per petterson

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James Wood, from the New Yorker: I have a friend, a writer, who became so obsessed by the Norwegian novelist Per Petterson’s “I Curse the River of Time” that he copied it out, word for word—perhaps hoping that his pure replica might unlock the secrets of that mysterious book, with its curling form and drifting sentences. When he told me … Read More

bartleby & co

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a charming book by enrique vila-matas, consisting entirely of footnotes about writers of the No: that is, all the writers who have decided it was better – for whatever reason – not to write. fn 9) If Plato thought that life was a forgetting of the idea, Clément Cadou spent his whole life forgetting that he once had the idea … Read More

an empire wilderness

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by robert d. kaplan two passages strike me, each within a page from one another. have been thinking lately of Belley’s lecture about corporate totalitarianism: when efficiency/rationality overrides all other values, individual liberties start to fray… “It’s nonsense to think that Americans are individualists,” Dennis Judd, an urban affairs professor at the University of Missouri’s St. Louis campus, told me. … Read More

Intro: Between the Two Revolutions

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The first public reaction to the idea of reactualizing Lenin is, of course, an outburst of sarcastic laughter. Marx is OK – today, even on Wall Street, there are people who still love him: Marx the poet of commodities, who provided perfect descriptions of the capitalist dynamic; Marx of Cultural Studies, who portrayed the alienation and reification of our daily … Read More

philosophers do not make good writers

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amazing how incomprehensible one can be even when using relatively simple language. I’m reading Hegel’s the Philosophy of Right for my sustainable development class (don’t ask), and am currently in possession of two translations–I thought that somehow if I didn’t understand one, the other could help (hmm, sort of like civil code translations?). ahem. kinda getting stuck on Morality. Knox … Read More

end of poverty

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since I mentioned I was going to see jeffrey sachs, I thought I’d give a mention to his latest book, the end of poverty. it sucks. he’s a terrible writer, and a narcissist to boot. the gist of his book is: “[insert country here: Bolivia, Poland]’s economy succeeded because of my work, and [insert country here: Russia] failed because they … Read More

wee hens

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recently finished john ralston saul’s latest book: the collapse of globalism and the reinvention of the world. as the title might indicate, saul chronologically maps the rise in the idolatry of globalism (i.e., viewing the world through an economic prism) and then its miserable failure to deliver: the rising tide of globalization alone is just not enough to pull the … Read More

the luxury continues…

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“Even in this world, of course, it is the stupidest children who are the most childish and the stupidest grown-ups who are most grown-up.” what is better than spending a rainy day reading in bed? the jesus metaphors in the chronicles of narnia are over the top, but it is still a wonderful adventure! book six down, only one left… … Read More