Call it the jouissance of initial self-discovery, liken it to the first happy fumblings after we’ve discovered how to masturbate, understand it by showing that this is the self-conscious exploration of the boundaries of new media, but the blogging community seems particularly fond of talking about, er, blogging. I don’t mind it – I enjoy the thoughtful, reflective moments at fine members of the blogroll (column right) and, yes, I know, I am right now shuffling a self-referential handful into the pot.
A splendid development in the fight to save schools – Schwarzenegger signed a deal allowing highly concessional interest rates (1.7%) for “the poorest school districts” allowing them to survive the next two years. Obviously, there’s still a long way to go, but this is nonetheless an important victory.
Continue reading “Victory on day 26!”
Have the US government’s policies in the Middle East condoned an open season on brown men? You bet. The Macedonian right killed seven ‘mujahedeen’ to show they were just as serious as anyone else in the war on terror. It’s the limit case of the kinds of barbarism we’ve seen following the attacks of September 11, 2001. The New York Times had this note on the affair last month:
A slow return to cyberspace today, from an internet cafe.
While offline, I’ve been keeping an eye on the price of oil debate. There is, of course, a great deal of fuss about the price of a barrel breaching $40, especially and predictably in the United States. It has been tremendously instructive to watch C”N”N’s response to all this. C”N”N’s parade of experts from the American Petroluem Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, and other palaces of good sense has been the embodiment of Noam Chomsky’s famous sentence: “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously”. All the white men in suits wheeled out to opine on the price spike speak in well-formed English sentences, to be sure, but they make fuck-all sense. Among the idiocies proposed to solve the problem – drilling in the Arctic and tapping the strategic oil reserve. Elsewhere, proposals include lower fuel taxes, and invading Venezuela. This will, of course, do nothing to solve the underlying problem. While in the longer term, there’s a big demand crunch, supply is more than able to keep up in the short term.
Moving house. No DSL. Little blogging.
Helpful news from the Department of Homeland Security today of a non-specific threat to the US mainland this summer. John Ashcroft has also chimed in with the news that the face of Al-Qaeda is changing; terrorists now move around with their families to avoid detection, and try to pass themselves off as European-looking.
Chris reminds us that in the world of social scientists, British sociologists are generally considered the shabbiest. This prompts me to consider just how far I’ve come; although I’m British, am a sociologist, and routinely wear crimpolene, in a former life I was a mathematician.
A number of people have thought to deploy Susan Sontag’s thoughts on photography to think about Abu Ghraib, including Sontag herself in Sunday’s New York Times.
I’m not entirely happy with the interpretations I’ve read so far, and am penning something that will soon appear at the Voice of the Turtle. One of the better commentaries, though, is to be found in a soon-to-be published piece by Eric Cheyfitz, in which there’s a painful reminder of the genealogy of trophy photos of abused people of colour.
Today’s review of Fahrenheit 9/11 in the New York Times offers this tantalising morsel:
A particularly unappetizing spectacle in “Fahrenheit 9/11” is provided by Paul Wolfowitz, the architect of both the administration’s Iraqi fixation and its doctrine of “preventive” war. We watch him stick his comb in his mouth until it is wet with spit, after which he runs it through his hair.
A few days ago, I wrote about some of the good things that the US owes to South Asia and the diaspora. The list was incomplete. Two additions, both of which I owe to the splendid Anirvan Chatterjee, are ethical online book-buying and The Chippendales. To quote Anirvan’s fine resource on this:
Continue reading “Oiled ripped male bodies? Indian!”