Sunday Reading!

They say this internet has a million stories. Here are just a few of them. And also a hilarious picture of Frank Zappa with his folks.
Global Copycats The Winners and Losers of the Jobs Report, Economic Theories of the Recession Edition The Ultras' Politics of Fun Confront Tyranny Meeting Muscat Economists: Actively Evil Neoliberal Ideologues or Soulless Technocratic Hacks? How an Israeli Strike on Iran could radically weaken Israel Feel the Lin-sanity: Why Jeremy Lin is more than a cultural curio Ethiopia, Anti-Terrorism, and Human Rights The Arab Digital Vanguard: How a Decade of Blogging Contributed to a Year of Revolution JM Coetzee’s Cricketing Life ‘Little’ Protests, Big Erasures Hose streets? Our streets! Belgian firefighters soak police in protest Arab Talk Interview: Nikhil Pal Singh on Palestine Is [Toto's] “Africa” “Actually” African? -- Mind. Blown. Your scholarship won’t pay their bills. How to stop worrying about class: Today’s New York Times contains a fine example of how ideology works at the high end: report information that might trouble the… Read More...

You bring the goat, I’ll find the paw-paw tree

In 1893, Mary Kingsley found herself with six months to kill, so she went to Africa. But the thing about being a Victorian lady is that you can go to the Gold Coast, but you can't get away from the mansplaining...
In 1893, Mary Kingsley found herself with six months to kill, so she went to Africa. But the thing about being a Victorian lady is that you can go to the Gold Coast, but you can't get away from the mansplaining: They have also got the papaw on the Coast, the Carica papaya of botanists. It is an insipid fruit. To the newcomer it is a dreadful nuisance, for no sooner does an old coaster set eyes on it than he straightway says, "Paw- paws are awfully good for the digestion, and even if you just hang a tough fowl or a bit of goat in the tree among the leaves, it gets tender in no time, for there is an awful lot of pepsine in a paw-paw,"--which there is not, papaine being its active principle. After hearing this hymn… Read More...

David Graeber’s Debt: My First 5,000 Words

If anything, the limitation of this big book is actually that it’s not big enough, that it gestures towards -- without fully including – so very much that is within the ken of its ambition. But the short version of this review, simply, is this: I can’t really picture a better book than this one
In the final lines of his introduction to Debt: The First 5,000 Years, David Graeber writes that “[f]or a very long time, the intellectual consensus has been that we can no longer ask Great Questions.” And as he put it in a guest post over at Savage Minds: The aim of the book was to write the sort of book people don’t write any more: a big book, asking big questions, meant to be read widely and spark public debate…[T]he credit crisis —and near collapse of the global economy in 2008—afforded the perfect opportunity. In the wake of the disaster, it was as if suddenly, everyone wanted to start asking big questions again. Even The Economist, that bastion of neoliberal orthodoxy, was running cover headlines like “Capitalism: Was It A Good Idea?” (my italics) Debt is a “big book,” in other words, because he… Read More...

Sunday Reading

On Sundays, I post a lot of links to things I think are worth reading, almost always from the previous week, and in exactly no…
On Sundays, I post a lot of links to things I think are worth reading, almost always from the previous week, and in exactly no particular order. I try not to link to the NY Times or other huge MSM outlets, and I mostly succeed. Click through, and look for something you weren't looking for. Cairo, Hers Again: excerpt from Ahdaf Soueif's book about Cairo and the Egyptian revolution. The Aesthetics of Authority On Laura Stephen, family ties, and madness Where They At: New Orleans Hip-Hop and Bounce in Words and Pictures. The Poor Storm: Ending mass Incarceration in America Tribalism in the Arabian Peninsula: It's A Family Affair The ‘football riot’ in Egypt and Egypt Soccer Protests Challenge Military Regime “I’m afraid the masquerade is over and so is love, and so is love” Digesting East Kalimantan literature In Which Anonymous Infiltrates… Read More...

Occupy The Library

I spent the early evening yesterday at the Berkeley anthropology library, which was officially to close at 5 p.m. It did not, because Occupy Cal occupied it
I spent the early evening yesterday at the Berkeley anthropology library, which was officially to close at 5 p.m. It did not, because Occupy Cal occupied it — after a resolution taken three days ago — and because a healthy squad of Anthropology professors organized themselves to be present in shifts, all night, and negotiated with the Administration to obviate the “necessity” of sending police to kick the students out. At 4:45, a work-study student announced that the library would be closing in fifteen minutes — to general approval — and then, at 5, he declared the “The Library is Now Closed!” A hearty round of applause and finger-snapping greeted this bit of cognitive dissonance from the 80 or so students still in the (small) library, and he smiled broadly. The library did not close, and the students are still… Read More...

Some Links on the Fuel Subsidy Protests in Nigeria

A Country’s Frustration, Fueled Overnight Nigeria: country tense as Jonathan accedes to some of fuel protestors’ demands Nigeria fuel strike ends with soldiers in streets…
A Country’s Frustration, Fueled Overnight Nigeria: country tense as Jonathan accedes to some of fuel protestors’ demands Nigeria fuel strike ends with soldiers in streets Governor Fashola Condemns Deployment Of Soldiers In Lagos Soyinka Calls for ‘Immediate and Unconditional Removal’ of Soldiers From Lagos Streets Show me the Money ‘Nigerian Spring’ Here to Stay Wristwatch designer, other govt cronies got fuel import allocation Nigerian subsidy crisis opens window of opportunity Fuel Subsidy Removal: Nigerians Speak Ill Decolonising the Nigerian Constitution The Butchers Of Nigeria The Nigerian Strike: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly It is More than Just Subsidy Read More...

Martin Scorsese Started the Fire: Hugo and The Bad Thing

It might be too much to call Hugo a fascist movie, in this sense, but I like the way the word feels on my tongue, here, the kind of association between spectacle and authority that it evokes (and consequential contempt and crass instrumentalization of those who are weak enough to be used).
The first thing to say about Scorsese’s Hugo is that, from the beginning, the concerns that actually motivate the narrative are deeply, basically, and fundamentally very simple. Hugo wants to have a not-shitty life. He wants the most universal things it is possible to want: family, friends, freedom from fear, security, that sort of thing. These are desires that it is easier to express in negative terms: he wants to have parents who are not dead, he wants to not go to The Orphanage, he wants to not be unemployed and useless, and he wants to not be alone all the time. And before The Bad Thing happened, he had those things and life was pretty great. Jude Law was still in the movie, and who doesn’t love that? But then, arbitrarily and without warning, The Bad Thing happened, and… Read More...