Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
"The West accepts an epochal, monstrous, unforgivable double standard. We rehearse the crimes of Nazism almost daily; we teach them to our children as ultimate historical and moral lessons; and we bear witness to every victim. We are, with so few exceptions, almost silent on the crimes of Communism. So the bodies lie among us, unnoticed, everywhere."
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I thought I'd put in a plug for my friend Mark Law's book about Judo, The Pyjama Game. When I went to check the URL of his website, I noticed this review:
The literary genre “neophyte learns a martial art” is getting somewhat crowded, but Law’s likeable and stylish entry deserves a place on the mat.
called aggression sluicing around our systems, and it is A Bad Thing, then surely we need to have some way of disposing of this hazard before it starts burning holes in the fabric of society? In fact we have a number of methods; one of them is called sport.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Several more times during our conversation, he tells me that he simply couldn’t figure out how to attack a middle-aged woman without looking like a cad. He says this as if menopause were an illegal weapon. “The feeling I’m getting,” I say to Kinnock, “is that you did not feel that she played fair.”
“Oh, Christ, this is politics!”
“No, this is not boxing under the Queensbury rules, and it’s not association football! This is a blood sport!”
“Well, then, how come you weren’t willing to really stick it to her? I mean, you’re saying, ‘I didn’t want to use discourteous language, I didn’t want to be seen attacking a woman older than me,’ but if this is a blood sport, why didn’t you?”
He sighs. I feel a bit cruel now, as if I’m not playing fair myself, but I really do want to know how he explains this to himself. “Well, like I said,” he answers at last, “it would have been politically disadvantageous—but in any case, it would have bloody demeaned me to have done that. If you’re doing it, you know, toe-to-toe with a fellow about your age, or even if he’d been a bit older than myself, that would have been—”
“So you’re basically saying, ‘I couldn’t hit a girl.’”
“Well, I know I couldn’t hit a girl—”
“Yeah, but you know, she happened to be the prime minister. And you felt that you couldn’t hit back? Because she was a woman?”
“Not that I couldn’t hit back, I mean, I did hit back!”
I am left, in the end, with two images—a small boy of about three, red-haired, pink-faced, hiccupping as he fights back tears, staring into the looming face of an impossibly large woman in an apron. If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding! How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?
And then, the image of a beleaguered middle-aged man with a thin fringe of wispy pumpkinish hair, lying on the psychotherapist’s couch.
“My mother,” he is saying, “was a formidable woman.”
If a guy in that situation loses (legitimately), it's a total humiliation. He got beaten up by a girl. If he wins (legitimately), it's worse than a humiliation. He beat up a girl, which is for very good reason an absolute social taboo in any civilized society.
Winning certainly doesn't look like any kind of honorable athletic victory for Somchai here. He fought well and won fair against a tough opponent. But look at his face, when he holds up the trophy at about minute 5:38. That's not a guy who's feeling proud of himself, even if he deserves to.
Still, it creates a dilemma for women who want to train in a realistic way, and for men who have to figure out what to do with them at the gym.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Paine manages to steer these leafless “Dendroids,” as he calls them, between the Scylla of transparency and the Charibdis of mechanization, unyielding hazards to authorship of his own contrarian devising established by two other families of sculpture. On one side are Paine’s “Replicants,” portraits of notorious, untrustworthy plants and fungi fixed in eternal plastic with an exegetical fidelity to surpass the craftsmanship of the best diorama and Hollywood prop technicians.
Claire says: (5:27:32 PM)
What's new in Haiti?
Mischa says: (5:28:29 PM)
The DEA raided Guy Phillipe's house, but he wasn't there.
Mischa says: (5:28:36 PM)
That was big news.
Claire says: (5:28:50 PM)
Really? It wasn't in the Turkish Daily News at all.
Mischa says: (5:29:07 PM)
No? And it has such major ramifications on Turkish-Haitian relations.
Claire says: (5:29:42 PM)
Has the Haitian press been as riveted by the Ergenekon arrests as Turkey is?
Mischa says: (5:30:11 PM)
There is no Haitian press.
Claire says: (5:30:24 PM)
How do they know which journalists to arrest, then?
Mischa says: (5:30:34 PM)
They just shoot 'em all.
Claire says: (5:31:37 PM)
Haiti sounds like it's still got a ways to go before it meets the Copenhagen accession criteria.
Mischa says: (5:32:19 PM)
It will never, ever join the EU.
Claire says: (5:32:46 PM)
Yes, the Europeans are far too profoundly voodoophobic for that, I think.
Mischa says: (5:32:49 PM)
I'm habituated to Haiti now though.
Mischa says: (5:32:53 PM)
It just feels normal.
Mischa says: (5:33:04 PM)
And the rest of the world seems effete.
Claire says: (5:33:59 PM)
It's too bad you can't take a martial arts class there.
Claire says: (5:34:14 PM)
You would be so into writing SIFU again if you did.
Mischa says: (5:34:24 PM)
Mischa says: (5:34:32 PM)
But I'm all over writing anything.
Mischa says: (5:34:37 PM)
I was into it last week,
Mischa says: (5:34:41 PM)
but then my Creatons went south,
Mischa says: (5:34:54 PM)
and now I'm too sleepy.
Claire says: (5:35:27 PM)
I don't have the energy to write either. I'm devoting it all to martial arts.
Mischa says: (5:37:55 PM)
Maybe YOU should write SIFU.
Claire says: (5:38:20 PM)
No, no one will ever buy my fiction again because LION EYES tanked so badly.
Mischa says: (5:38:33 PM)
Yes they will.
Claire says: (5:38:51 PM)
No, actually, they won't. But it doesn't matter: SIFU is yours.
Mischa says: (5:38:58 PM)
I hate SIFU.
Claire says: (5:39:26 PM)
Anyway, no one is going to buy SIFU if it's set in Turkey, that's for sure.
Mischa says: (5:39:37 PM)
You know, they just might.
Claire says: (5:40:23 PM)
What have you moved on to?
Mischa says: (5:40:48 PM)
A Haiti novel.
Claire says: (5:40:52 PM)
Claire says: (5:40:55 PM)
Can I read it?
Mischa says: (5:41:01 PM)
But now I'm thinking of giving that up too,
Mischa says: (5:41:05 PM)
because I'm too sleepy.
Mischa says: (5:41:16 PM)
No, it's nowhere near ready to read.
Mischa says: (5:41:23 PM)
Not being written and all.
Claire says: (5:41:26 PM)
Tangentially related to our martial arts theme, today I bring you some Eastern wisdom on mind control from Guruji, the founder of Ashtanga yoga.
Good luck applying it!
Claire says: (9:51:39 PM)
Claire says: (9:51:53 PM)
I wonder if the interviewer was entirely satisfied with this interview?
Mischa says: (9:53:32 PM)
That sounds like a very typical encounter with an Indian.
Claire says: (9:53:47 PM)
Mischa says: (9:53:51 PM)
I had many such encounters in India.
Claire says: (9:53:57 PM)
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
What a loss to literature that Twitter arrived so late on the historical scene. All of history's great and tragic conflicts might have been likewise chronicled and imbued forever in human memory with similar dignity.
Athens #Peloponesian League: 4,000 Hoplites dismissed from quelling #Helot revolt: http://tiny.cc/cTKN3 #Delian League #Corinthiansuckabout 2 hours ago from web