Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Summer reading

Oopsy: This is the Pentagon statement on the seizure of Mohsen Abdul-Hamid: “Following the interview it was determined that he was detained by mistake and should be released. ... Coalition forces regret any inconvenience...” First, don’t blame it on a “coalition” when it was a purely American operation. Second, an “interview” starts with being asked to sit and would you like some coffee, not with having a hood thrown over your head and being dragged out of your house. Third, a bigger lexicological problem continues to be that word “mistake”: it’s a day and a half later, and the Pentagon still hasn’t clarified the nature of the mistaken behooding and seizure of the head of the largest Sunni party, and nobody seems to be asking them to do so.

Gary Indiana’s new book The Schwarzenegger Syndrome: Politics and Celebrity in the Age of Contempt sounds like fun, if a bit pricey ($13.57 at Amazon for 140 pages), according to the Village Voice review. Here’s a quote: “to the bewildered and traumatized who continued to imagine that ‘fascism’ described a condition other than the merger of the state with corporate capitalism, ‘hasta la vista, baby’ sounded like as workable a program as anything else.”
(Update: on the other hand, Marc Cooper hates the book.)

And as long as we’re talking books, Human Events, right-wing morons since 1944, list the 10 most harmful books of the 19th and 20th century, starting with the Communist Manifesto and including the Kinsey Report (#4) and The Feminine Mystique (#7), but not the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which actually was and is harmful. Not even in the honorable mentions. Marx is the only author who appears twice, and yes Das Kapital could be very harmful if you dropped it on your toe. I only own 3 or maybe 4 (I’m not sure if Beyond Good and Evil is among my very modest Nietzsche collection), so perhaps I haven’t been too badly damaged. Next up from the Human Eventers: the 10 most harmful ballets of the 19th and 20th century.

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