Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Cold War Never Really Ended

"They live on in the hearts of those that cherish their memory and in the good deeds that they performed on earth."

“A time comes when you think you cannot bear another thing, but it happens to you, and you can bear it.” ~ Robert Penn Warren, All the King’s Men
Hateful buildings, brutalist monstrosities, drab concrete towers: Stalinist architecture, once reviled, is now revered. Chalk it up to the rise of Soviet-ruin chic or kitch »

If You Don’t Click on This Classy Post, You Are a Loser and a Moron Mother Jones. Or a Queens-born casino operator.

Culture has declined and society has gone to the dogs in every age. Frivolity is forever on the rise. But for Mario Vargas Llosa, this time is different ...

For the first time in a decade, Russia spent a higher portion of its GDP on defense than the U.S. in 2013.
To those who lived through it, the night of November 9, 1989, seemed to mark a new epoch in human history. The Berlin Wall was suddenly undefended, in a single delirious moment that promised to end the Cold War division of Europe. Two years later, the Soviet Union would be dissolved. Elected leaders would govern Russia for the first time since the country’s brief democratic experiment of 1917. “Europe whole and free” seemed more than a far-off aspiration: it seemed a work in the making. Cold war never ended

Owen Hatherley, Landscapes of Communism: A History through Buildings.  A consistently interesting take on communist architecture, not entirely unsympathetic as indeed corresponds to my own attitude.  Sheila Fitzpatrick wrote a nice LRB review of the book, suggesting that the author must have visited those developments in summer rather than wintertime.

Though at home in the literary and intellectual circles of London and Paris,T.S. Eliot never lost his wry affection for what he called "Amurrikan Kulchur"

Since I first read it in a high school Spanish class, I’ve been fascinated by the theory of language implicit in Borges’s “The Library of Babel.” The story describes a universal library containing, in 410-page volumes, every possible permutation of twenty-two letters, spaces, commas, and periods—every book that’s ever been written and every book that ever could be, drowned out by endless pages of gibberish. Its librarians are addicted to the search for certain master texts, the complete catalog of the library, or the future history of one’s own life, but their quest inevitably ends in failure, despair, even suicide Library of Babel as seen from within

Roughly 100 fantastic pieces of journalism