Wednesday, December 04, 2002

I used to be offended, but now I'm just amused ...
-based on a line from the Elvis Costello song Red Shoes (in the year of the Charter 77)

Double Politics Doublespeak
Citizens need to be able to look under the skirts of their government, not the other way around.
· Newspeak [Seattle Times]

Politics Australian Animal Farm
Currently, George Orwell's Animal Farm is being adapted for the stage in China. You may be wondering how that got past the censors. Well, Shang Chengjun's adaptation doesn't emphasize the corrupt leaders; instead it focuses on the danger of apathy in the masses. It wasn't the pigs fault, after all, that they were oppressing the other farm animals. Chengjun noted that he wanted to criticize them (the masses) for being selfish, indifferent, ignorant, fatuous and lazy.

This unselfish and thoughtful piece comes from Australian Webdiary:
I think there was much more to his outburst: Margo had hit at least two raw nerves, with her attacking Carr's developer links, as well as with the publishing of WTO protest material in Webdiary. The connection with the latter is possibly the following. Paddy McGuinness - who idiotically likened the protesters to Nazis - is a good friend of Carr's. I have a suspicion that McGuinness influenced NSW police policy towards the protesters. If Carr indeed talks to PP about these things, then I'd advise him to seek better counsel.

McGuinness despises ‘the inherent authority that is superior to that of the people and parliaments’ (SMH 16/3/2000) which people like the WTO protesters evidently claim to have. He believes in absolute democracy. If "the people" elect national socialists, then so be it. The "will of the people" is sacred - and our elected leaders are the incarnation of God. We must obey unquestioningly, and have faith in the State.

The Australian's Editorial (28/11) echoes this sentiment: Australians ‘should have more confidence in the robustness of Australian democracy.’ But an important pillar of this robustness will be chipped away by the NSW anti-terror legislation, when the police minister himself is given the power to decide, for instance, whether the anti-terror measures are to be implemented for additional lengths of time. The decision to extend the period should be made by an independent authority.

While it remains true that the police minister, along with the government that appointed him, can be voted out of office - the anti-terror measures don't ban elections - the government would be given a free pass to create mischief while in office, and extra power to manipulate the electorate towards its own ends.

The clash of civilizations in Australia is not between political left versus right. It's between those for whom the ground level details loom large and who build their cathedrals of principles from the ground up in a disordered sort of way; and those whose cathedral building blocks somehow get born into the world from transcendental heights, and are fashioned into shape through experience and questioning.

Actually the clash is not between these two ways of thinking - there's no reason why they shouldn't agree, since they're working in the same reality - but between corrupted versions of them.

Corruption happens when people stop asking questions, cease engaging with the facts, but nevertheless keep wielding power. This holds in all cultures - Japan, for example, too.

Then the disordered, ground-level conscience weakens the other's already brittle, orderly cathedral (or golden pavilion): it is vehemently rejected.
· Animal Hunger for Power [Sydney Morning Herald]

Democratic tax dollars at work . . .

The U.S. government went to extraordinary lengths to spy on novelist Graham Greene, according to an article in The Guardian based on documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.
· Animal Hunger for Spying [Guardian - London]

Arts Artist Hopes Dairy Herd Makes Poetry
Some writers have to be handled with kid gloves. For his plan to paint words on cows, then let them wander around to see if they could compose poetry. Nathan Banks originally wanted to paint a word on both sides of each cow. However, They're used to being milked from the same side all the time and they didn't like being approached on the other side.
· Animal Hunger for Poetry [Yahoo]


Salon has a very nice piece explaining why books cost so much.
· Cost-a-Books [Salon]


Everyone told me how hard it is to sell your book, to get a review, to get some kind of notice. A beaten author friend describes the period between finishing a book and publishing a book as the calm before the calm. I knew all this. It's a rough game. But I never thought I'd get arrested for trying to give my book a fighting chance.
· Calm before the Calm [NY Times]

Swimming Stroke-by-Stroke

Lightning, whirlpools, petrochemicals, poisonous snakes, towering barges and plain old physical exhaustion are just some of the challenges that 47-year old Martin Strel faces in his quest to be the first man to swim the entire length of the Mississippi River.
· Mississipppppi [Strel - Shoot]

Real Page-Turners

Greed! Egomania! Back-stabbing! Temper tantrums! Vicious office politics! Ah, I love stories about press galleries. In order to protect the guilty names of trickiest minders and situations have been changed.
· Inside Parliamentary Press Galleries? [Queen of Nice]