Saturday, May 26, 2012

What I’m reading

There is a wonderful exchange of emails between George Monbiot and Noam Chomsky here. Monbiot wrote a Guardian column on genocide and cited a book on the subject to which Chomsky had contributed a foreword. The book downplays the massacres in Srebrenica and Rwanda and Monbiot, understandably, wondered whether Chomsky had actually read it. So, being a journalist, he asked him. Anger and insults ensued. Clearly Monbiot is right and Chomsky is grievously wrong but the self-importance of both is stunning. (I have never understood the reverence in which Chomsky is held as a political commentator, apparently based on his being an authority on linguistics. Few reverers can have read his books on the subject. I have, so I am not a reverer. Also, from these emails, he seems to be a total prick.) Money quote from Chomsky:
Did you read my article before writing about it? If not, then we can drop the discussion. If you did, then you know that it brought up colossal cases of genocide denial, vastly beyond anything that concerns you, and vastly more important as well for obvious reasons. I’ll keep just to the one case we’ve discussed – there are others — but that you don’t seem to comprehend, for reasons that escape me: the denial of the slaughter of tens of millions in the Western hemisphere, about 10 million in the territorial US alone.
Behind the scenes at James Bond auditions: excellent captions.

Brian Pigeon writes:
I keep getting asked about places to stay for any pigeons visiting London this year for the Pigeon Olympics. [. . .] There’s such a wide variety of ledges available it’s often hard to choose the right one for you. Sheltered? Not sheltered? Do you share, or are you looking for something a little more private?
Accommodation advice for pigeons heading to London here.

Jillian Ewart at Booksellers NZ on the challenges facing New Zealand booksellers, and what they are doing about it. Nice to see her talking to booksellers outside of Auckland and Wellington.

Speaking of the provinces, Stuff reports via AP:
A herd of cows has crashed a small gathering in a US town and bullied the guests for their beer. Massachusetts’ Boxford police Lieutenant James Riter says he was responding to a call for loose cows on Sunday and spotted them in a front yard.
Riter says the herd high-tailed it for the backyard and then he heard screaming. He says when he ran back there he saw the cows had chased off some young adults and were drinking their beers.
Riter says the cows had knocked the beer cans over on a table and were lapping up what spilled. He says they even started rooting around the recycled cans for some extra drops.
This is a very real problem here in Cambridge. We don’t like to talk about it to strangers – it’s a bit embarrassing, really. Where we live we are surrounded by cows – there is a cow paddock about a hundred metres from our house (see below); the children’s school has a milking shed directly across the road. They are everywhere. It’s all right for the people on the south side of the river where the streets are all literary and the cows do not roam, but here on the north side it can get rugged in barbecue season when we’re knocking back a few coldies. It’s the Friesians, you see. They really like their beer.

Meet the neighbours:


Stephanie said...

The brown ones are much more sophisticated and prefer wine.

Stephen Stratford said...

I wonder what Charolais prefer.