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Archive for April 27th, 2007


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Her reconnection to world events in part began on Boxing Day 2005. Following the tsunami in Indonesia, Björk recorded an album of fans’ remixes of her single Army of Me, donating the proceeds to Unicef. A year later, she was invited to visit the region and found “they were still just digging in the earth and finding bones and dresses of relatives”, an image that you suspect might have occasioned her desire for the dirty sound of the clavichord. She flew from Indonesia straight to New York, to a studio session with the producer Timbaland, and immediately wrote the song Earth Intruders. “It just came like a tsunami out of my mouth,” she says, sounding still faintly surprised, “and lyrically it’s probably the most chaotic song that I’ve ever written, it sort of doesn’t make sense.” It is a marching song, “Bundle of bombardiers,” it insists, “We are the canoneers/ Apache voodoo.” She shakes her head a little, rubs her nose. “I tried to edit it afterwards to fix it and make logic out of it,” she says, “but it’s just like chaos.”

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April 27, 2007 at 2:43 am

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there’s always fidel…

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An article on socialist football (soccer) players, their presence, absence, impossibility, etc etc etc.

Over here, it’s tough to think of many good and recent examples. Certainly not “socialists,” as there are no socialists, let alone socialist athletes, here. But John Amaechi, I think, has been saying some fairly lefty stuff, in addition to being gay. Carlos Delgado… Well his case is somewhat complicated and sad. Here’s wikipedia:

Like his hero, Roberto Clemente, Delgado is a well-known humanitarian and peace activist and has been open about his political beliefs. As part of the Navy-Vieques protests, Delgado was actively opposed to the use of the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico as a bombing target practice facility by the United States Department of Defense, until bombing was halted in 2003. He is also against the occupation of Iraq. In the 2004 season, Delgado protested the war by silently staying in the dugout during the playing of God Bless America during the Seventh inning stretch. Delgado does not make a public show of his beliefs and even his teammates were not aware of his views until a story was published in July 2004 in the Toronto Star. Delgado was quoted as saying “It’s a very terrible thing that happened on September 11. It’s (also) a terrible thing that happened in Afghanistan and Iraq, … I just feel so sad for the families that lost relatives and loved ones in the war. But I think it’s the stupidest war ever.” The story was the subject of a media frenzy, mostly in New York, where on July 21, 2004, as was anticipated, Delgado was booed for his passive protest during a game at Yankee Stadium [3]. Angry New York fans booed him and, when Delgado lined out in the bottom 7th inning, fans chanted “USA, USA” even though Delgado, like all Puerto Ricans, is an American citizen. Delgado had explained that the playing of God Bless America had come to be equated with a war in which he didn’t believe. In a New York Times interview, Delgado said this is what he believed in, and “It takes a man to stand up for what he believes.”

After being traded to the Mets, Delgado backed down from his previous stance and stood for “God Bless America.”

I had high hopes, when I first heard that he was coming to New York, too…

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April 27, 2007 at 2:21 am

Posted in america, socialism


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I’m having a hard time getting my head around all the vicious snark out the last few days in relatively unlikely places vs. the sustainability of the French social model. Sure, there are problems, high unemployment, etc. But this was rather surprising…

First the Globe and Mail comes out with a glowing endorsement of Sarkozy… which is unfortunately behind a paywall, so you’ll have to settle for a summary from here. And then this half-baked paragraph from the LRB of all places:

Much of this is difficult to grasp in the UK. It was the same when the French voted down the European Constitution in 2005 and again, in 2006, when Dominique de Villepin’s ‘first-time contract’ brought large numbers of school and university students – and their parents, and the unions – out on the streets because the law would have allowed companies to dismiss employees under 26 during their first two years in a job without giving a reason. It seemed incomprehensible that an attempt to loosen up the labour market could be greeted with such a suicidal response in a country of high unemployment. Yet to many in France the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ model has mysteries of its own. In the parody version, it is an irrational economy with low-wage, low-security work, where employees push onions round a skillet or stick on a nametag and live at the mercy of a line manager, shuffling their debt around a full deck of credit cards, consuming for all they’re worth and then some. Small numbers of people get unattractively rich and the gap between wealthiest and poorest widens.

I’m sorry, did he just say that this is the “parody” version? As far as I know, Americans and Brits, no, generally don’t have much or any job security, legally speaking, and thus, yes, live at the mercy of the manager. Sure. And is Harding doubting the “full deck of credit card” issue? Is he disputing the widening gap between rich and poor?

Very strange stuff… There’s room for critique of the French system from many different perspectives, sure. But the bilious description of the French organization in the LRB piece speaks, I think, to a certain nervousness about the “Anglo-Saxon” model on the part of the Anglo-Saxons themselves, no?

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April 27, 2007 at 12:21 am