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Showing posts from June 29, 2014

irony and radicalism

 Thomas Mann’s Reflections of a Non-political man is a hodgepodge of self-pity, brilliant cultural analysis, and the special brand of pure ludicrousness that is Mann’s special style, his mark on the German language that he accepts in all its bureaucratic curlicues, letting them lead on until one becomes aware of a certain ridiculousness – as though a line of goosesteppers suddenly found themselves doing the can-can. The book arose out of Mann’s total depressin as  Germany was going down to defeat in World War I, which Mann couldn’t understand or accept. Even worse, the whole thing seemed to bear out the predictions of his  Francophile brother, Heinrich, who made a career, as a novelist, in gleefully attacking the whole order of Wilhelmine Germany. It leans right, these Reflections, then, but in a very odd and sneaky way – reactionary outbursts are then mugged by subtle qualifiers before they can get too glorious and lyrical; the moans and groans of a patriot are touched up s

The muses have not fled...

When BMW introduced its in-car navigation system in Germany, the system was a model of technological excellence, using a computer-generated voice to give highly accurate information about the car’s location and how to get to almost all city and street addresses. Unfortunately, a large number of drivers had a strong negative reaction to this technological marvel and demanded a product recall.  The problem? The navigation system had a female voice. German drivers felt uncomfortable with, and untrusting of, a “female” giving directions! BMW acquiesced and switched to a “male” synthetic voice. - When I dial a company, the routine is that a pre-recorded female voice ‘answers’ and tells me that I should press one for x, two for y, etc. When I plug in a GPS, a pre-recorded female voice responds to my question, how do I get to Y, with instructions that consist of turn left or turn right and the name of the street or highway all the

blackwater killers again

James Risen has a story in the NYT about the Blackwater mercenary force in Iraq here. I wrote many blog posts about Blackwater as killers. Here's one from October 26, 2007, part of a futile attempt to get justice for  Raheem Khalif, President Maliki's bodyguard, who was killed in cold blood by Andrew Moonen, who was then helped by the then ambassador to Iraq, Margaret Scobey, to escape to the U.S. Scobey as I pointed out many times was an abettor of the murder.  In the culture of impunity that reigns in the US, Moonen never faced charges. Scobey was promoted by the US State department. Khalif's family - well, they are part of the low use throw away population, so no newspaper has cared to interview them. Here's a story from 2010, when Obama's Justice Department was too busy avoiding charging banks for their felonies to charge mercenaries for theirs.   This is the beginning of my series of posts: If a big bug gets into your house from the outside, don't