Sunday, August 21, 2016

This time it's personal: The world is broken. Smile! As We Are Last to Die ...

Tales from Edinburgh 1 What do you do when the world is broken? You can do worse than laugh. My usual taste is for dystopia, plays for endtimes that will sob you to sleep. ... The world is broken. Smile

 An event was held in Poprad, at the memorial on St Giles’ Square. The attendees particularly commemorated Jozef Bonka, who was killed by a tank projectile, fired by the occupation forces on the very same square. Dubcek and 1968 Invasion

Now, with Harold Bloom's arguments in mind, I want to reiterate and emphasize two of his points: "we cannot know enough people" in our limited lives, and we need to "prepare ourselves for [ . . . ] the final change."  Fictional Lives Matter (and other musings on reading)

Thirty-two years after Truman Capote’s death, the iconic author, screenwriter, and society darling will embark on one final adventure. On Wednesday, Julien’s Auctions announced that Capote’s ashes will be sold in late September as part of an auction marketed (in questionable taste) as a rare “peek inside the lives of some of Hollywood’s most private stars.” In addition to just a peek, though, the auction house is apparently also offering full-blown ownership of the remains of one of these stars Cold Bloody River Ashes

“Members of the anarchist collective INDECLINE … unveiled life-size statues of Trump in the nude Thursday morning in public spaces in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Seattle.” (The New York City Parks Dept. removed the statue in Union Square, saying in a statement, “NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small.”) These protesters wanted to humiliate ‘Emperor’ Trump. So they took off his clothes

Mike Baird takes 70 bureaucrats taxpayer funded retreat Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains

… Rogues, sycophants and dreamers: the world of Oliver Goldsmith, author |

James Crawford
James Crawford
Earlier this year, defense attorney James Crawford had time to reflect on his life as his head was smashed into a wooden bench when he got pummeled in the Orange County courthouse. It wasn’t something the veteran criminal defense lawyer expected to happen, especially inside a courthouse, but there he was, drenched in his own blood anyway. To paraphrase from The Big Lebowski: sometimes you pass the bar, and sometimes the bar crushes your skull as you’re violently thrown into it Courthouse Beating Spawns $30 Million Lawsuit

India’s famous crocodile-hunting female tiger, Machli, has died Quartz. We are posting a video of her in action as a bonus antidote in her honor.

Eulogies are not a genre noted for honesty — the origin of the word, after all, is “to speak well.” What are the benefits of truth when speaking of the dead ...

“Why should we celebrate these dead men more than the dying?” T.S. Eliot asks in “Little Gidding.” And we’re all dying, hour by hour. One new book shares Eliot’s fascination with the dead.  More than eulogies: new book considers the dead – famous and infamous

On Presley's Deathday, here’s something Intapundit wrote a while back

Bob Vineyard, Death of a salesman (InsureBlog). “Most of the health insurance agents I know have completely left the insurance business or shifted to other areas like Medicare.” 

“Grey Gardens made quite a splash on its initial release, and not always in a good way. The Maysles were accused of exploiting their subjects and betraying the tenets of the ‘direct-cinema’ movement to which they were deemed to belong, principally by dint of their 1969 masterpiece Salesman, perhaps the pinnacle of the genre.”  Love and squalor: how Grey Gardens changed the documentary genre

As the purpose of college is reduced to questions of profit and loss, it's time for humanists to embrace a new credo: If we must perish, let us perish resisting ...

I was invited to write this essay on the occasion of my retirement, following in the footsteps of my former colleague, Steve Easton, who wrote a wonderful article, My Last Lecture: Unsolicited Advice for Future and Current Lawyers. My essay supplements Steve’s article with additional advice about law school and legal practice. This article is suitable for students in many different courses, orientations, and professional development programs.
I have an immense longing for simplicity and unawareness. If I could rediscover some strong, simple feelings from somewhere centuries back – hunger, thirst, cold – if I could overcome two thousand years of Talmudism and melancholy, and recover – supposing my race has ever had it – the clear joy of life… I believe I’ve only ever been afraid of signs and symbols, never of people or things. My childhood was poisoned by the third poplar in the yard of the (St Servac Church), a tall, mysterious tree, its shadow on summer nights falling through the window, over my bed – that black band slashing across my bedcovers – a terrifying presence I could not understand and did not try to.

"Merrick Garland chokes up at service for pal": Kim Janssen of The Chicago Tribune has an article that begins, "He may have started out as the original 'nobody nobody sent,' but Abner Mikva was sent off in grand style Monday at a memorial service where he was feted by a crowd of political heavyweights including a Supreme Court justice and the president of the United States."

This time it's personal
For as long as human cultures have existed anywhere, we have buried our dead. What's changed is the place the dead occupy in our lives... Bells Tolling

History offers many examples of dictators who worsened their behavior significantly over time...
How dictators evolve

Via the New York Botanical Garden – A Digital Exhibit: “Poetic Botany identifies an eighteenth-century movement in which botany became the subject of poetry. The relationship between art and science cultivated during this movement resulted in a rich trove of botanical knowledge, sumptuously presented in books, artworks, and gardens
"If I search the world over/I'll find no other port/Which has the magic/Of my Port Piraeus"

We don't wish death upon anyone, but it's hard to get too worked up about the apparently imminent demise of one of the sorriest dictators of recent times. Yes, the very big (reportedly tipping the scales at some 220 kg these days) and very bad Idi Amin Dada is on his way out.
       We actually have a couple of books under review in which he figures, from Riccardo Orizio's Idi Amin encounter in Talk of the Devil (a book that's briefly discussed in an article by Louis Menand in this week's issue of The New Yorker) to fictional accounts of those uselessly miserable Dadistic times such as Rosa Shand's The Gravity of Sunlight and Moses Isegawa's Abyssinian Chronicles -- as well as the already classic Idi Amin novel, Giles Foden's The Last King of Scotland.
       We can't imagine he'll linger long -- though it's amazing how long a body can last after moral decay originally set in (in Idi's case rotting away any semblance of humanity in that gross shell over three decades ago). The obits will appear soon enough, and then you can be nauseated by all the details of his years of misrule.
       We'd say: ignore him, forget him -- but you can't afford to. Not when the Americans continue to let Charles Taylor play his little games (that would be in Liberia), not when some bozo named Fernando Pereira (so The Economist, 19 July) took over São Tomé e Príncipe last week (in a coup, not an election -- not that pretty much anyone except for a few oil executives (who are just worried about their contracts being honoured) seems to give a damn), not when the US is treating some of these new Central Asian mini-Stalinists (among others) as though they were legitimate leaders just because they're ostensibly on the right side in this war against terrorism somebody is pretending to be fighting.
       Getting rid of Saddam Hussein put one Idi Amin imitator out of business (at least for the time being), but there are too many still eager to follow in that slob's footsteps -- don't forget that. 

“With Olive Kitteridge, I remember at one point, I thought, uh-oh, this is really going out there – and I remember very consciously telling myself, don’t be careful. Do not be careful. You’ve got to let her be who she is.” Elizabeth Strout: ‘I don’t care how badly my characters misbehave’ 

London Bookshops Unplug From Internet And Readers Cheer
“A crop of bookshops is rebelling against frenzied online engagement and is creating environments where the real-life, internet-free book browse is the most effective way to expand your social and professional networks. And in countering the internet overload, some stores are proving to be among London’s hottest hangouts.” Bksstrs

“Today, it seems that Orwell’s 1984 would better have been titled 2016,” VDH writes:
Orwell was wrong only on his dates. Had he entitled his novel 2016, we would immediately have recognized his parallels to the present “overseas contingency operations,” “violent extremism,” “undocumented immigrants,” and “man-caused disasters.” The campus diversity czar is our Big Brother. Imagining that all lives matter is a thought crime. Due process on a campus today is counter-revolutionary, and proper sexual congress among students is to be scripted as a politically correct act, as if we were all Orwell’s Winston Smith and Julia. Is the Junior Anti-Sex League with its red sashes far behind?
As the London Guardian lamented on Sunday, “Goodbye to sex: a short and heartfelt eulogy.”
Hey, the Washington Post wasn’t kidding when at the start of 2009, via their then-owned magazine Newsweek, they declared “We Are All Socialists Now” – evidently, they didn’t realize (or care) that the result would be something akin to East Germany, albeit with Justin Bieber and the Kardashians for entertainment, rather than ‘60s London with socialized medicine and the Beatles. (Or Sweden and Abba for that matter.)

“As with fish entering the broken hulls
Or the blind eel tunneling through the weed,
So shall we make darkness our corridor.
We will by dead reckoning tempt (Vrbv) fortune.”

This is a followup to Death by HR: Who Staffs HR Departments? Mostly Women… motivated by Virgina Postrel’s query asking when publishing became a female-dominated field.
In Sisters of Perpetual Grievance: Gender Pay Gap we described how the “women make only 77 cents on the dollar” aggregate statistic is due to women’s choices of field, type of work, and desire to take time off for raising children. One of the counter-arguments is that female-dominated fields are paid less because of some sort of systemic discrimination. The Patriarchy has decided to pay less in those fields because they are dominated by women…! Death by HR: Pink Collar Ghettos, Publishing and HR

Sweden’s first Muslim minister quits over drink-driving scandal

This Insanely Fit Grandpa Is Taking the Internet by Storm