April 9th, 2007

Chris Keeley

Subject: My simplistic take on Iraq

Subject:        My simplistic take on Iraq
Date:   Sun, 8 Apr 2007 21:03:04 -0400
From:   Carl Coon
To:     Robert Keeley 
John Whitbeck

Gentlemen, you have been bombarding me with scores of erudite and
superbly well informed analyses of our manifold problems in the Middle
East. My cup started running over some time ago.

I gave a talk yesterday to a local humanist group on Iraq that reflected
some of this input. I offer it here as a small gesture of, I don't know,
gratitude? retaliation?

Carl

My Talk to WASH, 4/7/07

Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for the invitation, it’s a pleasure to be
here discussing a topical issue with an informed and sympathetic audience.

Our misadventure in Iraq has been a disaster in so many ways…for us, for
our standing and interests in the region and the world, for the region
itself, and, first of all, for Iraq and its people.

I’ll start with why our invasion of Iraq failed. It wasn’t for lack of
information or understanding, it was because the people in charge
wilfully ignored that information and understanding. Then I’ll take a
look at who did it, who the people and groups were who managed to launch
us on this crazy adventure. And finally, where do we go from here?

*We should have known better:*

Early in the 20th century, mapmakers in  Europe described boundaries in
the region and decreed that, hey presto, let there be nation states! All
that did was cover up existing divisions with a thin veneer of paint
that differentiated between Syrians and Saudis, Iraqis and Lebanese, and
so forth. Underneath that veneer  people continued to identify
themselves not as Iraqis or Lebanese but as Christians or Muslims, Shi’a
or Sunni, Orthodox or Maronite, and so forth. This meant among other
things that when you achieved a position of influence in a national
government your first loyalty was not to the state but to your extended
family and then to your local community, defined usually mainly by
religion but also by dialect and ethnicity. There was nothing inherently
defective about this form of social organization, it was just old-fashioned.

Here’s a personal recollection that drove this home for me. [/Husseini
in Damascus in 1952]./

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Chris Keeley

There a special unit

There a special unit
was set up, the Office of Special Plans, under neocon Douglas Feith,
which cherrypicked information that could be construed as building a
case for war with Iraq. This infamous unit's activities have been
exposed and debated at length and there's no need for me to go into the
details. It is enough to point out that that is the office where the
case aganst Saddam Hussein was hand crafted through deliberate
assemblage of lies, false intelligance, and data picked out of context,
to provide some appearance of substance to Dubya's claims about WMD in
Iraq (which didn't exist) and Saddam's alleged ties with Al Qaeda (which
also didn't exist).
Chris Keeley

Zimbabwe Bishops Urge Mugabe to Leave

Zimbabwe Bishops Urge Mugabe to Leave

By ANGUS SHAW
The Associated Press
Sunday, April 8, 2007; 11:56 PM

 

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- In an Easter message pinned to church bulletin boards around the country, Zimbabwe's Roman Catholic bishops called on President Robert Mugabe to leave office or face "open revolt" from those suffering under his government.

The letter, titled "God Hears the Cries of the Oppressed," was the most critical pastoral message since Zimbabwe won independence from Britain in 1980 and Mugabe assumed leadership of the country for the first time.

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Chris Keeley

Nan Goldin

Nan Goldin



Nan Goldin, 1972–74 and The Other Side, a slide installation

Nan Goldin... Ivy with Wigstand (1973, gelatin silver print). From Nan Goldin, 1972–74 and The Other Side, a slide installation at Matthew Marks Gallery. "...In the early 1970s, while living in Boston, Nan Goldin met a group of drag queens. They quickly became friends, then roommates, and subsequently her primary photographic subjects for several years. 'I first saw them—Ivy and Naomi and Colette—crossing the bridge near Morgan Memorial Thriftshop in downtown Boston. They were the most gorgeous creatures I'd ever seen. I was immediately infatuated... They became my whole world.'"
Chris Keeley

In this issue, John Colapinto reports on his visit to the Pirahã tribe in the rain forest of northwe

In this issue, John Colapinto reports on his visit to the Pirahã tribe in the rain forest of northwestern Brazil. Here is a portfolio of Martin Schoeller’s images of the trip, along with one of Schoeller at work, taken by his assistant, Markian Lozowchuk.

http://www.newyorker.com/online/2007/04/16/slideshow_070416_piraha?viewall=true

SLIDE SHOW

A Tribe Apart


A portfolio of photographs of the Pirahã, a remote Amazon tribe, by Martin Schoeller.

PHOTO: MARTIN SCHOELLER

Pirahã women on the Maici River.

PHOTO: MARTIN SCHOELLER

Tooí and Dan Everett, a linguist and former missionary who has lived among the Pirahã.

PHOTO: MARTIN SCHOELLER

Kaaxáoi


PHOTO: MARTIN SCHOELLER

A Pirahã family in their home.

PHOTO: MARTIN SCHOELLER

A child from the tribe.


PHOTO: MARTIN SCHOELLER

Pigáagi (left), Kosiitihóí (center), and friends.


http://www.newyorker.com/online/2007/04/16/slideshow_070416_piraha?viewall=true

Chris Keeley

Grindhouse” and “The TV Set.”

Grindhouse” and “The TV Set.”


Rose McGowan as a pole-dancer turned vigilante in Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror.”

Rose McGowan as a pole-dancer turned vigilante in Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror.”


With the three-hour-and-eleven-minute “Grindhouse,” the writer-directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez have put together an entire evening’s entertainment devoted to the violent schlock movies and decrepit theatres that they loved as kids and never stopped loving. “Grindhouse” is a single film with no intermission, but it includes two new features and such divertissements as trailers for ridiculous imaginary pictures (“Werewolf Women of the S.S.”), ads for revolting food at local restaurants, and artifacts of down-at-the-heels moviegoing from decades ago. At climactic moments in the two features—say, just as the hero and the heroine are about to get it on—the scene sometimes comes to an abrupt halt, and the words “Missing reel” flash on the screen. Now and then, the movie develops hiccups, as if frames had been chopped out—a tribute to needy projectionists of old who kept the images they liked best. And deep scratches, as lovingly inscribed as the speckled antiquing on a blanket chest, run through long stretches of film. The general intent here is to louse up the surface of the movie as much as possible and make that degraded surface, in a kind of high-tech punk conceit, a central part of the experience. Tarantino and Rodriguez are trying to re-create their memories of moviegoing as a blissfully sullied urban folk ritual in which sprawling teens squandered their time in seedy picture palaces.

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Chris Keeley

Now thirty-one, Feist makes a persuasive case for herself as a songwriter and a musician on “The Rem

Now thirty-one, Feist makes a persuasive case for herself as a songwriter and a musician on “The Reminder,” her calm and luminous new album, which consists of twelve original songs and one remarkable cover

Feist’s voice is gentle but grainy, and full of emotion. Photograph by Greg Kadel.

Feist’s voice is gentle but grainy, and full of emotion. Photograph by Greg Kadel.

n 2001, the Canadian musician Leslie Feist was twenty-five years old, couch-surfing in Berlin, and occasionally performing with two musicians from Toronto: Peaches (born Merrill Nisker), an electronic-music artist given to profane lyrics, and Gonzales (born Jason Beck), a multi-instrumentalist. As Peaches, dressed in a pink mesh top and hot pants, barked terse, hammering songs like “Fuck the Pain Away,” Feist would stand behind her, wearing a leotard and manipulating a sock puppet. (Her stage name then was Bitch Lap Lap; she now performs as simply Feist.) When Gonzales released an album called “Presidential Suite,” Feist accompanied him on tour around Europe. At the end of each show, Gonzales posed for photographs with audience members while holding a placard bearing the name of the city in which he was performing. Later, Feist explained that she and Gonzales made the placards before each show, using a “font that we felt expressed the city’s character.”Collapse )