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Showing posts from January 15, 2012

Lamartines (from an old post)

Last night, I went to a lecture about the supposed father of Amer-Indian studies in France. The woman who gave the lecture made one point clear in her first five minutes: Hamy was not and could never be called one of the founders of 'Americaniste" studies in France. It was all a hoax. Not an intended hoax, but one of those hoaxes that arise in the collective unconscious of an institution - in this case, the institutions of anthropology that dominated in fin de siecle France. In my terminology, she had found a Lamartine. Lamartines Alphone de Lamartine, who knew Joseph de Maistre, described him, after he was dead, as being “large [d’une grande taille,], handsome and male of form and face.” Madame Swetchine, who also knew de Maistre, was taken aback by those lines: “M. de Lamartine says that he saw a lot of M. de Maistre. The number of those meetings makes it all the more surprising that his description of the man was misleading to such a degree. Not one touch was


the nervous character: Zeno 4

The popular stories about the introduction of various forms of using tobacco are always about the military. It is said that the habit of cigarette smoking passed from the Spanish soldiers, who had learned it from Brazilians, to the French in the 1830s. However, there is another story that locates the re-invention of cigarettes in the 1850s wars between Russia and Turkey. A Turkish soldier, whose pipe was destroyed by a bullet, put tobacco in the paper from the envelop of a cartouche, and smoked it. [[Ferland, 2007] And still another claims that it was the French soldiers, arriving with paper and tobacco, who diffused the habit in Russia. These different stories could be sorted out by considering that the Brazilians and Spanish may well have used a corn leaf – which is how cigarettes were described as late as 1864 in G.A. Henrieck’s Du Tabac. There we read that cigarettes are rolled in paper “sans colle”. Indeed, this was the technical difficulty with cigarettes as a commodity: its

the new non-idle rich!

The NYT, which is caught between a love for the one percent that blooms in its style magazine and its business page and a political atmosphere in which the chummy relationship between liberalism and the one percent is coming apart, unrollsanother of its color pieces about the lifestyles of the rich . It features one Adam Katz in its first paragraph: “Adam Katz is happy to talk to reporters when he is promoting his business, a charter flight company based on Long Island called Talon Air.” So what did the Times reporters ask him? Well, we are not far into the article when, breezing past the assets – “…an $8 million home, a family real estate company in Manhattan and his passion, 10-year-old Talon Air” … we are assured that, like so many of the 1 percent, Talon is a dynamo, a man who makes your average doublejob mom or dad seem like a slacker: “”Still, they are not necessarily the idle rich. Mr. Katz, who sometimes commutes by amphibious plane and sometimes carries luggage for Ta