Saturday, May 29, 2004
The future of the blog. For most of this blog's existance, now almost a year, I've been thinking about whether I should stop it. It's still inconclusive. But I'm about to start travels that will last about a month, during which time I'm extremely unlikely to post anything. After that, well, who knows. I think I'm probably going to give this up for good--at least this blog. I have an idea or two for a different, more focused blog; but again, I don't know if they'll go anywhere. Most likely blogging, as I said in my very first posts, was something to keep me intellectually occupied while not in school. Come August I'll start school again and hopefully won't need the blog.

So, right, we'll see. Maybe I'll see you in July, and maybe not.
What do you do with a drunken royal? Pretenders to thrones are a famously dissolute lot, but this dispatch in the Guardian is particularly amusing.

Leaving a dinner given by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia on the evening of their son's nuptials, the heir to the Italian throne, Prince Vittorio Emanuele, was said to have hit his cousin and rival, Duke Amedeo, on the steps of the Spanish royal residence.

One report said the Duke was twice punched in the mouth and would have fallen to the ground had he not been caught by deposed Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.

The daily, La Repubblica, said Duke Amedeo was then helped inside the Zarzuela palace, where an unidentified Arab potentate applied an ice pack to his bruised lips.

Frankly, I'm a bit surprised that real monarchs like Juan Carlos and family would hang out with the obviously lesser-status pretenders like Vittorio Emanuele, Amedeo, and Anne-Marie.
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Linkily delicious. I'm not always good about acknowledging links, but I will now thank Zach and Josh. Also, a while ago something called Blog Father copied Crooked Timber's blogroll into a post, which I guess counts.
David Dellinger dies. It is with great sadness that I note the death of David Dellinger, a noted peace and social justice activist. Dellinger is most famous for being the "adult" member of the Chicago 7, but he got his start as union activist at Yale in the 1930s. He was then a consciencious objector in World War II and continued his work in the anti-nuclear movement. His most recent fight was against the FTAA. When he was in jail for refusing to fight in World War II he also refused to eat in the whites only part of the prison cafeteria. AP (here via the Boston Herald) has an obituary. Ron Jacobs has an appreciation on the CounterPunch website. (More obits will be added here as I find them.)

I met Dellinger almost exactly three years ago, when he came to a Yale reunion (he was class of 1936). It was about the time I was (to quote a friend) "collecting old leftists." (Moe Foner, also now dead, was among my collection also. Surprisingly, the original member of my collection, my own grandfather, seems to be longest surviving. Note that the term is "old leftists" as in aged, not Old Left, although to some extent they go together.) As I just wrote to his wife, Dellinger was inspiring, approachable, and supportive of Alumni for a Better Yale, which I was then founding. Dellinger has inspired many generations of Yale activists, and I suspect his memory will inspire several more.

Dellinger was inspiring, and for the most part I agreed whole-hartedly with his politics. That said, one part of his story always sat ill with me. He described how he awoke politically during a trip to Nazi Germany after college. Not a bad place for a leftist to become radicalized. But I wondered how someone who became political after seeing the Nazis could make his first political stance a refusal to fight in World War II. That said, as someone who does not always reject violent struggle, it is inspiring to have known such a devoted pacifist.

The world is certainly a poorer place now that Dellinger is dead. It's not a phrase I usually use, but now it seems appropriate: may he rest in peace.

UPDATE: More obituaries in Thursday's papers. Washington Post; New York Times, which quotes Paul Berman: "Dellinger himself became the single most important leader of the national antiwar movement, at its height, from 1967 through the early 1970's. You could quarrel with some of his political judgments, but he was always sober, always resolute, always selfless and always brave." See also a nice little post at One Pot Meal.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Things to read. With more or less in the way of comments.

At Arab News, Khaled M. Batarfi writes a not-quite-convincing opinion piece calling for a one-state solution to Israel/Palestine, in which Israel would become a binational, secular, democratic state. Jewschool's Mobius, though whom I found it, posts his largely negative reactions.

Also through Jewschool, I find this post from Ampersand about how Cynthia McKinney got royally screwed by the "liberal media."

Meanwhile, the other Jewish blog I read, Protocols, has absolutely plummetted in quality since Steven I. Weiss left it. He's now posting at Fiddish, but it's unclear to me how he'll adapt to a "slightly-edited" blog. If you do go to Protocols, skip anything Luke Ford writes. But another guest blogger, Daniel Radosh, has been posting some interesting stuff. See his introductory post and his post on humanist Judaism. Of particular note are the comments posted to those posts. I haven't seen such rabid and offensive comments since, well, since anyone posted anything decent on Israel.

At Wonkette, I read Dana Milbank's pool reports during Yale Class Day on Sunday. Last time Bush was at a Yale graduation, Milbank got to write an article about how no one liked him. This time he was stuck across the street wondering where POTUS was. But one thing he was, at least part of the time, was with Yale president Richard Levin. Yeah, the same Yale president Richard Levin who is on the committee investigating the false causus belli that got us into Iraq. Does no one see the glaring problem with Bush hanging out with Levin?

At Crooked Timber, Belle Waring posts about how about the totally outrageous smearing of Brandon Mayfield.

UPDATE: At HNN is an article well worth reading by Irfan Khawaja called "How We--You and Me--Missed the Story of the Taliban in the Years Leading Up to 9-11". I actually think that Khawaja is slightly unfair. Speaking as someone who took part in the Yale rally he mentions, I know that lots of people knew about the Taliban. Indeed, I hated the Taliban before hating the Taliban was cool. I think the question is why it took so long for people who aren't feminists to come around to that conclusion.
Monday, May 24, 2004
Many thanks to Loring for lending her instructive discourse to waldheim last week. In retrospect, it perhaps was a bad week to do it, since I wasn't posting much or even spending much time in front of the computer, but nonetheless it was fun, and I especially enjoyed her post on sports doping and leading me to the book of prettiness.
Sunday, May 23, 2004
Third parties. Paul Martin finally called an election in Canada, which occasions an overview article from the CBC. Included is this:

Liberal support fell by seven points in Ontario, where 42 per cent of respondents said they would vote for the governing party. Much of that support in Ontario is going to the New Democrats, not the Conservatives, according to the poll, conducted for the Globe and Mail and CTV this week.

While the NDP isn't going to win the government, and in that way isn't a "viable" party, it's nice to imagine a country in which a vote for the left-wing third party isn't seen as "giving your vote" to the right-wing party.
Thursday, May 20, 2004
Pretty things. Courtesy of Bookslut, a link to a lovely little book entitled "Sela Ward is more attractive than Shannen Doherty".
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
About the only thing that has made me feel moderately patriotic in the last few months. Just when you think the Bush administration is actually going to succeed at strong-holding all three branches of government into going along with all its plans (re-election included), something like this happens and one can rest a bit easier, reminded that America is not an *entirely* totalitarian state. Phew.
US Doping Scandal. I just think all of this is wicked interesting. To me, the bottom line of this whole story is that American athletic culture is a mess. (Perhaps not a particularly profound or surprising pronouncement, but certainly proven true by this series of events.) Kelli White has been celebrated for winning a whole, whole lot of medals in the past, and we were all suuuuper excited for her to win 3-5 of those 100 we're supposed to win in Athens come August. And yet, because her coach encouraged her to take a drug *that the USADA can't even test for*, she has outed herself as a THG user and has been stripped of her medals since 2000.

Who's really to blame here? I'm not at all convinced that it's White herself. And it does seem that this time around (as opposed to, say, the Ben Johnson scandal in 1988--a scandal I don't really remember, given that I was 8, but which at the time seemed to center almost exclusively on Johnson himself), the sports world is doing a better job of holding both White's coaching staff and the lab that made the drug responsible. But I don't think it's a stretch to say that the scandal goes much, much deeper than the track star and the coach and the lab--all the way down into American culture's relationship to sports. We want athletes to be big and strong and do impressive things, and we implicitly encourage them to use all sorts of performance-enhancing substances to accomplish these things. But even though a whole, whole lot of substances are OK to use, some governing bodies somewhere have decided that others are not (mostly steroids, I think, but maybe other substances too). And so we celebrate the people who run real fast and hit real far and lift a whole lot as long as they 'just' use creatin, etc., but demonize them the second they use something that some organization has decided is not OK.

I'm certainly not arguing that using steroids should be OK--only that if Americans understood sports differently, steroids and creatin and EPO and _all this_ would be an entirely different issue.

If only the whole athletic world could exist in the same drug-less, passionate, down-to-earth way my Division III sports team did . . .
It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but... Through Jewschool, I learn of Miri Ben-Ari, an Israeli hip-hop violinist. I kid you not. And she's really good!

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