Sunday Reading for Resistance

  • Today, November 18th, 2007’s New York Time op-ed page is the absolute worst piece of printed tripe. ever. I know I haven’t read every op-ed page ever printed, but I am sure I can defend my assertion. Exhibit A: Shake, Rattle and Roll by Maureen Dowd. Exhibit B: Channeling Dick Cheney by Thomas Friedman. Exhibit C: Pakistan’s Collapse, Our Problem by Frederick Kagan and Michael O’Hanlon.

    The particular insanities are beyond my capacity to explain without a healthy dosage of curses. On the bright side, next I ever hear any of my liberal colleagues tell me about NYT as the last bastion of hope, I know where to send them. Also, if any of my conservative colleagues needed a fair debunking of NYT’s liberal “bias”, I know where to send them too.

  • Avishai Margalit’s A Moral Witness to the ‘Intricate Machine’, in the NYRB deserves your attention. It is a review of David Shulman’s Dark Hope: Working for Peace in Israel and Palestine, a thought-provoking and powerful piece of writing that really resonated with me. David Shulman, the scholar, was already an admired figure but David Shulman, the activist, has a humanism and sense of duty that I can only aspire to. I have been meaning to review it since the summer and still have hopes.
  • Also in the NYRB is William Dalrymple’s The Most Magnificent Muslims – a review of three books on Mughals. I don’t share Dalrymple’s enthusiasm for Lal’s Domesticity and Power in the Early Mughal World but the review is worth a read for all.
  • Zizek’s Resistance is Surrender, in the LRB, is his slow steps towards a Gandhian alternative.

7 Replies to “Sunday Reading for Resistance”

  1. I’m curious about what you think of Lal’s book. I haven’t read it but it seems to cover similar ground to Leslie Peirce’s The Imperial Harem, which I really liked.

    I’d think that a book like Lal’s might be worthwhile for some bigoted old Indian uncles to read (you know, the ones who perceive Muslim rulers as having been all about wine, women, indolence and parricide) but the anecdote about Babur and the Afghan market boy sounds like it might feed stereotypes.

  2. You had me at “tripe.” But it really could not have been such a surprise that Dowd and Friedman were totally off the mark. They’ve made their careers on that!

    Thanks, however, for the suggested links. I’m reading the Dalrymple and Zizek in other windows right now.

  3. Except that Brookings really isn’t “left-wing” except in the current sense that it’s not advocating the tactics of Mongol Hordes. OK, I’m going to go read Friedman now…..

    Damn. Words fail, really. West Wing used that plot in its last season, and it didn’t make a whole lot of sense on TV, either.

  4. Kagan is at the AEI. O’Hanlon is at Brookings. How cool is it when the right-wing insane think-tankers sip martinis with the left-wing insane think-tankers.

  5. I read the Kagan piece, and I didn’t realize that it was coming from a parallel universe until I read the byline. It’s almost like he wants to explore the outer limits of American power by testing it until it fully implodes. He’s on our side?

    I didn’t read Dowd because I never read Dowd, but I’ll get to the Friedman later — usually I need at least two independent recommendations before I’ll bother, but for you, I’ll do it.

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