All entries by this author

Two N.Y. Times Editors Resign *

Jun 6th, 2003 | Filed by

Howell Raines and Gerald Boyd fall on swords in aftermath of Jayson Blair fraud.… Read the rest

Problematizing the Dominant Narrative

Jun 6th, 2003 12:54 am | By

I do get to have fun, toiling and slaving here at the mills of B and W. I browse Google and sometimes I do find peculiar gems.
This one for example: a review of a book whose very title reeks of fashion: Dis/locating Cultures/Identitites, Traditions, and Third World Feminism. Got all that? You think the author stuffed enough Right On signposts in there for one title? The cute ‘Dis/locating,’ the buzzwords ‘cultures’ and ‘identities’ slammed together with that artful /, and finishing off with a flourish with Third World Feminism. There, that’s all the bases touched, Narayan must have thought in satisfaction. No one can say I don’t know the patois.

And that’s only the title, and only the … Read the rest

Guardians of the truth?

Jun 5th, 2003 5:35 pm | By

If you click on the Guardian story link in the ‘Post-Orientalism” entry below, you’ll find it doesn’t work. Here’s why – from the Guardian’s web site today:

A report which was posted on our website on June 4 under the heading “Wolfowitz: Iraq war was about oil” misconstrued remarks made by the US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, making it appear that he had said that oil was the main reason for going to war in Iraq. He did not say that. He said, “The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil.” The sense was that the US had no economic

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A Glaring Omission

Jun 5th, 2003 5:00 pm | By

I’ve been reading Richard Dawkins’ A Devil’s Chaplain lately. It’s not available in the States yet, but my colleague sent it to me from the UK. It’s great stuff, of course – Dawkins is a brilliant polemicist, essayist, explainer, persuader. His review of Sokal and Bricmont’s Intellectual Impostures/Fashionable Nonsense is hilarious (though of course it could hardly help it, having such rich material to work with). And Dawkins mentions one fact in passing which I feel compelled to make a fuss about.

Sokal was inspired to do this [his famous hoax] by Paul Gross and Norman Levitt’s Higher Superstition: the Academic Left and its Quarrels with Science, an important book which deserves to become as well known in Britain

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Review of A Devil’s Chaplain *

Jun 5th, 2003 | Filed by

Praise for Richard Dawkins’ “marvellously contemptuous dismissal of ‘postmodernism’” and more.… Read the rest

What Separation of Church and State? *

Jun 5th, 2003 | Filed by

What the Bush administration is doing to make religion even more intrusively mandatory in American life.… Read the rest


Jun 5th, 2003 12:05 am | By

My colleague and I have been discussing (or arguing about, if you like) the
Guardian story which reports that Paul Wolfowitz said the Iraq war was about oil. I have more doubts and qualms about the war than Jeremy does, but then as he concedes, I live in the US whereas he lives in the UK: the differences in our respective heads of state could account for our different views all by themselves. But one thing we do agree on is the irredeemable awfulness of Islamofascism, and that there is no proper opposition to it (with, as he points out, the honourable exception of Christopher Hitchens) on the Left.

Why is that? I think it has to do with the … Read the rest

Interview with Azar Nafisi *

Jun 4th, 2003 | Filed by

Ideology, politicization of every part of life, intimidation, the value of discourse.… Read the rest

Only ‘Faith’ Schools Allowed to Discriminate *

Jun 4th, 2003 | Filed by

Churches successfully lobbied UK government, won right to fire gays in religious schools.… Read the rest

Vice-Chancellors Disagree With Clarke *

Jun 3rd, 2003 | Filed by

An instrumental view of education is not the way to go.… Read the rest

Can We Stop Hearing About ‘Grief Counseling’ Now? *

Jun 3rd, 2003 | Filed by

Those people rushed to the scene to ‘help’ don’t, research has finally shown.… Read the rest

Exemption for ‘Faith’ Schools *

Jun 3rd, 2003 | Filed by

Employment bill could allow religious schools to sack gay teachers.… Read the rest

Ee-lim Anate the Negative

Jun 2nd, 2003 1:20 pm | By

Well I’m always telling people, in my annoying way, that ‘negative’ doesn’t mean bad or critical or disapproving or pessimistic or skeptical or cynical or hostile. That if you want to call something any of those, you should use those words, and not the word ‘negative’ which 1. doesn’t mean any of those and 2. if you do use it as a pointless euphemism for those other words is vague and woolly and non-specific and confusing. By the same token ‘positive’ doesn’t mean approving or friendly or optimistic or patriotic or cheerful or warm or helpful. There’s a bizarre kind of covert thought-control going on in the translation of all words conveying disagreement and dissent into ‘negative’ and all words … Read the rest

Climbing Trees to Get to the Moon *

Jun 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

Steven Pinker on why genetic enhancement is not inevitable.… Read the rest

What Does ‘Negative’ Mean? *

Jun 1st, 2003 | Filed by

Evelyn Fox Keller and Richard Lewontin discuss some epistemological issues.… Read the rest

Who Mourns the Gepids?

Jun 1st, 2003 | By Robert Davis

The answer to the question in the title is "No one," but it will
take a while to get to the reasons. I thought about the Gepids as I drove through
the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and New Mexico through incomparable scenery,
a lot of history, and often uncomfortable knowledge about the present, much
of it filtered through the novels of fellow Oklahomans, Tony Hillerman and Ron
Querry. Their books and other sources touch on problems of the contemporary
Navajo, but they are more noted for their celebration of the coherence of Navajo
culture and the sense of "hozho," of oneness with the beauty of the
world. This theme is attractive to many Anglos who buy into a nostalgia for… Read the rest

Are Standards and Expertise a Bad Thing? *

May 31st, 2003 | Filed by

Sarah Bryan Miller wonders, just what is an elitist anyway?… Read the rest

History is Potentially Lethal *

May 31st, 2003 | Filed by

Marxist left and Hindu fundamentalist right subordinate history to political goals in India.… Read the rest

Nonsense at Hay Festival

May 30th, 2003 4:17 pm | By

Oh really, what crap. It’s only snobs and supercilious critics who think bad novels are bad novels. Excuse me, but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes a bad novel is just a bad novel.

Trollope, whose restrained prose is as elegant as the lady herself, poured haughty scorn on the pretensions of the literary genre, and in particular the “grim lit” the critics seem to adore “that makes you want to slash your wrists”.

Well that’s wrong for a start. ‘Restrained’ prose? Well sure, I suppose. That’s one way to describe it. One might say the same of a train timetable, or a laundry list, or a tax code. That couldn’t be a nice evasive way of … Read the rest

Self-serving Argument #478 *

May 30th, 2003 | Filed by

If you think they write bad novels it is because you are jealous, gloomy and snobbish. Of course.… Read the rest