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Showing posts from June 29, 2008


LI noticed, with resignation, that the press largely ignored Ahmen Rashid’s book on the war in Afghanistan. It came out last month, and we reviewed it in the Statesman . There must be other reviews around somewhere, but I haven’t seen them. This is because s Rashid handily dispatches the media woven legends of the war, and shows how appallingly the Bush administration conducted the war in 2001 – 2002, guaranteeing its continuance and expansion. The latter point is never, ever expressed with any energy in these here States. Over the years, I have developed a sort of instinct about the lines that separate the serious from the never spoken in this country that arises from the comments sections in political blogs. One thing that leads to complete lack of response – to silence – is to mention what happened in Afghanistan in 2001-2002. Luckily, campers, LI does have notes – on this very blog! – recording the deadly propaganda offensive. Our fave piece of thumbsucking vis-a-vis Afghanistan c

Antiquitas saeculi, juventus mundi

Man möchte sagen: Dieser und dieser Vorgang hat stattgefunden; lach', wenn Du kannst. -Wittgenstein, Remarks on Frazer’s The Golden Bough Amie, in her comment on a post a couple of days ago, wanted another post on Ricdin-Ricdon. Her wish is my command. Although... well, we will see about wishes. M algré le séjour du village et les faibles lumières de mon éducation, je me trouvai des sentiments et des inclinations beaucoup au-dessus de ma naissance, dont la bassesse me désespérait. Les traits de mon visage seuls étaient capables de m'en consoler; ils me donnèrent de bonne heure de flatteuses espérances pour ma fortune; et je n'avais pas encore douze ans que déjà je ne trouvais point de fontaine ni de ruisseau par qui je n'aimasse à me faire redire que je ne resterais pas assurément sous une chaumière. “In spite of village life and the feeble rays of my education, I found in myself sentiments and inclinations that were above my birth. The features of my face alone were c

... the pins that lay in the house that Adam built

We’ve tried to use fairy tales, so far, to make visible a dimension of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations that has ... well, never been made visible, or mentioned at all, even to be dismissed. And the reason for that lack of mention is easy to understand: like any science, economics demands, first of all, to be taken seriously. What is serious and what isn’t remains in the domain of those presuppositions that are both unexamined and as powerful as household gods. The ludicrous and the serious is that domain into which the old taboos migrated in modernity. Wittgenstein, in whom seriousness took the form of a crippling, lifelong neurosis, asked seriously, once, whether it wouldn’t be possible to express philosophy in terms of a series of jokes. I don’t know of an economist who has pondered that possibility for his or her science. But LI, rank ponderer and an ardent practitioner of the suicidal practical joke (look at my career, ladies and germs!), is more than willing to free our mind to lu

the key to the myths has a small spot of blood on it

Marie-Jeanne L'Héritier (1664-1734) was Charles Perrault’s niece. According to the reliable Joan DeJean, she was one of a group of women writers in the late 17th century who were uncommonly common writers of the French fiction of the time – in a list of French novelists of the late 17th century published by Maurice Lever, women constitute about 33 percent of the names. They were, of course, attacked as women by such upholders of the standards as Boileau. The Journal de Scavans published an Eloge de Mademoiselle L'Héritier – a sort of obituary – from which LI culls these facts - Her father was an “amateur of the sciences” and a ‘historiograph” at the court. Her father’s family was an ancient and noble one, from Normandy, while her mother was a Le Clerc, another connected family. She was educated by her father, developing a precocious interest in history and fable. Her father, meanwhile, was translating Grotius and aligning himself with Cardinal Mazarin, who gave him a pension. S

science of britney week

On Sundays, Doctor Watson would sit around and read the Times, while Holmes repressed slight shudders of craving for cocaine and prepared to have Watson read him some juicy police report upon which his mind, like a hungry spider, could feast. On Sundays, your faithful LI crewe, on the other hands, surveys the papers cyberspacically, on the q.v. for what happened this week in the exciting field of Britneyology. This week saw major events. MTV, realizing that, without Britney, four people in a nursing home in Nome who were too disabled to get up and change the channel would be about the sum total watching their pissy awards show, threw out grandiose hints that they would allow... allow – La Brit to perform for them. Beg, MTV, is what we say. I want them down on their knees, weepin’. Meanwhile, the court, in its infinitely patriarchal wisdom, is tormenting Brit by entertaining her ex’s absurd contention that he should be the physical caretaker of the boys – or, in other words, the ex’s