Left Eye on Books

Saturday, March 04, 2006

New and Noted

What Democracy Looks Like. From the back cover: "The convergence of activists in Seattle... marked the first major expression on U.S. soil of worldwide opposition to inequality, privatization, and political and intellectual repression. This turing point in world politics coincided with an ongoing quandary in academia... where the so-called 'death of theory' has left the (humanities) on tenuous footing. .. What Democracy Looks like... argues that these crises--in the world and the academy--are related... The narrative, the poem, the essay, and the dramatic arts need to be reexamined in ways that are relevant to the urgent social and political issues of our time." Essays by Jameson, Denning, Lipsitz, Tony Kushner, among others.

The Penguin Brokeback Mountain

Parents upset about the 'gay Penguin' story And Tango Makes Three demand it be moved to the 'nonfiction' portion of the library. I'm so tired of conservatives who believe the world should be rearranged to 'protect' their children from (take your pick) gays, interracial couples, non-Christians, etc. etc.

Friday, March 03, 2006

For God and Country

Review of former army captain and Muslim chaplain James Yee's autobiography in Asia Times today. Yee was accused of espionage.

As part of his responsibility as Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo, Yee reported up the chain of command on various practices he deemed in contravention of the US Army's standard operating procedures and American values. He believes he was targeted because of those reports.

The review concludes:

Yee's autobiography amply demonstrates the huge gap between the lofty rhetoric of the Bush administration about its "war on terror" and the practical realities that many Muslims are feeling around the world. After September 11, Yee was dedicated to doing everything he could to reduce the gulf of misunderstanding about Islam and Muslims. He was thrown in prison and had his career ruined for his efforts.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Beyond Chutzpah

Norman Finkelstein on Middle East Journal's review of Beyond Chutzpah:

(Marc) Saperstein wonders why University of California Press published my book. The obvious answer would seem to be that it both passed an unprecedentedly rigorous peer review process and met the press's rigorous publication standards. In a sane intellectual culture the only questions would be: Why did MEJ commission a review from Saperstein, and why did he agree to do it? His only qualification for reviewing my book would seem to be that for many years he sat on the Board of Directors of Harvard Hillel and was a colleague of Dershowitz. Readers of MEJ would have been better served if the editors had exercised minimum professional responsibility rather than let their pages be used for a transparent--not to mention slightly ridiculous--hatchet job.

Monday, February 27, 2006

R.I.P. Octavia Butler

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Death of Discourse

Robert Jensen has a review of Ronald K.L. Collins' and David M. Skover's The Death of Discourse in Counterpunch.

As they phrase the questions: "If today's First Amendment represents a way of life, what kind of life? If it represents freedom, what kind of freedom? And if it represents the triumph of democracy, what kind of democracy?"