Monthly Archives: October 2008

9 posts

Events Leading to America’s Involvement in Vietnam

Given the political vacuum in the South, a Communist takeover of all of Vietnam within two years, or even less, seemed unavoidable. Beyond vague ideas of somehow rallying the Vietnamese in the South and contingency plans for creating stay-behind agents to conduct guerrilla warfare against the Vietminh, the U.S. had little idea of how to prevent a complete Communist take-over.

Résistance by Agnès Humbert

The early resistors soon discover that the Nazis don’t view their activities with similar lightheartedness. Oblivious to the reason why a German car might be parked outside the hospital her mother is in, Humbert walks straight into hell. A member of the Gestapo has infiltrated and betrayed their group, and she and her friends are rounded up for a show trial. It is only April 1941. What follows is an account that tests our 21st century belief in rationalism.

School Rampage Killers: A Psychological Portrait

The shooter had convinced himself that killing was gutsy and masculine. Based on his misreadings of Nietzsche and from repeated viewings of the Oliver Stone film, Natural Born Killers, he had convinced himself that the killer was a kind of superior being, and that killing constituted a form of “Natural Selection.”

Fine Just the Way It Is: Wyoming Stories 3 by Annie Proulx

Things are never fine just they way they are in Annie Proulx’s new collection of Wyoming stories. Women imperil themselves on mountains, animals go tits-up in ditches, young and old end up blighted or dead. Even the Devil can’t quite seem to make things work. Life is tough, Proulx says, and I ain’t peddling corn syrup.

Dr. Shashi Tharoor: Understanding India

“India is a status-quo power: it wants nothing that Pakistan has. Pakistan’s rulers, however, are obsessed with Kashmir, which they have repeatedly tried and failed to wrest from India through war and militancy, and with a desire to “cut India down to size” by bleeding it through terrorism. What needs to happen is for a new political culture to prevail in Pakistan, one that privileges peace, dialogue, co-operation, tourism and trade instead of resentment, bigotry, militarism, intolerance and violence.”

Deaf Sentence by David Lodge

Reflecting on DEAF SENTENCE, the reader can hear the echoes of awful laughter — that silent cacchination encountered everywhere in Beckett’s writing — which characterizes our present lot, with its extended, often forcibly prolonged, old age. Lodge’s transparent prose plays out in a sophisticated informal, everyday voice; his is artful writing that succeeds in that most difficult literary genre, Comedy.

How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Saša Stanišic

Yet it is no accident that Aleksandar begins with an account of death, nor is it an accident that he wishes himself a magician, able to wave a wand and make things okay again. For tucked in the lines of his narrative we hear ominous rumblings, like shellfire in the distance. Communism is discredited, nationalist sentiment is on the rise.

Christine MacDonald on the Corruption of the Environmental Movement

“But after watching environmentalists blatantly engage in greenwashing for their corporate sponsors, I can tell you that once a group takes money from a corporation and comes to rely on the continued flow of those dollars to run programs and pay salaries, it loses its ability to be a critic and a watchdog. One high-ranking environmentalist once told me he shies away from seeking corporate funds because corporate executives ‘tend to want to buy you up first and talk about conservation later.’ I think that is largely the norm.”