Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘banality of evil

‘Domestic Violence Is a Pre-Existing Condition’

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In North Carolina, and in eight other states and in Washington, D.C., having been a victim of domestic violence is considered a “pre-existing condition” and can be used by insurance companies to deny coverage. Via Pandagon. I thought I was past the point of being shocked by things like this, but my god.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 12, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Another Monday Linkdump

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Monday links.

* Vernor Vinge guarantees the Singularity by 2030. Take it to the bank. Via Boing Boing.

* They’ll get the stone wall around East Campus when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.

* Today’s most useful single-serving site: http://shouldibeworriedaboutswineflu.com/.

* The judgment against Eichmann speaks to Bybee: Far from absolving him of guilt, his remoteness from the actual torturers—his thoughtlessness—increases the degree of his responsibility. His is a special kind of evil—the evil of nonchalance where there should be outrage.

* Geoengineering and the New Climate Denialism.

* Meanwhile, Krugman seeks to tell the future by looking at programs Republicans have most recently tried to cut funding for.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 27, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Vonnegut, Evil, Baseball, Memory, and Hulk Hogan

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A rather random assortment of links, even for me:

* How’s life? Well, it’s practically over, thank God. Cynical-C has another nice Vonnegut link: one of his last recorded television interviews, October 7, 2005. As you might expect, it’s great. Here’s an excerpt, and here’s the rest.

* “The ‘Problem of Evil’ in Postwar Europe, Tony Judt’s acceptance speech for the 2007 Hannah Arendt Prize. Via MeFi.

Today, the Shoah is a universal reference. The history of the Final Solution, or Nazism, or World War II is a required course in high school curriculums everywhere. Indeed, there are schools in the US and even Britain where such a course may be the only topic in modern European history that a child ever studies. There are now countless records and retellings and studies of the wartime extermination of the Jews of Europe: local monographs, philosophical essays, sociological and psychological investigations, memoirs, fictions, feature films, archives of interviews, and much else. Hannah Arendt’s prophecy would seem to have come true: the history of the problem of evil has become a fundamental theme of European intellectual life.

So now everything is all right? Now that we have looked into the dark past, called it by its name, and sworn that it must never again be repeated? I am not so sure. Let me suggest five difficulties that arise from our contemporary preoccupation with the Shoah, with what every schoolchild now calls “the Holocaust”…

* Rules and quirks of baseball. As I’ve said in the past, rules and quirks are pretty much the only aspect of professional sports that can keep my interest, so this is the perfect link for me.

* Scientists have accidentally discovered a promising new technique for treating memory loss.

* Hillary Only Up By 12 Over Obama In New York? This would be amazing, but I find it a little hard to believe it’s really that close.

* Also in political news: Obama wins the coveted Hulk Hogan endorsement.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 30, 2008 at 11:14 pm

Springtime for Hitler

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Springtime for Hitler: Everyone is all smiles in this photo album from an officer at Auschwitz. Here’s the full album. Via MeFi and Boing Boing.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 19, 2007 at 6:27 pm

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Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that it was nothing more than misfortune that made you a willing instrument in the organization of mass murder; there still remains for the fact that you have carried out, and therefore actively supported, a policy of mass murder. For politics is not like the nursery; in politics obedience and support are the same. And just as you supported and carried out a policy of not wanting to share the earth with the Jewish people and the people of a number of other nations—as though you and your superiors had any right to determine who should and who should not inhabit the world—we find that no one, that is, no member of the human race, can be expected to want to share the earth with you. That is the reason, and the only reason, you must hang.

That’s Hannah Arendt putting imaginary words into the mouths of Eichmann’s judges at the close of her excellent Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, which I’ve been reading this week. The book inaugurates what looks to be the second theme of my summer reading, following apocalypse: evil. (Next up: Badiou’s Ethics.) The Eichmann trial was one of the most important twentieth-century events I knew almost nothing about, informing everything from the subtext of The Remains of the Day to the trial of Gaius Baltar last season on Battlestar Galactica—so I’m very glad to finally know a little something about it. And Arendt’s book is, again, very, very good—much if not nearly all of the criticism I’ve seen lobbed against it strikes me as without merit.

Eichmann Trial Transcripts

YouTube has your vintage newsreels:

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June 3, 2007 at 1:32 pm

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