August 2012

The Other God That Failed

August 31, 2012

. Of course, nothing so far can match, or is likely to, the epic-historical failure of twentieth century Marxism. The cost of that failure, if not actually beyond measure, surely transcends any measure the mind can really grasp. Other failures, however, cannot be denied just because they do not reach a comparable magnitude. Dionysus was [...]

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The Poetry of Democracy

August 29, 2012

. In my Poetic License column for the fall issue of West, I return to last year’s New York Review of Books contretemps between Helen Vendler and Rita Dove over the latter’s The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry. When I first wrote about the dispute, I considered the the politics in poetry. In “Diction and [...]

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The American Socialist Century

August 27, 2012

.   The Manchester Union-Leader, long an emblematic journalistic voice of the Republican Party, New England strain – before the advent of Tea Parties and general no-nothingism – isn’t quite that anymore. Do not say it is not trying to adapt, however.   President Obama and Mitt Romney, and the courses they propose for this [...]

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Niall Ferguson, (C)Rock Star

August 25, 2012

. Niall Ferguson’s cover story for Newsweek was a journalistic and intellectual fiasco, for him and for Newsweek and Daily Beast editor Tina Brown. It was a journalistic fiasco for read-the-multitude-of-responses-online-and-on-paper. Ferguson now has no credibility as an opining voice in the public square. His intellectual credibility, established as an academic historian and teacher, is [...]

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Jazz Is: 42 – “The Cure”

August 24, 2012

. Feeling low, in despair, beset by the boorish and the brutish? There’s a cure for that. Back in May, Julia and I, along with jazz rabbi Charlie K, dropped in on Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Jack DeJohnette at the Catlalina Bar & Grill in Los Angeles. The new trio’s tour was billed as a [...]

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A Memory

August 23, 2012

I awoke today in the shadowy dim light of the pre-morning, and as I will, I lingered, to feel my body’s not-yet awakening, its comfort still in the homey impresses of the bed, the dawning recollection of its minor aches while my mind reached weakly, moment by moment, to crawl out of its foggy depths. [...]

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I Apologize

August 20, 2012

. Jonah Lehrer has apologized to his readers for manufacturing quotations in his latest book, to Michael Moynihan for lying about it, and to himself for self-plagiarizing his blog posts for The New Yorker. Fareed Zakaria has apologized to Time and CNN for plagiarizing a paragraph of an article from Jill Lepore at the New [...]

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The View from Guatemala: the Olympics

August 18, 2012

. Our intrepid corespondent in Guatemala, Dercum Over, wanted for insubordination by the bureaucratic and benighted in more parts than you have, offers this rebalancing of Olympic victory bragging rights. Tucked away out of the swirl of things in our mountainous farming village in Mayan Guatemala, my Japanese friend Yurino and I are suffering this week from [...]

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The Palestinian Failure

August 16, 2012

. Some nations are lucky in their leaders. For decades now, academic historians have downplayed the significance of the leader – the “great man” – in the understanding of historical epochs and focused their attention elsewhere. Still, you cannot study the early American republic without renewed appreciation for the role of George Washington. How lucky was the U.S. again [...]

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Mitt Romney Thinks You’re a Moron

August 14, 2012

. Conventional wisdom is not precisely an oxymoron (time really does fly), but it is not infrequently moronic. The conventional wisdom that the Romney campaign wishes to create around Paul Ryan is one of rare courage and unusual intelligence and experience in budgetary matters – the GOP’s fiscal Brainiac for the Chinese (I mean Second [...]

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The Other Paul Ryan

August 13, 2012

. While the general media roll out of Paul Ryan as VP pick focuses on the GOP’s chosen narrative of Ryan as “smart” and “courageous” thinker about budgetary and Medicare matters, many more careful economists, like Paul Krugman, are offering the necessary corrective in even that area. Krugman reminds us that Ryan has never crunched the numbers, [...]

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How We Lived On It (53) – “We are the knife people…”

August 12, 2012

. Maybe none of it, finally, is like bone – not solid and lasting enough – or muscle – not as strong – but cartilage: something in between, partaking of both, lesser, but also greater, because it is all about connections and making them. Some semi-random connections. Robert Hughes died this past week. What we [...]

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The Most Fundamentally (© N. Gingrich) Dishonest Candidate Since Richard Nixon

August 10, 2012

. Let’s not speak of Mitt Romney’s Mormonism. The Mormon Church isn’t one of the longer running cults in the world, but that wouldn’t matter so much if it were the source of a person’s principled goodness in the world. But when various public figures began months back to dance gingerly around the subject of [...]

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Anti-Labor, Anti-Free Press, Anti-Gay, Anti-Israel

August 8, 2012

. Some people never get the point. Some people once got the point, or claimed to, claimed to see it – there it is, over there – and then they got their hands on the point and stretched the point, to make a point, turned it inside out, inverted and perverted the point, developed a [...]

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The Unselfconscious Thinker

August 7, 2012

. Catching up on some reading shelved for later, I came across a few posts by Glenn Greenwald, soon to be carrying out his sorties from the even more muscularly composed redoubt  of the Guardian. (Having learned less than nothing,, his former base, is now hosting the anti-Semitic Mondoweiss.) The excerpt below, to which [...]

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Playing Politics with Jews

August 6, 2012

. This post previously appeared in the Algemeiner on August 1, 2012. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), in his best Captain Renault form – which includes being entirely insincere and unconvincing – is shocked, shocked to discover that there is politics going on in the U.S. of A. Never played any of that sort [...]

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Eating Poetry (XL) – As from a Quiver of Arrows

August 4, 2012

. A poem about loss, or the end of things, if there is an end to things, or transformation, or it maybe being the nature in things to be lost, and remembered, so how remembered? Or maybe it is forgetting we want, and where is that, and if we do forget, what was it? To [...]

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Pine Ridge: In the Shadow of Wounded Knee

August 2, 2012

. The photographs, text, video and audio below are from the August edition of National Geographic magazine, all courtesy of the magazine. The photography is by Aaron Huey, whose work we have highlighted before at the sad red earth, the story by Alexandra Fuller. Huey has spent the past seven years documenting the lives of  the Oglala [...]

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