a new low in topical enlightenment

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Issue #51 (June 23, 2010)

The Stooges Wax Museum, Ann Arbor, 2000

Photo by Chris Collins

Breathless Baloney
(Or, Finally! A Frenchman That Makes Le Socialisme Seem Dirty!!)

By Carolyn Heinze

O.K. Anglophones: I know it’s (quite supposedly) summer, but I’m also fairly quite sure that more than a few of you are quite fairly familiar with Summer School. So bring on the pencils and books and Teacher’s dirty looks, because you’re in for quite a lesson. A French lesson. What? Parlez-vous français déjà ? Well, good for you. No really . . .  félicitations ! (But I bet you don’t know as much slang and argot and verlan and gros mots as Mlle Heinze.) (And if you do, well hell – don’t be greedy – please share! Mlle Heinze is always looking for more words to add to her personal vocabulaire . . . )

Allez, les enfants. . . Here goes (and I’m only kinda sorta ripping off from my Larousse Compact, dictionnaire de français, printed in Italia, in 2005):

•escroc (n.m;, as in masculine noun, as in un escroc, pronounced ESS-CROW): Rip-off artist.

•arnaqueur (n.m.; pronounced ARNACK-ER, but with the French-y-esque accent on the ER that’s always really hard to do at first. . . there’s also a feminine version of this noun but for the purpose of this lesson, we don’t need to bother with it. Which is kinda like a metaphor for society itself in a kinda wink-wink knudge-knudge-ironic kind of way. But that’s another lesson for another kind of class for another kind of day . . .): Rip-off artist.

•margoulin (n.m.; that’s MAR-GOO-LIN, with that IN sound transforming into a kind of UNHNH sound . . . you’ll get the hang of it eventually . . .): Rip-off artist.

Then there’s branleur (masturbator) and glandeur (slack-ass masturbator) and prétentieux (haughty-assed jerk-off) and the more simple-concise con (jerk). O.K., Class, now let’s take a moment to think. Réfléchissez-bien, les enfants ! Can anyone name a synonym – that’s synonyme – for all these words? What’s that, Bobby, in the back? Any ideas? Anyone…? Anyone…? Personne ? Non ? Well, grab those pencils and those books and be sure to write this down: The synonyme du jour is: Jean-Luc Godard.

The best thing about Jean-Luc Godard is that when you’re in the mood to be pissed off, he’ll deliver. With whistles and flying colors and beating drums and bells. And feedback loops and off-off-off voices and more feedback loops and white noise and a J-L.G-directed audio guy in some audio recording studio somewhere where they do audio, rubbing their hands together in front of the Peavey or Midas or Mackie or SSL or whatever the hell, immensely pleased – non, thrilled; non, delighted; non, totally blown away! – at how arty and abstract and avant-garde they are. The best thing about Jean-Luc Godard is that he never changes, he never develops, he never evolves. He’s always consistent. And after watching one of his “films,” you’ll be pissed off. So pissed off that you’ll consider – seriously consider – sending him an invoice. You know, for wasting your time.

(I’ve often wondered, really wondered – whenever it is that I’m wondering about such things – I’ve often wondered about who’s more jealous of whom: Jean-Luc Godard or Guy Debord. Because between the two of them there’s got to be a little old-fashioned rivalry, a kind of love-to-hate vibe, some bitchiness, some bicker-y-ness, some envy. But who, I wonder…who envies who more? You know, for making so many films about nothing?) (Not to be racist or anything, but I think that when it comes to making films and books and music and art and television shows about nothing, they should really leave that to the Americans. When it comes to stuff about nothing, Americans are really much more fun. Like, remember that guy who had that sitcom about nothing and it lasted for years and years and years? Fun-ny!)

Sure, O.K. all right, fine: Godard did make Breathless (that’s Au bout de souffle, les élèves) and then of course, I haven’t forgotten, just to be fair…and then there was Le Mépris. But everyone loves a little Bébel, no matter the director, especially in black-and-white, especially opposite Jean Seberg. (Wasn’t she the cutest? And didn’t she have fabulous taste in men? I mean…Romain Gary? Romain-fucking-Gary? Out of all the sexy-brainy dead guys I have a crush on, he’s definitely near the top of the list…) And even though she spent most of Le Mépris passive/aggressively pacing around while whining passive/aggressive French-girl insults, passive/aggressively, in the direction of a passive Michel Piccoli, no one can deny the aesthetics of la Bardot’s ass in that very first scene. But (or, ‘butt’) still. . .

Film socialisme, Godard’s latest foray into nothingness, is one of those flicks that you can say you’ve seen once you’ve seen the trailer. Kind of like The A-Team. You know sometimes when you’re at an expo or a vernissage and there’s art on the walls and sculptures on the floor or suspended in the air and then there’s this bad video installation shoved off into a corner somewhere and it’s emitting endless loops of what sounds like it could be a human being, but it also sounds like moo-ing and moaning and meowing? And then after your third glass of free Veuve Cliquot you finally go over to check it out and discover that it actually is a human being and they are actually moo-ing…and moaning…and meowing…and they’re also rolling and romping and writhing around on the floor in-the-buff and they have a pimply bum? Well, Godard’s Film socialisme is kinda like that.

One could argue that some journalists should just let the guy off the hook, pick on somebody their own (youthful-young-just-about-to-blossom-into-blossominess) age; Godard is nearly 80, after all. A ripe old age for senility. But a wise Frenchman recently remarked that Jean-Luc Godard burned his last brain cell in May 1968. So if senility’s an excuse for all that bad video art – excusez-moi…cinéma – then ol’ J-L.G. has been riding that one for a while. I’m not telling you not to go see Film socialisme; I’m just saying that if you have an extra ten euros (right now that’s a bargain-basement 12 bucks, mes amis !) you’re better off taking your girlfriend out for a drink. A bursty-bubbly-champagne-y one.

But if you do go to see it, be sure to drop me a line afterwards. So I can give you Godard’s address. You know, for when you decide to send him an invoice. You know, for that lost hour-and-a-half or your time.

Drawing by James Fotopoulos

From the Desk of Joe Carducci…

Ben Austen in Harper’s, on Chicago, D.C. There’s no link but it’s a good piece that despite its pat acceptance of the old false narrative captures the faint echoes of past contradictions and suppressed truths, all-the-fainter perhaps because only Richard M. would dare defend his father or himself and like his father he’s not the best at stating his case; he is however good at the doing of things on the ground.

“Prior to his congressional run, Rahm Emanuel worked at the Chicago office of a large investment bank, earning $18 million in just two and a half years, a windfall due largely to the network of clients he tapped from his days in the Clinton White House and the Daley City Hall. Few Chicagoans would think of a job at City Hall as an opportunity to ‘give back.’ Lynn Sweet, the Washington bureau chief of the Chicago Sun-Times, told me with a laugh, ‘You might think, That person has a good pension, or Maybe they know someone, or They don’t have to work very hard. But you’d never say, It’s public service. It’s not the Peace Corps’….

“Indeed, many of the Chicago set I met in Washington firmly believed their political destiny lay back home. With ‘change’ on the national level repeatedly undermined by partisanship and advanced only through a near-endless series of painful compromises, progressive politics now seemed to them more plausible -- even desirable -- on the local level. In Chicago, they already knew all the street names, all the players…. Chicago was just 228 square miles; anything should be possible there.”


Daley on Wal-Mart via chicagonewscoop.org.

“‘If suburban areas have it, why can’t we have it in the black and Hispanic communities?’ the mayor told reporters during a news conference in his office. ‘You never question it in the suburban areas? Why don’t you question it? Ask the same questions as hard as you ask me. You don’t. You accept it there because most of you live in the suburbs, right? Most of you live in the suburbs, so you don’t question that. But you will question it here in the city of Chicago. ‘Never question it where I live.’ Can I ask you a question? Why? Why is that?’

With labors unions calling on Wal-Mart to guarantee better wages, the company and its allies at City Hall have been unable to muster the votes for the new South Side store.”


Alex Quigley at chicagonow.com on breaking into Wrigley Field late one night.

“Standing in the bleachers at night in complete darkness is indescribable. It's also unphotographable with a phone camera, because the high grandstands and lack of any internal lights make it once of the darkest places possible within Chicago's city limits. As we walked down a bleacher row to the left-field foul line, the echoing footfalls on the metal benches sounded as loud as muffled gunshots. We didn't care by that point.”

Nora comments:

“I have lots of stories of working the midnight shift at the park when people like u would climb over the gate by the firehouse and try and run the bases among other things. I would get on the microphone in the office and tell the intruders that after I counted to ten I was going to release the dogs....it worked every time.”


Ron Artest’s remarks after Los Angeles Lakers’ Game 7 win; best post-game remarks session of all time. Unlike Kobe’s use of his daughters which commenced you-know-when with the help of the NBA and ABC-ESPN and TNT, Ron’s family are not props in some advertisement dollar-determined image-rehab project. He is apologetic to his former contending team, and thrilled to be a champ today, and funny often, especially when he asks where his younger son is and is told he’s with Kobe.

Every year when NBA Commissioner David Stern awards the Larry O’Brien Championship trophy to the winner you can tell he so wishes he could say, “Congratulations to this year’s NBA Champion New York Knicks!” But David don’t have enough years left in his life for that to happen. This creepy article by Laura Holson in the NYT on Cablevision-Knicks-Rangers-MSG owner’s James Dolan’s soul-baring misuse of songform must be a peace offering to a fellow media titan after the NYT’s sports journalist Selena Roberts reported with passion the rot that underpins the Knicks’ ongoing tribulations. Nominally it was a sexual harassment case against Isaiah Thomas but it spun out in all directions until it all got explained when Dolan got on the witness stand. We guess he was a friendly witness for the defense. As Elliott Spitzer says of Dolan’s heartfelt celebration of his downfall, “I always admired the multiple layers of Jim’s personality. I applaud his creativity.” The Knicks hope to sign LeBron James or another of the top-line NBA free agents who may wish for reasons of their own to destroy their career.


David Harris on his father in the International Herald Tribune.

“Raised in Berlin as an only child, he was sent to an aunt in Vienna for ‘safekeeping’ when Hitler came to power in 1933. He wouldn't see his parents again until after the war. Meanwhile, his aunt wasn’t all that keen to have him. Nor, as it turned out were the Austrians. After the 1938 Anschluss, my father fled to Paris. Within a short while, he was in the French Foreign Legion, and then, after France fell, sent to a Vichy labor camp in western Algeria. Later, after a miraculous escape and trek across the Sahara Desert, he worked behind enemy lines for O.S.S….

Learning even the rough outline of my father's biography required relentless questioning of his few friends and even fewer relatives. Fast forward to San Francisco. My wife's sister and brother-in-law, residents there, had come into possession of some of my father's belongings after he passed away in 1998. The boxes stayed in a garage until one day my in-laws went through them. The result was a folder they gave me during my visit. It contained a diploma, written in German. My father had been awarded an honorary doctorate, in 1975, by the Institute of Chemistry in Vienna. The degree was presented for his work at the institute from 1936 to 1938 on ‘synthesis of the heavy hydrogen atom.’ As he was born in 1920, he was cited for cutting-edge research pursued between the ages of 16 and 18!”


Hanna Rosin in The Atlantic, "The End of Men" follows their earlier cover story, "The End of White America". Whereas Camille Paglia is unafraid to give men, capitalism, Catholicism, patriarchy, et. al., their due, most women-on-women writing is really lazy and pat. In addition this piece is longer than its writer can sustain (no doubt its to be expanded for a forthcoming book!) and it’s not as funny as its illustrations imply it is meant to be. Yoko Ono’s liner notes for her 1971 gate-fold double album, Approximately Infinite Universe, covered all this back then. They were titled “The Feminization of Society” and were published in abridged form in the New York Times as well. Those were the days! Even the drivel had style back then, and who knew where the world was heading? Maybe Yoko was one of our leading intellectuals. The back cover even has Yoko and John talking about astral identity. That could be another essay idea for Rosin, but that one may not get the cover.


Carlene Bauer at Slate on Belinda Carlisle’s memoir, Lips Unsealed, is surprised she had much to say, but given the Go-Go’s beginnings in the early Hollywood punk scene at least that period would have to be interesting. In fact its so good according to Bauer it brings to mind my book about Naomi Petersen and SST.


Steven Rosen in Cincinnati CityBeat at rocksbackpagesblogs.com on The Stooges at Cincinnati Summer Pop Festival telecast, 1970.


Mats Persson at euobserver.com on EU’s boredom strategy for stealth evolution.

“This afternoon Commission President Barroso, speaking at the European University Institute in Florence, also reminded the UK’s Coalition Government why the game over the EU’s economic government is far from over:

‘The European Council’s conclusions have envisaged small steps, which sometimes are the most important. It is like a silent revolution – stronger economic governance made through small steps’

he said according to Italian media.

Talk like this scares the bejesus out of British politicians – particularly those on the right – as the EU’s entire history is seen as a long silent revolution, whose final outcome is clear: a fully-fledged federal Europe. And the actual proposals for the first step towards en EU economic government won’t be tabled until October – and much can happen before then. As Cameron said, ‘You’ve always got to be on your guard’ in the EU.”


Peter Baldwin at opendemocracy.net, "Is the EU Too Big to be Democratic?"

“The seldom-noticed secret of comparisons across the Atlantic is that they set a continent-sized behemoth in relation to a series of small nations, some of which are downright dollhouse in magnitude. Naturally each of the smaller ones will seem more homogeneous, equal and unstratified than the large one. But if we perform the same exercise using instead US federal states and EU nations, the comparisons become much more what you would expect. Thus, for example, it is true that the US is as a whole more unequal than most European nations, measured as the ratio of richest quintile to the poorest. But if that comparison is broken into is component parts, it turns out that Wisconsin, say, is less stratified than France, Vermont less so that Greece, Ohio less than Italy, Alabama less than the UK and California less than Portugal.”


Lee Harris at Hoover.org, "The Tea Party vs. the Intellectuals".

It takes Harris a little while to kick in this time but he’s always worth reading.

“When referring to marginalized outsiders, Gramsci had in mind the kind of people who inhabited his native island of Sardinia. Tough and hardy, ferociously independent, stubborn in their ways, and pugnaciously proud of their own cultural identity, Sardinians embodied the “Don’t tread on me!” attitude and were prepared to back it up with action, often quite violent action. Italians born on the mainland looked down on the islanders, regarding them as crude and uncouth, which by sophisticated standards they certainly were…. Yet Gramsci, far from feeling shame about his native Sardinia, remained intensely proud of it all his life. Indeed, it was thanks to his native Sardinia that Gramsci came to recognize that snobbery is a powerful form of oppression. Those who establish a monopoly of prestige are no more willing to share their cosa nostra with others than those who have created commercial monopolies.

The only defense that the marginalized outsider has against this onslaught is to not give a damn. And the fact that the Tea Party movement does not give a damn about the current standards of intellectual respectability makes it problematic for the intellectual, who cannot take the same attitude. But it is also the characteristic that justifies the Tea Party’s claim to be revolutionary. To be sure, this is not the revolution envisioned by Marx, in which the working class overthrows the capitalist class. It is rather the revolt of common sense against privileged opinion makers, and, by its very nature, it can only be carried out by men and women who are not constrained by the standards of intellectual respectability current in polite company. Again, it is precisely their status as marginalized outsiders that allows them to defy the monopoly of prestige possessed by the cultural insiders. This fact may put them beyond the pale as far as the conservative intellectuals are concerned, but it is precisely what makes them a force capable of resisting the liberal elite’s efforts to achieve cultural hegemony — a resistance that conservative intellectuals had hoped to mount but which they have not mounted, which explains why the Tea Party movement has so little use for them as a whole. As the Tea Partiers see it, what is most needed right now are not new ideas — we have already had far too many of those. What is needed is the revitalization of a very old attitude — the attitude shared by all people who have been able to maintain their liberty and independence against those who would take it away from them: ‘We do not need an elite to govern us. We can govern ourselves.’”


Daniel Pipes on Ernest Sternberg in Orbis.

Sternberg’s "Purifying the World: What the New Radical Ideology Stands For" [pdf file].

“We are in the midst of the worldwide rise of a non-religious chiliastic movement, which preaches global human renewal and predicts apocalypse as its alternative. Like its twentieth-century predecessors, the new ideology provides an intellectual formula through which to identify the present world’s depredations, imagines a pure new world that eliminates them, and mobilizes the disaffected and alienated for the sake of radical change. Like the followers of totalitarianisms past, the new ideologues also see themselves as the vanguard for the highest humanitarian ideals. If many of us have failed to recognize the rise of this new movement, the reason may be that we are still trapped in defunct ideological categories.”


The May 17 issue of National Review takes a look at this Constitution everyone is talking about:

•Bradley Watson -- "Darwin’s Constitution"

“Dewey‘s elucidation of the new modes of social inquiry drew upon the thought of a number of Social Darwinist and pragmatist thinkers, including William Graham Sumner, Lester Frank Ward, William James, and W.E.B. Du Bois. These thinkers provided the intellectual categories of their age, and today those categories continue to exert a powerful influence over political -- and jurisprudential -- discourse. Collectively, they point to a view of society as an organism that is constantly in the throes of change and must adapt or die. Like the Social Darwinists, the pragmatists used naturalistic concepts and emphasized change, while rejecting what James called the ‘rationalist temper’ that ossifies rather than adapts. For the Social Darwinists and pragmatists, looking backward -- as Lincoln had done -- to founding principles, or to any other fixed standard of political practice, inevitably hinders the process of adaptation.”

•Michael Greve -- "Our Defunct Commercial Constitution":

“There is, or there once was, such a thing as the ‘commercial Constitution.’ Most of the powers and prohibitions specified in the Constitution concern commercial matters: commerce itself, obviously, but also patents and copyrights, bankruptcy, taxation, tariffs and duties, the coinage of money, contracts, and property rights. Enough of those provisions have fallen into desuetude to suggest that we no longer have a commercial Constitution….

Contrary to the misunderstanding that is especially widespread among conservatives, the New Deal did not simply unleash the federal government’s power on the states and the private economy. Rather, it expanded government power at all levels, state as well as federal. And to that end, it effectively repealed the commercial Constitution that had governed the United States for roughly 150 years.”


Jonathan Chait at TNR on Ezra Klein in the Washington Post on the Federal stimulus vs. the States’ anti-stimuli.

Chait and Klein are at pains to declare that factoring the states cuts, the fed spending is a wash, and further, taxation isn’t all that progressive either. They’re either trying to calm the Tea Partiers of their imagination, or they are truly struck by how much resistance there is to just a hint of the direction they are cheering on. George Skelton in the LAT defends state employees’ contracts re the busted budget in Calif. He prefers to remind his readers that union contracts didn’t bust that budget and he helpfully reminds us, “Sometimes when government cuts spending, it actually costs money.” Well we call that “Penny-wise Pound-foolish” but not usually in connection with a state that cannot restrain its activities and prerogatives to governmental ones. Because in that case one would be failing to see the trees for the forest.


WSJ editorial, "Captains of Subsidy" takes some CEO-types to task for their earnest call for tripling federal spending on energy research. Its Bill Gates’ name that stands out. Back in the days when he was working on his first billion he confidently expressed the opinion that he, his company, and his entire sector had no need for nor interest in the federal government. Turns out that was the wrong opinion to express if not have. The government was not up on all that computer jazz so they’d neglected to shake down this new cash-tree. The FTC and the Justice Department have been on his case ever since and now he dutifully forks over the requisite piles of cash to elect the right politicians and communicate with them through the right lobbyists. He even gives some away to poor foreigners. Anyway the WSJ recounts all the research spending going back to the Carter Administration, and concludes,

“As it happens, some of the captains of industry have sunk billions of dollars into blue-sky energy investments that can’t succeed without the crutch of subsidies, mandates and carbon taxes. So now they‘re asking Congress to make taxpayers pay twice -- in higher energy costs under cap and tax, and to finance their investments via a $160 billion-plus program over 10 years at a time when the federal deficit as a share of GDP is already at Greek levels. No wonder votes have come to distrust big business nearly as much as they do big government.”


Frank Rich in the NYT, "Clean the Gulf, Clean House, Clean Their Clock".

Rich is certain he knows what the President must do, act like the oil leak is 9-11. Unless I’ve misread his columns over the years none of the response to 9-11 was done correctly either. Rich has been writing since the seventies so you have to assume he’s been reading for that long as well. Maybe it’s just the state of Broadway back when he was a drama critic, but I found that learning to write characters in a plot against a setting was helpful in understanding human beings and the world around me.

Matt Bai in the NYT scratching his head on the new populism being of the right not the left. He figures President Obama is “too cool and contemplative to be terribly convincing” as a would-be scourge of “corporate behemoths”, but he summarizes that “voters perceive both business and government as part of an interdependent system, and it is hard for them to separate out the culpability of either.” Sounds like a job for the Constitution.


Scott Rosenberg at pbs.org on journalists’ thin skin.

He mentions journalists trained to refer to themselves as “this reporter” but that’s only broadcast journalists on-mic or on-camera, in print journalism it is more often “a reporter.” More to his point.


Shelby Steele in the WSJ often draws from the many destructive temptations for despair and hatred that black Americans were subject to for centuries as he looks around the world:

“If the Palestinians got everything they want—a sovereign nation and even, let's say, a nuclear weapon—they would wake the next morning still hounded by a sense of inferiority. For better or for worse, modernity is now the measure of man. And the quickest cover for inferiority is hatred. The problem is not me; it is them…. In other words, my hatred is my self-esteem. This must have much to do with why Yasser Arafat rejected Ehud Barak's famous Camp David offer of 2000 in which Israel offered more than 90% of what the Palestinians had demanded. To have accepted that offer would have been to forgo hatred as consolation and meaning. Thus it would have plunged the Palestinians—and by implication the broader Muslim world—into a confrontation with their inferiority relative to modernity.”


Mira Sethi in the WSJ on Pakistan’s Medieval Constitution.

“In 1974, Pakistan amended its constitution to declare Ahmadis non-Muslims. Ten years later, among a slew of anti-blasphemy laws—one of them famously known as ‘Ordinance XX’—the military dictator Zia ul-Haq made it a crime for Ahmadis to call themselves Muslims. They were forbidden from declaring their faith publicly, using the traditional Islamic greeting, and referring to their places of worship as mosques. In short, virtually any public act of worship or devotion by an Ahmadi can be treated as a criminal offense punishable by death.”


Daniel Byman and Christine Fair in The Atlantic, "The Case for Calling Them Nitwits".

Mostly a litany of bungled terrorist plots, but the authors should have considered the efficacy of ridicule itself, which when it has been tried to date has had its potential effect largely erased when all the good ecumenical un-believers in the west chastise the offenders at "South Park", or the various cartoonists who will live in infamy under the glories that will be New Andalus. After all, it is not that they are so often blunderers that is absurd, it is what they are intending for all humanity that is so worthy of ridicule.


Maryana Torocheshnikova at opendemocracy.net on Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev on showtrial in the FSU.

“Khodorkovsky concluded that any discussion about the disappearance of part of the profit from the sale of oil -- which is exactly what the prosecution were attempting to prove throughout the past year -- could only begin if prosecutors drop charges of stealing the oil itself. As Khodorkovsky argued, profit cannot arise ina companyu in which everything has been previously stolen.”


George Packer in the NYer on Peter Beinart’s book, The Icarus Syndrome.

One can see the NYT’s Thomas Friedman’s apologia for his cheerleading the Iraq war on a weekly basis; he seems to think he can Green his way back into the good graces of polite Manhattan society. Another odd bedfellow which helped President Bush launch the war was Peter Beinart. There were a lot of them on the left actually, and the phenomenon stemmed as much from the Clinton Administration’s experience going into Kosovo and not going into Rwanda, and the sense that 9-11 was a watershed that would require more than another peace-process restart. Forgotten as well, was that sense that this Iraq War was really a second battle of the same Iraq War which is the unstated standard used to impune how the second Bush Administration went about it.

Beinart is part of what makes The New Republic better than The Nation, and George Packer is probably wrong in assuming The New Yorker’s perspective was any better whatever he saw for himself on the ground. It took twenty-five years for a respectable liberal Democrat like Michael Lind to revisit, explain and justify the Vietnam War. You’d think the coast would be clearer on Iraq. The supporters of the war ran so far from it that any good that comes out of this new Iraq will redound to the reputations of only two persons in the west.

As Packer recounts and critiques Beinart’s journey through American involvements overseas and in Latin America through the 20th century, I thought of how certain conventional wisdom is that our actions always backfire, as in our authorship of modern jihad in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, or our authoring Khomeini’s Iranian Republic by bringing down Mossadegh, and yet as efficiently we are supposed to have achieved these ends we are counseled only despair at any unmaking or further remaking of them. In truth none of this is our business but as I wrote in "Brave New Class" there are venal leftwing reasons as well for these wars. And though it doesn’t seem likely we would have sat them all out, I do like Pat Buchanan’s construction in his book, A Republic, Not an Empire, whereby our late entry into WWI extends the war until the Tsar falls to the Bolsheviks, and saves France so it can grind Germany at Versailles, resulting in WWII, and the Cold War and all its hot spots.


Geoff Dyer in The Guardian on war non-fiction’s shortcut to formerly novelists’ truths.


Thanks to Phil Freeman.

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• The New Vulgate
• Joe Carducci, Chris Collins, James Fotopoulos, Mike Vann Gray, David Lightbourne
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1 comment:

  1. Dear Sirs,

    Yeah, I am that French speaking soldier and here is an addition to the lexicon: baratin. As an avid reader of the Vulgate, primarily to get a handle upon what is flying south in the far-off reaches of the Americas, I don't mind a bit of Godard bashing, but c'est très branché, hein? When we get rid of irony then we can stop living in caves, huh? As some French guy (not Godard) once said... But hey, old whisky nose Debord has been dead since 1994 so he would have a hard being jealous about anyone elses "flicks" or flics. Debord on Godard: "Godard's 'critiques' never go beyond the innocuous humour typical of nightclub comics or Mad magazine."... "In the mood to be pissed off"? Well, what is wrong with that phrase? Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

    Best from the sunny side of Europe.