Rod Hull and Emu

by Harry on March 8, 2006

If, like me, you adored Linda Smith, you might want to put aside 30 minutes to listen to the News Quiz tribute to her. If you’d never heard of Linda Smith until I mentioned her last week you should definitely listen to the tribute — 30 minutes of an incredibly funny, and manifestly delightful, person. If she doesn’t make you laugh I don’t know what to say. (I’m not going to tell you what the name of this post refers to — you have to listen to the show). If the link above is slow, try this and then click on listen again.

Adonal Foyle

by Jon Mandle on March 8, 2006

Adonal Foyle is my (adopted) brother. (Here or here, but turn down your speakers first.) He came to live with my parents and go to high school when I was already away at graduate school. Then he attended Colgate before going on to play for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA. This is his ninth year with the team. In 2001, he founded an organization called Democracy Matters that is devoted to organizing college students around the issue of campaign finance reform. They now have chapters on over 80 campuses. The focus on campaign finance allows them to bring together many different issues, and there is a broader goal of helping students learn to be politically engaged. It’s really quite a great group.

C-Span showed an interview with him the other day. (It was up against the Oscars – I haven’t seen the ratings.) He talks about growing up on a very small island; life in the NBA; founding Democracy Matters; poetry; politics; his family; money; and lots more. Adonal says that he did the interview after a long flight, and he was completely exhausted and didn’t really know what he was saying. He finished it and thought he did horribly. In fact, he was very open and unselfconscious (for example, in public he’s usually much more guarded about talking about the abuse he suffered as a child). I think it came off really well. It’s now available on-line. And, yes, that’s my daughter sitting on my mother’s lap in the picture at 20:30 – thanks for asking.

The invention of tradition (karate edition)

by John Q on March 8, 2006

CP Snow once said that all ancient British traditions date to the second half of the 19th Century, and his only error was to limit this claim to Britain. The great majority of real traditions having been swept away or reduced to irrelevance with the rise of capitalism, the 19th century saw the rise of a whole set of new ones, which were then fixed in shape by the system of nation-states, each with their own newly-codified language and officially sanctioned history that took shape at the same time[1]

Via Barista and an interesting link on the theatrical origins of the ninja, I came to this great piece by Craig Colbeck on Karate and Modernity, a lot closer to my own interests than black-clad stage assassins. Although the jargon is a bit heavy going in places, there’s a pretty clear argument to show that the Okinawa karate tradition developed in the late C19 and was derived from China.

Living in the 21st century, and in Australia, I can’t say I’m too worried about the invention of tradition. Anything more than 100 years old is old enough for me.

fn1, This process began a bit earlier in Britain and France and still hasn’t reached finality, but the crucial period, including German and Italian unification and the creation of the US in its current form, took place between 1850 and 1900.