Thursday, November 29, 2012

What I’m reading #89

Questions in the Guardian we can answer with a simple no, and not just because this, ostensibly about Benjamin Britten, is really about the vile Savile:
Is it important, and if so in what sense and to what degree, that one of this country's most significant composers of the past century – in many people’s view, the most significant modern British composer of them all – was intensely attracted to underage young boys, invited them to stay at his home, sometimes took them into his bed, or kissed them? In short, does it matter that he was, by inclination if not in practice, a paedophile?
Media “reporting” of science satire.

Unkindness towards New Zealanders from an Australian. Racist!

David Thorne. That’s all you need.

Cactus Kate reviews Paul Goldsmith’s biography of Alan Gibbs. Quote unquote:
Heaven forbid someone reading this book not knowing anything about Gibbs may mistake him for someone vanilla-flavoured Tip Top without even sprinkles who secretly enjoys mini-putt and lawn bowls behind art installations on his farm.
This book simply is not worthy.
Today’s to-do list reads:
1. Fergus
2. Linda
3. Damien
4. Jill
It’s not as exciting as it sounds.

Nicholas Reid on Salman Rushdie’s memoir Joseph Anton. (In which spirit, my memoir will be titled Jimi Eric.) Quote unquote:
Rushdie makes his case for free speech clearly and at considerable length. It is hard to argue with a man who as been threatened with death for writing a novel. He is, however, perturbed that there were many, particularly on the Left, who did not defend free speech as fully as they could, and instead sympathised with Muslims as if they were still victims of European imperialism, and therefore entitled to issue death threats. In Rushdie’s view, this meant they were confusing whole Muslim populations with fanatical clerics who stirred up those populations to secure their own power. It also meant that they were confusing all Muslim civilization with the phase through which Islam is now passing.
The new Metro has a long and thoughtful review by Paula Green of the new AUP anthology of New Zealand literature and stuff like that. It also has a one-pager on my friend Benedict Wall who is to play the lead role in Pirates of the Airwaves. Quote unquote:
“I am having the time of my life. I love this shit.”
The Economist on James Bond, here, here and here.

Chris Bourke remembers Bruce Morley, a very nice man and a great drummer. One night in the Birkenhead Tavern – he was playing in the Red Hot Chilli Peppers with Bill Lake, Marion Arts, Robbie Laven and I can’t remember the bass player but it would have been someone amazing –  he tried to teach me to beat three with one hand and four with the other. Easy-peasy for him. Not so much for me.

The Great Barrier Reef alarmists jump the shark.

New Statesman columnist Laurie Penny would like your money. Why can’t English people talk properly? And why are there three Ts in “glottal stop”? That’s just cruel.

Astonishing to read in the Guardian of all places that Obama may be a psycho killer:
Political leaders and political movements convinced of their own Goodness are usually those who need greater, not fewer, constraints in the exercise of power. That’s because – like religious True Believers – those who are convinced of their inherent moral superiority can find all manner to justify even the most corrupted acts on the ground that they are justified by the noble ends to which they are put, or are cleansed by the nobility of those perpetrating those acts.
Political factions driven by self-flattering convictions of their own moral superiority – along with their leaders – are the ones most likely to abuse power. Anyone who ever listened to Bush era conservatives knows that this conviction drove them at their core (“you are with us or with the Terrorists”), and it is just as true of Obama-era progressives who genuinely see the political landscape as an overarching battle between forces of Good (Democrats: i.e., themselves) and forces of Evil (Republicans).
So here, for no reason other than he is awesome and you may recognise the riff, is Prince with his new song “Rock and Roll Love Affair”, which is much better than its title:

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