I haven’t been able to work for any campaign this year. Did some phone banking. And am hoping to do some election-day moniter-y stuff. Or perhaps, I will just drive people to vote. Next elections, I will vote.

I don’t know if people still remember that Raed Jarrar was denied boarding on a plane because his tshirt had Arabic on it. It prompted many conversations but one argument that struck me was made by moacir – who focused on the Equal Protection amendment as opposed to the usual 1st amendment stuff.

With the help of Stephen Marlowe, Blake Wentworth, Prithvi Datta Chandra Shobhi, Sunit Singh, Ravikrisnha Reddy, moacir and I designed the following piece of hipster-protest.

Daily Chosun Link III: Pukkah Edition

I am a _tad_overwhelmed at the moment. But this weekend, I will post my talk from Madison. And I have some long languishing post on teaching postcolonialism. In the meantime, with no ironic hipsterness, I present a Daily Chosun Link ‘o da day: Avoiding the Stigma of Being an ‘Ajumma’. The checklist at the bottom helps you identify yourself as a Ajumma or a Lady. One handy tip-off: “In the sauna, should the ajumma let out a fart and people stare at her, she will just leave without saying sorry.” I forsee a full-scale comedy routine: You might be a Ajumma if …

Most crucially, I call to your attention, this fragment from that brilliant article: “it is pukkah to refrain …” !! Anyone else going “!!” with me? Pucka or pukka, meaning solid, true, right, done, ripe, is an old hindi word that made it into EIC english fairly early. The OED has a reference from 1698: “FRYER Acc. E. India & P. 205 The Maund Pucka at Agra is double as much as the Surat Maund”. Another reference c. 1776: “Trial of Nundocomar 102/1 Maha Rajah said it was necessary to witness it to make it pukka”.

Hobson Jobson gives us a fuller rundown. It notes that the EIC took the word to China: “Dis pukka sing-song makee show / How smart man make mistake, galow” from the Leland, Pidgin English Sing-Song.

Um, anyways. But, Pukka as ‘correct’ in Korean-English? How did that happen? Apparently, it means something in Vietnamese. And in Russian it means Wall of Partition? What is this un-pukkah biz? Etymologists want to know.

Eid Saeed

Today, I will not go to work. I will stay at home and finish up decorating. We will all wear our new clothes and hug our parents and grandparents. Friends will stop by all day – dressed fresh and clean. We will exchange those three-pump hugs that I can never get right – left shoulder, right shoulder, left shoulder? – and drink Rooh Afza and eat Saywiyyan with almonds. The kids will run around, shiny and jingly. They will climb on everyone and stand before us – hands extended for their eidi. .

Dinner will get served at 2. Nihari. Biryani. Cars will leave, packed to the hilt with relatives, to houses far and near. At every stop, a new embrace. A new smile. We will, maybe fight about the movie to watch. Or maybe some cricket match will be on the t.v. Our pockets will be heavy with the cash-gifts. We will remember that we haven’t seen someone all day and everyone will rush to call and be the first to wish Eid.

It will be the best day, ever.

Eid Mubarak and, as someone else put it, a late Diwali Mubarak to all my gentle readers. May you and yours always remain together.

earlier: Eid and Eid.

Audacious Hopeful

Do you think he'd wear a CM t-shirt?Barack Obama appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press today and acknowledged that he is now considering running for Prez in 2008. Looks like Oprah’s campaigning is paying off– let’s hope she can influence elections as much as she can booksales. He’s out on the campaign trail right now, stumping for the November election and his new book, which is #1 on Amazon today. This guy is outta control, he’s got every voter base covered. Some quotes from the Larry King transcript:

Soccer moms:

KING: What do you make of all of this, Senator? You’re on the cover of “Time,” the book is out, everyone’s talking about you what’s that like?

OBAMA: Well, you know, it’s a lot of fuss and, you know, fortunately I’ve got a wife at home who is more interested in whether I rinsed out the dishes and put them in the dishwasher, which you know I think keeps me grounded. Continue reading “Audacious Hopeful”

Two great tastes that go perfect together

Honorary degree-licious!Seems the Microlender Laureate is not just about microlending anymore. On November 7-8 Muhammad Yunus will unveil the new Grameen Danone Food Factory with the help of none other than Headbutter Laureate Zinedine Zidane.

Is this what Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick was talking about?P.S. For those of you who read things printed on pieces of paper, check out the centerfold in the September issue of the Believer mag that documents all the wikipedia entries for Zidane during the seven minutes following the moment that will live on infamy round out his glorious career.

Habeas Corpse

Habeas Corpus, RIP


Habeas Corpus, friend to many, died today in Washington, DC. It was seven hundred ninety one years old. Habeas’ violent demise came after a long, robust and celebrated career as defender of the weakest members of society, during which it freelanced as a bulwark against encroachments on civil liberties. Habeas Corpus is survived by its only direct descendant, the Rule of Law, and a distant relative, The Bill of Rights.

Though Habeas Corpus makes its first appearance as an adult in the Anglo-American legal record in the early part of the 14th Century, the idea that prisoners should have direct appeal to the court exercising jurisdiction over them for an explanation as to why they have been deprived of personal liberty dates to ancient days in Merry Old.

The unhindered prerogatives of the British sovereign ended when King John, under pressure from angry nobles, agreed to the terms of what would become, on reduction to parchment, the Magna Carta–a document of enumerated limits on executive power that included an infant writ that would grow into Habeas Corpus. The date: June 19th, 1215. John was England’s last absolute monarch, but alas, not the last pretender to such titles.

Even sainted Lincoln, no civil libertarian, regarded interference with Habeas’ work as a drastic measure; when he suspended the writ during the civil war, he was careful to do it according to Constitutional guidelines, and under a declaration of war. When hostilities ceased, it was put right back on the job.

Though many American leaders have lamented the direct, intercessionary work of Habeas on the part of society’s unwashed and pesky, until recently, none had had the courage, or the excuse, to make a move against Habeas’ well-earned place as the Prince of Writs. Nixon is known to have once remarked to Kissinger:

“Henry, that fuckface Jew writ had gone and done it this time! Find a way for me to take him out, won’t you? I’ll bomb the bastard, that’s what I’ll do. What? I can’t bomb an abstraction? Well what in Christ’s name am I to do then? I bet that writ smokes pot with the ACLU, peaceniks and Jewish psychologists. Get me Edgar on the line. We’ll smear–Henry, wait. Where are you going? Henry, I meant bad Jews, not you. Why do you have that look on your…wait, Henry, don’t–“

It was not until the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 that an executive had the opportunity, the geographic flexibility, the gumption and enough bad legal theory in his cabinet to move on Habeas. Emboldened by a phalanx of idiots who kept him from hearing anything remotely resembling reason, George W. Bush finally put out a hit on Habeas. The American legislature, which had been bitch-slapped into fawning ho-dom for six years through signing statements and their own fealty to lobbyists and overweening lusts for pageboy tush, gave their go-ahead.

In the end, for one who had done so much good, Habeas Corpus stood alone. It was as though Caesar had colluded with the Senate to kill Brutus, and not with knives, but with a single, gaudy fountain pen.

Habeas Corpus’ last words were, reportedly, et tu Americi?

Memorials will be held in the hearts of gentle people, prisoners, legal scholars and aspirants to democracy. Habeas Corpus’ survivors ask that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to anyone with the balls to speak fucking truth to power.


A Huzzah! to my man Whitney Cox for defending his dissertation today. Much cel[r]ebration will be had.

And, tomorrow all concerned are going to the 35th Annual South Asia Conference at Madison. I have a panel Digital Humanities for South Asia with a paper, From Diwan to Database: Digital Archives of South Asia – along with pdcs. The exciting thing is that we have the worst time-slot. So, l33t.

If any gentle readers want to meet up, you will know where to find me.