The Art of Tetman Callis

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Entries from June 2017

Another dismal political reality

June 30th, 2017 · No Comments

“Religious violence is typically different from any other kind of warfare—for the simple reason that for a true believer, there is no compromise about the sacred. Or, to put it in a more monotheistic key: one God, one truth. Tolerance is not an intrinsic part of any of the monotheistic religions. For some believers, the […]

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Tags: Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon · Politics & Law · The Forever War

But the rich have gotten richer, that’s a start

June 29th, 2017 · No Comments

“Despite some success, the industrialized world has done relatively little to alleviate poverty, not just in the Arab and Muslim world, but globally. Indifference is not the full reason. In absolute terms, significant sums are given over to poverty reduction by contributors to multilateral development banks and by bilateral donors. The ineffectuality of aid programs […]

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Tags: Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon · Economics · Politics & Law · The Forever War

File under ‘R’

June 28th, 2017 · No Comments

“Reorganization is the classic technique to avoid problems that are too complex or deeply rooted to solve.” – Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror

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Tags: Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon · The Forever War · Verandah

Decline and fall

June 27th, 2017 · No Comments

“History, scholars say, is written in three stages: heroic, with the narratives of great individuals and their feats; revisionist, which turns those accounts on their head; and tragic, where we see how events conspired to bring about an end beyond the reckoning of most actors of the time.” – Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The […]

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Tags: Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon · Economics · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · The Forever War

Newsmakers

June 26th, 2017 · No Comments

“There is a schizophrenia about the power of the press. At times, we still think of it as an objective bystander, narrating events—and many of its leading practitioners portray it this way. In American democracy, however, the press is part of the policy process. As Washington reporters from top newspapers and the networks know well, […]

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Tags: Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon · Politics & Law · The American Constitution · The Forever War

Not all it’s cracked up to be

June 25th, 2017 · No Comments

“There are few more durable illusions in American life than the omnipotent presidency. For fear of appearing weak, incumbents rarely draw attention to the minimal powers accorded them by the Constitution and established practices of American government. Their critics in Congress and the public avoid mentioning this inconvenient fact because letting the executive off the […]

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Tags: Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon · Politics & Law · The American Constitution · The Forever War

Making sense of it all

June 24th, 2017 · No Comments

“The political and the non-political, freedom and restriction, fairness and unfairness, ideas and their consequences: these distinctions are all indispensable but contingent. They are working distinctions. We can’t do without them, on pain of intellectual and social incoherence. But what content we give them is determined by our fundamental goals and values, our deepest sense […]

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Tags: George Scialabba · Politics & Law

Making art safe

June 23rd, 2017 · No Comments

“Contemporary society, and in particular contemporary criticism, has tamed the arts, gradually deprived them of their prophetic and subversive possibilities. There’s no place in modern life for the mystical or the unpredictable; the arts have been institutionalized and are now managed by a cultural bureaucracy of scholars, critics, patrons, businessmen, and publicists. . . . […]

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Tags: Economics · George Scialabba · Lit & Crit

It’s a free country

June 22nd, 2017 · No Comments

“A four-letter word beginning with ‘f’ has tragically corrupted the minds of countless innocent Americans. I mean ‘free,’ in the expressions ‘free market’ and ‘free enterprise.’ It is a glorious word, of course, but its association with these morally neutral abstractions generally serves to obscure their often harsh and irrational consequences.” – George Scialabba, “The […]

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Tags: Economics · George Scialabba

All you need is

June 21st, 2017 · No Comments

“Literature has always been about love; the modern novel has been about love as a problem. More precisely, about love as one instance of the fundamental modern problem: autonomy, individuality, selfhood. Enacting one’s identity, living up to one’s inherited role, offered premoderns plenty of scope for literary heroism; but devising one’s identity, choosing one’s role, […]

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Tags: George Scialabba · Lit & Crit

To be disillusioned

June 20th, 2017 · No Comments

“We read the late novels of D.H. Lawrence or the cantos of Ezra Pound, aware that these are works of enormously gifted writers yet steadily troubled by the outpouring of authoritarian and Fascist ideas. We read Bertolt Brecht’s ‘To Posterity,’ in which he offers an incomparable evocation of the travail of Europe in the period […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit

The silence of the lambs

June 19th, 2017 · No Comments

“A number of gravestones lie fallen; the grass is rank. This is the burial-site of Russian infantry who died at the approaches to Weimar when the war was virtually over. No more, I reckon, than thirty or forty graves. A fair number are those of boy-soldiers, aged sixteen or seventeen, out of the Asian steppe, […]

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Tags: Politics & Law · The Second World War

You’ve been warned

June 18th, 2017 · No Comments

“A little learning is a dangerous thing, though not nearly as dangerous as a lot of it.” – George Scialabba, “Errata”

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Tags: George Scialabba · Lit & Crit

Day of locusts

June 17th, 2017 · No Comments

“Humanity today is living in a large brothel! One has only to glance at its press, films, fashion shows, beauty contests, ballrooms, wine bars, and broadcasting stations! Or observe its mad lust for naked flesh, provocative pictures, and sick, suggestive statements in literature, the arts, and mass media! And add to all this the system […]

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Tags: Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon · Economics · Politics & Law · The Forever War

The extent of it

June 16th, 2017 · No Comments

“Life is short, the arts long, opportunity fleeting, experience fallacious, judgment difficult.” – Hippocrates of Kos

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Tags: Lit & Crit · The Ancients

Try as we might

June 15th, 2017 · No Comments

“You should know that there is little you can seek in this world, that there is no need for you to be so greedy, in the end all you can achieve are memories, hazy, intangible, dreamlike memories, which are impossible to articulate.” – Gao Xingjian, Soul Mountain (trans. Mabel Lee)

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Verandah

Apples and oranges

June 14th, 2017 · No Comments

“The leading British conservative of the 19th century, Benjamin Disraeli, was a legendary wit and a successful novelist whose books are still worth reading. The leading American conservative of the 20th century, Ronald Reagan, was an amiable duffer with a head full of old movies and a shoebox full of old newspaper clippings. The leading […]

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Tags: George Scialabba · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law

The great leveller

June 13th, 2017 · No Comments

“War brings out the worst in everybody. No matter how honorable you are in carrying out your cause, things happen that you feel ashamed of later on.” – Maurice Greenberg, “We Were So Naive”

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Tags: The Forever War · Verandah

A well-founded opinion

June 12th, 2017 · No Comments

“The rejection of facts; the rejection of reason and science—that is the path to decline.” – President Barack Obama, Rutgers University Commencement Speech, 2016  

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Tags: Economics · Politics & Law · Verandah

Scintillating information

June 11th, 2017 · No Comments

“Scintillation is the term used to describe communications disruptions caused by high-altitude nuclear explosion.” – “Army Weaponry and Equipment,” 1991 Army Green Book (ed. L. James Binder, et al.)

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Tags: The Forever War · Verandah

Let’s get this straight

June 10th, 2017 · No Comments

“The only vital national interest, by definition, is survival. States cease to exist if they fail to safeguard that essential. Serious threats to survival therefore compel stringent countermeasures.” – John M. Collins, U.S.-Soviet Military Balance, 1960-1980

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Tags: Politics & Law · The Forever War

It’s not in the budget

June 9th, 2017 · No Comments

“Generals are a happily blessed race who radiate confidence and power. They feed only on ambrosia and drink only nectar, except when they are drinking bourbon. In peace, they stride confidently and can invade a world simply by sweeping their hands grandly over a map, pointing their fingers decisively up terrain corridors and blocking defiles […]

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Tags: Economics · Politics & Law · The Forever War

Sounds like a plan

June 8th, 2017 · No Comments

“The best defense against nuclear weapons is to be somewhere else when they detonate.” – John M. Collins, U.S.-Soviet Military Balance, 1960-1980

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Tags: The Forever War · Verandah

Sweet dreams are made of these

June 7th, 2017 · No Comments

“The thing about a story is that you dream it as you tell it, hoping that others might then dream along with you, and in this way memory and imagination and language combine to make spirits in the head.” – Tim O’Brien, “The Lives of the Dead”

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Tim O'Brien

What it takes, what it makes

June 6th, 2017 · No Comments

“By telling stories, you objectify your own experience. You separate it from yourself. You pin down certain truths. You make up others.” – Tim O’Brien, “Notes”

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Tim O'Brien

Pretty as a picture

June 5th, 2017 · No Comments

“For all its horror, you can’t help but gape at the awful majesty of combat. You stare out at tracer rounds unwinding through the dark like brilliant red ribbons. You crouch in ambush as a cool, impassive moon rises over the nighttime paddies. You admire the fluid symmetries of troops on the move, the harmonies […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · The Vietnam War · Tim O'Brien

Definitions

June 4th, 2017 · No Comments

“War is hell, but that’s not the half of it, because war is also mystery and terror and adventure and courage and discovery and holiness and pity and despair and longing and love. War is nasty; war is fun. War is thrilling; war is drudgery. War makes you a man; war makes you dead.” – […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Tim O'Brien

Tell it like it is

June 3rd, 2017 · No Comments

“A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you […]

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Tags: Economics · The Vietnam War · Tim O'Brien

The connection

June 2nd, 2017 · No Comments

“Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.” – Tim O’Brien, “Spin”

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Tim O'Brien

Shrapnel of being

June 1st, 2017 · No Comments

“What sticks to memory, often, are those odd little fragments that have no beginning and no end.” – Tim O’Brien, “Spin”

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Tim O'Brien