Any more for any more…

by Chris Bertram on August 26, 2004

Final call for anyone who wishes to joing the Crooked Timberites fantasy football league (“instructions here”: ). I’m off to Germany on Saturday, so anyone who doesn’t email me details before tomorrow evening will get added in the middle of next week. (You can always register a dummy team now, mail me your number and tinker with your selection until the Saturday deadline).

James Miller on Foucault and other things

by Chris Bertram on August 26, 2004

I’ve always found Foucault pretty hard going, as I intimated in yesterday’s post, though I think he’s a more interesting figure than his epigones. As it happens, he is the subject of not one but two biographies. The first is David Macey’s “The Lives of Michel Foucault”: which is scholarly and fact-filled. The other is James Miller’s “The Passion of Michel Foucault”: , and is a tremendous piece of writing which presents itself as a “narrative account of one man’s lifelong struggle to honor Nietzsche’s gnomic injunction, ‘to become what one is’.” I really can’t recommend Miller’s various books highly enough. As well as the Foucault volume he wrote a very readable study of Rousseau — “Rousseau: Dreamer of Democracy”: — and a highly entertaining history of rock music: “Flowers in the Dustbin”: (also published as “Almost Grown”: in the UK). Miller is currently editor of “Daedalus”: .

Sistani rules, OK ?

by John Q on August 26, 2004

As the pointless bloodbath in Najaf drags on, Ayatollah Sistani has finally returned from hospital treatment in London, and looks likely to be the only person to come out of this disaster with any credit[1]. His march on Najaf will, it seems likely, allow Sadr and the American-Allawi forces to reach the kind of face-saving compromise that has been the only possible outcome all along, apart from the disastrous option of an assault on the shrine and the martyrdom of Sadr.

Update #1 27/8 I’ve come across a useful piece by a former Senior Adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority, Larry Diamond, linked, with some interesting comments by Gary Farber Gives an account of the Coalition’s dealings with Sadr and other militias (minor snipe: Diamond uses “prevaricating” when he means “vacillating” to describe this).

Update #2 27/8 Like most people not actually on the scene who seek to be well-informed about Iraq, I’m indebted to Juan Cole for his informed comment and information on the situation. He’s just put up a post assessing the winners and losers from the Najaf situation which matches, almost point for point, what I posted yesterday. Of course, it carries a lot more weight coming from him than from me.

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Bristol blogger bash

by Chris Bertram on August 26, 2004


I spent a very pleasant evening with other bloggers who live somewhere close to Britain’s M4 corridor at Bristol’s Severnshed last night. Pictured from left to right are myself, Dave Weeden (“Backword”: ), Josephine Crawley Quinn (“The Virtual Tophet”: ) and Chris Brooke (“The Virtual Stoa”: ). Topics discussed included Equatorial Guinea, leading Welsh politicians, the excavations at Herculaneum, and, naturally, other bloggers. It was great to meet Dave and Josephine for the first time and Chris once again. A fine time was had by all.

Brutus is an honorable man

by Micah on August 26, 2004

Maybe someone has already drawn the comparison, but the New York Times “op-ed”: today had me reaching for Julius Caesar. “The noble Brutus.” To hear Scott McClellan call Kerry “noble”:, you’d think it was an insult.