Allegorical potential vs. subconscious guilt.


…the zombie meme may be less about looming Armageddon, and more about a nagging subconscious awareness that the extreme inequalities of our current world order are in fact already a kind of zombie-scape, in which almost 3 billion people live in such extreme poverty, largely removed from the view of Westerners, malnourished and off the grid, that they are real life living dead in a way, and they have lots of reason to come for us, looking to eat us, or at least consume our ill-gotten wealth.

via Zombie Hasbara: World War Z and Hollywood’s Zionist embrace.



Things the French do.


I eventually found my rhythm, popping the frog whole in my mouth, sucking out the flesh and tossing out the bones.

via Frogs’ Legs May Be Out of Favor, but Not Flavor –


Orient Express, by Graham Greene

Orient ExpressOrient Express by Graham Greene

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Doesn’t show its age well, but you probably expected that.

Really, what I meant to say was it has within its covers a full dose of anti-semitism, which you did not need me to tell you, I am sure. One of the central characters on Mr. Greene’s express train, which is itself stocked with giddy caricatures and stereotypes, is a Jewish businessman named Carleton Myatt. When Mr. Myatt’s swarthy features aren’t being contemplated by Mr. Greene, his business acumen is.

The edition I read has an introduction by Christopher Hitchens, who spends about two pages and a bit wrestling with whether to apologize for Mr. Greene (on behalf of wig-wearing, tea-suckers everywhere), or just wash his hands of the whole affair. In the end, he trusts “the reader to decide,” but then juts his wine-soaked backside into something like an apology. He explains away one bemusing, paragraph-long passage — “Forty years in the wilderness…” — by shrugging his shoulders: “Whatever this is, it is not anti-Jewish.”

But in fact one needs only read a few pages in either direction to get the “anti-Jewish” all over oneself, for instance the conjuring of the “ancestral marketplace” (Page 141) as Mr. Myatt bargains with a fiddle player.

This is no laughing matter, I know. But what can you do? Orient Express was published in 1932, and Mr. Greene wasn’t exactly known as a closet Jewophile. Read enough and you find Mr. Greene’s ignorant kindred spirits on lots of shelves. Maybe a reader can learn something, be a better person? Perhaps seeing the caricatures brings the reality into sharper focus?

At the least, this served as an ample reminder that Mr. Hitchens could be an ass once in a while.

View all my reviews

A Bad Plan, Realized

[2:11 PM] Me: OK. Irony. Ready?

[2:12 PM] Me: Turn to Page 295 of Fowler. Simply, irony is a kind of sarcasm.

[2:16 PM] Me: It’s basically where you say one thing and mean the opposite. Or when something happens that is the opposite of what you’d expect.

[2:17 PM] Me: For instance, it is ironic when you criticize a bad plan as being “brilliant.”

Alanis Morissette. Performing a live concert i...

Alanis Morissette. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[2:18 PM] Me: And it is ironic if an Olympic swimmer drowns in his bathtub. Or if a firehouse burns down.

[2:21 PM] Me: But be careful that you don’t call every oddity ironic. None of things Alanis Morissette sang about in “Isn’t It Ironic” were actually ironic. They’re just bummers.

[2:22 PM] Me: Irony depends on two audiences. One that is in on it. Another that’s not.

[2:24 PM] Me: Like when characters in a play say things that seem trifling, but audience members know to be pregnant with doom. (See Oedipus, Orestes, etc.)

[2:24 PM] Me: Got it?

[4:16 PM] Maria: I do believe that i do get it

[4:17 PM] Me: Hmm

[4:17 PM] Me: Should I believe you?

[4:17 PM] Maria: Yes?

[4:17 PM] Me: Hmm

[4:18 PM] Me: You could prove it, dream up an example.

[4:52 PM] Maria: I do understand

[4:54 PM] Me: That’s OK. You’re young. No one expects you to be able to find your ass without using both hands.

[4:55 PM] Me: Anyway. I won’t tell your Dad that you’re a quitter. Next week, we’ll try something else.

[4:56 PM] Maria: Sounds like a plan

Get Out Your Kings of Israel Scoresheets

If Puech is correct, the Qeiyafa Ostracon is the only known artifact to reference the first king of the Kingdom of Israel.

via Interpreting the Qeiyafa Ostracon as a Narrative of the Birth of the Kingdom of Israel – Bible History Daily.

Step Away From the Nuclear Trigger

Iranian rulers may have a history of valorizing martyrdom—as they did when sending young militiamen to their deaths in near-hopeless attacks during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s—but they have never given any indication of wanting to become martyrs themselves.

via The Washington Monthly – The Magazine – We Can Live with a Nuclear Iran.

Build Bridges, Not Walls

No decent person who is made aware of the realities of life under occupation for Palestinians can fail to see its immorality.

via Show, Dont Tell: Why the Apartheid Analogy Falls Flat – The Daily Beast.

On Warm Plastic Sacks

For however often you pick up the shit, however much you love your dog, the hideousness of the task does not diminish. However deep the lesson of good citizenship has sunk, to walk down the street with a sack of faeces in your hand, looking for that elusive next bin, is a humiliation.

via The tyranny of your dogs turds | Robert Hanks | Comment is free | The Guardian.