The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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Entries from December 2016

One damn thing after another

December 31st, 2016 · No Comments

“To the Koreans the end of World War II and Japanese colonialism had not brought, as so many had hoped, a great new breath of freedom and a chance to reconstruct their country to their own political contours. That where there had been only one Korea there were now two was a grievous injustice by […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · The Korean War

The unforgiven

December 30th, 2016 · No Comments

“For [Sergeant First Class] Bill Richardson, the decisions they made after he returned to the perimeter proved the most painful he ever experienced. Nothing that happened in the next few days, or far that matter in the rest of his life, measured up to it. There were perhaps 150 wounded men there by then, and […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · The Korean War

No parades upon return

December 29th, 2016 · No Comments

“The Americans who fought in Korea often felt cut off from their countrymen, their sacrifices unappreciated, their faraway war of little importance in the eyes of contemporaries. It had none of the glory and legitimacy of World War II, so recently concluded, in which the entire country had seemed to share in one great purpose […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · The Korean War

But you can be president

December 28th, 2016 · No Comments

“If you do not know where you come from, you will always be a child.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

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Tags: Cicero · The Ancients

You can’t see there from here

December 27th, 2016 · No Comments

“No description of how things are from a God’s-eye point of view, no skyhook provided by some contemporary or yet-to-be-developed science, is going to free us from the contingency of having been acculturated as we were. Our acculturation is what makes certain options live, or momentous, or forced, while leaving others dead, or trivial, or […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Richard Rorty

The incineration of the vanities

December 26th, 2016 · No Comments

“In the wake of Japan’s surrender, Hirohito’s soldiers, sailors and airmen were shocked to find themselves objects of obloquy among their own people. Public animosity embraced the humblest as well as the loftiest warriors. After years of suffering, all the pent-up frustration and misery of the Japanese people was made manifest in the wake of […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

A new white man’s burden

December 24th, 2016 · No Comments

“Nowhere was relief at the dropping of the bomb more intense and heartfelt than in prison camps throughout the Japanese empire. Yet even among those for whom Hiroshima promised deliverance, a few displayed more complex emotions. Lt. Stephen Abbott’s closest friend, Paul, a devout Christian, entered their bleak barrack room in Japan and said: ‘Stephen—a […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

We can all have one of these

December 23rd, 2016 · No Comments

“ ‘Little Boy,’ ‘an elongated trash can with fins’ . . . exploded 1,900 feet above Hiroshima’s Shima Hospital, 550 feet from its aiming point. . . . The 8,900-pound device created temperatures at ground level which reached 5,400 degrees and generated the explosive power of 12,500 tons of TNT. All but 6,000 of the […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War · Verandah

You have to have people killed

December 22nd, 2016 · No Comments

“Many people of later generations and all nationalities have viewed the dropping of atomic weapons on Japan as events which, in their unique horror, towered over the war as a dark mountain bestrides the plain. In one sense this perception is correct, because the initiation of the nuclear age provided mankind with unprecedented power to […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · Politics & Law · The Second World War

The motivator

December 21st, 2016 · No Comments

“On 24 April [1945] Truman received from [Secretary of War] Stimson a letter requesting a meeting to discuss ‘a highly secret matter.’ . . . The Manhattan Project represented the most stupendous scientific effort in history. In three years, at a cost of $2 billion [$26-and-a-third billion in 2015 dollars], the U.S.—with some perfunctorily acknowledged […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Divorced from reality, married to perdition

December 20th, 2016 · No Comments

“From the winter of 1944 onwards, a significant party in Tokyo was seeking a route by which to end the war, and to overcome the army’s resolve to fight to the last. Even the most dovish, however, wanted terms that were not remotely negotiable, including the preservation of Japanese hegemony in Korea and Manchuria, freedom […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Once was enough

December 19th, 2016 · No Comments

“Some historians, armed with knowledge of subsequent events, argue that the capture of Okinawa was unnecessary. It did not bring Japan’s surrender a day closer. Yet to those directing the operation at the time, it was perceived as an indispensable preliminary to invasion of the Japanese home islands. [The Battle of] Okinawa exercised an important […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Cool Hand Luke draws the ace

December 18th, 2016 · No Comments

“At 1005 on 11 May [1945], the first of two Zeroes plowed into the flight deck of [Admiral Marc] Mitscher’s flagship, Bunker Hill, starting devastating fires which raged through the ship. . . . In a succession of skillful manoeuvres, Captain George Seitz saved Bunker Hill from absolute destruction by swinging her broadside to the […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

You don’t miss what you never had

December 17th, 2016 · No Comments

“What enabled some men to survive the unspeakable experiences of captivity, while others perished? [Captain] Mel Rosen attributed 5 percent to self-discipline, 5 percent to optimism—‘If you didn’t think you were going to make it, you didn’t’—and 90 percent to ‘pure luck.’ Milton Young, a carpenter’s son from Rhode Island who spent an orphan childhood […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Not all bad

December 16th, 2016 · No Comments

“An enormous amount has been written about Japanese cruelty to prisoners. It should be noticed, nonetheless, that conditions varied widely in different camps. For instance, 2,000 British POWs in Saigon lived not intolerably until late 1944, sometimes even able to slip under the wire to visit local shops and brothels. It seems important also to […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Good luck with all that

December 15th, 2016 · No Comments

“To make the United States an effective democracy – to shift control over the state from the centers of financial and industrial power, now global in reach, to broadly based, self-financed and self-governing groups of active citizens with only average resources – will take several generations, at least. This is a daunting prospect for just […]

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Tags: Economics · George Scialabba · Politics & Law

Very dry martinis, with a twist

December 14th, 2016 · No Comments

“Western civilians who fell into the hands of the Japanese in China, the Philippines and South-East Asia were technically interned rather than imprisoned, often crowded into clusters of former colonial homes. In a few places, notably Shanghai, such communities came through the war worn, strained and wretched, yet almost all alive. In Shanghai’s Chapei camp, […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

The still, calm center

December 13th, 2016 · No Comments

“In a violent, distracted, media-saturated world the most needed artistic resource is no longer a critique of the possibility of meaning—mass culture itself has become that critique. What is needed, rather, is the production of meaning that resists distraction. Consumer capitalism thrives by simultaneously creating human loneliness and commodifying a thousand cures for it. One […]

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Tags: Economics · Lit & Crit · Vizarts

So that was Christmas

December 12th, 2016 · No Comments

“American prisoners in the Philippines suffered grievously from the fact that, after enduring the siege of Bataan, most were half-starved when they entered captivity. ‘The ones who wouldn’t eat died pretty early on,’ said Paul Reuter of the USAAF, a twenty-four-year-old miner’s son from Shamokin, Pennsylvania. ‘I buried people who looked much better than me. […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Let those who have ears, hear

December 11th, 2016 · No Comments

“An America darkened by ignorant and bigoted religiosity cannot hear too often about the plucky, gloriously open-minded rationalists who launched Western civilization in 5th-century Athens.” – George Scialabba, “Apologies to Thucydides”

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Tags: George Scialabba · Politics & Law · The Ancients

Oh, you poor dear

December 10th, 2016 · No Comments

“All your life people say what do you do and you say I’m a poet and they just kind of look like you said you’re a stripper. And then they throw a blanket on you. Like so how do you live or something. Or are you published. You know how it goes.” – Eileen Myles, […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit

The tired, the poor, the huddled masses

December 9th, 2016 · No Comments

“Who are the poor, and what do they need? 1.1 billion people have less than $1 a day of income. This is officially designated ‘extreme’ poverty. Another 1.6 billion have between $1 and $2 a day; this is ‘moderate’ poverty. This large slice of humankind either cannot, or can just barely, meet their basic needs. […]

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Tags: Economics · George Scialabba · Politics & Law

Living the lie

December 8th, 2016 · No Comments

“It is often said these days that America is a Christian country. If that’s true, then a great many Americans should be worried about their eternal salvation. According to Jesus, when He returns to settle accounts at the Last Judgment, He will separate the sheep from the goats, telling the goats: ‘Go, you damned souls, […]

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Tags: Economics · George Scialabba · Other Stuff · Politics & Law

The fall of the West

December 7th, 2016 · No Comments

“It is hard to overstate the trauma suffered by more than 100,000 American, British, Australian and Indian servicemen taken prisoner during the early Allied defeats. They had been conditioned by their culture to suppose that surrender was a misfortune which might befall any fighting man, especially those as poorly led as had been the Allies […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Fates worse than death

December 6th, 2016 · No Comments

“When the war ended, it became possible to compare the fates of Allied servicemen under the Nazis and the Japanese. Just 4 percent of British and American POWs had died in German hands. Yet 27 percent—35,756 out of 132,134—of Western Allied prisoners lost their lives in Japanese captivity. The Chinese suffered in similar measure. Of […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Slaughter in context

December 5th, 2016 · No Comments

“The U.S. in 1945 was a prisoner of great industrial decisions taken years earlier, in quite different strategic circumstances. In 1942, the commitment to build the B-29 long-range bomber was entirely rational. The programme reached technological maturity and large-scale production too late to make a decisive impact on the war. Yet it was asking far […]

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Tags: Economics · Max Hastings · Politics & Law · The Second World War

Kindling

December 4th, 2016 · No Comments

“The 9 March 1945 American bomber attack on Tokyo killed around 100,000 people, and rendered a million homeless. Over 10,000 acres of buildings were destroyed—16 square miles, a quarter of the city. A hundred of the capital’s 287 fire stations and a similar number of its 250 medical facilities were wiped out. Over the weeks […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

The end was never in doubt

December 3rd, 2016 · No Comments

“Popular perceptions of the Second World War identify the August 1945 atomic bomb attacks on Japan as a unique horror. Yet the fate of Hiroshima and Nagasaki can only properly be understood against the background of the air campaign which preceded the nuclear explosions, killing substantially larger numbers of people before the grotesque nicknames of […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Silent service

December 2nd, 2016 · No Comments

“By early 1945, Japan’s ability to provide raw materials for its industries, and even to feed itself, was fatally crippled. The nation could import by sea no more than a fraction of its requirements. An invisible ring of steel extended around the waters of the home islands, created by the submarines of the U.S. Navy. […]

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Tags: Economics · Max Hastings · The Second World War

Until they all fall down

December 1st, 2016 · No Comments

“The post-1972 take-off of financialization coincided with advances in computing capacity and the discovery of new mathematical techniques for valuing options and constructing derivatives. To begin with, these techniques were used mainly to reduce uncertainty and hedge currency risk. But before long it became clear that derivative swaps could be used to bamboozle tax authorities […]

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Tags: Economics · Robin Blackburn