Wednesday 18 August, 2021

Remind you of anything?

(Hint: 1975)

And how about this:

An uncropped photograph of 640 Afghan refugees in a USAF C-17 that flew from Kabul to Qatar on August 15. Source

Brings it home to one, doesn’t it?

Antonio García Martínez has a fiercely contemptuous blast about America’s Afghan adventure. Sample:

This is the true privilege of being an American in 2021 (vs. 1981): Enjoying an imperium so broad and blinding, you’re never made to suffer the limits of your understanding or re-assess your assumptions about a world that, even now, contains regions and peoples and governments antithetical to everything you stand for. If you fight demons, they’re entirely demons of your own creation, whether Cambridge Analytica or QAnon or the ‘insurrection’ or supposed electoral fraud or any of a host of bogeymen, and you get to tweet #resist while not dangling from the side of an airplane or risking your life on a raft to escape. If you’re overwhelmed by what you see, even if you work at places called ‘the Institute for the Study of War’, you can just take some ‘me time’ and not tune into the disturbing images because reality is purely optional at this stage of the game.

That last sentence is reference to a Tweet that really irritated him:

Key takeaways from the IPCC report

If you haven’t time to read the report but want to know what the key takeaways from it are, then this episode of the NYT‘s ‘The Daily’ podcast will see you right. And it only takes 26 minutes.

Quote of the Day

“A foreign correspondent is someone who flies around from hotel to hotel and thinks that the most interesting thing about any story is the fact that he has arrived to cover it.”

  • Tom Stoppard, Night and Day.

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Ennio Morricone | Main Theme music for the film The Mission


I don’t normally pay attention to film music, but came on this the other day and enjoyed it.

Long Read of the Day

For Whom the Bells Toll

Lovely 1999 essay by Neil Shister in the Boston Review on Ernest Hemingway.

Hemingway’s mythic status may have started with his books, but it transcended literature. By displaying physical virtues-hunting lions, fighting bulls, boxing-he slipped beneath the radar of mainstream America’s none-too-secret loathing of the artist. True, he had to go to Europe to escape the restrictive conformities of his suburban Chicago home-Oak Park, the same place that spawned Frank Lloyd Wright-and “the hopeless separation of small towns in the middle west and any kind of intellectual awareness,” in keynote speaker Nadine Gordimer’s telling phrase. But the America he fled eventually came to embrace him, as much for his vigorous persona as for his words. In our popular culture, manliness excuses most faults.

Hence the intriguing connection to John Kennedy. Although the two men never met, the young politician saw in the older writer a cultural touchstone for his version of manly fellowship. Kennedy and his entourage freely employed Hemingway’s definition of “grace under pressure,” as a template for their own style and as the measure by which they sized up others.

This was a useful accompaniment to the BBC’s screening of Ken Burn’s riveting six-part documentary series on Papa H which we’ve just finished watching.

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