Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Gabriel García Márquez

All the Wednesday Links

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* The headline reads, “Student Loan Debt Delinquency Is Much Worse Than We Thought.”

We find that 27 percent of the borrowers have past due balances, while the adjusted proportion of outstanding student loan balances that is delinquent is 21 percent-much higher than the unadjusted rates of 14.4 percent and 10 percent, respectively

Meanwhile, college costs have sextupled since 1985.

* The Supreme Court looks prepared to rule that international law doesn’t apply internationally. Well done, sirs.

* Attorney General Eric Holder concludes no due process is a kind of due process. This whole “rule of law” thing is going great.

* Paul Pillar: We can live with a nuclear Iran. Of course we can.

The simple argument is that Iranian leaders supposedly don’t think like the rest of us: they are religious fanatics who value martyrdom more than life, cannot be counted on to act rationally, and therefore cannot be deterred. On the campaign trail Rick Santorum has been among the most vocal in propounding this notion, asserting that Iran is ruled by the “equivalent of al-Qaeda,” that its “theology teaches” that its objective is to “create a calamity,” that it believes “the afterlife is better than this life,” and that its “principal virtue” is martyrdom. Newt Gingrich speaks in a similar vein about how Iranian leaders are suicidal jihadists, and says “it’s impossible to deter them.”

The trouble with this image of Iran is that it does not reflect actual Iranian behavior. More than three decades of history demonstrate that the Islamic Republic’s rulers, like most rulers elsewhere, are overwhelmingly concerned with preserving their regime and their power—in this life, not some future one. They are no more likely to let theological imperatives lead them into self-destructive behavior than other leaders whose religious faiths envision an afterlife. Iranian rulers may have a history of valorizing martyrdom—as they did when sending young militiamen to their deaths in near-hopeless attacks during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s—but they have never given any indication of wanting to become martyrs themselves. In fact, the Islamic Republic’s conduct beyond its borders has been characterized by caution. Even the most seemingly ruthless Iranian behavior has been motivated by specific, immediate concerns of regime survival. The government assassinated exiled Iranian dissidents in Europe in the 1980s and ’90s, for example, because it saw them as a counterrevolutionary threat. The assassinations ended when they started inflicting too much damage on Iran’s relations with European governments. Iran’s rulers are constantly balancing a very worldly set of strategic interests. The principles of deterrence are not invalid just because the party to be deterred wears a turban and a beard.

On the other side, of course, we have the not-at-all-fascistic-sounding slogan “peace through strength.” Occupy Everywhere? What could possibly go wrong?

* Football: It’s worse than you think! Via MetaFilter, with more from Ta-Nehisi Coates.

* Matt Zoller Seitz on what makes Mad Men great.

When Gabriel García Márquez interviewed Akira Kurosawa.

Marquez: Thank you very much. All things considered, I think that if I were Japanese I would be as unyielding as you on [the subject of the bomb]. And at any rate I understand you. No war is good for anybody.

Kurosawa: That is so. The trouble is that when the shooting starts, even Christ and the angels turn into military chiefs of staff.

* How Goldman Sachs does it: they’re on every side of every deal.

* Archie Comics continues to insist on its own relevance: now they’re giving Cheryl Blossom breast cancer.

* I give Colbert the edge over Stewart re: Rush.

* And exactly how long ago was a long time ago in a galaxy far away? io9 is there.

Great Unknown, Han and Chewbacca are forced to make a jump to hyperspace to flee Imperial attackers. (OK yes, we know it’s non-canonical, but this is a thought experiment so just bear with us.) The Millennium Falcon crash lands on Earth, where Han and Chewbacca are attacked by Native Americans. Han receives several arrow wounds in the process, and Chewbacca holds his partner as the last bit of life flees from him. The second half of the story leaps 126 years into the future, with Indiana Jones and Short Round searching for Sasquatch in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, only to find Chewbacca and the bones of Han Solo.

Blaspheme!

Tabdump #3

with 3 comments

* @Mariborchan has a large collection of Slavoj Žižek lectures for your edification and enjoyment.

* The Mets and the mob.

* This piece on how to throw away books from the New York Times annoyed me far more than was reasonable. Can’t be bothered to finish One Hundred Years of Solitude? Can’t be bothered to even get the title right? Really?

* Nazi invasions of America, c. 1942. Via MeFi.

* About six million Americans receiving food stamps report they have no other income, according to an analysis of state data collected by The New York Times. In declarations that states verify and the federal government audits, they described themselves as unemployed and receiving no cash aid — no welfare, no unemployment insurance, and no pensions, child support or disability pay.

* And you can’t bring bottled water on a plane in the name of safety, but airlines can force their pilots to fly fatigued.

Even More Wednesday Links

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Even more Wednesday links.

* Not just talk: Reid and Schumer will introduce legislation to yank the health insurance industry’s antitrust exemption.

* Conflicts of interest we can believe in: Hank Paulson. The original version of this post, which was up for about two minutes, confused Paulson with Timothy Geithner, who I also don’t like, but who I guess is a step up.

* Among other things, this YouTube video of a Normandy Beach veteran speaking about marriage equality speaks to the (often underutilized) power of American exceptionalism in the service of progressive political causes. It’s quite moving.

* ‘Papers reveal Gabriel Garcia Marquez was under Mexican surveillance for years.’

* Duke Plans To Become ‘Climate Neutral’ By 2024.

* And Maureen Ryan at the Chicago Tribune says the next two weeks of Dollhouse will not disappoint. I’ve been pretty disappointed all season, so I hope she’s right.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 21, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Famous Literary Feuds

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The L.A. Times has your daily dose of famous literary feuds. More at the Jacket Copy blog. Below: Gabriel García Márquez cutting a promo against Mario Vargas Llosa at Wrestlemania III.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 26, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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Busy, Busy, Busy

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Busy, busy, busy, as the Bokononists say.

* Sci-Fi has put out a “Catch the Frak Up” video for the last four seasons of Battlestar Galactica.

* All about Patrick Fitzgerald, the man everybody wants to put in charge of everything.

* Daily Routines: how writers, artists, and other interesting people organize their days. Via MeFi, which has some greatest hits.

* In 1945, after the atomic destruction of two Japanese cities, J. Robert Oppenheimer expressed foreboding about the spread of nuclear arms. “They are not too hard to make,” he told his colleagues on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, N.M. “They will be universal if people wish to make them universal.” How the bomb spread (and didn’t) around the world.

* The Los Angeles Film Critics Association has named WALL-E the best film of the year. It’s a bit of a strange choice against Dark Knight and Synecdoche, among others, but WALL-E was a hell of a good film, potentially a very important one, and damnit if I don’t love Pixar.

* No book more deeply and revealingly explains the spasm of madness through which the United States has passed in recent years than Moby Dick. For generations, it has been considered a masterpiece of world literature, but now can it be seen as an eerily prophetic allegory about 21st-century America. It is now truly the nation’s epic.

* The Barack Obama of 2018 has been playing video games all his life.

* Everybody loves Silent Star Wars.

* Pharyngula has been having an awful lot of fun with found images lately.

* Has Greenpeace been rating Apple unfairly?

* Will we nationalize the auto companies?

* And the good news: Gabriel García Márquez is still writing after all.

The Dictatorship of Flies

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When the trumpet sounded
everything was prepared on earth,
and Jehovah gave the world
to Coca-Cola Inc., Anaconda,
Ford Motors, and other corporations.
The United Fruit Company
reserved for itself the most juicy
piece, the central coast of my world,
the delicate waist of America…

From my Facebook news feed: incoming Attorney General Eric Holder’s relationship with Chiquita. I usually outsource my commentary on Chiquita to Pablo Neruda and Gabriel García Márquez, but suffice it to say, generally speaking, this is perhaps my least favorite corporate conglomerate. It’s really, really unfortunate that Holder was involved with them, though I must admit that his actions as their counsel in this particular instance don’t strike me as especially reprehensible in context. Glen Greenwald for the defense:

I’ve seen some attempts to criticize Holder based upon clients he has represented while in private practice, most notably his defense of Chiquita Brands in a criminal case brought by the DOJ arising out of Chiquita’s payments and other support to Colombian death squads. Attempts to criticize a lawyer for representing unsavory or even evil clients are inherently illegitimate and wrong — period. Anybody who believes in core liberties should want even the most culpable parties to have zealous representation before the Government can impose punishments or other sanctions. Lawyers who defend even the worst parties are performing a vital service for our justice system. Holder is no more tainted by his defense of Chiquita than lawyers who defend accused terrorists at Guantanamo are tainted by that.

Who Was The Dominant Writer of the Twentieth Century?

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Who was the dominant writer of the twentieth century, if indeed such a question even makes any sense at all? In rejecting Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s claim on the title, the Paper Cuts blog nominates George Orwell. As you might expect from the last time we played this game, I don’t think anyone can really challenge Joyce, unless it’s Kafka or (maybe) Gabriel García Márquez.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 15, 2008 at 3:10 am