All entries by this author


Sep 29th, 2004 8:01 pm | By

Oh I don’t know…it’s just that it’s all such an effort, you know? I’m supposed to go to London in a couple of weeks (well not ‘supposed to’ – it was my own idea – but it’s planned and scheduled and so on). But…I don’t know…I have so much to do. I should tidy up the living room, and I should hang all my clothes up one of these days, and I ought to wipe the shelves in the fridge. It just all adds up. Plus there’s B&W, and a book to write, and one thing and another. And then a trip on top of that? You have to pack, and make sure you have everything, and go here and … Read the rest

Arundhati Roy on Feminist, Non-violent War *

Sep 29th, 2004 | Filed by

Struggling with superstardom and the Chomsky effect.… Read the rest

Two Nightmares Over, Others Continue *

Sep 29th, 2004 | Filed by

Italian newspapers on return of hostages.… Read the rest

Pinochet Denies Links to Operation Condor *

Sep 29th, 2004 | Filed by

Told Juan Guzman he thought operation was handled by middle-ranking officers. … Read the rest

Pinochet Questioned *

Sep 29th, 2004 | Filed by

Judge Juan Guzman questioned Pinochet Saturday about disappearances during his dictatorship. … Read the rest

Ahmed and Aaronovitch

Sep 28th, 2004 8:39 pm | By

Another interesting pairing. This piece by David Aaronovitch and this one by Ishtiaq Ahmed. They say some parallel things.


When the Muslim theologian was asked to give an example of where the secular concept of human rights might be seen as deficient by other societies, his immediate answer was: ‘Women’s rights.’ Did secularists not understand, he asked, that there were cultures in which women did not want equal rights? ‘How do you know what they want?’ I snapped at him. ‘Have you polled them?’…And this, it seems to me, is what it always boils down to…Why is it that when God speaks through man, he so resolutely demands that women are subordinate?…It is extraordinary how mainstream religions devote

Read the rest

Winterson, Roy, Nafisi

Sep 28th, 2004 6:56 pm | By

I saw something that made me laugh at Normblog this morning – I mean, I saw something at Normblog that made me laugh. I would never laugh at Normblog, or any other blog. I’m not that kind of person. Yes I am, but I pretend not to be. I am however the kind of person who would laugh at woolly novelists – would and does.

It’s a funny thing about novelists, at least some of them. The ones that have a certain kind of success, and get a certain kind of, what to call it, of cultural standing and credibility as a result. When I say ‘certain kind’ I don’t mean I know exactly what that kind is. Some combination … Read the rest

Let’s Not Debate Design

Sep 28th, 2004 3:01 pm | By

by Jeremy Stangroom

I’ve just been sent a review copy of a book called Debating Design. I don’t normally go in for book burning, but I’m tempted. It’s edited by Michael Ruse and, wait for it, William Dembski. It claims to provide a “comprehensive and even-handed overview of the debate concerning biological origins”. And, guess what, there’s a whole section on intelligent design written by the bastards – to quote Norman Levitt – from The Discovery Institute.

Maybe someone could explain to me why Cambridge University Press would publish such a book? If I decided to resurrect the theory of phlogiston, I wonder if I could persuade them that it warranted a book.

Perhaps more to the point, … Read the rest

Long on Description, Short on Analysis *

Sep 28th, 2004 | Filed by

Introverts can be clever and extroverts can be silly, Colin McGinn points out.… Read the rest

Islamists Don’t Preach About the Dispossessed *

Sep 28th, 2004 | Filed by

Ishtiaq Ahmed on the need for improvements in this world.… Read the rest

Livingstone Criticised for Links to Qaradawi *

Sep 28th, 2004 | Filed by

Coalition of Sikhs, Hindus, Jews, gays and National Union of Students takes mayor to task. … Read the rest

Bolshevik Disdain Beats Reflectiveness *

Sep 28th, 2004 | Filed by

Surrender, submission, fear, pride – they’re not new in human history.… Read the rest

The Smith of Smiths

Sep 27th, 2004 6:08 pm | By

Okay so if you’re tired of reading about the Dictionary (the Fashionable Nonsense one) then just skip this post. Don’t read it. Not any of it, I mean – because that’s all this one is going to be about. So, fine, you’re still reading, so don’t come complaining to me that it’s about the Dictionary, because I did say.

Although I must say you’re very fussy and demanding if you are tired of reading about it. I mean after all. Look around you. Do you see any advertising? Any PayPal? Any donation box? Any subscription? You do not. Is this place all cluttered up and junky and slow to load like Slate because it’s so full of advertising? It is … Read the rest

Human Rights Apartheid *

Sep 27th, 2004 | Filed by

Where only black people can condemn black homophobia.… Read the rest

Somali-born Dutch MP Makes ‘Blasphemous’ Film *

Sep 27th, 2004 | Filed by

Ayaan Hirsi Ali cites widespread hidden violence against Muslim women.… Read the rest

The Emperor’s New Shroud *

Sep 27th, 2004 | Filed by

Death as spa treatment, sex with the dead, the wisdom of the dead…… Read the rest

Meaning for Nerds

Sep 26th, 2004 6:27 pm | By

I thought there were a lot of strange statements (assertions, even) in this review in the New Statesman of a book by some fella named Baggini. Never mind who wrote the book in question, in fact never mind the book itself, which I haven’t read. The point is these odd statements or assertions, which kind of stand alone (which is part of the problem with them, if there is one). They’re odd because Edward Skidelsky (for it is he) doesn’t say why they’re true, why he thinks they’re true, why we should believe them, and because one can instantly think of counter-examples that make them seem quite dubious.

We may be free to give our life any meaning we choose,

Read the rest

Mundir Badr Haloum on Islam and Terrorism *

Sep 26th, 2004 | Filed by

Belief in legal rulings that forbid thought and permit killing.… Read the rest

Aaronovitch on Secularism, Rights, and Everything *

Sep 26th, 2004 | Filed by

Funny how religion is all about restraining women…… Read the rest

Back to Front Thinking

Sep 25th, 2004 6:43 pm | By

I said I was going to say more about that Washington Post article and skepticism. So here’s some more.

It has to do with the first three paragraphs, which set up some of the recurring ideas in the article.

The Native Americans were not making her job any easier. “This is a very discouraging job, ethnologically speaking,” she began a letter to a friend. She went on to paint a picture that is almost a parody of bad anthropology: The natives just aren’t very interesting, or reliable, or trustworthy…there is “no way of checking whether they are telling the truth”…She cross-examines, bullies and all but calls her “informants” liars…

There. What on earth is he talking about? I would really … Read the rest