Monday, October 27, 2014

The BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) Approach to Israel: Todd Gitlin's View and Mine

For the sake of discussion, I'm sending around Todd Gitlin's piece about BDS. I like it, but put the stress in different places.

I think this is a sane critique of BDS. I differ — possibly — because I am not as sure as Todd that, despite its flaws, BDS is failing to put some useful pressure on Israel vis a vis its policy toward the Palestinians. I can't prove that it is. I doubt Todd can prove that it isn't. Let that remain moot.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ten books

As to the ten books that have made my life worse, I've backed off from compiling that list.


The fault was not in the books.

There are books that have mattered to me unduly because I was in need of such.

Books that have misled me because I needed to be led.

Books that have intoxicated me. Should books be controlled substances? Should you need a script?

Books that are pure shit. When I think of scraping them off I conclude that, too, would be a mistake, since how else would I know where and by whom these stinkers are likely to be deposited?

And then there is aging: I remember Vladmir Nabokov commenting that revolutions should be made only by the old, that only the aged were entitled. I raged against Nabokov for that. But I was so young.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ebola, ISIS, what I don't understand.

There are things I just don't understand. Not because I'm liberal as opposed to conservative. Not because I'm secular as opposed to religious. Not because I generally, at first blush anyway, prefer cats to dogs. And it's got nothing to do with the fact that I once owned gerbils and then a Burmese python.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Vietnam looks good from here!?


I find this astonishing.

Maybe you didn't know, but the Pentagon has been spending big bucks on a web site that rehabs the war in Vietnam, by which I mean that it excludes mention of the massive movement against it and the atrocities associated with its prosecution. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ten books . . .


In a previous post I noted that I've come across people compiling lists of the ten books that have mattered most to them, the assumption being these books necessarily mattered for the better, because reading is a good thing, isn't it, especially in this digital age, when text confronts such challenges. Such lists are intended to be celebratory. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ten books that changed your life

Ten books that changed your life

The trend is for people to provide lists of the ten books that changed their lives.

Presumably for the better. That's what books do, right? Reading makes you better, no?

That's what reading does.

I have my doubts.

I'm working on a list of ten books that changed my life for the worse. Books I couldn't resist to start with that propelled me in directions it took years to recover from.

Know what I'm saying?

Any books that did that to you?

Friday, October 3, 2014

My name is Bin Laden

I know if I take out the Twin Towers you will do something fantastically stupid in response, such as bringing down Saddam Hussein, my arch-enemy. That was so sweet, you did that! Have you noticed that now his military serves me?