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Showing posts from May 3, 2015

the no alternative years

Labour  failed in the most basic ways. They had four years to develop a counternarrative, but instead developed a counter-excuse: "we were so austerian, as austerian as you!" Basically, if you can't capitalize on the reserve of good feeling for government agencies like National Health and the reserve of bad feelings for privatized agencies, like the train system (ooops, that dittoed under Blair), then you should not play ball. There are good defeats and bad defeats. A good defeat is one that lays the ideological groundwork for the future. A bad defeat is one that leaves behind a wreckage of opportunism and users. The Labour defeat (why actually are they still called Labour?) is of the second variety. It was hard to care when, as was obvious months ago, they had succeeded in turning certain victory into defeat. Running on a blairite message of nudgery and sticking to austerity against a tory party that was also running on a blairite message, they lost lost lost. And the

enough mass death, please

Excellent article about what is happening in Yemen . It is part of the comedy of our time that the assembly in France is voting in measures to strip the citiizens of their privacy in the name of protecting them against "terrorism", when their foreign policy is directed towards flooding the Middle East with arms and helping the Saudis destroy countries like Yemen, thus creating the perfect conditions for terrorism. I t is as if the government were promoting a strict quarantine of its citizens on the one hand while funding a petri dish firesale of toxins on the other hand. When Ukraine split into two pieces, the former president fled to Russia, and Putin's Russia supplied the rebels in the East, there was universal condemnation from the bien pensants. There was even a comic conference of the usual pro war wankers, the BHL types, in Kyev. When Yemen split into several pieces, the former president fled to Saudi Arabia, a totalitarian country, and SA bombed the shit out of

desperate characters

I am reading Paula Fox’s novel, Desperate Characters, and I’m grudgingly forking over the admiration. The grudging comes not because of anything having to do with Fox, but because of the backstory that the novel was “re-discovered” and republished due to Jonathan Franzen, who wrote an essay – always a venue for a Franzen ego-trip – about how good it was and that it was better than Updike or Bellow. Well, it is pretty obvious, given Franzen’s sexism, that he was using Fox as a proxy to say that he was better than Updike or Bellow – see, even a girl is better than those big boy writers! I am reminded of Bellow – less of Updike – by the formal structure and scene of Fox’s novel. It is like Bellow’s Mr. Sammler’s Planet in that the novel takes the urban decay of NYC in the late sixties as its pervading scene.  The adventure is in the street, while all the stage setting takes place in various lengthily described rooms, where the party, the lunch, or the wait for a doctor takes place.