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politik: roundup, with denunciations and a side of vocab

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depressed. definitely depressed.

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{ Now cooking: Chili
Recent movies: Prime Suspect ****; China in Revolution (1 of 3)****;
Recent books: II Samuel; Epistle to the Hebrews; Koch, The History of Prussia; Luther, Selected Psalms I; Iain M. Banks, Use of Weapons; Dirlik, Anarchism in the Chinese Revolution; Hollinger?, Tiannamen Diary;

Top of today's politik roundup is in the "ironical betrayals" category: Liberte, Equalite, Fraternite -- except for you people! I used to scoff at '"secular humanism" qua religion' arguments, but apparently I just wasn't paying enough attention to France. (And can I really be faulted for that?) Dear descendants of Lafayette: Knock it off! Freedom still means something to the rest of us. We'll probably end up taking more of your huddled masses if you keep this crap up.

The chief conspirator among hoi Volokhoi does a series of posts starting here on legal aspects of arbitration at Islamic law (posts one, two, three makes it easy as counting). Volokh demonstrates legal aspects of coexistence in strking contrast the the French example. Hope they're taking notes...

Now to backtrack a bit...

The reason, among others, that we can't have damn fools using rhetorical devices about thus-and-such a policy, or worse, politician, "giving aid and comfort to the enemy", is that the rhetoric softens us to actual aid and comfort provided to the enemy.

A nice review begins with this terrific line:

'Chicken Little cultural criticism" can be defined as a literary genre in which a disgruntled journalist or academic, sure that the humanistic sky is falling, tags the ongoing catastrophe with a catchy phrase or slogan.

A far less cheery review is of a book on Rwanda, by a reporter who was there in 1994 - and saw failure writ large. Important to remember.

Shifting gears to the riduculous: the US political skeleton closet for all the mud you can sling!

And from the ridiculous to the ridiculous+sublime world of kulturkritik...

A long article on Eddie Izzard, from almost exactly where I wouldn't have expected it, The Daily Telegraph.

For the writers in the crowd, we have a couple of serious cases of righteous wrath, talking about novels and writing generally. (I think they avoid the "chicken little" trap from above, but I'm open to comments.) Please hear out Mssrs. David Sexton and Dale Peck.

Finally, our promised vocabulary treat for the evening: I had noticed that there seemed to be something wrong, off-note, even though apparently to be expected, in the anarchist activities at protests and so on. Directed but pointless violence. Vandalism for its own sake, pointless but directed violence, an anti-social-ism. But movements change. Time hurries on. And then in the course of some reading, I was taught a very very useful word:

That is, mob rule. In an unfortunately rather incoherent IJ@ essay, an established group of anarchists bring out the term to explain some of the tension I'd been seeing in the demonstrations and protests. Worth reading for anyone interested in the free-trade, WTO, globalization, imperial issues of the day. "Ochlarchism bad!"

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