Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Day Today - January 1. 2008

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling writes:

As Brain Stab desiccates around me...

Here's Camille Paglia telling the Europeans she don't take kindly to their sort.

Theodore Dalrymple on modern art that has merit!

All this one understands at once—immediately—on seeing the photographs that make up a series that simultaneously satisfies the eye. It is a brilliant conception, brilliantly carried out. But it is no mere exercise in cleverness, such as one might expect from artists in more fortunate political climes: for one understands at once also that the artist is a patriot, a man whose heart genuinely bleeds for his beloved country, whose emotions run too deep to be satisfied by expression in simple propositional form.

There is, within the study of modern German history, a debate as to whether Germany was "defeated" or "liberated". I tend towards the latter view, an opinion reinforced by a study of German resistance movements which consist basically of half a dozen - albeit courageous and commendable - bomb plots. The rest of Germany's seventy million seemed to have just done nothing. so this article by Peter Schneider is welcome because he begins to bring out stories of Germans who did try and do something and explains why their stories have until now been hidden.

He also has a bit of a go at Goldhagen and his view that German civilization had for centuries been driving toward the "project" of the Holocaust; at any point, millions of Germans could have stepped into the shoes of the hundreds of thousands who actually committed the crime. A good listen is Clive James interviewing Michael Burleigh. I have, apparently, wasted my money on Goldhagen's book, but Burleigh's is at the local "Second Hand". Might look out for Fest as well.

Harry Potter - nihil novum sub sol este.

From this very interesting piece on primate cultures comes something we libertarians have known all along. Treating people as individuals is better - in this case to ward off xenophobia.

There is a structure deep inside the brain called the amygdala, which plays a key role in fear and aggression, and experiments have shown that when subjects are presented with a face of someone from a different race, the amygdala gets metabolically active—aroused,...Or, as in a wonderful experiment by Susan Fiske, of Princeton University, subtly bias the subject beforehand to think of people as individuals rather than as members of a group, and the amygdala does not budge.

1 comment:

Apathy Jack said...

While there are many fine talking points in the above, I'll pick on the Potter, because, you know...

I think that Guardian article on the source of Harry Potter was far too thought-out. Why apply psychoanalysis to where the different elements of story came from? Just look at The Books Of Magic, written first by Neil Gaiman, about Tim Hunter, a bespectacled twelve-year-old who finds out that he's a powerful wizard; or 2000AD's serialisations of Josh Kirby, a bespectacled twelve-year-old who finds out that he's a powerful wizard.

Bugger the psychology (as Freud probably said), it's all about where Rowling stole her ideas from...