs, but in our cutesy tshirt phrases. Historians, looking at the Bush epoch, might want to apply the phrase I'm with Stupid. It will explain a lot about the national decline... Often, LI is blinded by our rationality. For instance, because we believe that it is entirely irrational for the White House, even given that it is presently inhabited by the petulant, death spiraling child , to actually bomb Iran. As for other forms of military intervention, besides the odious and everpresent American use of small secret forces, forget it. However, we have abundant evidence that Bush will engage in hugely irrational acts, and will be enabled in doing so by the American population. A population that still has not computed the enormity of the fuckup that was Tora Bora, or the meaning of Osama Bin Laden’s continuing happy existence. Requiring a terrorist to maintain a bogus war on terror, the Bushies hav

common sense in foreign policy: a manifesto

Inspired by the ravings of the Euston pub crowd, LI has made up a manifesto our own selves. It isn’t a manifesto for the left, whatever the fuck that is. This manifesto is, modestly, a Common sense in Foreign Policy manifesto – named after old Tom Paine’s pamphlet, and taking as our motto his phrase: “a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it the superficial appearance of being right…” So, here it is, ladies and gents. Pass it around, print it out, and please, don’t handle it with greasy fingers: that is sooo gross. 1. Democracy. A democracy cannot be divided into a monarchy with regard to foreign policy and a democracy with regard to domestic policy. It must be one thing all the way through. Thus, foreign policy that is contrived in a tricky, low, or fraudulent matter by the executive, and pulled off like a trick on the body politic, is immoral to begin with, and will not result in any good thing. Instead, foreign policy options, especially when they involves extreme violati

the yevtushenko gambit

LI was moved to comment on the current mini-affair revolving around the Euston Manifesto. It was published in the New Statesman (apparently, Nick Cohen has a Svengali like power at that magazine, making it publish any trash he dreams up) and was assassinated in the Guardian . This is the comment I put over there. And it being a day of work for yours truly, this is also today’s post. Ahem. Ahem. Although the Euston manifesto will remain in the memory of mankind for about a nano-second, still, its existence poses an interesting question: why would any anti-war “leftist” in his or her right mind sign the thing? If the supposed anti-war person is at all sincere, it is hard to see what they gain from this document, which is written as though the disaster of the Iraq war never happened, save for some boilerplate references to Abu Ghraib. Nowhere is there a consciousness of the rules and forms of “intervention.” Nowhere, for instance, do the signatories caution the rulers of the great power

the old man's scat

Isn’t this headline a thing of beauty? For Leading Exxon to Its Riches, $144,573 a Day The accompanying story tells us about Lee R. Raymond, paid “$686 million from 1993 to 2005, according to an analysis done for The New York Times by Brian Foley, an independent compensation consultant. That is $144,573 for each day he spent leading Exxon's "God pod," as the executive suite at the company's headquarters in Irving, Tex., is known.” For the better understanding of this great man’s tres riches heures, remember that each day includes lunch and, surely, a pee and a dump. Now, given that Raymond is in his sixties, I imagine that a dump takes about ten minutes. Of course, he could have had some young Brazilian man’s rectum transplanted into his (no doubt, you can check Exxon’s quarterly reports to see – such an operation would surely be a courtesy given by the company, for services rendered, rather than being paid for straight out of his own compensation package – but until