Thursday, November 12, 2009

Potpourri (Nov. 12)

Photo of the Vienna International Chamber of Commerce Convention (1953) -- from the archive.

"Something [Coetzee] does not yet seem to have found a way to joke about is the cold class and money exclusions of the Southern Suburbanites of Cape Town. One gathers that even Australians seem warm and friendly after them." From a review of Summertime, the Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg, South Africa)

"London, more interested in Mesopotamian oil than rewarding its erstwhile allies, responded with brute force: 2,200 British troops and 9,000 natives died in the ensuing bloodbath." From a review of The Arabs: a history in The Scotsman

Six greatest fantasy books selected by Lev Grossman

Whither withering Detroit? "The fact that Urban Farming moved to Detroit is exactly the effect I’m talking about. To anyone with aspirations in this area, it is Detroit that offers the greatest opportunity to make your mark. It is the ultimate blank canvas."

"In Germany romanticism did not stay within the boundaries of art and philosophy, it gave momentum to political nationalism, to an irrational Lebensphilosophie and to a fatal departure from the path of the Enlightenment. All this, as Safranski narrates in detail, added to the ideological powder-keg that eventually exploded in Hitler’s Germany."

"Intellectual voyeurism is alive and well, especially when it is permitted to intrude into the private life of a classically repressed personality like Max Weber. Joachim Radkau’s biography accomplishes the task of scholarly snooping well, and will satisfy even the most prurient curiosity."

"Anyway, my friends reminded me, writing for a porno mag is an important American literary rite of passage...." (ht Books, Inq.)

Yankee physician in Toronto defends Canadian healthcare in an Alabama paper.

Martha Nussbaum interviewed on Aussie radio about Stoics and Epicureans.

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