Rousseau on film

by Chris Bertram on January 19, 2004

Since CT has a decent-sized readership, I’m appealing for help to try to get hold of a copy of a biopic about Jean-Jacques Rousseau by the Swiss director Claude Goretta. The title is “Les Chemins de l’Exil”: and it appeared in 1978 and was, I believe, broadcast on the BBC. All my googling has drawn a blank, and contacts have come up with nothing. But if someone out there has a copy or knows how to get hold of one, drop me a line at

Via The Big Picture’s Barry Ritholtz, CNN has an interesting article about which Democratic presidential candidate Wall Street might prefer. You’ve got to love the lead:

A recent study from the University of California at Berkeley, published in the October issue of the Journal of Finance shows that between 1927 and 1998, the stock market returned approximately 11 percent more a year under a Democratic president versus safer, three-month Treasurys. By comparison, the stock market only returned 2 percent more a year versus the T-bills under Republicans.

(Dwight Merideth had a marvelous series of posts on this subject called “Just For the Record”, by the way.)

I shouldn’t have been surprised, but Bush’s support from the “investor class” is far from monolithic. A Money magazine poll of “investor class” voters, however defined, revealed that only half planned to vote for Bush. And while Republicans got more in donations, they didn’t get that much more.

The piece goes on to detail:

* the Republican vs. Democratic donations of some of the largest major financial institutions.
* the positions re: corporate governance, taxes, international outsourcing, of the major Democratic candidates that would affect the investor class. (There’s a lot there I didn’t know- Dean used to be a stockbroker? Edwards is the only guy who would require expensing of stock options? Wow.)
* non-crazy quotes from Don Luskin about prominent Democrats.

It’s short and well worth a look; go to it.

Time to count the ranks of the faithful

by Daniel on January 19, 2004

Over the last year, those of us who were against starting the particular conflict in Iraq which took place in the second quarter of 2003, have taken an awful lot of criticism from those of our fellow left-wingers who supported it. Which is fair enough; robust debate is important. But it is a bit much to be accused of supporting the murder of innocents, by people who know perfectly well that you don’t, because you refuse to lend your voice to an already deafening clamor of approbation for a policy which you didn’t support, still regard as misguided, but which happened to have some favourable consequences. For example.

I personally have a very great antipathy to loyalty oaths, but am never happier than when discarding principles in order to fight dirty. So, it’s sauce for the gander time.

I hereby question the “left” credentials, and indeed the commitment to democracy, of anyone who takes the government side against Katharine Gun. Saddam’s gone and nothing can bring him back. Whatever happens in Iraq, happens. The war was fought and cannot be unfought. All that turns on this case, is whether someone who is aware that the government is trying to do something in private which they would not dare to do in public, has the right to blow the whistle. If you think that Ms Gun deserves to go to jail, then all I can say, mes amis is examine your conscience.

[EDIT] Just to emphasise that this is my own personal view, rather than the “party line” of CT. I’ve not discussed it with any other contributor and suspect that a number of them won’t agree.

Cheating Culture

by Chris Bertram on January 19, 2004

An email from a reader alerts me to “The Cheating Culture”: by David Callaghan, a new book which blames a whole raft of scandals in the US — from Enron to athlete doping — on the erosion of a sense of fair play in the winner-takes-all society. The book’s website has “an interview with the author”: and also incorporates “the author’s own blog”: on the issues covered by the book. Worth a look.

NLR on Blair

by Chris Bertram on January 19, 2004

Readers of Crooked Timber will know that I have an old and unhappy relationship with the New Left Review. I mention this just to trigger an appropriate level of discounting for bitterness and resentment in the reader. The “latest NLR has an attack on the record of New Labour”: by the person now listed alone as “editor” on the masthead: Susan Watkins. Watkins, married to Tariq Ali and co-author with him of _1968: Marching in the Streets_ but perhaps best known for the cartoon book _Feminism for Beginners_ , has written an extraordinarily poor rant in sub-Andersonic tones. It begins thus (afficionados will recognise the style):

bq. The Centre Left governments that dominated the North Atlantic zone up to the turn of the millennium have now all but disappeared.

Since when was “North Atlantic zone” a category worth bothering with?

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