Archive for January, 2008

Minnesota Public Radio show ‘The Current’ streams live performances recorded at its Fritzgerald Theater on its website.

The latest: three songs performed by Toumani Diabate, the Malian kora player (I saw him perform live last summer in downtown Brooklyn with his Symmetric Orchestra. He got the crowd going).

You can listen here.


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‘… In one sense, … Arendt was of course correct [that the problem of evil will be the fundamental question of postwar intellectual life in Europe.]

But as so often, it took other people longer to grasp her point. It is true that in the aftermath of Hitler’s defeat and the Nuremberg trials lawyers and legislators devoted much attention to the issue of “crimes against humanity” and the definition of a new crime—”genocide”—that until then had not even had a name. But while the courts were defining the monstrous crimes that had just been committed in Europe, Europeans themselves were doing their best to forget them. And in that sense at least, Arendt was wrong, at least for a while.’

Full article in the latest New York Review of Books

Update: For a different take on Arendt’s legacy, see Gabriel Piterberg’s essay in the New Left Review.

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‘Black people in Lima [Ohio], from the poorest citizens to religious and business leaders, complain that rogue police officers regularly stop them without cause, point guns in their faces, curse them and physically abuse them. They say the shooting of Ms. [Tamika] Wilson is only the latest example of a long-running pattern of a few white police officers treating African-Americans as people to be feared.’

Full story in today’s New York Times.

[I was especially struck by the image of a makeshift sign that residents had posted on the door of the victim’s house]

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‘In my experience, there are two kinds of coloured folk: Black Rockers and Blackies Who Rock. The distinction is between those who’d gladly join the Black Rock Coalition or openly claim Afro-Punk affiliation, and malcontents who’re such badass renegade punk-rock futhermuckers that they’d never join the only club that would have them, and would rather badmouth your mama in print.’

Full article here.

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‘The Kurosawan story of the origins of the state is still played out in our times in Africa, where gangs of armed men grab power — do away with their rivals, and proclaim Year One. Though these African military gangs are often no larger or more powerful than the organized criminal gangs of Asia or eastern Europe, their activities are respectfully covered in the media — even in the Western media — under the heading of politics (world affairs) rather than crime.

One can cite examples of the birth or rebirth of the state from Europe too. In the vacuum of power left by the defeat by the armies of the Third Reich in 1944-5, rival armed gangs scrambled to take charge of the newly liberated nations; who took power where was determined by who could call on what foreign army for backing.’

— Senor C (the main character is an author) writing in J M Coetzee’s most recent novel, Diary of a Bad Year (2007) which I am reading now.

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This blog will go OFFLINE in ONE WEEK.

Ever the traveler, I moved over to WordPress. The many technical glitches of Blogger became too much.

— Leo

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Profiled by Belgian TV channel, EEN. In Flemish (close to Afrikaans) and English. He equalized for Bafana against Angola earlier this week in Ghana.

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