Opinion

CULTURAL AMNESIA: ADAM BRESNICK ON CLIVE JAMES

  • Posted on: 22 September 2007
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

by Thomas Riggins

Clive James' "Cultural Amnesia: Notes in the margin of my time" is 896 pages long and made up of 106 essays ranging over the cultural and historical debris of the 20th century. It is reviewed by Adam Bresnick in the TLS for 9-14-2007.

In a busy world with zillions of books should you invest your time in reading this gigantic tome? If the review is any indication of the contents of the book I would say both yes and no. It depends on your intellectual commitments. Clive is supposedly a "humanist" and opposes the hoary and meaningless abstraction of "totalitarianism." He appears, from the review, to be merely a conservative pro-imperialist intellectual snob. If you like that kind of writing this is the book for you.

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George Packer's "Planning for Defeat": An Analysis of a Plea for Occupation

  • Posted on: 19 September 2007
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

George Packer's "Planning for Defeat": An Analysis of a Plea for Occupation

By Thomas Riggins

The journalist George Packer has an article ("Planning for Defeat") about the situation in Iraq in the September 17, 2007 issue of The New Yorker. It is very informative, but unfortunately, veers from reportage into advocacy, and not just any advocacy, but advocacy of placing Iraq under semi-permanent military occupation by the US-- in fact making it an economic colony of American capitalism.

Additional information:
8 million Iraqis require emergency aid
About one-fourth of Iraqi children are malnourished
5 million Iraqis depend on the country's food rationing system; only 3 million have reliable access to it
3 to 4 million Iraqis are internally or internationally displaced

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Back to the Future in the Guatemalan Elections

  • Posted on: 14 September 2007
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

By Cyril Mychalejko
www.UpsideDownWorld.org

The September 9 election to replace Guatemalan President Oscar Berger featured more body bags than tangible ideas to improve the country. Now facing a runoff election, voters are left with the tired choice between a military strongman and an oligarch.

The last time Guatemala was a functioning democracy was during Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán's administration, which ended prematurely as a result of a CIA orchestrated coup in June of 1954. In the decades that followed the country suffered under military dictatorships, death squads, genocide and a 36-year civil war that left hundreds of thousands murdered, tortured and disappeared.

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