Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Review: Adelle Waldman's "The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P."

Brooklyn is hardly virgin territory for novels or short stories; if anything, the borough bristles with fiction. There is, of course, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943), and The Williamsburg Trilogy (1961), by Daniel Fuchs. More recently, we have Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn (2009), which portrays the borough as a port of call for an immigrant who instead of taking the chartered path to life in America, however arduous, opts to go back home to Ireland. Norman Mailer made Brooklyn part of his domestic and, in 1951s Barbary Shore (admittedly not his most memorable work) literary domain. The stories collected in Sam Lipsyte’s The Fun Parts (2013), devise a lingo for the subcultures that have sprung up in the chic, hothouse corners of the borough. Thomas Wolfe’s story Only The Dead Know Brooklyn (1925), makes a bold claim that is false on the face of it, since it’s clear that Jonathan Lethem knows a few things about the place, as he showed in Motherless Brooklyn (1999), Fortress of Solitude (2003), and glancingly, in Dissident Gardens (2013), which, strictly speaking, focuses more on Queens.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

lou reed lou reed

NY Times 10/28/13
"Lou Reed, Rock ’n’ Roll Pioneer, Dies at 71"

lou reed lou reed
you'd given your best
long ago
the kinda best
than which no better

Friday, October 25, 2013

His Soapbox Was The Brillo Box: Arthur Danto, 1/1/1924 –10/25/ 2013

first appeared in the

Arthur Danto died on Friday, October 25, age 89, after having, over his long career as a writer, critic and educator, worked out a distinctive take on contemporary art and aesthetics, one he often termed Duchampian. By that he meant there was more to visual art than what immediately hit the eye, more than what resulted, as Duchamp put it, in "retinal flutter." Art was unavoidably involved with concepts, meanings, questions. None were more intriguing for Danto over the long haul than the question, as Duchamp posed it in his readymades, of what distinguished pieces of art from like pieces, a bicycle wheel or upside-down urinal, for example, as deployed by Duchamp, from the ordinary item.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Vo Nguyen Giap: Military Mastermind, or "Marginalized Hero"?

 Originally appeared in

So far as Vietnam goes, the fog of war — as Errol Morris called it, in his documentary about former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara — is particularly dense and durable. Far from dissipating over time, it continues to obscure our understanding of the war in Vietnam and of how, and by whom, the vastly outgunned Vietnamese were marshaled to defeat the United States in that terrible conflict.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Polonius compares the Tea Party to the Bolsheviks

If I lived on Mars — or in the past or the future — the specter of global capitalism being brought to the brink by a Leninist clique of right wing republicans would be — counterfactually speaking, of course — utterly hilarious.

Vladimir always said "better fewer but better".

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Polonius about globalization

a scenario, a counter history, a video game:

the gov. shutdown continues. the fascist cum bolshevik tea party even refuses to raise the debt ceiling for a day or two, enough time for a serious shit storm, a killer asteroid ripping through american and global economy.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Polonius speaks — about the Middle East

Polonius speaks — about the Middle East

Reading Robin Wright's, "Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World" (2011).

Wright's a veteran, deeply informed author and correspondent about the Islamic world. The theme of her most recent book is that: "A decade after the 9/11 terrorism spectaculars, the Islamic world is now in the throes of a counter-jihad. The new struggle pits Muslims against their brethren. Its goal is to rout extremism in its many forms, from the deviant doctrine launched by Osama bin laden to the rigid rule of Iran's theocrats."