More from Great big book of horrible things (2012)
At #39 (#65 US civil war was a picnic compared to this), Cambodia in 1975 was a bombed-out US-controlled dictatorship. ‘Brother Number One’, Pol Pot was a demented nationalist, devotee of Mao’s cultural revolution, which he succeeded in duplicating to a fault. I.e., millions dead, mass starvation and a megalomaniac Kampuchea uber alles, eradicating not only ‘capitalist roaders’ but all minorities, books, whatever. He took special delight in torturing and killing native Vietnamese, a tiny minority mostly on the border in contested areas. Vietnam took note, and with the Americans finally out of their hair, they took the bait when Cambodians staged border raids. Classic Bismarck.
Reading The great big book of horrible things (2012), I came to the American civil war. Bloody, but well down the list at 65. It was in the works for at least a decade and finally caught fire. Brother fighting brother over a defense of the equality of all vs white nationalism. Messy and cruel, in the end a war of attrition, with the industrial engine flattening the enemy.
The Union under Lincoln was initially spurned by Britain and France. Schadenfreude for the British and Napoleonic fantasies for the French. The British aristocracy was pro-south but the empire’s merchant rulers wisely didn’t take sides openly. As the north appeared likely to win, the south was abandoned. Literally, as it never really recovered, even today, still mired in its past.
What makes us human? We used to think it was tool making. Then we discovered from the pioneering work of Jane Goodall that chimps use straws to extract tasty ants from holes. A deluge of similar intensive work with animals reveals that crows have even ‘built’ compound tools out of parts. Studies of animals show us they have feelings, innate intelligence, giving rise to a powerful animal rights movement and many people switching off meat altogether. Most experiments involving torturing animals have come to an abrupt halt, much like how slavery was ended (I know, still lots of quasi-slavery). So there is some advance in our morality and ethics.
Mo: Comedy is a protest art form. It's an honest art form. You reveal your inner secrets. It's positive. You get things off your chest, make them hilarious, positive.
My focus here is on North American Muslims, who have been a major force in challenging the Islamophobia now rampant in the West, using only 'the word'. The comedians I highlight all travel on world tours and have played an important role in breaking down anti-Muslim prejudice in their own unique ways.
For humor to be in accordance with Islam, the joke should not be blasphemous and should be within the limits of adab (manners). The Prophet used to smile, rather than laugh. Aisha, wife of the Prophet Muhammad narrated:
We are exhorted to smile in hadith, to be self-deprecating.
In 2018, a majority of millennials said boomers had ‘made things worse’ for their generation. They tried to liberate us, and instead of freedom they left behind chaos.
In all fields touched by the six boomers profiled here---technology, entertainment, economics, academia, politics, law---what they passed on to their children was worse than what they inherited.
Andrews is senior editor at The American Conservative, and her book is a jeremiad, with the flavour of Old Testament divine justice, a call for owning up to one’s sins. The sins are many and the style is refreshingly unapologetically angry. The boomers should not be allowed to shuffle off the world stage until they have been made to regret their actions… In a just world there would be cosmic retribution for taking Jobs’s life’s work and turning it to the most boomerish purposes imaginable.
Writing this memoir has been as much about discovering my story, that is, myself as it is about telling it. That's Falk's version of Socrates' 'the unexamined life is not worth living.' Or should I say, Forrest Gump's? Falk's life reads like a storybook, starting with meeting Supreme Court judges with his father at age 9 in 1939, making friends with Claudette Colbere, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Liz Taylor (long story) at age 15, befriending and befoeing many of the dramatis personae of the Cold War throughout his long and productive life, finally landing on the shores of democratic socialism as the US charges towards the (literal) finish line.
Over time I have accumulated 'my favourite Shakespeare hits' as doses of vitamin, my protein drink, as I ride. I love to find the bull's eyes and implant them, so they can come to my aid. Reciting aloud or in my mind is like playing Beethoven on the piano. Imitating speech (and song) is what makes us humans, gives us the miracle of speech. It's our primary learning engine. Parrots, mocking birds and a few others can, but no primates. It is speech that has turned the world into our world, transforming nature into ... No comment. But there is no wordsmith to rival the Bard. Maybe Dante.
Tolstoy didn't like Shakespeare: irreligious, amoral, teaches that in morality, like politics, you can’t establish any principles because life is too complex. The Devil is the main protagonist in Shakespeare's great tragedies, which suits me fine,
I sit here, serenaded by our neighbourrhood nice crazy (as opposed to the many very irritating ones. CAMH is just across the road). He’s probably 3 blocks away and his plaintiff tenor wafts through the air. I saw him singing fortissimo a few days ago, as he skateboarded over the college st trolley tracks in the busy traffic, his head high, dressed for modest but tasteful street living, the spitting image of Jake Angeli, the Siegmund parody among the jan6 invaders of the capitol.
Q: Prior to Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia, the media was full of rumors that the Saudis were being sweet-talked into recognizing Israel. Already the Saudis allow Israeli planes to use Saudi airspace.
A: Wishful thinking. Israel wants the Saudis to acknowledge it as chief terrorist-cop in the Middle East. The Saudis see themselves as the rightful chief, at least among the Arabs, so they are unlikely to bend over like the other Persian Gulf monarchies, who just want to maintain their playboy lifestyle
Iranian Council for Defending the Truth seeks to broadcast an impartial picture about the Iranian perspective on different strategic issues.
World News with Eric Walberg