Monday, 18 April 2011

Something Is Happening Here

Collapse, as often as not, is the result of persisting in an old attitude towards some important relationship, which, in the course of time, has changed its nature.
         D. H. Lawrence, quoted in The Correspondence of Shelby Foote and Walker Percy

As a divorced man, tell me about it!  But it applies to so much of life.  When did these manufacturing jobs start being sent overseas?  When did banks stop making decisions locally?  When did flossing become so important?  Relationships are too complicated to hope that we could ever come close to fully understanding their changes as they slowly unfold through time; even for the most astute and attitude-adjusting among us.  Some collapse is inevitable.  I say approach your relationships with good will and good humour and you might be OK.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Who Is Our Melville?

Just finished Sean Wilentz's Bob Dylan In America.  It is an interesting analysis of Dylan's mining (borrowing? sampling? plagiarizing?) of American cultural history for use in his art.  And what a culture to mine!  As a Canadian, it makes me wonder who are our Whitman & Twain & Steinbeck?  Although having no event equivalent to the Civil War we did, nonetheless, also settle a west and suffer through World Wars I & II and the Great Depression.  I have some suspects and will now proceed to investigate and report back.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Al Khums Courthouse

Today I read Judith Miller's article in the Daily Beast on Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi's transformation from a "kinder, gentler face of his father's ugly regime" to a man who has chosen "his family, clan, and tribe".  There has been a lot in the media recently about the ties of Harvard Business School professors & associated consulting firms with the Libyan government and the probable ghost writing of Saif's doctoral thesis at the London School of Economics - not to mention highly paid pop star performances for the regime.  It's news but hardly anything new.  To begin to understand most situations, I think it really is best to "follow the money".  What caught my attention today about events in Libya was this idea of clan loyalty.  Those on the right side of history (as defined at the time and carefully nurtured thereafter) tend to get a pass for their tribal brutalities.  After all, they won ("Winning!").  The losers get vilified.  One exception to this I thought of today was Robert E. Lee who, albeit reluctantly, chose his tribe (Virginians) in America's civil war.  He emerged as a hero, emblematic of the South's lost cause.  I'm wondering if, should the rebels prevail in Libya, Saif will be allowed to ride back to Tripoli on his magnificent white steed.