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Showing posts from December 6, 2015

why trump is going to be a problem for the GOP even if he loses

I   don't think the GOP will nominate Trump. But in a sense, that doesn't matter. Trump on the sidelines is not going to be like other GOP losers, who gracefully make way for the winner and fall in line. Trump represents ideas - genuinely idiotic ideas. And whoever wins will either have to gingerly embrace them while denying them or simply deny them. In that case, Trump will be drumming for his ideas right there on the sidelines. So this man is a genuine problem for the GOP whether he wins or doesn't.

bogus numbers in the press: swallow your propaganda like a good liberal, children!

Trump has been commendably criticized for citing bogus figures on everything from Moslem terrorists to the number of crimes committed by african americans.  This criticism has been performed by the press, which takes great bride in shooting down certain false figures. But there are other false figures, or dubious ones, that the liberal press revel in. One that I have seen reported a lot, as though it settled the case, is the figure, coming, vaguely, from the “non-partisan” Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, that Assad’s regime is responsible for an amazing 95 percent of civilian Syrian deaths.  We have it on the word of Glen Newby, for instance, writing for London Review of Books, who is an otherwise sensible man: “After meeting Hollande, Sarkozy, with an eye on returning to the Elysée in 2017, called for a tilt (‘une inflexion’) in French foreign policy towards Syria and Russia in order to smash Isis, even though   Assad has caused around 95 per cent of civilian deaths   in the

on unlikeable heroes in novels and their social meaning

How are we to explain the eeriness of the novel, or its social function within novel cultures? Or, to put this in a narrower way, to speak of a certain species of novel that emerged in the 19 th century – from an ancestry in the criminal picaresque: why would anybody want to read about the actions, thoughts and words of a hero one dislikes? Why would you do this for fun? The line in lit crit, which was cemented in mid twentieth century, was that the modernists invented the novel in which the anti-hero is the dark eminence, and true prince of our sensibilities. This, however, really isn’t the case. Greek myths, the Grimm’s fairytales, Daoist anecdotes are all seeded with mildly or strikingly dislikeable personages. Aristotle, in a sense, is asking a similar question in the Poetics about tragedy. We can admire Antigone, we can even admire Achilles, but we don’t – we are intended to – befriend them. For Aristotle, plausibility is a sort of meta-rule of narrative production. Plausibil

Why the West won't defeat Daech, or the next Daech, or the next one after that...

When the aging Karl Kraus, the spring of whose mockery was the endlessly mocked up world presented by the press, confronted the horror of Hitler, he wrote that, on this topic, “nothing occurred to him”. It is not often enough noted, by those interested in Kraus, that this gesture reproduces the aggressive-passive silence which he maintained at the outbreak of World War 1 for some time. World War I and Hitler were symptoms of the larger dissolution of the European order, cheered on by everything Kraus loathed – the patriotic poets, the xenophobic or liberally patriotic press, the amazingly incompetent political establishment, and the façade of humanism (now called “Western values” by our contemporary belligeranti) which was poured in abundant, syrop like dollops over the real, blood jelloes created on the Western and the Eastern front.  Le Pen is no Adolph Hitler, but the Kraus reference is still a good place to start. Le Pen is a standard issue fascist politician, a species that has