Another Green World

by Henry Farrell on August 9, 2004

I’ve just finished Elizabeth Hand’s “Mortal Love”:, which I recommend very highly; it’s the best novel she’s ever written. Her earlier work is sometimes extraordinary (if you can find a copy of _Winterlong_, buy it without hesitating) but it’s never quite under control – one has the impression of an artist struggling with her materials and every once in a while being overwhelmed by them. She’s overcome this in her recent shorter work – in particular “Cleopatra Brimstone,” and “The Least Trumps”: Both these stories have a technical mastery that was only sporadically present in her early work. They’re acute and sharp.

_Mortal Love_ repeats this success at novel length. It has a wealth of materials – Richard Dadd (lightly disguised), Pre-Raphaelites, “Henry Darger”: style outsider art – but handles them with style, grace and economy.

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Two men enter, one man leaves

by John Holbo on August 9, 2004

So I wander for no particular reason to Hugh Hewitt’s blog and he’s quoting an approving review of his new book from the print edition of the National Review.

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Bush Accepts Democratic Talking Point

by Jon Mandle on August 9, 2004


WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Bush said Friday he opposes the use of a family history at colleges or universities as a factor in determining admission.

Bush stated his position [sic] to what’s known as “legacy” in response to a question during a Washington forum for minority journalists called Unity 2004.

He was asked, “Colleges should get rid of legacy?”

Bush responded, “Well I think so, yes. I think it ought to be based upon merit.”

Prominent civil rights leaders have also called for an end to the legacy practice, as have some Democrats — including vice presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards.

From the same article:

While Bush clearly stated his opposition to quotas, he also suggested that he was not opposed to affirmative action.

But he didn’t explain what the distinction was.

“I support college affirmatively taking action to get more minorities in their school,” Bush said as the audience laughed.

No explanation given for why they were laughing.

More idling

by Chris Bertram on August 9, 2004

Further to “my last post on idling”: , I see “via Limited, Inc.”: that the French electricity company EDF are disciplining an employee (an economist who also happens to be a Lacanian psychoanalyst … only in France!) who has written a book — “Bonjour Paresse”: — on how to skive at work. The Belfast Telegraph “offers some top tips”: :

bq. Skiving off is such an ugly expression. Much more preferable are terms such as ‘zero-tasking’ or ‘enabling real-time back-end utilisation’. For those interested in how to zero-task successfully, here are five hot tips:

bq. 1. Never walk down a corridor without a a document in your hands. People with documents in their hands look like hard-working employees heading for an important meeting.

bq. 2. Make sure you carry home lots of documents at night. This gives the impression you work much harder than you do.

bq. 3. Use your computer to look busy. Try “”: or “”: for entertainment. The I Should Be Working site has a neat panic button that instantly transfers you to a more business-like page with one click.

bq. 4. Build huge piles of documents around your workspace as only top management can get away with a clean desk. Last year’s work looks just like this year’s – volume counts.

bq. 5. If you have voicemail on your phone, don’t answer it. Let the callers leave a message. Try to return the calls when you know the callers aren’t there. In the end they’ll try to find a solution that doesn’t involve you.

Competing narratives

by Chris Bertram on August 9, 2004

I assume that everyone reads “Juan Cole”: , but if not, they should. Belle linked the other day to his coverage of the burned double agent story. But, of course, he is best know for his continuing coverage of Iraq. One popular narrative has the current Iraqi government as the harbingers of peace and democracy, impeded in their efforts by ex-Baathists, Al Qaida, the Mehdi Army, the Iranians, etc, and therefore fully justified in using all the force at their disposal to establish order. If I read Cole correctly there is another, competing story, the credibility of which is bolstered by the arrest warrants against the Chalabis (including the one in charge of Saddam’s trial). Namely that Allawi and his allies are using their position, and their access to US and allied firepower, to crush their competitors for political power. The distinction between these narratives is somewhat blurred, of course, by the fact that the current objects of repressive or judicial action are or include very many people who are indeed rogues, gangsters, fanatics, etc. Still, I wouldn’t bet my house on the first version, in which Allawi and co will turn out to have been the good guys, there will be genuinely competitive elections, the righteous will flourish and the unjust will be punished, and so on.

CT/Old Media Synergy

by Belle Waring on August 9, 2004

Timberite and internet expert Eszter Hargittai is quoted in this interesting Washington Post article about improving access to the internet in low-income, urban communities. People are setting up Wi-Fi accounts which can be shared by a number of families. Cool stuff.