hora decubitus

Charles Mingus was a true genius. He managed to take the blues and make it sound like something I’ve never heard before but still fits like a pair of old broken-in jeans. Jeans that get you riled up, jeans that make you want to go punch Governor Faubus in the face. You want to sing praises to the skies, you want to dance, you want to run around screaming at the top of your lungs on a beautiful Indian summer day in the hopes that it will prove some goddamn inequalities about random walks.

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One awesome and one not-so-awesome thing

Awesome thing: Jack Silverstein posted a reference to a paper of his in response to an earlier posting — I had looked at other papers of his but not the one he cited. I probably didn’t find it due to incompetence on my part, but maybe this blogging thing is sometimes useful.

Not-so-awesome thing: My department’s reliance on IT infrastructure that always seems to be breaking/undergoing upgrades. I know I was spoiled by MIT, but is it too much to ask to have some sort of redundant backup of the mailserver so that service doesn’t go down for hours at a time? Maybe it’s time to get Gmail…

trouble

You know you’ve started reverting to childhood when you write “Benoulli” as “Bear Nooly.”

Hey everybody, it’s Nooly, the Bear who flips coins! He’s always goin’ on about how unfair his coin is… what a wacky bear.

grammatological nobel?

Via an article from BookSlut:

French philosopher-writer Jacques Derrida was also seen as a possible winner of the 10-million-kronor $1.37 million prize.

“He is one of the biggest names in post-structuralism,” Thente said. “And Academy secretary Horace Engdahl and member Katarina Frostenson are known to be big fans of his.”

As much as I enjoy the intellectual games of criticism, I would be pretty horrified if they actually did that. The article talks at the end about the betting odds on different writers, which reminds me of the “market-pricing” approaches to determining who will win the presidential election.

reporter suspended

Earlier I linked to a letter from Farnaz Fassihi, a WSJ reporter in Iraq, which documented the near-impossible conditions for journalists there. This was a private letter which was the posted on the Internet, and now the WSJ has decided to put Fassihi on forced vacation until after the election.

Paul Steiger, the Journal’s managing editor, was unavailable by phone Thursday, but his spokesman, Robert Christie, accepted a question on his behalf and agreed to put it to the editor: Had Fassihi’s e-mail been the subject of discussion among her editors and had they decided that its dissemination should prevent her from writing about Iraq until after Nov. 2?

Christie forwarded Steiger’s response by e-mail: “Ms. Fassihi is coming out of Iraq shortly on a long planned vacation. That vacation was planned to, and will, extend past the election.”

Is this much different from the employer who discovers his employee’s blog and then fires them? Or an employer who fires their employee for having the wrong bumper sticker? Or blacklisting communists?

I went to a panel sponsored by the journalism school here on whether or not the media got it right in the lead-up to the war. It was kind of sad watching 6 journalists from different organizations beat themselves up over how they were duped. But if you look at the actual news that has been coming out of those sources, it’s still the same old he-said she-said crap with very little analysis. On the one hand, you have the hyper-sensitive WSJ, which seems to enforce an objectivity gag rule, and on the other you have Bill O’Reilly, whose notion of no-spin is laughable.

beatify giblets nooooooooow!

Giblets demands to be sainted:

But Giblets is good and kind and does not hate children! All the time! And he has already performed like six miracles many of which involve healing or blowing up monsters which were about to eat virgins! Now how much cooler a saint can you get than that? Answer you cannot so saint me Giblets saint me now now now!

I heard an interview on NPR in which a reporter who covers the Vatican tried to clarify that when the church beatifies someone, it is not an endorsement of the person’s beliefs, but rather an endorsement of the inner holiness of that person. So the church is not endorsing a nun’s anti-Semitic visions of the passion, but rather setting her internal faith and fortitude in the face of intense pain as an example.

It’s a clever way of sidestepping the bad sides to people, but it’s a distinction lost on most people. Some might say you have to take the good with the bad, but in the sainting business, you don’t have to take the bad with the good. In the end it seems too much like rhetorical sleight-of-hand. Unless you specifically condemn the use of poison gas in WWI by Karl I, how can you beatify him without tacitly approving it?