Saturday, September 25, 2010

Zuma heading south?

The Economist blog features this article re: Zuma being sidelined. Seems to me, the only way forward for South African politics is that COSATU and the ANC  separate and that other parties begin to fill the void.  The coziness of the two powerhouses, especially given the organizational/power structure of the ANC, equals corruption and stagnation for South Africa. The ANC Youth League seems to have been chastised for 'behavioural' issues.  For more of Zapiro's political cartoons and commentary, see this link.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cross Dressing, Gender Roles, Social Needs

In June 2008, the New York Times carried a fascinating story about women in Albania who live their lives as men, largely because their families had lost viable males in honour killings, war, etc.  This practice is, apparently dying out. Today the NYT has a story about girls in Afghanistan who are dressed as boys. Many of these girls are loathe to return to female roles/clothes because of the constraint this places on their lives. Be sure to read the comments (click on the 'Highlights' tabs of the comments section): some people are shocked, amazed, puzzled, intrigued, etc.  The particularities of situations like this vary, but there have certainly been examples of women dressing as men (in life and fiction), men dressing as women, in all cultures through many ages.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The ANC Continues to Accumulate Demerits....

In Sunday's New York Times, Andre Brink contributed an op-ed piece on the "cloud of secrecy" beginning to shroud the dissemination of untainted information in South Africa.  In Tuesday's Mail & Guardian there is a report on a conference in Cape Town on this very cloud of secrecy. The shudders are starting to ripple.....when will the tide turn against the rot in the ANC....

A rightful slap on the wrist....

The EU has finely had enough and found it's spine
European Commissioner Vice President and Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding scolded the French for hiding their true intention of getting rid of the Roma, despite protests that these eviction notices pertained to all illegal immigrants, etc, etc, etc.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Another fine intellect departs.....

I was traveling and out of the news-loop (learning about horse racing instead) and so just today learned about the death of Frank Kermode on 17 August 2010.  His wisdom and insights will be missed.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Booker Shortlist is Announced

The six shortlisted authors are:
Peter Carey, Emma Donoghue, Damon Galgut, Howard Jacobson, Andrea Levy and Tom McCarthy.
I am sorry that David Mitchell was not amongst the above.  Damon Galgut is my favourite: his earlier work, The Impostor, is very thought-provoking, on a personal and political level.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet: A NovelThe Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet: A Novel by David Mitchell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the kind of book I want to race through to see how it ends, but the language is so beautiful, the observations so acute, the texture so deep, that restraint is required.  And, the book doesn't just end...there are endings, and twists, and turnings, all the way through.  A brilliant writer, interesting topic.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Now it's the Italians, again, dumping the Roma....

Today's New York Times features the Italians vs. Roma. Following the lead of the French, the Italian authorities are closing legal encampment some cases, Roma families have been living, and making a living, here for several decades.  The situation of the Roma in all of Europe is untenable and seems intractable.  For  personal views by an outsiders, read Bury Me Standing by Isabel Fonseca and Zoli by Colum McCann