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Zunguzungu
By Aaron Bady
Anyone claiming to be an expert is selling something. I brandish my ignorance like a crucifix at vampires.
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Sunday Reading


Manan’s “Slow Burn Lahore”:


Apparently there is a thing called “The New Aesthetic”; by Bruce Sterling: An Essay on the New Aesthetic, and two responses: New Aesthetics — New Politics and The New Aesthetics of the male gaze


The Paradox of Israeli Politics:

These four seemingly unrelated episodes might suggest that the Israeli public has matured. It has grown out of the militarized discourse; it has come to understanding that social justice cannot be achieved while apartheid regime is practiced on behalf of this same public in the Palestinian territories. One could seriously think that the Israeli people will not let their politicians deceive them anymore with false declarations of “security needs” or that “the settlements do not pose an obstacle to peace.”

But no. Regardless of everything that has happened since the summer, Netanyahu and his right wing Likud party still win the opinion polls. The leaders of the protests, the leftists and the doves, were left behind in the morning after. How can one reconcile demands for social justice with voting to a reactionary party? How can one participate in the virtual or actual Iran-Israel love campaign and still support Netanyahu/Barak in approval surveys? Well, the Israeli public can.

The Crisis of Zionism:

[F]or Beinart and like-minded liberal Zionists, the conflicts that emerge from Zionism are not about its relation to universal human values as experienced by all those whose lives it touches, but rather about Jews’ relationships to their own past and to one another. Though Beinart himself repeatedly points out that American and Israeli Jews’ lack of acquaintance with Palestinians facilitates anti-Palestinian dogmatism, readers will not find a single Palestinian voice in Beinart’s book speaking about the “crisis” of the ideology that has led to the colonization of her lands and expulsion of her people in her own words. Palestinians merely serve as extras in a Jewish morality play.

Illegals, Part 1:

Why were the Germans so hung up on this show? And one night in Berlin, an American buddy and I drank our way to clarity. ALF, of course, is a Holocaust story—you knew that already; you’re irritated I didn’t see it sooner—a sitcom about a family hiding someone in its attic, someone the government wants to seize, a permanent exile with no homeland to which he can return.

Why Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala Should Be the Next President of the World Bank:

There is no one else better primed to execute the obnoxious policies of the World Bank against African and brown nations than Okonjo-Iweala. Her current tour of duty, although disastrous to Nigeria and her poor, has given her an impeccable resume to spread the World Bank’s gospel of uncritical capitalism and indifference to the world’s poor and dispossessed. Okonjo-Iweala has the playbook down pat, for those of us who still remember #OccupyNigeria, that uprising of Nigerian youths against the Okonjo-Iweala-led World Bank endorsed policies against the poor, that uprising that was quashed with ruthless efficiency and that  left several young people dead for exercising their rights of association and protest.


The Revolution will not be Fetishized:

Goldman’s contribution to the Left might have been a willingness to talk about sex and sexuality as seriously as she talked about class, poverty, and war, but she was pushed into the same trap that women who discuss sex still get caught in–the one where people assume that talking about sex is sexual, and that it then colors everything you do. While Goldman’s belief in free love was part of her anarchism (and at various times it was used against her by selfish lovers who pushed her to be a proper free-lover and let them fuck whomever they wanted, giving her guilt for being jealous that echoes the double bind we feel now, we feminist women who happen to wind up sad sometimes about men), it was not in fact the sum total of her politics nor in many cases the driving force behind it


The High Court’s Body-Cavity Fixation:

The decision reflects the elevation of the prison industry’s interest in maintaining order in its facilities above the interests of individuals. And it does so by systematically misunderstanding the reasons behind strip searches. Kennedy insists that they are all done for the aim of fostering order, and he backs up this position with exemplary bits of pretzel logic. For instance, he suggests that a person stopped for failing to yield at an intersection may well have heroin taped to his scrotum, and may attempt to bring it into the prison to which he is taken. In advancing such rationales, the Court ignores the darker truth about strip searches: they are employed for the conscious humiliation and psychological preparation of prisoners, as part of a practice designed to break them down and render them submissive.


Helen DeWitt on first publishing:

[I]t wasn’t simply that all these hot shots were as one in patronizing the author; certain tasks relating to publication had been polluted by the feminization of certain kinds of labor.  A hot shot likes to sail grandly above the minutiae of textual housekeeping; he does not want to clutter up his mind with seeing that these are properly managed, he wants to talk man-to-man to a man like himself.  He wants to make tough noises on the phone about advances and percentages and subsidiary rights.  Laying on a competent member of staff to handle permissions would in itself clutter up the keen legal brain.


Debriefing Scalia:

As the student who asked Justice Scalia about his sexual conduct, I am responding to your posts to explain why I believe I had a right to confront Justice Scalia in the manner I did Tuesday, why any gay or sympathetic person has that same right. It should be clear that I intended to be offensive, obnoxious, and inflammatory. There is a time to discuss and there are times when acts and opposition are necessary. Debate is useless when one participant denies the full dignity of the other. How am I to docilely engage a man who sarcastically rants about the “beauty of homosexual relationships” [at the Q&A] and believes that gay school teachers will try to convert children to a homosexual lifestyle [in oral argument forLawrence]?

Although my question was legally relevant, as I explain below, an independent motivation for my speech-act was to simply subject a homophobic government official to the same indignity to which he would subject millions of gay Americans. It was partially a naked act of resistance and a refusal to be silenced. I wanted to make him and everyone in the room aware of the dehumanizing effect of trivializing such an important relationship. Justice Scalia has no pity for the millions of gay Americans on whom sodomy laws and official homophobia have such an effect, so it is difficult to sympathize with his brief moment of “humiliation,” as some have called it. The fact that I am a law student and Scalia is a Supreme Court Justice does not require me to circumscribe my justified opposition and outrage within the bounds of jurisprudential discourse.

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