Friday, September 29, 2006
Like the Israeli blogger Not a Fish, I, too, saw this picture of a man at an "anti-war" demonstration in San Francisco, and was struck by it. I puzzled about him, wondering what he did every day, what his apartment looked like, what kind of world he believed he was helping to be born.
Not A Fish puzzled, too, and wrote down some of her thoughts.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
The Drudgeport today (and also yesterday), in huge headline caps, blares:
MEL GIBSON BLASTS IRAQ WAR.Forgive me for opining that this sort of thing is treasonous. I don't mean legally treasonous. And I don't want to get into the question of whether Mel Gibson is qualified to come to that conclusion – or whether Mayan human sacrifice and American War Dead both amount to the same thing (which he says they do).
SAYS AMERICAN CIVILIZATION IS IN DECLINE.
I mean that, under present circumstances, Mel's jeremiad (root: Jeremiah?) gives comfort to our enemies and weakens us at home. In the global media environment, Mel's prophecy is at this moment being broadcast on al-Jazeera, with English subtitles. That's cultural treason, desultory treason.
Who, indeed, is Mel addressing? You have to wonder.
Because if it's *us* he's talking to -- the American people -- well, "people," frankly, don't know what "civilization in decline" means. They think it means whatever they don't like -- Iraq war, abortion, overweight Imperial State, gay marriage, coddling of criminals, teachers blowing teen-age boys ... whatever...
So that's not really a useful thing to say. Besides, might Mel's prophecy have anything to do with some weird apocalyptic vision related to his personal religious ideas? Who knows?
Maybe Mel is talking to the world. Yeah, I think that's it.
In any case, the proper response of a conscientious person living in a declining civilization is ... TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Unless you're a Hebrew prophet, in which case "thundering" is the thing to do.
But Mel Gibson -- to the delight of Muslims everywhere, who have long believed that the West is decadent, and that Al-LAHH is poised to take it over -- simply thunders. And of course the fans cheer. They always cheer. George Michael, Pink Floyd, Mel Gibson, yayyy!
But wait a minute -- I forgot about the Jews. Maybe they're the ones who are engineering the Decline of the American Civilization.
Trivia question: who was Mel Gibson's chummy co-star in "Lethal Weapon?"
Danny Glover, one of the most implacably angry, most reliably and
famously anti-American, activist-actors in Hollywood.
I am looking forward to seeing Mel's film. Aren't you?
The Abu Izzadeen piece on westernresistance [posted here] (really, I think the "Crusader iconography" is irony and ought not make your needle go into the Red Zone) is almost unbelievable.
Abu Izzadeen encapsulates the problem. There is no peaceful solution to it. You have an Absolute Doctrine of Absolute War contesting a rational-adjustable system. And westernresistance understands this.
There is no solution to the problem Abu Izadeen presents, and he knows it. The word "solution" -- and its verb "solve" – arrive by a long journey from the Latin "solvere," to loosen. A solution, chemically, is not a single substance. Water is not a solution, salt is not a solution. A solution is a homogeneous mixture of two or more elements. Salt water is a solution.
And of course, the chemistry term "absolute" means the reverse of that. "Absolute alchohol."
So there's no solution ... not a civic solution, anyway. It's a war. War (not metaphoric war) has been declared by a party with ONE non-negotiable demand -- of cosmic scale -- to be attained by any means necessary.
What moderate people are saying, out of hope, is: "How many divisions does Abu Izzadeen have?" Correct answer: it doesn't matter. It's like the SWAT Team vs. the unappeasable armed maniac in the suburban house. But even worse, because sometimes, at least, the maniac can be persuaded to come out with his hands up.
Bob adds: See also More media-whore, than religious 'warrior' at Neo-Jacobin.
Not a Fish has translated a great article from Maariv, debunking the moden libel on Israel. It's in three parts, with the contents here.
For a summary, and (at the bottom) a summary of a summary, go here.
John Adams' opera "The Death of Klinghoffer" played freely in Europe and America, even though it wounded the sensibilities of many Jews and deeply offended a great many non-Jews. It premiered in Brussels in 1991, a mere six years after Leon Klinghoffer, in his wheelchair, was thrown to his death.
Its first American performance was ... guess where? San Francisco.
Not only that, a film of the opera was made for your Channel 4 in 2003, two years after 9-11.
No one connected with any of these productions has been killed or harmed.
Yet Berlin's Deutsche Opera believed it necessary to cancel a production of an obscure 18th-century play because a bit of imagery in the staging might insult the prophet of the Religion of Peace, and thus would present "an incalculable risk."
So that's what we're up against. What would Edward Said have to say about this disgusting business ... in his lovely apartment on the Upper West Side of Heaven, reading Flaubert while sipping Reserve Merlot and listening to Bach's Toccata and Fugue for Organ in d-minor?
Bob adds: Some extra links: Roger Kimball in OpinionJournal, SFGate, AlphaSources, Garvey's Ghost, Dust My Broom.
Keywords: Angela Merkel, Mozart, opera, Islam, censorship, jihad
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Then yesterday I noticed a blogspot blog with exactly the "read more" type thing I'd coveted. So this morning I've wasted hours trying to put it on my bigger, fatter posts. Somehow, I've succeeded on this one, but failed on the O'Neil one and others, while making myself look very amateurish by leaving a "read more" link at the very end of every single post, located right where there is no more to read. And I'm supposed to be at work, so I'm going to give up for the moment and try again later, so please bear with me.
Update: Had one more successful attempt to create a fold (in "Galloway the racial nationalist"). Might be easier with Firefox than Explorer. But not sure if it's worth doing if the price you pay is "read more" on every single post... Plus, it seems to take ages to publish pages now. Should've gone with WordPress!
Update 2 (a month later): I might have cracked it. I've got rid of the embarassing "read more" thing on each post, I think I've got the fold up and running, but only in a way that has the "read more thing" in the body of the post, whether you're on the main page or just the post page. I'm holding off on migrating to Beta though, as it seems to have a few glitches...
Monday, September 25, 2006
A worthy cause.
Previous: Tony Blair's guru Tony Giddens sucks up to Gaddafi
In the late 1980s I attended a film in London about the achievements of anarchism and the Spanish civil war. At one point the elderly man sitting next to me began weeping quietly. Suddenly, the passion and the conviction of those events and commitments became manifest.
Later I learned that the weeping man was Joaquín Pérez Navarro, who has died aged 99 and was the last survivor of Los Amigos de Durruti (the Friends of Durruti). This was a group of anarchists pledged to fight militarisation and the betrayals of the Communist party, and named after the militia commander Buenaventura Durruti, who had died in November 1936 defending republican Madrid against Franco's uprising.[Read more below the fold]Earlier in 1936 Joaquín took part in the initial fighting in Barcelona against the Francoists and was then on the Aragon front in an anarchist militia. The following year he joined Los Amigos and fought with them during the 1937 "May Days" in Barcelona. These events - when street battles broke out between anarchists and independent socialists on one side, and, with the backing of the Stalinist Communist party, the republican Guardia Civil and army on the other - feature in George Orwell's book Homage to Catalonia and are depicted at the end of Ken Loach's 1995 film, Land and Freedom. Later he fought with the Iron Column, an anarchist militia that had initially been constituted from prisoners released from the jails of the republic.
In late 1938 Joaquín was tortured and condemned to death by the Stalinists, who put him in Montjuic prison. But he escaped to France with the fall of Barcelona to the Francoists. There he was imprisoned in camps at Argeles and Barcares, and joined a work gang building docks at Brest. With the fall of France in 1940, he escaped to England.
...After his escape to London in 1940, he was involved with a Spanish anarchist group. Between 1969 and 1974 he was on CNT liaison commission in Britain. After a spell in the building trade he transferred to catering and was employed at the Berkeley hotel in Mayfair for several years. He then worked at the George & Dragon public house in South Kensington (which was privately owned but eventually bought out by Wheeler's restaurant) until his retirement.
...He was quite a ladies' man, but in 1953 he met Carmen, his best friend's sister-in-law, on her arrival at London airport. Immediately they fell in love; they were married for 50 years. Carmen died two years ago.
Comment is free: Darfur: damned by western pity
I was one of those asked to sign the Cif group post calling for UN intervention to "end the crisis" in Darfur, which was also published as a letter in the Guardian.O'Neill says that we shouldn't do anything about Darfur, because liberals tell us we should do something. Hmmm.
In an article for my online magazine Spiked, published last Thursday, I explain why I refused to sign. It isn't because I am part of some nasty "do nothing" brigade, who are so often slammed by pro-interventionists for just not caring about people around the world, or because I want the Darfur crisis to continue. Of course I don't.
On the contrary, it is precisely because I am concerned, as a humanist, with the lives and liberties of people in Sudan, Africa and elsewhere that I wanted nothing whatsoever to do with the "Day for Darfur" campaign.
Because absolutely the worst thing that could have happened to the people of Darfur is to have won the flattery and patronage of liberals and luvvies in America and Europe. Recent history shows us that there is no civil war so bad that it cannot be made worse by the intervention of western liberals.
From Somalia to Bosnia to Kosovo and now Darfur, western activists' "adopt-a-genocide" approach to world affairs has proved disastrous. Their transformation of grubby civil wars into great battles of good and evil have prolonged and intensified conflicts, and made them more bloody and intractable.
The people of Darfur and Sudan, like the people of Bosnia before them, are likely to pay a heavy price indeed for the patronage of their latte-drinking "friends" in the west.
Much as I hate latte-drinking luvvies, you're completely fucking wrong Brendan.
By the way, though, the fuller version at Spiked actually does make some pertinent points, about the thinness of a politics based on celebrity and wristbands. But it also makes some very wrong points.
[T]he pro-Darfur campaigners, like other humanitarian warriors before them, have transformed what is in fact a complex political and social conflict into a simple matter of Good vs Evil. As Guardian columnist Jonathan Steele has argued: ‘The complex grievances that set farmers against nomads was covered with a simplistic template of Arab vs African, even though the region was crisscrossed with tribal and local rivalries that put some villages on the [Sudanese] government’s side and others against it.’O'Neill is right that a rush to moral judgment that skips understanding means bad politics, but the leftist/intellectual lust for analysis that refuses moral judgement can provide succor for evil. Refusal of moral judgment slides easily into moral relativism, which slides easily into denialist thought. Srebernica is a good example of this pattern.
It is interesting that O'Neill cites Jonathan Steele as his authority here. Steele is obsessed with describing the Darfur conflict as a petty squabble between nomads and pastoralists. In fact, it is an exercise in ethnic cleansing, motivated by Arab racism. More on Steele's historical revisionism here.
P.S. As the Muslim Council of Britain tend to get a short shrift in this blog, just thought I'd take the opportunity to commend Inayat Bunglawala for signing the CiF post for Darfur.
P.P.S. Be sure to read Courtney's insightful thoughts in the comments box.
Tags: darfur, Sudan, Africa, Genocide,Politics, UN, African Union, United Nations, Human Rights
I also like these two comments on a post on the same topic at Pajamas Media:
Galloway represents in purest form the syndrome of Affective Personality Disorder (APD). This entails identifying with "authority figures" in compensation for one's own deep-seated sense of powerlessness and lack of worth. Paradoxically, the weaker and the worse one feels, the Affective Personality strives to take on opposite attributes: Apocalyptic chest-beating, monomaniacal delusions of of grandeur, an "us against the world" mentality focused on tearing down, never building up.
Deride "pop psychology" as you will, we assert that absent clinical extremes Freud's entire discipline is nothing but-- labels, words affixed to quasi-recognizable behaviour patterns. Nonetheless, unscientific as "psychology" may be (no experiements, enumeration versus quantification, no predictive quality), cases such as Galloway's are readily identifiable.
I should also take this opportunity to highlight Will's correct point about my characterisation of Galloway as a racial nationalist:
He's actually an anti-Scottish nationalist - dead against Scottish independence he is. Although this actually works in favour of your overall thesis if you get my drift.
First up, John Reid versus Abu Izzadeen. Read this: Muslims Distance Themselves From Abu Izzadeen. Although I'm a bit doubtful about Western Resistance (I hate the name and the crusader iconography), but this post is a good dissection of Abu Izzadeen.
Second, the Pope and Islam. Jogo writes:
Here is an Anglican who, unlike the spineless, mealy-mouth, almost treasonous Archibishop of Canterbury, understands that the problem of Islam needs to be discussed in spiritual terms ... BECAUSE the basis of the conflict we have with these people is SPIRITUAL. Or rather, the conflict they have with us is spiritual.Third, Chavez/Chomsky/Bush. I liked this post at Simply Jews: Deathwish of a Salesman.
The discourses of multiculturalism, civil rights and global political issues are not irrelevant to the matter, but they are not at the heart of the matter. From my experience it is virtually impossible for people of the secular left to understand this. Their intelligence is formidable, but their windows of perception are insufficient.
Their sin is Arrogance. They refuse to accept the spiritual terms in which Muslims, an intensely spiritual people, themselves frame their motivations. They replace those terms with their own. How different is this from the "Western arrogance" they generally condemn? Why, it IS Western arrogance! Ontological arrogance. It is precisely that.
Mark Durie, an Australian Anglican vicar, understands things as they ought to be understood. Commieprofs and others mired in secular dialectics should read -- carefully and thoughtfully -- what he has to say.words: Pope Benedict, Pope John Paul, Cardinal Ratzinger
Friday, September 22, 2006
“I am for Morocco's position (on the Sahara issue), and I always have been”, he said, stressing he is against “the balkanisation of the Arab region”.This is a great example of Galloway's volkish ideology: he dreams of a world neatly partitioned between a few great nations (the Arab nation, the Slav nation, the Scottish nation, etc) led by their respective fuhrers (Saddam, Milosovic, Galloway, etc), who intuitively embody the volks' racial essence, so effectively that democracy is not needed. (In this world, of course, there would be no space for rootless cosmopolitans like Jews or Bosnians.)
“We should not balkanise the Arab region … I am against the partition of Morocco,” added the British deputy, affirming that “there is no room for small entities”.
Reading it reminded me that last summer, when I got his book out of Deptford Library, I wrote the below, which I never got around to posting:
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I haven't had time to read any of the blog debate, but there were three good posts yesterday at Debate, Relate, & Pontificate on this. This is the third for starters.
Keywords: Pope Benedict, Pope John Paul, Cardinal Ratzinger
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
The media seems to be in a frenzy with the news that most British people are stupid enough to think we should negotiate with Al-Qaeda (yes, NEGOTIATE, with AL-QAEDA!). This post sets out the case for intervention: Progressive Dilemmas: Explaining & Justifying 'Intervention'
Ken Livingstone and Hugo Chavez don't get much positive coverage from my corner of the blogosphere. The former is a borderline anti-semite wedded to a foreign policy worldview that can't go beyond the idea that America is the imperialist fount of all evil. The latter is a megalomaniac authoritarian thug. But I completely support the two in making a deal around fuel for London. London's economy is equal to that of many nation-states, and we should start using that fact as a force for good. Dirty Leftie states the case well, and NewerLabour illustrates it.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Judeosphere on yet another neo-Nazi who has found a hospitable home on the anti-Zionist left...
Good post: ModernityBlog: Will It Be So Predictable?
And, of course, plenty at Engage, including this on Steven Rose on BBC Radio4 (links to audio are at ModernityBlog's post)
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Bastardy: for thousands of young girls it will always be a legitimate choice: "Beverley Hughes prefers to “target” BME girls. A BME girl is a “black [and] minority ethnic” girl; women of Asian descent, who have the lowest rate of unmarried pregnancy of any ethnic group in the UK, are included under this condescending and misleading acronym. (Islam has very effective ways of curbing sexual activity outside marriage, but it has no quarrel with teenage pregnancy; the average age of mothers at first birth in Bangladesh is 15.)
If the minister understood the word “ethnic”, she might realise that the phenomenon of teenage pregnancy among certain BME groups is an aspect of their shared culture. "
I agree with Greer about the ridiculousness of the now orthodox term BME, which grates with me every time I hear it.
But I completely do not agree with Greer's cultural absolutism and moral relativism. "It's the culture, stupid": the default answer of multiculturalist liberals and racists alike to any social ill.
Presumably female genital mutilation - not to mention burning books - is OK with Greer, if it's part the culture.
Previous:Germaine Greer versus Monica Ali //Ali v Greer redux //philistine, sanctimonious, and disgraceful //Books burning, rockets falling
I learnt about them from Songs:Illinois - read the second half of this post (with an MP3 to download, and a bonus video off Russian TV).
Here Anthony Giddens confirms my instinct, celebrating none other than Muammar al-Gaddafi. (Via Mike's Little Red Page.)
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Monday, September 04, 2006
Previous: Tommy Sheridan What a twat 1
Friday, September 01, 2006
Lebanon is being turned into a grotesque war-games board as the real protagonists - The USA and Iran - use their proxies to slug it out(There's some daft stuff too, but this is the key bit.)
Neither the Israeli army nor Hezbollah give a flying fuck about 'their' civilians, except as bloody totems to hang in front of the cameras of the world's press in order to justify their own next atrocity.
The Israeli state oppresses the Palestinians, driving them into the hands of the fanatics of Hamas out of despair at the failure of the secular Palestinian left. In turn the suicide bombers provide for the Israeli state 'proof' of the murderous nature of the Palestinians and drives the Israeli public to support harsher and harsher measures against the 'terrorists'.
This is a self destructive spiral and must be broken.
We should stand shoulder to shoulder with those struggling against the oppressors of the Israeli state and the Palestinian bantustan. We fight against our 'own' rulers who attempt to use this slaughter to their own ends and use measly words 'condemning the violence' whilst writing out the receipts for the latest arms contract.
Any state solution is a continuation of the same bullshit.
No War but the Class War
My current political position is some sort of schizophrenic location between left communism and muscular liberalism so I get to attack the pro-Hizbollah left from both the left - for supporting authoritarian, clerical fascist and petty bourgeois nationalist movement instead of opposing all forms of nationalism - and from the right
Sensible blogging: Recording Surface, Michael Berube.
LondonClassWar says:Well, of course it's daft on one level. Here's the great Roger Scruton (via Blimpish):
No War but the Class War
Bob says: (There's some daft stuff too, but this is
the key bit.)
Do you think the No/No/No/No mantra ISN'T daft?
Of course it is not easy to put my kind of conservatism into slogans. That is a defect in slogans, and not in my conservatism. You cannot put Hayek’s theory of the common law, Kant’s theory of republican government, or Hegel’s theory of civil society into slogans. But they are true, for all that...To me, "No borders, no states, no gods, no war but the class war" is a noble (if inelegant) lie. Daft, because so extreme and abstract that it can't be true. But at the same time expressing some important truth on some level.
To aim also to persuade is commendable, and for this reason it is necessary for a political thinker to learn how to write. Marx solved this problem, unfortunately, but then so did Burke. Good writing affects the minds of the literary elite, and ideas in the minds of that elite will eventually filter down, to the point where some slick but ignorant journalist will find the slogans that correspond, at his level of mental life, to those distantly and vaguely perceivable notions. This is in part what Plato had in mind, when he advocated the noble lie. Not “noble” but elegant; not a “lie” but journalism.
The "no war but the class war" slogan is noble, in a sense, because it subverts those who claim to be speaking for the workers (such as the misnamed Socialist Workers Party), who go on anti-war marches while opposing not war, but one side in the war. The "no war but the class war" slogan exposes the lie of the Stop The War Coalition's version of anti-war politics. If the left really followed through a Marxist critique of nation-states and imperialist war, they would never support the likes of Saddam (or Hezbollah, Hamas, or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad). Here's another London Class War leaflet:
NO WAR BUT THE CLASS WAR! TROOPS OUT NOW!
Victory to the Iraqi workers!
Down with the ‘resistance’!
There is no answer for the workers of Iraq from the Fundamentalists and nationalists of the ‘Resistance’ who butcher men, women and children in the name of ‘allah’ or ‘nation’.
The Working Class has no country! The main enemy is always at home!
The so-called left in Britain, who lead the STWC, hide their timidity at home with their bloodthirstiness abroad, giving full support to the religious maniacs and Ba’athist (pro Saddam) fascists that dominate the ‘resistance’ in Iraq. In doing so they reveal their contempt for the Iraqi working class in its struggle to emerge from both Saddam’s dictatorship and US occupation. Here they show their contempt for us too; for the British working class, the answer is ‘Pussy’ George Galloway, for the Iraqi working class it’s a Jihadist suicide bomb.
I'm assuming it's not Al Gore the politician, or his dad, who shares a name and profession. I can't get anythong from google or Wikipedia.
Actually, it's not a great song, it's just good. The great song on the album is Chips Moman and Dan Penn's "Dark End of the Street". A couple of other minor versions: Carlos "Bear" Brewer (MP3 via his memorial site), Rootbound (m3u, via CDBaby), Veronica Kraus (ditto).
Bob's beats genre keywords: country music, soul music.
Bob's beats artist keywords: Dolly Parton, Dan Penn, Al Gore.
I was away from the machine when Pierre Vidal-Naquet died. Vidal-Naquet was a scholar who has been important to me in my work, as well as a human being and public intellectual who I have found inspiring.
The Independent published a great obituary by Oswyn Murray, reproduced by Bread & Circuses.
Actually Existing posts a lovely appreciation of Vidal-Naquet, Arthur Lee and Bob Smithies.
Oliver Kamm compares Vidal-Naquet to another public intellectual, Noam Chomsky.
Counago & Staves passes on the notices of the passing of Vidal-Naquet and Murray Bookchin at Agora International, for the more anoracky libertarian socialists amongst us (and that includes me).
Anti-rev has some of Vidal-Naquet's Shoah-related texts in English:
- Assassins of Memory (1987)
- A Paper Eichmann (1980) - Anatomy of a Lie
- On Faurisson and Chomsky (1981)
- Theses on Revisionism (1985)
- Who are the Assassins of Memory? (1992)
Keywords: Holocaust revisionism, historians, French intellectuals