is very likely that nearly every one has been very nearly certain that
something that is interesting is interesting them....
June 2003 Monday
David Teather | "US Begins Iraq Crackdown as Soldiers Found Dead"
| 30 June 2003 | Guardian | link
launch of "Operation Sidewinder": "In a candid interview
on the BBC's Breakfast with Frost, Mr Bremer said pockets of resistance
in Iraq would be crushed. 'We are going to fight them and impose our
will on them and we will capture or, if necessary, kill them until we
have imposed law and order upon this country,' he said."
Poetry blogs around noon EDT
relies on outside stimuli (me too). Silliman
on the Malevich show at the Guggenheim: "While Malevich has often
been characterized as a painter of geometric shapes, it is in fact all
the off center moments that predominate in this exhibition."
Monkey gets Rae Armantrout
and Fanny Howe behind the audblog mic (more or less). The Well
Nourished Moon digs out Bill Luoma's delicious take on Sappho's
"Phainetai Moi." Overlap
finds the sweet spot in Scalia's dissenting opinion. And Mosses
finds the same in Bromige's interview
with Doug Powell at Jacket.
A Sorter attends the
"Audacious Imagination" event held in honor of Barbara Guest
at the Berkeley Art Museum: "Despite this pretentious failure to
articulate, much less recognize, critical values, the readers somewhat
fleshed-out a vast and difficult poetics which, interestingly, teemed
with critical insight." Setting out from Lynch's Straight
Story, Limetree arrives
at the following insight: "Paradoxically, it's politically 'safer'
to like something really stupid than it is to like something that might
turn out to be stupid if you think about it (or listen to someone else
who's thought about it) long enough." Human
Verb shows us his pretty tempting to do list. It isn't new,
but I didn't note it earlier and it remains SDPG's
lead: a field report on Fait
Accompli, where the dial today is set to 1991: "I'm no longer
/ listening to me." Tympan
continues to research legal strategies for booting Billy Collins (and
sure to check out the Schwitters-like "personal salute").
David Brooks | "Democrats Go off the Cliff" | Weekly Standard
| 30 June 2003 | 23-26
power is depriving democrats of their sanity: "Those on the bottom
become vicious. Sensing that their dignity is perpetually insulted,
they begin to see their plight in lurid terms. They exaggerate the power
of their foes. They invent malevolent conspiracy theories to explain
their unfortunate position. They develop a gloomy and panicked view
of the world" (25). Among those affected (in addition to the presidential
candidates): Robert Byrd, Bill Moyers, Harold Meyerson, Janet Reno,
Tim Robbins, Bob Shrum, Donna Brazile, Hendrik Hertzberg, Thomas Frank.
"But liberals are sincere. They despair that a consortium of conservative
think tanks, talk radio hosts, and Fox News...has cohered to form a
dazzlingly efficient ideology delivery system that swamps liberal efforts
to get their ideas out" (24).
29 June 2003
Pankaj Mishra | "The Way to the Middle Way" | Rev. of The
Search for the Buddha: The Men Who Discovered India's Lost Religion
by Charles Allen | New York Review of Books L.10 | 12 June 2003
Hungarian searching for the intellectual basis of a hopeful nationalism;
and English vet looking for horses and seeking also to advance British
imperialist aims; a French botanist collecting specimens on behalf of
a new European institutionit was such unlikely men with diverse,
not very Buddhistic, motives, and much error and accident, that helped
create the first Western views of the Buddha" (37).
Poetry blogs shorter Sunday edition
bones up on Title 2, Chapter 5, Section 177 of the legal code.
Silliman receives clarification
on the word phaneronoemikon from Lanny Quarle and Jeffrey Jullich.
27 June 2003
Michael Pinto-Duschinsky | "All in the Translation: What the Proposed
European Constitution Means for Britain" | Times
Literary Supplement 5228 | 13 June 2003 | 3-5 | Link
to preliminary draft of "Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe."
predictably finds little to be pleased about in the draft constitution
brought forward by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and others last weekend.
Noting that linguistic diversity alone is sure to play havoc with judicial
interpretation of the document ("A twenty-one language constitution
is likely to create legal problems"), the author goes on to discern
"at least seven visions" operating behind the draft (only
one of whichthe "anti-American" oneis much addressed
by the Andrew Sullivan piece mentioned here yesterday). Furthermore,
key terms like "participatory democracy" and "civil society"
remain as hard to pin down as ever. Despite the writer's nationalist
bias, the article does point out just how numerous are the practical
ramifications of "ever-closer union" that no one, apparently,
as yet can understand or predict. (For more on the constitution, see
Sullivan, noted here 26 June; also the Economist special report,
noted 25 June.)
Results are in from MoveOn's endorsement
election (in which 300,000 people participated). None of the candidates
were able to get to the 50% threshold for formal endorsement, but Dean
received 43.87%, Kucinich took 23.93%, and Kerry got 15.73%. Of the remaining
candidates, none received more than the 3.19% of Edwards, with Lieberman
taking only 1.93% and Sharpton coming in at .53%. | Link
to Washington Post coverage.
Poetry blogs midafternoon EDT on the second day of the "Big
Post Error" era
notes the passage of Strom Thurmond from this earth. Also, journalistic
dependence upon corporate press releases. Cahiers
de Corey is flabbergasted to find a poet among Entertainment
Weekly's hundred most interesting people in entertainment.
Limetree animates his links
between stints reading Ovid's Amores in
the original. Tympan
returns with a reading of DeLillo's Cosmopolis:
"DeLillo riffs effortlessly on some of our conceptions of contemporary
poetry: the material text, the breath-based line, poetry as meditation.
And yet we don't know how seriously to take this, as it seems to appear
only as fodder for the protagonist's self-absorption." Elsewhere
responds enthusiastically to Steve McCaffery's Seven
Pages Missing: "I'll just come right out and say it: the
second volume of this collection has been, in the two weeks since I
picked it up at Bridge Street Books in Washington, D.C., the most inspiring
collection of poetry I've read in a long time." The Well
Nourished Moon reports on a backyard reading by Lee Ann Brown, Stacy
Szymaszek and Stephen Vincent. Ululations
describes a compelling and dubious website devoted to narcissism.
Silliman reads Kiosk
2 and ponders allusiveness in Cabri and Child, genre in Scalapino, colons
in K. Silem Mohammad, and Blau DuPlessis's attainment of a "transcendental
level" with "Drafts 56: Bildungsgedicht with Apple."
on punk and her grunt-level first job at the NYT (compare to
Elizabeth Kolbert, mentioned below).
"With Borrowed Eyes: Abbas Kiarostami interviewed by David Sterritt"
| Film Comment | July / August 2000 | 21-26
movie like The Wind Will Carry Us, "we
as viewers can create things according to our own experiencesthe
things we don't see, that aren't visible. There are eleven people in
this movie who are not visible. At the end you know you haven't seen
them, but you feel you know who they were and what they were about"
26 June 2003
Poetry blogs courtesy of the links provided on Harlequin
Knights, circa 11pm EDT
Knights chooses Pasolini over Buñuel, but with good reason.
Blog Blog recalls Joe Chaikin and Ruby Cohn and the versions of
Beckett each proposed. Never
Neutral is overtaken by Celan's 1960 "Meridian" speech.
Lot joins Overlap
(19 June) in appreciating George Albon's Stein-titled Thousands
Count Out Loud. Tex
Files on limb-loosening Sappho.
Which puts the Well Nourished
Moon in mind of Bill Luoma's translations, if not his name.
On screen The Wind Will Carry Us |
Dir. Abbas Kiarostami (2000) | DVD
"best of 2000" review
on Deep Focus:"The film
derives its title from a softly erotic poem by Foroogh Farrokhzaad,
which is recited by Dourani in a darkened cellar to a young woman who
is milking a cow for him. (You can imagine the symbolism.) Kiarostami's
greatest achievement here may be the documentary-style recreation of
the village (and the nearby hillside to which he must hurry in order
to take cell phone calls) in such geographic detail that, walking out
of the theater, you feel you've actually spent some time there. Otherwise,
the film is merely gorgeous, strikingly observed, and, against the odds,
really quite funny."
New York Times | 26 June 2003
The four hundred taxpayers who make up "the nation's aristocracy"
earned more than one percent of all income in the U.S. in 2000, according
to David Cay Johnston's front page story.
David E. Sanger and Warren Hoge note that Blair is being made to pay,
politically, for the falsified intelligence documents that legitimated
the Iraq war, while Bush has so far gotten a pass: "Mr. Bush's
protective press aides have been successful at shielding him from many
questions on the subject, but even when reporters had brief access to
the president...they asked about other subjects. 'That would be unimaginable
in London, at least in this environment,' a British diplomat said here
Safire stays on the FCC case, claiming that rollback bills in the House
and Senate could succeed if, as North Carolina Republican Richard Burr
puts it, "a clear perception of public outrage" is made manifest.
"And to move Bush and DeLay," Safire adds, "that expression
of snail mail and e-mail outrage must come from the rightfrom
believers in strong local say about the means and content of communication,
acting while there is still time" (A26).
Newt Gingrich | "Rogue State Department" | Foreign Policy
| July/August 2003 | 42-48
wants to bring the "shock and awe" treatment to Powell's state
department as a means of synching it up to "Bush's views and objectives"
(46). Among his recommendations, a renewed global propaganda campaign:
the "rise of a global anti-American network of activists and nationsincluding
left-wing nongovernmental organizations, elite media, and most of the
elite academics around the world (including the United States)further
increases the country's need for a comprehensive communication and information
strategy. The British Broadcasting Corporation, according to some observers,
was at least as hostile to the United States as Al Jazeera was during
the entire Iraqi conflict. Today, the United States does not have a
strategy, structure, or resource allocation capable of dealing with
this sort of opposition" (46).
Andrew Sullivan | "The Euro Menace: The Threat of European Integration"
| The New Republic | 16 June 2003 |
sees the "new federalist constitution" in Europe as an unwelcome
instrument that will "subtly but profoundly institutionalize"
anti-Americanism abroad (22). His conclusion is that "[k]eeping
Britain both in the USE [United States of Europe] and outside of it
militarily, diplomatically, and monetarily should become a prime U.S.
objective in foreign policy. Without it, the United States could lose
is most valuable military and diplomatic ally. If you think that's unimportant,
imagine the Iraq wardiplomatically and militarilywithout
the fig leaf of British support."
George Monbiot | "How to Stop America" | New
Statesman | 9 June 2003 | 16- 18
wants an alternative to "direct global governance by the United
States" and thinks that a "world parliament" in which
"each nation's vote" would be "weighed according to both
the number of people it represents and its degree of democratisation"
(17) could be the answer. "Our task is not to overthrow globalisation,
but to capture it, and to use it as a vehicle for humanity's first global
democratic revolution" (18).
Elizabeth Kolbert | "Tumult in the Newsroom: Why Chronic Insecurity
Is Every Times Reporter's Lot" | New Yorker | 30 June
2003 | 42-46
in illustration of the maxim "Woe to the editor whose newsroom
becomes the news" from a former Times reporter. Happily
there is no equivalent in poetry to the following scenario recounted
by Kolbert: "My colleagues and I worried endlessly over our positions
in the hierarchy and had worked out to several decimal places which
assignments were to be covered, based not on their intrinsic merits
but on this status. (City Hall was better than Police Headquarters,
Police Headquarters was better than the Brooklyn courthouse, the Brooklyn
Courthouse was better than Trenton, and anything was better than Long
Island.) We rushed to get the early edition of the paper as soon as
it appeared on Manhattan newsstands, which in those days was around
11 P.M. The pleasure of a really great story was usually mixed with
envy, while the pleasure of a really awful one was pure and uncomplicated"
Poetry blogs circa 11am EDT
gets started on a Google-assisted study of narcissism
Silliman's return looks
to be delayed by new software at Blogger.
The Skeptic reads Mark
DeCarteret's poem "Anesthetic."
Porthole Redux purchases
a skateboard. An "Homage to
Baudelaire" (whose birthday was yesterday) at Mosses
from an Old Manse: "It operates his preoccupations, his desires,
off from the switch directly."
Limetree makes Eugene Ostashevsky
sound scary and talented. Laurable,
I'd guess, is somewhere about book V of Maximus by now.
Monkey's got a track-by-track
take on Continuous Peasant's debut cd Exile in
Babyville: "Stroffolino's voice and lyrics
star above a warm maelstrom of guitars and zap."
Human Verb has
free print-out privileges at Smith College and an interesting take
on Emmanuel Hocquard. Rod Smith's Music
or Honesty gets a "little review" at FSC
and another installment in the dialog about Circulars
appears. It's August 1986 and Valery,
Spicer, and not God are accomplished
facts. (But things get strange further downscreen).
Equanimity eases into
another blogcasting day with notes on Judith Miller, fighting in Monrovia,
Jack Collom, inverted pyramids, and Brian's review of Rod.
Cahiers de Corey admires
a poem by Karen L. Anderson and cites Kristin Prevallet at some length
on Edouard Glissant's ideas about "relational poetics."
25 June 2003
On screen Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from
Mars | Dir. by D.A. Pennebaker (1973) | DVD
digitally-remastered version of Pennebaker's film, originally shot at
Hammersmith Odeon on 3 July 1973 as Bowie closed his world tour and retired
the Ziggy Stardust persona. Tony Visconti's remixed soundtrack is still
frustratingly bad, Bowie seems worn out and oddly uncharismatic, and the
show's signature color remains an unvarying and unflattering Martian red-orange.
Even so, I enjoyed watching Mick Ronson's thick makeup melt under the
house lights, the shots of Bowie shimmying in and out of his many costumes,
and a number of the songsespecially the "White Light White
Heat" cover in the encore and the "Rock and Roll Suicide"
finale. | Read Phil Hall's review
at Film Threat.
David Corn | "Probing 9/11" | The Nation | 7 July 2003
after it began workand with only a year more to complete its investigations
and file a final reportthe independent commission appointed by
Congress to answer the many questions surrounding the events of 9/11
has airline and other industry pressures and an administration addicted
to secrecy to contend with. The ten-person commission has a staff of
fifty that has been divided into nine investigative teams: "Al
Qaeda and terrorism, the intelligence community, US counterterrorism
policy, terrorist financing, border control and terrorist watch lists,
domestic law enforcement and intelligence, aviation and transportation
security, the emergency responses to the attacks, and the White House's
and federal government's reactions to the strikes" (16).
Matt LeMay | Rev.
of Liz Phair by Liz Phair (2003)
| Pitchfork | 25 June 2003
two years of scanning Pitchfork fairly regularly, I don't recall
ever seeing a rating of "O.O" before. "Ten years after
Exile, Liz has finally managed to accomplish
what seems to have been her goal ever since the possibility of commercial
success first presented itself: to release an album that could have
just as easily been made by anybody else."
"Special Report: Europe's Constitution" | The Economist
| 21 June 2003 | 51-54 | link
primer, in question and answer form, about the draft constitution for
the European Union presented in Greece last weekend.
Poetry blogs circa 1pm EDT
manifesto emerges. Overlap
presents a reading report on yesterday's Donnelly, Armantrout, Silliman
event at the Drawing Center. And
Silliman himself takes a holiday in the city.
Equanimity reports back
on the tests people are putting poetry to.
A "little review" of Kenneth Goldsmith's Day
at Free Space Comix.
Monkey (jism exiled) recounts
a Laurable dream. While Laurable
wonders who will join her for an Olsonathon at Tomkins Square Park
for the stamp Fence stole by emptying the mailbag.
Reading & Writing readies
itself for a leap from blogger to movable type.
cites Barthes on what makes sentences sexy.
24 June 2003
Caetano Veloso | Tropical Truth: A Story of Music and Revolution in
Brazil | Trans. Isabel de Sena | Ed. Barbara Einzig | New York: Knopf,
introduction: "Elizabeth Bishop, the American poet who lived in
Brazil between 1952 and 1970, praised the rallies organized in support
of the military [which had staged a coup in 1964], explaining in letters
to her friends in the United States that while those demonstrations
had 'originally been organized as anticommunist parades,' they 'were
becoming victory marchesmore than one million people marching
in the rain!' And she concludes: 'It was totally spontaneous, they could
not all be rich and right-wing reactionaries.' Today, when I
read those words, I am even more astonished by the distortion of my
own point of view at the time than by the author's (though, to be sure,
hers was no less distorted). To discover her version of the coup d'état
causes me some unease, but it is one more lesson, in these times when
private virtues must be taken as the causes of public evils, to come
to the realization that back then someonea woman poet at that!might
thus sum up the military coup that sent to jail some of my finest schoolmates
and professors: 'A few brave generals and the governors of three important
states got together and, after a difficult forty-eight hours, it was
all over. The (favorable) reactions have been really popular, thank
God.' Apparently there was such a thing as right-wing good intentions"
Michael Rushton | "Transaction Cost Politics and the National Endowment
for the Arts" | Poetics 31 (2003): 133-50
the "bold, self-confident, innovative, and opinionated" early
years of the NEA (the period between 1969 and 1977 when Nancy Hanks
was chair), Rushton notes one controversial award of $500 "to Aram
Saroyan for his poem, which read, in its entirety, 'LIGHGHT'" (143).
Nicholas Confessore | "Comparative Advantage" | The Washington
Monthly | December 2002 | link
on the reliably good Tom Paine "Take
on the News" blog lead me to this long, intermittently interesting
profile of Paul Krugman. "More often, though, his scoops are conceptual.
The tax cut, Bush's Social Security plan, Enron, the energy crisis,
and Harkenall Krugman hobbyhorseswere widely covered in
the media. But he has been the only prominent columnist to attempt to
weave all of them into a single, continuing narrative about the Bush
administration's policies, wealth inequality, corporate profiteering,
and the ascendancy of crony capitalism."
New York Times | 24 June 2003
Coverage of Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action (narrowly
upheld) and web-filters for public libraries (they're to be activated,
though adults who request unfiltered web access should be granted it)
dominate the front section.
Paul Krugman attributes the unwillingness of politicians and journalists
to tackle the Bush administrations lies about Iraqi WMDs and links with
Al Qaeda to simple cowardice: "Well, launching a war on false pretenses
is, to say the least, a breach of trust. So if you admit to yourself
that such a thing happened, you have a moral obligation to demand accountabilityand
to do so in the face not only of a powerful, ruthless political machine
but in the face of a country not yet ready to believe that its leaders
have exploited 9/11 for political gain. It is a scary prospect"
Adam Nagourney covers Howard Dean's "official" campaign launch,
noting the disappearance of the themes (opposition to the war, universal
health care) that characterized the "guerrilla" phase of his
Patrick E. Tyler reports that Iraq Overseer Paul Bremer would rather
pay salaries to 250,000 idle Iraqi soldiers than see them go over over
to the resistance (A13). Still, only 40,000 are envisioned to be needed
in the post-occupation period (should it ever arrive). "This country
was grotesquely overmilitarized," a senior American official is
quoted as saying.
Art in America | July 2003
the "Front Page" bulletins are notices that Maxwell Anderson,
director since 1998 of the Whitney, has resigned his post (back on 12
May), as has Jack Bankowsky, editor of Artforum for the past
eleven years. Reviews editor Tim Griffin (formerly of Time Out New
York and ArtByte) will take over the Artforum
position. No successor to the Whitney job is mentioned.
Arundhati Roy | "Seize the Time" | In
These Times | 7 July 2003 | 15-17
essay, adapted from a 17 May speech in New York, rehearses the left
consensus on the Bush administration's imperial agenda before turning
briefly to some suggestions for counter-imperial action. "It would
be naïve to imagine that we can directly confront empire. Our strategy
must be to isolate empire's working parts and disable them one by one.
No target is too small. No victory too insignificant. We could reverse
the idea of the economic sanctions imposed on poor countries by empire
and its allies. We could impose a regime of 'peoples' sanctions' on
every corporate house that has been awarded with a contract in postwar
Iraq, just as activists in this country and around the world targeted
institutions of apartheid. Each one of them should be named, exposed,
and boycotted. Forced out of business. That could be our response to
Shock and Awe. It would be a beginning" (17). Roy argues that "the
only institution more powerful than the U.S. government is American
civil society" and closes with a geo-pastoral promise: "If
you join the battle, not in your hundreds of thousands, but in your
millions, you will be greeted joyously by the rest of the world. And
you will see how beautiful it is to be gentle instead of brutal, safe
instead of scared. Befriended instead of isolated. Loved instead of
Lewis H. Lapham | "Notebook: The Demonstration
Effect" | Harper's | June 2003 | 9-11
the main editor at Harper's, pries the "lessons" of
the Iraq war from the "government-inspected prose" in which
they've mainly been encased. Three axioms emerge: first, "the moral
splendor of American empire can be made to stand on a pedestal of lies";
second, "the American news media can be relied upon to sell the
spectacle and leave the story to the government"; and, third, "package
the imperialist agenda as instructive entertainment, and the American
public will come to know and love the product" (9-10). An interesting
aside: cigars, women's underwear, teddy bears, bubble-making wands,
doll-house furnishings, ski boots, mouse pads, smoking jackets, yo-yos,
and inflatable bathtub toys are among the products for which the "Shock
and Awe" trademark has been sought (10).
23 June 2003
David Gelernter | "The Next Great American
Newspaper: Replacing the New York Times" | Weekly Standard
| 23 June 2003 | 22-25
Yale computer science professor argues that the conservative newspaper
capable of providing a counterweight to the New York Times ("Manhattan
was always intended for a Times and a Herald Tribuneone
Democratic Alpha Male newspaper and one Republican") will have
to be published on the web, and he just happens to have the commercial
software to do it. "Imagine a parade of jumbo index cards standing
like set-up dominoes. On your computer display, the parade of index
cards stretches into the simulated depths of your screen, from the middle-bottom
(where the front-most card stands, looking big) to the farthest-away
card in the upper left corner (looking small). Now, something happens:
Tony Blair makes a speech. A new card materializes in front (a report
on the speech) and everyone else takes a step backand the farthest-away
card falls off the screen and (temporarily) disappears. So the parade
is in constant motion" (24). Stories would be composed in "continuous
series of lapidary paragraphs" and would come to resemble "a
string of aphorisms" rather than a "long set-piece":
"[I]t is no accident that two of three greatest writers of modern
times should have loved writing aphorisms (Freud didn't, but Nietzsche
and Wittgenstein did)" (24).
| 7 July 2003
Jonathan Schell on journalist Robert Kaplan's Atlantic
article "frankly advocat[ing] a policy of American global domination
that others leave between the lines" (7).
Kaplan's model for doing things is, incredibly, U.S. policy in Latin
America "over the past several decades." That means letting
the CIA and Special Forces do the assassinating, local elites the massacring
and disappearing of people, while neutralizing international law and
domestic media. Schell thinks it sounds a little fascistic and a lot
militarist. Patricia Williams
on the hit and kiss occupation of Iraq (officials "call it carrot
and stick, but it sounds awfully like the kind of abusive marriage where
he roughs her up then shows up at the hospital with flowers" (10).
Continuing a train of thought explored by Bob Perelman (vis-a-vis Cheney)
in the po-editorial "Against Shock and Awe," Williams writes:
"And so we pursue the kind of psychology that lends insight into
what kind of childhood Donald Rumsfeld must have endured: We are 'breaking
down' Iraqi prisoners by subjecting them to endless hours of the Barney
theme song, while 'cheering up' Iraqi children with real live GI Joes"
On screen The Hours
| Dir. by Stephen Daldry (2002) | DVD
construction and insufferably self-important acting (or was it just
a stilted script?) cancel out the interesting momentsof which
there are nonetheless a fair number, all of them small-scale, and many
of them wordless.
| 21 June 2003
column traces the story, ubiquitous in past months, about the shadow
network of Leo Straussians that is rumored to be supplying the Bush
team with its ideas back to Lyndon LaRouche's March posting of an item
called "Fascist Godfather of the Neocons" to his Executive
Intelligence Review website (29). "You might have thought that
the article's overheated language and conspiracy-mongering would have
killed the argument. But since then a flotilla of respectable publications,
from the New Yorker to Le Monde, have jumped on the bandwagon."
A nothing-new-to-say piece about monetary
policy in Brazil (30). A begrudging
of elderly hippies" that skeptically examines Strom Thurmond
Jr.'s use of an obscure clause in Secret Service law to wage a legal
crusade again 54-year old Brett Bursey, the anti-Bush activist who was
busted last October for holding up a "No War for Oil" placard
at a Columbia, South Carolina airport where Bush was scheduled to visit.
"The prosecutors say that Mr Bursey was not in a special 'free-speech
zone' half a mile from the hangar.... Mr Bursey told the cops, defiantly,
that he was under the impression that the whole of America was a free-speech
zone'" (27). [Click here
for Democracy Now!'s coverage
of the Bursey case]
New York Times | 23 June 2003
E. Murphy reports on the legal fate of the roughly 3000 people arrested
during the anti-war demonstrations of March. Many misdemeanor charges
have been commuted to "infraction" status, with $100 fines
attached, but "most of the arrested demonstrators are choosing
to fight the infractions." Fran Peavey, described by Murphy as
a 62-year old writer who was "arrested in her wheelchair block
for blocking Bush street," is quoted saying "Yes, technically
we broke the law, but if some of us started paying the fines, what would
that say to the people who can't afford to. It would keep the poor people
away" (A14). Edmund L. Andrews
covers Paul Bremer's address to the World Economic Forum (previewed
by Steven Weisman yesterday) outlining the plan for "turning Iraq
into a Middle East model of free trade and deregulation" (A13).
Monica Davey covers the forum with
Democratic presidential candidates hosted yesterday by the Rainbow/PUSH
convention: "During the two-hour forum, the candidates took every
opportunity to criticize the president. They said he was supporting
the rich and forgetting the poor, dividing the nation by race, creating
circumstances that have left millions of people, particularly black
people, behind bars" (A19). Carol Mosely Brown: "We are witnessing
a failed presidency." Al Sharpton: "We must next year make
it clear that we will not be mugged by those who mugged us in Florida."
Klein | "Now Bush Wants to Buy the Complicity of Aid Workers"
| Guardian | 23 June 2003 | link
that the Bush administration is waging a two-front war on the independence
of non-governmental organizations (NGOs): "One buys the silence
and complicity of mainstream humanitarian and religious groups by offering
lucrative reconstruction contracts. The other marginalises and criminalises
more independent-minded NGOs by claiming that their work is a threat
to democracy. The US Agency for International Development (USaid) is
in charge of handing out the carrots, while the American Enterprise
Institute, the most powerful think-tank in Washington, is wielding the
sticks." The "AEI is more
than a think-tankit's Bush's outsourced brain."
22 June 2003
Baum | "Nation Builders for Hire" | New York Times Magazine
| 22 June 2003 | 32-37
more substantial piece than the one noted from Le Monde (below,
20 June) on the role of Kellogg Brown & Roota subsidiary of
Halliburton that produces about half of the parent company's $12.5b
annual revenuein the current occupation and reconstruction of
Iraq. "The Army says KBR got the Iraqi oil-field contract without
having to compete for it because, according to the Army's classified
contingency plan for repairing Iraq's infrastructure, KBR was the only
company with the skills, resources and security clearances to do the
job on short notice. Who wrote the Army's contingency plan? KBR. It
was in a position to do so because it holds another contract that is
poorly understood yet in many ways more important and potentially bigger
than the one to repair the oil fields: the Logistics Civil Augmentation
Program, or Logcap, which essentially turns KBR into a kind of for-profit
Ministry of Public Works for the Army. Under Logcap,which KBR won in
open bidding in 2001, KBR is on call to the army for 10 years to do
a lot of the things most people think soldiers do for themselvesfrom
fixing trucks to warehousing ammunition, from delivering mail to cleaning
up hazardous waste" (34). Later: "KBR/Halliburton, then, has
rounded the bases when it comes to Iraq. It got rich doing business
with Iraq, it got rich preparing to destroy Iraq and it's now getting
rich rebuilding Iraq" (35).
David Skinner | "Hip Hop Away: The Pseudo-Poetry
of Our Time" | Rev. of The Spoken Word Revolution,
edited by Marc Eleveld | Weekly Standard 8.40 | 23 June 2003 |
that recently argued the thesiswith which CLR James would likely
have agreedthat Whitman would have been all for Gulf War II sets
its assistant managing editor to attacking slam poetry. "[O]ne
has to admit, the poetry is accessible, passionate, and rhythmic. ¶
It's also utterly unserious. It grants no new insights into its listener's
life and times. Beauty does not become more striking while it's being
recited. Neither does one's sense of the sacred, or even one's sense
of language. Indeed, low ambition is what dooms this popular movement,
whose democratizing efforts one might otherwise welcome" (37).
Slavoj Zizek | "Ideology Reloaded" | Rev.
of The Matrix Reloaded by Andy and Larry Wachowski
| In These Times 27.16 | June 2003 | 23-25 |
counseled against taking the "philosophy" of The
Matrix franchise too seriously, Zizek goes on to extract some
serious (and to my mind dubious) political consequences from it. Where
the new installment leaves us, he argues, is with "a failure of
'cognitive mapping' that perfectly mirrors the sad predicament of today's
left and its struggle against the System" (25). The questions behind
the predicament are "not only whether any revolutions against the
Matrix can accomplish what they claim or whether they have to end in
an orgy of destruction, but whether they are not taken into account,
planned even, by the Matrix itself" (25). This is idiotic stuff,
since perhaps the only interesting thing about the Matrix (it couldn't
be the acting, writing, or effects) is what a bad metaphor it makes
for contemporary social reality, but Zizek does better with a minor
point about why in the world the Matrix-operating machines "need
human energy" in the first place: "The Matrix could have easily
found another more reliable source of energy, which would have not demanded
the extremely complex arrangement of virtual reality coordinated for
millions of human units. The only consistent answer is that the Matrix
feeds on human jouissance" (25). Just like Zizek feeds on
Lacan, I guess.
New York Times | 22 June 2003
R. Weisman reports on "Overseer" Paul Bremer III's remarks
to reporters in advance of a speech to the World Economic Forum on the
status of the occupation of Iraq: "Mr. Bremer sought to counter
the image of an Iraq that is sliding into chaos, with rising attacks
on American troops and frustration over the inability to find Saddam
Hussein or unconventional weapons" (1:12).
Elaine Sciolino on the 20,000 new light bulbs that have been woven into
the architecture of the Eiffel Tower. "As the project went along,
architects discovered that the existing architectural plan of the Eiffel
Tower was inaccurate, so it had to be redrawn by computer" (1:6).
A Tom Toles cartoon shows five panels
of Bush's losing battle with the Segway, and a sixth of Ari Fleischer
saying "The goal was not to ride the Segway, the goal was
to free the Iraqi people" (4:4).
New York Times | 20 June 2003
Clymer reports that John Ashcroft would like the media to help him explain
the Patriot Act, the "complaints and misunderstandings" about
which have gotten so bad that Ashcrofts is driven to lamely joke that
he "heard a fellow said his car wouldn't start the other day, and
he blamed the Patriot Act" (A12). Since it's too hard to choose
among the people and things John Ashcroft has found occasion to blame
irrationally, I'll let my own lame joke pass.
New York Times | 19 June 2003
pieces in the "Circuits" section on digital cinema":
Eric A. Taub's "Among Film's Ghosts, Its Future" (E1) and
Steve Lohn's "Where Cinéastes, Software and Schools Converge."
The former quotes a Texas Instruments business manager: "'Some
say a film print is equivalent to 5,000 lines of resolution, but by
the time it's been show a lot, its effective resolution may be no more
than 800 lines.'" This matters because, according to Taub, digital
projectors currently can currently get to about 1,300 lines of resolution.
Catherine Greenman turns in an inane
blogging how-to: "A Blogger's Big-Fish Fantasy" (E6).
Bill Moyers | "This Is Your Story The
Progressive Story of America, Pass It On" | link
delivered this speech recalling the Progressive movement that flourished
in the U.S. between 1892 and 1912 at the recent "Take Back American"
conference, with most of the Democratic presidential candidates in the
audience. "What will it take to get back in the fight? Understanding
the real interests and deep opinions of the American people is the first
thing. And what are those? That a Social Security card is not a private
portfolio statement but a membership ticket in a society where we all
contribute to a common treasury so that none need face the indignities
of poverty in old age without that help. That tax evasion is not a form
of conserving investment capital but a brazen abandonment of responsibility
to the country. That income inequality is not a sign of freedom-of-opportunity
at work, because if it persists and grows, then unless you believe that
some people are naturally born to ride and some to wear saddles, it's
a sign that opportunity is less than equal. That self-interest is a
great motivator for producers and progress, but is amoral unless contained
within the framework of community. That the rich have the right to buy
more cars than anyone else, more homes, vacations, gadgets and gizmos,
but they do not have the right to buy more democracy than anyone else.
That public services, when privatized, serve only those who can afford
them and weaken the sense that we all rise and fall together as 'one
nation, indivisible.' That concentration in the production of goods
may sometimes be useful and efficient, but monopoly over the dissemination
of ideas is evil. That prosperity requires good wages and benefits for
workers. And that our nation can no more survive as half democracy and
half oligarchy than it could survive 'half slave and half free'and
that keeping it from becoming all oligarchy is steady workour
work." (Thanks to Dan Bouchard for the link.)
Spirited Away | Dir. by Hayao Miyazaki (2001)
here for a review
on Deep Focus. "An adventure yarn with the brazen craziness
of Lewis Carroll, it's also, subtly, a child's drama of love, melancholy,
and the first stirrings of rebellion. The characters are rich and strange
and the settings endlessly evocative. After 12 months spent at the movies
without seeing anything that I'd rate higher than an A-, I started to
wonder, is it possible that they still make them like this? Well, yes.
Jordan Davis | Rev. of The Sleep That Changed Everything
by Lee Ann Brown | Constant Critic | 17 June 2003 | link
her uncommonly long books into sections that differ from each other
the way rings in a circus do: present beau hymns to the muses go here
next to the N+7 operations on familiar allegiance texts, precisely observed
miniatures hover in this corner, Steinian meditations make frequent
flagrant rendezvous with the recognizable vulnerable world here at the
Tom Frank | "Commentary: De-funding Government" | Marketplace
| 19 June 2003 | link
a two-minute reduction of his 10-page Harper's cover story (noted
here on 11 June) for NPR's financial program. (To reach the stand-alone
Real Audio file of the piece, just scroll down a bit on the page opened
by the link given above).
Lucio Guerrero | "Poetic justice: Group sues bank over drop in big
gift" | Chicago Sun-Times | 22 May 2003
of the much-publicized gift from heiress Ruth Lilly to Poetry
magazine shrunk by about a third between the time of its announcement
(when Lilly stocks were at $75 a share) and the day the National City
Bank of Indiana sold the shares for $48. The Poetry Foundation is suing
the bank for failure to diversify the holdings prior to cashing them
Brian Faler | "Democratic Hopefuls to Vie for Early Endorsement"
| Washington Post | 14 June 2003 | link
on MoveOn's "early endorsement" strategy: "The group
counts 1.4 million members nationwide, and will vote based, in part,
on the candidates' responses to a questionnaire it distributed this
week. It asked the candidates seven questions, including whether they
would seek repeal of the Patriot Act, if they support progressive environmental
policies and how they would stand up to the "unhealthy" policies
of the Bush administration. The responses to the questions, due next
week, will be posted on the organization's Web site.
Steve Rendall and Tara Broughel | "Amplifying Officials, Squelching
Dissent: FAIR study finds democracy poorly served by war coverage"
| Extra! The Magazine of FAIRThe Media Watch Group 16.3 |
June 2003 | 12-14
of three weeks of war coverage by six networks and newschannels puts
numbers to what one already knew: for instance, "while the percentage
of Americans opposing the war was about 10 times higher in the real
world as on the nightly news (27 percent versus 3 percent), their proportion
of the guestlist may still overstate the degree to which they
were able to present their views on U.S. television. Guests with anti-war
viewpoints were almost universally allowed one-sentence soundbites taken
from interviews on the street. Not a single show in the study conducted
a sit-down interview with a person identified as being against the war"
"Halliburton, principal bénéficiaire de la reconstruction
de l'Irak" | Le Monde | 20 June 2003 | link
oversee the oil production that is scheduled to start up again in Irak
this Sunday, but Halliburton's $600m in war-related contractsmost
of them secretly awardedcover many other things as well, including
the lucrative task of providing food and bottled water nearly 150,000
troops occupying the region.
| "A Road Map to Where?" | London Review of Books 25.12
| 19 June 2003 | 3+
unpredictably dismisses the Bush "road map" as "an unsituated
document, oblivious of its time and place" (3). He denounces the
"gigantic 'separation' wall" that is "going up with scarcely
a peep from the majority of Israelis, or from their American allies
who, whether they like it or not, are going to pay for most of it"
(3) and he offers some insights into the background of Mahmoud Abbas,
whom he views as another member of the "recycled and ageing Arafat
cohort" that still controls the Palestinian Authority (5), but
the real point of the article is only reached in the concluding three
paragraphs or so of praise for the National Political Initiative (NPI),
which he describes as "the only genuine grassroots formation that
steers clear both of the religious parties and their fundamentally sectarian
politics, and of the traditional nationalism offered up by Arafat's
old (rather than young) Fatah activists" (5).
19 June 2003
New York Times | 19 June 2003
Wade write his front-page piece on the Y chromosome just to get the
following sentence: "This narcissistic process of salvation by
palindrome seems to be what has saved men from extinction so far"?
The National Labor Relations Board
finds that Wal-Mart broke the law when it shut down the meat-cutting
department at a Jacksonville, Texas store after a majority of the dozen
people working in the department voted to unionize in February of 2000.
The second editorial commends Maine
for its newly-adopted health care program (see 15 June below).
Kenneth Chang's report on experiments at the Brookhaven National Laboratory
that may have yielded the "hottest, densest matter ever observed"
(A23) reminds me of the 18 May New York Times Book Review piece
in which Dennis Overbye summarized some of the doomsday scenarios sketched
by Martin Rees in his book Our Final Hour.
According to Rees, when
the first atomic bomb was tested, one risk was that it would ignite
all the nitrogen in the atmosphere and incinerate everyone (they went
ahead anyway). Another, more recent, threat: an experiment "in
which atomic nuclei would be accelerated to collide at high speeds,"
possibly causing "all the matter in the earth to collapse into
exotic dense particles called 'strangelets.'"
On screen Blithe Spirit | Dir. by David
Lean, 1945 | Written and produced by Noel Coward
(to signify "ectoplasmic") ex-wives banter with a very dapper
Rex Harrison. I didn't catch the credit for the female medium who unleashes
all the havoc, but she was played with a kind of awkward, compulsively
watchable wierdness that reminded me of The Killing
of Sister George.
Antonio D'Ambrosio | "'Let Fury Have the Hour': The Passionate Politics
of Joe Strummer" | Monthly Review | June 2003 | 34-43
and co-director of New York's La Lutta New Media Collective eulogizes
the Clash's front man. I hadn't realizedthough it must be well-knownthat
Bo Diddley opened on the band's first, eight-date U.S. tour in 1979,
a tour that Strummer credited with "open[ing] his eyes to the 'commodification
of music'" and exposing "the terrible resistance and hatred
of anything that attempts to grow outside the dominant economic and
social structure" (39).
Drew Gardner | Reading notes on George Albon's Thousands
Count Out Loud | 19 June 2003 | Overlap
In the air Continuous Peasant (w/poet Chris Stroffolino on vocals
and keyboards) | Exile in Babyville | Goodforks
Kenneth Maxwell | "Lula's Surprise" | New York Review of
Books L.11 | 3 July 2003 | 27-29
supplement to the more comprehensive piece on "The Cardoso Legacy"
and its likely ramifications for the recently-elected populist leader
that Perry Anderson published in the 12 December 2003 issue of the London
Review of Books. Maxwell reconstructs Lula's cautious early course
and suggests that "within the next four to five months it should
be clear whether his tactical victories can be transformed into strategic
reforms that he can sustain" (29). The Brazilian Congress takes
up legislation to reform the social security system (described by Maxwell
as "grotesque") this month, and a controversial reform of
the tax code is to follow. Meanwhile, it falls to Lula to negotiate
with the Bush team on the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas). Maxwell
concludes by wondering "whether a leader with a genuinely egalitarian
social vision can succeed in the global economy" (29). According
to Anderson's analysis, the answer, sadly, is no.
18 June 2003
Dale Smith | "Putting Away the Library of Books Accumulating on My
Desk" | Possum Pouch
| 11 June 2003
and ordering info on a lot of the books that I'd be putting away too
if I could find a clear shelf anywhere in the house.
Richard Ryan | "When Journalism Becomes 'Terrorism': Perle Goes on
Offensive against Investigative Reporting" | Extra!: The Magazine
of FAIRThe Media Watch Group 16.3 | June 2003 | 29-30
of the campaign über-hawk Richard Perle waged against New Yorker
writer Seymour Hersh on the talk show circuit in March of this year.
Even though Perle was driven to resign his post as chair of the Defense
Policy Board after public scrutiny by Hersh and the NYT's Stephen Labaton
(among others) found substantial indications of serious conflicts of
interest, he remains at this time a regular member of the same board.
"Since he will have undiminished access to senior Pentagon officials,
it's unclear how his reassignment removes Perle's apparent conflict
of interest" (30).
In the background New Tijuana Moods
by Charles Mingus | From sessions recorded summer 1957 | RCA Victor CD
New York Times | 18 June 2003
front page story by Joseph Kahn on the spread of "silicosis"the
lung disease Muriel Rukeyser wrote about in her great 1938 documentary
poem, "The Book of the Dead"among the workers in China's
costume jewelry factories (the main suppliers for the U.S. market).
Part of a series called "The World's Sweatshop," Kahn's article
points to "a surge in fatal respiratory, circulatory, neurological
and digestive-tract diseases like those American and European workers
suffered at the dawn of the industrial age" (A1).
An item by John Tagliabue in the "World Briefing" section
notes that Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the man charged with pushing unpopular
pension reforms through the French political system, plans to "send
a letter to all households explaining the reasons behind the government's
plan to overhaul the pension system." In the third of the three
sentences he has to work with, Tagliabue gives us the following (which
I admire for its understatement): "It was not clear to what extent
labor action by postal workers might prevent the prime minister's letter
from reaching households" (A6).
Alex de Waal | "The Unwritten Sociology of Aids" | Rev. of Aids
in the 21st Century: Disease and Globalization by Tony Barnett
and Alan Whiteside | London Review of Books 25.12 | 19 June 2003
follow a "slanted S" curve: "from a single case, the
number of people with the disease accelerates until it reaches a peak,
whereupon a reverse slope follows, usually slower, with the epidemic
declinining or dying out altogether" (13). De Waal follows Barnett
and Whiteside, the authors under review, in judging that "two decades
into the global Aids pandemic, we are still climbing the slope of the
'S': the worst is still ahead" (13). To date, failures in developing
social policy, not to mention medical treatment, abound and successes
remain depressingly few. Even where the latter occur (Uguanda is mentioned),
factors other than government and NGO policy seem to play a larger-than-acknowledged
Keith Windschuttle | "The Hypocrisy of Noam Chomsky" | New
Criterion 21.9 | May 2003 | 4-13
polemical review of "the long political history of this aging activist"
depicts Chomsky as a staunch defender of authoritarianism, genocide,
and terrorism in China, Vietnam, andmost grosslyin Cambodia,
as well as an apologist for Al Qaeda and an all-round arrogant guy who
thinks that "only he can see things as they really are." The
payoff paragraph reads: "Chomsky has declared himself a libertarian
and anarchist but has defended some of the most authoritarian and murderous
regimes in human history. His political philosophy is purportedly based
on empowering the oppressed and toiling masses but he has contempt for
ordinary people who he regards as ignorant dupes of the privileged and
the powerful. He has defined the responsibility of the intellectual
as the pursuit of truth and the exposure of lies, but has supported
the regimes he admires by suppressing the truth and perpetrating falsehoods.
He has endorsed universal moral principles but has only applied them
to Western liberal democracies, while continuing to rationalize the
crimes of his own political favorites. He is a mandarin who denounces
mandarins. When caught out making culpably irresponsible misjudgments,
as he was over Cambodia and Sudan, he has never admitted he was wrong.
¶ Today, Chomsky's hypocrisy stands as the most revealing measure
of the sorry depths to which the left-wring political activism he has
done so much to propagate has now sunk" (13).
17 June 2003
On screen final two episodes of Queer as Folk
(the U.S. version, season two) on DVD
Clifford Geertz | "Which Way to Mecca" | Part One | Rev. of
books on Islam by Bernard Lewis, Thomas W. Simons, M.J. Akbar, and Karen
Armstrong | New York Review of Books L.10 | 12 June 2003 | 27-30
claims to have read fifty recent works on the topic of Islam in preparing
his two-part overview of something he sees as "quite new"
and possibly even unprecedented in our culture, namely "the construction,
live and in real time, out there in the common culture where we can
see it made, watch it happen, observe its makers, and track its progress,
of an enduring image of an alien phenomenon, obscure and worrisome,
working its way in toward the center of that experience" (28).
In this first installment of his investigation ("more concerned
with assumptions than findings"), Geertz identifies four basic
approaches: (i) the civilization approach (Bernard Lewis, Samuel Huntington);
(ii) the good from the bad approach (sorting Islam into good/bad, real/false,
authentic/hijacked, tolerant/terrorist, and so on); (iii) the "many
are the roads but God is one" approach (aimed at reconciling Islam
with other major religions); and (iv) the particularizing approach (aimed
at bringing Islam into focus through the study of specific places, peoples,
New York Times | 17 June 2003
charges the Bush admin with "Dereliction of Duty" on the homeland
security front (A27). Kristof returns
to Iraq and finds that "many ordinary Iraqis are enraged at the
collapse of security" and the continued lack of access to stable
infrastructural necessities (A27).
In the science section, Sandra Blakeslee reports on the advent of "neuroeconomics,"
a discipline apparently committed to the study of dopamine's contribution
to capitalism (D1). Richard A. Oppel,
Jr. on mandatory financial disclosures by members of various government
branches. Among Bush's top advisers, the article notes four millionires.
A brief piece on the graveside memorial
held yesterday for Medgar Evers, the field secretary for the NAACP in
Mississippi who was slain forty years ago on the 12th of June. (A20).
That Trent Lott gets credit for attending speaks to something, though
I doubt it is what the widowed Ms. Evers-Williams too generously said
it was: "The involvement of our elected officials speaks to the
change of the 40-year period."
Drew Gardner | Notes on George Albon's Empire Life
(17 June) and on Matthew Barney's Cremaster
Cycle (15 June) | Overlap
Dan Warburton | "The Ex: Club of Chaos" | Wire 232 |
June 2003 | 30-34
profile of Amsterdam's "jagged squat punk" outfit The Ex,
which got started with an e.p. called "All Corpses Smell the Same"
in 1979 and have since toured and recorded all over the place, in many
different lineups, and with any number of collaborators (including Jaap
Blonk, Tortoise, the Mekons's Jon Langford, and cellist Tom Cora).
16 June 2003
Marjorie Perloff | "Man with a Red and Green Tie" | Rev. of
Collected Poems by Tom Raworth | Times
Literary Supplement 5226 | 30 May 2003 | 8-9
does her best to convince the British that "they have a lion in their
living room, even if an oddly gentle and unassuming one." Her positive
review of the 576-page Collected focuses on
the "playful attentiveness" exemplified by poems like "These
Are Not Catastrophes I Went out of My Way to Look For" and the 2000-line
sequence "Ace." (Fans of Miles Championamong whom I count
myselfwill smile at Perloff's multiplication of him into "a
score of younger poets" said to imitate Raworth's "bravura"meaning
real fastperformance style.) Perloff concludes with an axiom meant,
I think, to comfort: "Once we domesticate the image, it no longer
seems so threatening" (9).
Clive Wilmer | "The Names of the Roses" | Rev. of The
Earthly Paradise by William Morris | Times Literary Supplement
5227 | 6 June 2003 | 3-4
but not uncritical cover piece on the new edition (the first in nearly
a century) of Morris's 42,000-line poem The Earthly
Paradise. "It is not that Morris is boring: he was, as his
daughters testified, a marvellous storyteller, and some of these stories,
read separately, are hard to put down. But his failure to prune, and
vary the tone, and harden particular details, leads to a kind of slackness,
so that one's very pleasure in his skill and fluency turns in the end
to weariness" (3).
New York Times | 16 June 2003
follows up his 22 May condemnation of "The Great Media Gulp"
with a piece calling for Congress to overturn the recent ruling "by
the roundheeled F.C.C." (A23) Kaleefa Sanneh covers the
Sónar 2003 festival in Barcelona: "The headliner was Bjork,
who played the main-night stage on Friday. She brought with her the
harpist Zeena Parkins, the computer-music duo Matmos and a string ensemble,
although people seemed more astonished by her fetching new bowl cut"
Renana Brooks | "A Nation of Victims" | Nation 276.25
| 30 June 2003 | 20-22 | link
skeptical about the psychological premises underpinning Brooks's analysis
of Bush's discursive strategies, but her catalog of the devices employed
in his key speeches seems intuitively true: there's the empty language
(complex problems vaporize into simple images), the personalization
(the speaker is sole source of certitude and security), and the negative
framework (unremitting pessimism about how the world works is used
to increase the auditor's sense of vulnerability and helplessness).
To the objection that "so it goes" with all political discourse,
Brooks contrasts Bush's rhetoric to that of Reagen, Roosevelt, Clinton,
and others. She concludes: "Bush's political opponents are caught
in a fantasy that they can win against him simply by proving the superiority
of their ideas. However, people do not support Bush for the power of
his ideas, but out of the despair and desperation in their hearts. Whenever
people are in the grip of a desperate dependency, they won't respond
to rational criticisms of the people they are dependent on" (22).
§ Eric Alterman | "When It Raines...."
| Nation 276.25 | 30 June 2003 | 10+
sees the Times as "unquestionably less obeisant to the extremist
forces ensconced in the White House and dominating much of the media
than just about any other major journalistic institution we have left"
(23) and he views the Blair scandal as being more about punishing the
paper for its continued editorial independence than the impact of affirmative
action, or the autocratic management style of Raines, etc.
Ron Silliman | Remarks on Loss by Ben Friedlander
| 16 June 2003 | link
Charles McGrath | "The Vicissitudes of Literary Reputation: Robert
Lowell: Up, Down, and Up Again" | New York Times Magazine
| 15 June 2003 | 52-55
the same establishment campaign for the Bidart-Gewanter Collected
as the Anthony Lane piece noted here on 5 June, but briefer and more
crude (the metaphor this review lives by is that poetic reputations
are stocks traded on "a Nasdaq of singular cruelty and volatility").
Accounting for the 25-year gap between the master's death and the appearance
of the necessary "big, career-capping" collected poems, McGrath
intimates that Bidart couldn't part with the much-delayed volume because
it was tantamount to losing Lowell all over again (55). The idea in
fact turns out to be central to the piece: the culture has "lost"
Lowell and with him the whole idea of believing "seriously in the
poetic vocation" (55). Readers of David Lehman will recognize the
move: push poetry into the past tense, then work up a frown and pass
off your sigh of relief as a sob.