Du kan gå nu.

by Ingrid Robeyns on April 15, 2013

The celebrated Swedish writer Jonas Hassen Khemiri has written a powerful open letter to the Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask (original in Swedish, English translation by Rachel Willson-Broyles). Following an interview in which Ask allegedly said that what people claimed to be racial profiling was merely a matter of “personal experience”, Hassen Khemiri gave his account of how it is to grow up in Sweden in a skin that’s darker than pale white, and with black hair. And what the new law that is leading to this racial profiling does to (some) people, including some Swedish citizens.

This is powerful stuff. Do read it.

“Du kan gÃ¥ nu.” Without apologies.

Fraktur-ed F(airy) Tales

by John Holbo on April 15, 2013

Yay, I found my lost copy of The Lost Art of Heinrich Kley, volume 1. And my first post got such a good response – one comment, and counting! – that I had to do a follow-up.

Here is the cover of my copy of Der Herr der Luft [Master of the Air], a 1914 anthology of ‘tales of fliers and airtravellerstories’ [Luftfahrergeschichten].


[Click for larger]

It’s illustrated by Kley, and you can find the various plates in Lost Art, vol. 1. But for some reason they left out the cover illustration. (Or you can download the book from the Internet Archive. But, again, the cover image is omitted.)

Why do I like the cover so much?

It is, I believe, the first occurrence of a phenomenon that would become tragi-comically common, in the decades to come: a fantasy or science fiction book – especially an anthology – with a cover that promises some way cool [am oberaffengeilsten] story that isn’t actually in the book. Usually the book is ok, of course. But there is a special, bitter-sweet feeling in the soul of a 12-year old boy (mostly boys, but I by no means hereby deny the existence of female nerds) when you realize you aren’t going to get to read that awesome story about the naked airdude (probably he is wearing a tarzan loincloth) and his friend, the fierce flying fish dude. You will just have to wait until Mike Mignola invents Abe Sapien to read about anyone who looks half that good. (And even Abe can’t fly.)

Here’s the table of contents for the volume.

Der Kondor. Adalbert Stifter
Der Türmer Palingenius. Karl Hans Strobl
Hans Pfalls Mondfahrt. Edgar Allan Poe [trans. “The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfall”]
Der Unheimliche Gast. Jules Verne [transl. “Un drame dans les airs”]
Luftpilot Jacquelin. Otto Rung
Die Geliebte. Karl Vollmöller
Geflügelte Taten. Hermann Heijermans
Die Reife um die Erde in vierundzwanzig Stunden. Maurice Renard
Das Flugtreffen von Ardea. Gabriele d’Unnunzio
Die Melodie der Sphären. Jage von Rohl
Das Lebendige Mastodon. Paul Scheerbart
Der Ozeanflug. Leonhard Ubelt
Der Flieger. Wilhelm Schmidtbonn
Die Luftschlacht am Niagara. H. G. Wells
Der erste Mensch. Alfred Richard Meyer

Now, I have a confession to make. I actually haven’t read it. Much of it, anyway. The blackletter type stabs my eyes, and my German is weak after years of disuse. But I’m reasonably sure there’s no flying fish man to be found, because fish guys are just one of Kley’s go-to motifs. He likes ’em. He likes ’em in Victorian bathing outfits (fishman and mildly nsfw lady under the fold.) [click to continue…]

In November 2004, 50.7% of the American population voted for George W. Bush; 48.3% voted for John Kerry.

The headline in the New York Times read: “After a Tense Night, Bush Spends the Day Basking in Victory.”

The piece began as follows:

After a long night of tension that gave way to a morning of jubilation, President Bush claimed his victory on Wednesday afternoon, praising Senator John Kerry for waging a spirited campaign and pledging to reach out to his opponent’s supporters in an effort to heal the bitter partisan divide.

“America has spoken, and I’m humbled by the trust and the confidence of my fellow citizens,” Mr. Bush told a victory party that was reconstituted 10 hours after it broke up inconclusively in the predawn hours. “With that trust comes a duty to serve all Americans, and I will do my best to fulfill that duty every day as your president.”

Flanked by his wife, Laura, and their daughters, Barbara and Jenna, and Vice President Dick Cheney and his family, Mr. Bush stood smiling and relaxed on a stage at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center to thank the campaign team that helped him to a decisive victory, outline his agenda and, 78 days before his second inauguration, speak somewhat wistfully of eventually returning home to Texas.

The Times “News Analysis” read as follows:


It was not a landslide, or a re-alignment, or even a seismic shock. But it was decisive, and it is impossible to read President Bush’s re-election with larger Republican majorities in both houses of Congress as anything other than the clearest confirmation yet that this is a center-right country – divided yes, but with an undisputed majority united behind his leadership.

Fast forward to 2013. Tonight, 50.6% of the Venezuelan population voted for Chavez’s successor Nicolas Maduro; 49.1% voted for his opponent Henrique Capriles.

The Times headline this time: “Maduro Narrowly Wins Venezuelan Presidency.”

And here’s how the article begins:

Nicolás Maduro, the acting president and handpicked political heir to Hugo Chávez, narrowly won election to serve the remainder of Mr. Chávez’s six-year term as president of Venezuela, officials said late Sunday. He defeated Henrique Capriles Radonski, a state governor who ran strongly against Mr. Chávez in October.

Election authorities said that with more than 99 percent of the vote counted, Mr. Maduro had 50.6 percent to Mr. Capriles’s 49.1 percent. The turnout, while strong, appeared to be somewhat below the record levels seen in October, a sign that Mr. Maduro may not enjoy the same depth of passionate popular support that Mr. Chávez did.

Update (1 am)

Nathan Tankus just pointed out on Twitter another point of comparison I missed: “I love the focus on ‘hand picked successor’. Pretty sure ‘son of former president’ sounds more nepotistic.” Nathan then added that the phrase was in fact “hand picked political heir,” which makes the comparison even starker!