Kasey Chambers in the U.S.

by Eszter Hargittai on November 16, 2004

I should’ve posted about this earlier, but it’s not too late for those in New York, Milwaukee, Chicago and St.Paul/Minneapolis. The Australian singer Kasey Chambers is touring the U.S. I’ve seen her in concert twice already and it’s an experience not to be missed.

There is nothing obvious about my interest in her music. Less than two years ago a friend of mine asked whether I’d go with her to a concert. I asked her what type of music and when she mentioned “country” in her response (that included references to some other genres as well) I just said “no thanks”. My friend persisted and lent me the CD Captain. I liked it enough to ask for more and then listened to Barricades and Brickwalls. I was sold.

We saw Kasey in Philly in 2003, but she was coming down with the flu so she couldn’t sing all the songs she’d planned. Right after she stopped her tour. As unfortunate as this may seem, we were lucky because this meant that she resumed her tour a few months later in New York. So I got to see her again. And had my dissertation defense not conflicted with another one of her concerts, I would’ve gone to see her one more time.

Luckily, she’s visiting Chicagoland this time around. I’ve even managed to convince five friends to come with me (it actually didn’t take that much convincing). I just bought her Wayward Angels CD so I’m ready for all the new songs as well. Apparently she’s quite a big hit in Australia (others here are better positioned to address that), but her popularity in the U.S. still seems limited. Oh well, that just means better seats for those of us who’re in the know.:)

Quoting Orwell

by Chris Bertram on November 16, 2004

There seems to be another outbreak of Orwell quotation across parts of the blogosphere (at least I’ve noticed a couple of the usual suspects engaging in this over the past few days). Matthew Turner “commented”:http://www.matthewturner.co.uk/Blog/2004/09/renegade-liberals.html on this habit in September:

bq. It’s by now well-established that a man who died over 50 years ago has all the answers to today’s problems (well except when he talks on economic policy, or social policy, or class, or etc).

Still, following a link to his “Notes on Nationalism”:http://www.resort.com/~prime8/Orwell/nationalism.html (not one of his better efforts, but anyway) I did find a few words that seemed descriptive of blogospheric “debate” :

bq. Indifference to objective truth is encouraged by the sealing-off of one part of the world from another, which makes it harder and harder to discover what is actually happening. There can often be a genuine doubt about the most enormous events. For example, it is impossible to calculate within millions, perhaps even tens of millions, the number of deaths caused by the present war. The calamities that are constantly being reported — battles, massacres, famines, revolutions — tend to inspire in the average person a feeling of unreality. One has no way of verifying the facts, one is not even fully certain that they have happened, and one is always presented with totally different interpretations from different sources. What were the rights and wrongs of the Warsaw rising of August 1944? Is it true about the German gas ovens in Poland? Who was really to blame for the Bengal famine? Probably the truth is discoverable, but the facts will be so dishonestly set forth in almost any newspaper that the ordinary reader can be forgiven either for swallowing lies or failing to form an opinion. The general uncertainty as to what is really happening makes it easier to cling to lunatic beliefs. Since nothing is ever quite proved or disproved, the most unmistakable fact can be impudently denied. Moreover, although endlessly brooding on power, victory, defeat, revenge, the nationalist is often somewhat uninterested in what happens in the real world. What he wants is to feel that his own unit is getting the better of some other unit, and he can more easily do this by scoring off an adversary than by examining the facts to see whether they support him. All nationalist controversy is at the debating-society level. It is always entirely inconclusive, since each contestant invariably believes himself to have won the victory. Some nationalists are not far from schizophrenia, living quite happily amid dreams of power and conquest which have no connection with the physical world.

Inside Fallujah

by Chris Bertram on November 16, 2004

The LA Times reports on “an Iraqi doctor’s experiences”:http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iraq15nov15.story inside Fallujah. (via “Brian Leiter”:http://leiterreports.typepad.com/ )

The real lives of British academics

by Chris Bertram on November 16, 2004

The Guardian has “a report”:http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/careers/story/0,9856,1351765,00.html on what academic life is actually like in the UK today: the pressures of the RAE, invasive management practices, requirements to mollycoddle students, requirements to provide an audited paper-trail documenting the mollycoddlling etc. It also comments on the fact that for many academics there is no clear boundary between home and work. As the report say, we get no sympathy, because the public image is of people giving the odd lecture and reading at the leisure in the library.

You’ll never get to heaven with an AK-47

by Daniel on November 16, 2004

With kids being questioned by the Secret Service over Bob Dylan songs, probably better enjoy this one while’ it’s still legal. It’s a version of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” by Oui 3, the only good British hip-hop band ever[1], a track that I’ve been looking for for about five years and finally found on the Splendid website. “A Break From the Old Routine” is actually their best track, but I haven’t found that.

[1]That is, unless someone on the Lazyweb can point me in the direction of a copy of “Wear Your Love Like Heaven” by Definition of Sound