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Guest Post - nothing to do with ICE

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.22.18

Nworb Werdna* writes: I just came across a tremendous anecdote about Horace Engdahl, the man who currently controls the rump of the Swedish Academy, the body that awards the Nobel Prize for literature. All his opponents have resigned, and now there are not enough members left to elect any replacements. This is because Engdahl is besties with Jean Claude Arnault, the French cultural entrepreneur whose exuberant sexual predation has brought the Academy to the brink of collapse. Arnault has been charged with two counts of rape by the authorities in Stockholm, after one newspaper printed 18 women's accounts of being assaulted by him. A recent radio programme found 28.

But Arnault was an incredibly powerful figure in the Stockholm cultural world, partly because of his friendships, and partly because his wife (who denies everything) was herself a member of the Academy. He did once grope the Crown Princess Victoria, but that was hushed up. His nickname around town was "Sticky Johnny".

In any case, Engdahl used to be married to a woman called Ebba Witt Brattström, and the couple were featured on the front of a woman's magazine in 1998 as "The Royal couple of Culture". It's a rather sweet photograph, with both smiling cheek to cheek. But Engdahl had expected to be on the cover alone. When he discovered that it had been used on the cover, rather than inside, he rushed round to the magazine's office and shouted: "You bastards! You've fucked me up the arse! I don't want to be made intimate with my wife!"

Just in case any of you were still thinking of Sweden as a paradise of progress and equality.


Heebie's take: "Sticky Johnny" is hilarious, although being a serial rapist is less hilarious. What a couple of pricks!

*I always write Wendrew and then re-derive from there what it actually must be.



 

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I Really Don't Care

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.21.18

Have we discussed Melania's jacket and Krauthammer's demise in the comments already?



 

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Big Sort II: Electric Boogaloo

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.21.18

Nick S. writes: A few notes and disclaimers up front, then a short summary of the book section, and finally some additional related thoughts and links.

Introductory Thoughts

1) I'm inclined to read The Big Sort not as a single argument but as a series of thematically related observations. In other words many of the stories or descriptions don't logically support a thesis (that the experience of partisanship in every-day life is increased by people moving to ideologically similar communities?) but offer some perspective of what Bishop is thinking about in the category of "experience of partisanship" (my phrase not his).

2) I haven't finished the book, I got into section III and then went back to re-read my section for this summary, so I'll be curious to know if he ties it together later in the book or if somebody wants to make the case that it's more tightly structured than I'm giving it credit for.

3) Apologies for a somewhat hastily written summary.

Chapter 4: Culture Shift: The 1965 Unraveling

Bishop argues that 1965 was an inflection point in American (and international politics). He mentions a couple of ways of looking at that. First, he offers the idea that what transformed politics was post-war economic success and that increased the importance of "post-materialist" political issues ("personal freedom, abortion rights, gay rights, [the environment, etc . . .]") this view is attributed to Professor Robert Inglehart who also speculated that post-materialist politics would lead to lower trust in government. Bishop then says (oddly), "Looking back, we can see when post-materialist politics in the United States reached a point of no return. It was in the summer of 1965 . . ." and then summarizes a number of indicators of social confidence and trust that have declined since then.


read more »



 

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Rambling thoughts

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.20.18

I am very conflicted about posting about anything besides the border crisis. Our collective mental agitation is necessary to mobilize people to take part in the activism and resistance to end a humanitarian crisis like this. We're supposed to feel internally agitated (as long as it translates into action and isn't just hand-wringing, and I take the point made earlier that social media can be a legitimate form of action.)

On the other hand, we're still going to work, and cooking dinners, and going to exercise classes, and sitting at traffic lights, and part of my daily routine is to generate a post a day here, and there's no need for another prompt necessarily if I don't have a new, distinct angle and the old post hasn't drifted that far away. (My solution is evidently to provide you with my loose stream-of-consciousness in lieu of a well-constructed thought.)

Furthermore, all other sources of news seem to have shriveled up in light of this current horror - no one's talking about preexisting conditions and health insurance, no one's talking about oddball sociological studies or Graeber's latest plea for help - the only other topic seems to be the continual disintegration of the administration. Cohen flipping, Trump hugging the motherfucking flag at the end of his speech, midterms and political fallout of the immigration crisis, etc.

I remember during Hurricane Katrina, I described it as "a slow-motion 9/11", by which I meant that I didn't have many reference points for a national-level trauma of that scale. The major difference (as far as my real-time experience) was that destruction on 9/11 was relatively quick and then over, and clean-up and response began very soon, whereas with Katrina it felt like a week had passed and it was still escalating. This feels like the third national trauma in this series.

The hugging-the-flag thing is just so dumb, what with that shit-eating grin.



 

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Distraction Force

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.19.18

I think thread below is probably still where most of the action will be today, but here, maybe the Space Force? Trump is actually picturing a Five Man Squad of Heros, you know. He gets to deliver their mission to them at the beginning of each episode, but doesn't actually have to deal with a demanding filming schedule.



 

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