Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Just a note that we have a new translation in our Library. And it's an interesting piece, despite the fact that it concerns, um, "intellectuals". Sigh, of course, as we know it's a term that makes me shudder.

And something for tomorrow on caste and invisibility.

Unless it really does rain, as promised [which means nothing, since they promise it at least twice a year here, and nothing ever happens], in which case I shall be standing outside in it. Really.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


The impact of imagery and a delightful sea-change.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

A nadie

There, all better.

Perspective and sense of humor recovered. Thanks mostly to Arts & Letters Daily and South Park. More on the former latterly. Yes, I really did say that.

And why “A Nadie”?

Because it’s Saturday night, that’s why, and that particular canto provides perfect background and chorus for girls and Saturday nights everywhere.

I have it by Liliana Felipe, on a CD lagniappe that came with a book by Laura Esquivel. The book was “lent out” on some continent or another, but I still have “A Nadie” and several Puccini fragments that are equally knife to heart.

I remember Esquivel and Ofelia Medina doing a spot of street theatre in DF a number of years back, and I wonder what the evening might be like if Esquivel were to be providing the refreshments and Isabel Allende were to be, oh, perhaps serving them [great food, great party, just in case you haven't read Aphrodite].

Mother of god, it really is Saturday night.

Perhaps I should pretend to be serious for just a moment.

In one of my recent rants, I mentioned that there was “one at least” who might feel it necessary to counsel the learning of history along with the snogging of icon. When, much to my delight, I saw someone else, this very week, providing some very detailed history of the icon in question.

The mustachioed one of the “let’s pretend a large poster appeared…”

GA in LJ [and that’s not rocket science, my dears], holding forth on certain aspects of Mr. Stalin’s biographical details. Now, he chose to emphasize internecine betrayals over domestic butchery, but then again he knows his audience much better than I do, and I imagine he also knows what they might find most horrific.

Assuming, of course, that any of the acolytes would be reading him, since he seems to have taken on the role of principled gadfly, refusing to be kicked out of the party but also refusing to keep his thoughts, and words, to himself.

A party of two, then.

Well, it would appear that I can't provide links again this evening, so the far above mentioned referenced shall have to wait, which might be a very fine thing, for someone at least.

Or even better, not. Slate cleared, no more bait ever taken.

Party time.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Just kidding

Well, my sense of humor went missing last week. Even the didn’t help, although the Colbert Report’s interview with Benjamin Franklin didn’t hurt.

Regardless, in the interest of cleaning the slate [Got some chalk? Please.], I’m going to dump the following ill-tempered screech which I’ve been “working” on the last few days. The plan being that once it’s off my desk and cast to the ill winds, there will be room in heart and head for sweetness and light.

I had been firmly determined to keep the weekend from straying into murky waters, to avoid the Serious and Contentious at all costs.

But we all know where stern resolutions get one.

Especially since I awoke very late on Saturday to various reports from Dublin which I could hardly ignore. First, because I had to track down YO! Basta’s cover boy, given that I knew he was in one of two studios, both of which are in barrios covered by the “spillover.”

But once I ascertained that he was more than fine, I still had to confront events. Once again, Boys Gone Wild, their leaders distancing themselves from the running amuck, bemoaning the chaos. Nothing to do with them, of course, hardly incumbent upon them to take responsibility for their words or to provide history or bail money.

It wasn’t always like that, there. As in other parts of the world, this is a third and fourth generation phenomena. There was a time, there and other places, when their grandparents had set their parents down and given them words, books, history.

Once again, untutored acolytes paying lip service to Serious Issues, then hurling building blocks into shopfronts and bricks at gardai and journalists. Not to mention the “spillover” into said shops and consequent scooping up of trainers and electronica.

Of course I don’t think the bastards should have been given a parade permit down O’Connell Street, for god’s sake. How any government could think that importing Marching Season to the Northside was a wise and judicious policy is, well, beyond words.

But don’t think for a second that I take issue with every brick hurled into every burger bar in the world. I indeed believe there’s time and place. But this smelled of the usual lager louts run stupid in foreign ports of call. Except this was their own barrio, past, present and future.

And, given the way my mind has been [mal] functioning of late, I found my thoughts turning to the Other Campaign, its objectives, methods and latest words.

The Sixth Committee had made it eminently clear from the outset that it saw itself as facilitator, setting off on a Journey in order to meet with others, forge alliances, help with groundwork. But without the klieg lights, stadium rock or pawing media.

A dilemma, thus, given the lack of glitz, and one which was assumed might be assuaged by the preferential pass given to other media which would, of course, cover the events with seriousness and measure.

So, when the Delegado himself calls for, um, something other than the frenzied, instantaneous, apocalyptic, hagiographic and verbatim, I take notice. Rather than screaming to the choir, he suggests finding new channels in order to reach those without access to modem or posse.

Such a concept, and not only because it speaks to the perennial, overwhelmingly important issue of how to reach beyond one’s fan base. And, as the cameras are swung away from the podium, as requested, they may also shine brief light on themselves. And shuddering to raise such a delicate subject, on the nature and quality of alt, as well as mass, media.

But first I must insist that I absolutely refuse to delve into the arcane and tedious question as to the definition and/or existence of “unbiased” truth or reportage. Point of view always exists, that’s a given. Whether overtly or covertly, in what the eye chooses to see or ignore, in what the media chooses to cover, or not.

Which does not, for me, obviate the need for some kind of distinction to be made between “news” and “opinion.” I know, distressingly old school, as ever.

This increasing lack of distinction between the above is one of the numerous similarities which I can’t help but noting between alt and mass. Both have their place, but, I entreat, they are not the same. I know how it all started, I remember the first time a news reader batted his eyelashes into the camera and intoned “this reporter”...

Another similarity is the constant barrage of Breaking News on cable networks with a shelf-life of a gnat and the histrionic headlines of certain independent outlets with similar cycle length.

Whether it’s CNN or many of our “own” alternatives, my reaction is almost always the same: deep self-loathing at having actually listened to/read such drivel and a primal sense that I should be spanked and sent to the cloakroom for having participated, however passively, in such circus.

What I yearn for is straight reportage which takes itself and its subject seriously. Without the Geraldo wannabees [and I can think of several], conspiracy theories and provocative posts. Journalists who understand the difference between self-aggrandizement - the overweening “I” – and thorough, principled coverage.

But I suppose, as ever, I’m just being silly. As ever.

Since almost all the mass media refuses to take itself – and most especially its readers/viewers – seriously, then why in the hell should we? Speed it up, dumb it down, churn it out. Dishing the same endlessly fawning, fatuous, often fictive, faux gonzo “journalism.” Giving their base what they think they want. And deserve.

The playbook sounds eerily familiar to the “boilerplate” discussed in a previous post and no surprise, since most of the new journalists are drawn from the fan base, and many of them aspire not just to play with the big boys but also to be one of them. Yes, just like the Wolfster and the rest of the cable starlets.

Now, in the interest of just a modicum of fair and balanced, some indys are better than others, none of the above applies to Hermann and we can always pray for more frequent Journal entries.