Saturday, August 05, 2006
"And do the Israelis realise that they are legitimising Hizbollah, that a rag-tag army of guerrillas is winning its spurs against an Israeli army and air force whose targets - if intended - prove them to be war criminals and if unintended suggest that they are a rif-raff little better than the Arab armies they have been fighting, on and off, for more than half a century? Extraordinary precedents are being set in this Lebanon war.
In fact, one of the most profound changes in the region these past three decades has been the growing unwillingness of Arabs to be afraid. Their leaders - our "moderate" pro-Western Arab leaders such as King Abdullah of Jordan and President Mubarak of Egypt - may be afraid. But their peoples are not. And once a people have lost their terror, they cannot be re-injected with fear. Thus Israel's consistent policy of smashing Arabs into submission no longer works. It is a policy whose bankruptcy the Americans are now discovering in Iraq.
And all across the Muslim world, "we" - the West, America, Israel - are fighting not nationalists but Islamists. And watching the martyrdom of Lebanon this week - its slaughtered children in Qana packed into plastic bags until the bags ran out and their corpses had to be wrapped in carpets - a terrible and daunting thought occurs to me, day by day. That there will be another 9/11."
Friday, August 04, 2006
in Maine, from the camera of Ben Friedlander, reminded me guiltily of the old stereo I just gave away, residua of all that emotion adhering to the flaking cones and magnets & then they became an impromptu memorial for Arthur Lee of Love, who died today...
"what is happening
& how have you been?"
The Bergen Sound
"If you're after fruitily inventive music that's filling up dancefloors, warming up radiowaves, sounding great in shops, and flooding out of myriad pop telly channels through the night, get yourself over to Bergen, Norway. There you'll find Kings Of Convenience, Annie, Sondre Lerche and Ralph Myerz and the Jack Herren Band. It's a scene that's been putting the cheery Euro-willies up serious old electronica for a while now. But with the second album from local heroes R�yksopp, the 'Bergen Sound' comes of age..."
It really is great, the summer pop album I've been looking for...
farewell to Elisabeth Schwarzkopf--
"Legge, later artistic director of EMI records, would sit in a stage box while Schwarzkopf sang, watching for the exact moment when women fumbled in their handbags for handkerchiefs and men tugged them from their breast pockets. He recalled: "We tried for years and once or twice succeeded in achieving Pamina's "Ach, ich f�hl's" so heartbreakingly that there was no applause." Some critics felt that there was element of calculation in this which robbed Schwarzkopf's performances of their spontaneity; but what no one could deny was that over the years her voice became richer, warmer and ever more accurately focussed."
Note: It's worth registering with the Daily Torygraph just for the obits if you're that sort of person: completest, best and drollest in print or on the web, especially good for tinder-dry accounts of the superhuman exploits of old sailors and soldiers with names like "Cuddles" and "Flaps"...today also found that Keith Moon's poor long-suffering ex-wife Kim had passed, and the navigator of my dad's ship "Bellona" on the arctic convoys and D-day...
Thursday, August 03, 2006
re-watching Michael Mann's 1999 The Insider for the enth time & in a film full of good things big & small surely the standout is Bruce McGill (above) for about 15 seconds, as a Mississippi lawyer, trying to get a deposition into the record over the grinning interference of tobacco hireling Wings Hauser, who gets pushed a bit too far, thunderously turning on his heels and pinning Hauser with a "Would you wipe that smirk off your face" that really does, like one of the assault rifles in "Heat"...
Monday, July 31, 2006
"What is clear is that the failure of Israel's blitzkrieg (and at the moment, it looks like a catastrophic failure, at least politically) will have enormous repercussions in the Middle East, just as the downfall of Louis Napoleon had in late 19th century Europe. By betting the ranch on a quick, decisive victory, the Anglo-Israeli alliance has committed both a crime and a mistake. The architects may escape punishment for the former, but I think the latter is going to come back to haunt them, and probably very soon."