A provocative take on politics and culture from a skeptical, libertarian point of view

Location: Long Island, New York, United States

Monday, June 25, 2007

What Job For Tony Blair?

Tony Blair has stepped down as leader of Britain's Labor Party and as Prime Minister.
President Bush suggested that he become a mediator for Mideast peace.

In my view, the best job for Blair would be the next Dr. Who.

Labels: ,

Monday, June 04, 2007

A Novel About Slavery

I just finished the novel A Known World by Edward P. Jones which examines freed blacks who owned slaves in the South before the Civil War. Set in the fictional town and county of Manchester, Virginia it focuses on Henry Townsend, who was redeemed from slavery but remains mentally enthralled by his former master, William Robbins. The richest man in the county, Robbins mentors him in the ways of planters and slaveowners.

There is a scene which would be intensely cinematic. Henry's father, Augustus, bought him out of slavery. Henry visits his parents and mentions that he has purchased his first slave. His father is enraged and bids him depart. Augustus swore that no slaveowner would set foot on his property. Before Henry leaves, Augustus takes one of the ornately carved canes with African influence that he makes for a living. He brings it down on his son's shoulder. "That is what it feels like to be a slave." The son seizes the cane and snaps it in half. "That is what it feels like to be a master."

The novel is interesting and the characters develop naturally. I found somewhat annoying the jumping back and forth in time, although I understand Jones's view that slavery affected the decades and century which followed its demise.

It is worth reading.

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Romania's Revolution Against Communism Hits The Screen

The veteran New York Times foreign correspondent Alan Riding has written a fascinating report "Cameras Were Ready; The Revolution Wasn’t" on Corneliu Porumboiu's new film " “12:08 East of Bucharest,”" which depicts the downfall of Ceaucescu's Communist regime in one provincial town. It shows a fictional commemoration of the revolution on its 16th anniversary in which locals are asked to recount their "own revolution."

Riding asks "So was there a revolution at all? Well, Mr. and Mrs. Ceausescu were certainly dispatched to another place, but what followed was a very slow transition rather than sudden change. Many former Communists, reinventing themselves as democrats, were soon again running Romania. There were also no trials of members of Ceausescu’s infamous Securitate secret police."

The director and screenwriter Corneliu Porumboiu's own assessment addressed my concerns as a libertarian with a history degree from Columbia. “I was interested in dealing with these small histories,” he went on, “how people perceive history because each one tried to prove himself and prove his acts through this moment. And they make their own version of history.”

I am looking forward to seeing this film. It seems comparable to Ismail Kadare's novels about Albania, another former Communist country. I reviewed The Pyramid by Kadare for a number of publications. Have we moved in this blogging, YouTube era to an everyone making their own history of their times? Look at the videos created by survivors of the Madrid and London metro bombings.

We will have to wait for the film about the revolution against Castro's regime.

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Fred Thompson Presidential Race?

It seems that former Senator and current actor Fred Thompson is the GOP's Barack Obama. He is the beneficiary of the hopes of Republicans and their disenchantment with the current frontrunners.

Labels: , ,