Update from Holland. After the filmmaker Theo van Gogh's murder by Mohammed Bouyeri, the Dutch creed of tolerance has come under siege.
Being in touch with the absurdity of life got to lead to the absurdity of form. Dave Eggers discusses the Monty Pythons’ brand of comedy.
A hundred years of “The Protestant Ethic.” Elizabeth Kolbert on Max Weber in The New Yorker.
Back in the time of which I am speaking, due to our Coordinators had mandated us, we had all seen that educational video of "It's Yours to Do With What You Like!" in which teens like ourselfs speak on the healthy benefits of getting off by oneself and doing what one feels like in terms of self-touching, which what we learned from that video was, there is nothing wrong with self-touching, because love is a mystery but the mechanics of love need not be, so go off alone, see what is up, with you and your relation to your own gonads, and the main thing is, just have fun, feeling no shame!"
The "merger" of the Egyptian Zawahiri's Islamic Jihad and the Saudi Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda in 2001, based on the foundation of Qutb's book "Milestones", provide outlet for those who have no other way of expressing their objections to the authoritarian regimes of the countries they live in, and the reach of American power in the Middle East.
"Absence is the most natural of phenomena, in that every presence begets an absence. It's just the way things work. Yet absence is at the root of all of the hardest things we have to face deaths, breakups, any kind of separation."
"Nothing so sharply distinguishes philosophers and Kabbalists as their attitude toward the problem of evil and the demonic."
"Nothing so sharply distinguishes philosophers and Kabbalists as their attitude toward the problem of evil and the demonic." A widely informative study of the historical background and on the mythic passions of the great Kabbalah scholar Gershom Scholen by a writer I much enjoy, Cynthia Ozick. (zip up Miguel, my uncle Zen sent this as a contribution to your Sacks)
Ah, inspiring food and good writing. Recounting "first taste" experiences of Sea Urchin, Hearts of Artichokes à la Isman Bavaldy, and Cock in Wine, the perfect Pastrami sandwich, the sweet memory of honey and green mangoes, and about the late-onset cook, THE DOMESTIC MALE.
"Babe Ruth and I were teammates on the Yankees—and lovers, too. It was no big deal back then. After Sunday games were over, lots of players and writers would come by our little flat in the Morrisania section of the Bronx for one of Babe's famous bean dinners. I also remember the evening when Babe, wearing his familiar pink housecoat, turned out a nice catfish stew for Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Everyone in baseball knew how it was with me and Babe. After the company had gone home and we'd done the dishes, he would lie in my arms and I'd whisper, 'You are my bambino.'"
"The title of my talk tonight is How to Conquer Stupidity, which is actually a pretty stupid thing to attempt. For me, anyway. One, it's not possible. Two, maybe it's not even desirable. That's probably the premise of all of my work, that I embrace my stupidity wholeheartedly and celebrate it, as often as I can." And you can too, here.
There is no far-right Vichyite renaissance in France, no Pieds Noirs uprising, nor, really, is there any antiSemitic rampage (Le Pen is spasmodically anti-Semitic but systematically anti-immigrant; i.e., anti-Arab.), but it's a safe bet that Jean-Marie Le Pen can never peacefully become President of the French Republic. It used to be said that for evil to triumph it was necessary only for good men to do nothing; in France, historically, for evil to enter it is necessary for good men to tell other good men that nothing is the best thing a good man can do. As the French are now being reminded, it is better to muddle through with your pants around your ankles than to die lucidly with your nose in the air. How relevent these words and events are here in the US?