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!”
It’s a grey day for the food system, and I’ve got the blues. The World Health Organization has oozed its way around the carbohydrate industry with a fairly fluffy set of admonitions to the food industry not to sell candy to kids because it makes them fat. Naughty food industry, bad food industry.
At the same Gracenet dinner that I met Paul, I learned a thing or two from the visiting speaker, AnnaLee Saxenian. The brain-drain of high-skill technology graduates from China and India to Silicon Valley is only half the story. The brains also go back home, taking their newfound ideas with them. Saxenian writes of “brain circulation”, the trans-Pacific process of cross-fertilization, through which Silicon Valley gets socially networked to urban centres throughout Asia.
Three cheers for Massachusetts.
I’ve just met a lovely man who works for the US Geological Survey. Given his profession, it’s unfortunate that the best way I can think of describing him is “down to earth”. Still, he had some interesting news for those of us living, as I do, in the Bay Area. We’re all going to die.
There have been many painful things happening at UCT. One of the most painful was the destruction of the jobs of hundreds of workers. When it wrote about this, the University Paper agreed that there was pain. But the only pain it mentioned was the pain of the Vice Chancellor [Mamphela Ramphele – partner of the late Steve Biko, key figure in the Black Consciousness movement, now a director at the World Bank], the person who insisted on that destruction. Showing that she was a ruthless manager won her some admirers and created new opportunities for her. But the Paper also told us about the workers who were being retrenched.