Eric Holder has managed to do the unthinkable…unite much of the press…against the administration. At least for a day. Usually the media is like this Monty Python scene from Life of Brian, but some of them may now be realizing “he’s not the Messiah,” and today most of them told the administration to take their off-the-record meeting and shove it. Yay!
A review of a new movie about Hannah Arendt, one of the most interesting women of the last hundred years. One of my summer reading goals is to re-read The Origins of Totalitarianism. Even if you’re not familiar with Arendt, you’ve probably heard the phrase she coined, “the banality of evil.” Here’s a brief summary of her life from the Tablet review:
Hannah Arendt (1906-1976) was that German-Jewish wild child who embarked on a teenaged love affair with a married professor twice her age, the philosopher king (and future Nazi) Martin Heidegger; who wrote her dissertation on the concept of love in the writings of St. Augustine; who, costumed as a harem girl, met her first husband attending a Marxist-sponsored masquerade ball at Berlin’s Museum of Ethnology. The young Hannah smoked cigars and exhibited an intellect so dazzling that her mainly Jewish cohort nicknamed her Pallas Athena. She messed with future colleague Leo Strauss’ mind, was arrested only weeks after the post-Reichstag Nazi seizure of power for engaging in illegal Zionist activities, then smuggled herself out of Germany and into Paris (where she directed the local branch of the Youth Aliyah) only to be “interned” by Vichy before escaping again. Arendt arrived in America carrying a cache of manuscripts entrusted to her by Walter Benjamin—appropriate in that, more than any other individual, she brought the culture of Weimar Jewish intellectuals to New York. She wrote for the German-Jewish press, worked for Schocken (where she edited the second edition of Gershom Scholem’s Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism as well as Kafka’s Diaries), introduced American readers to novelist Hermann Broch, contributed to Partisan Review and Commentary, and addressed the central political issue of her life with The Origins of Totalitarianism, published in 1951—the same year that she, stateless since 1933, was allowed to become an American citizen. A decade later, Arendt traveled to Jerusalem to report on the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the onetime Nazi “Administrator for Jewish Affairs,” captured by the Mossad in Argentina; in the late winter of 1963, nine months after Eichmann’s execution, she all but overshadowed the trial with five articles in The New Yorker that were shortly thereafter collected as Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. The most scandalous Jewish-American text to appear between Sholem Asch’s The Nazarene and Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint, Arendt’s report made “the banality of evil” a world-renowned phrase and its author the most reviled Jewish thinker since Baruch Spinoza.
As for the film itself…
As a film, Hannah Arendt is a sort of hybrid and not just because it is half in German. The movie is a didactic docu-drama, part old-school Soviet “publicist” film in its idealized, ideological representation of historical figures, and part Hollywood biopic in its entertainingly kitschy notion of how they might have interacted in real life…Von Trotta and Katz could not possibly do justice to the outrage—and outrageous abuse—that Arendt inspired, or to the breadth of her continents-spanning life and thought. A sprinkling of flashbacks notwithstanding, it’s Arendt in Jerusalem and on Eichmann that Von Trotta considers in her film…Hannah Arendt is ultimately a pleasure, because Sukowa plays the most forbidding of intellectuals as a fabulous, passionate doll. Sometimes clueless, sometimes kittenish, and always, always thinking, her Hannah is not only admirable but lovable. Sukowa’s vitality succeeds in bringing at least some of Arendt’s ideas to life—it should be interesting to see the degree to which, a half century after the controversy she inspired, its embers will be rekindled.
Speaking of questions of evil, here is an analysis of the influence of Marquis de Sade on the Western world, particularly America, over the last century and a half.
A tale told by an idiot…signifying nothing…here’s a summary of Veep Biden’s Latin America trip, told through Bidenisms. Never change, Joe, never change. But for the love of brain cells, don’t run for President.
The absolute failure of Common Core, in a great report by The Weekly Standard. I don’t know what everyone expected. Removing literature and historical context from education is idiotic. The goal should be to teach kids more, not less.
Massachusetts’s success was built upon a relentless focus on academics, specifically on literacy, math, and the liberal arts. Common Core emphasizes experiential, skills-based learning while reducing the amount of classic literature, poetry, and drama taught in English classes. Its more vocational bent includes far greater emphasis on jargon-laden “informational text” extracts, and it supports analyzing texts shorn of historical context and background knowledge…Rather than learn from leading states like Massachusetts, Common Core draws from the so-called “21st century skills” movement, which elevates soft skills like global awareness, media literacy, cross-cultural flexibility and adaptability, and creativity to equal footing with academic content. This less academic approach has, in fact, been road tested in places like Connecticut and West Virginia. Predictably, the results have been dismal…The Common Core standards are academically inferior to the standards they replaced in high performing states; and they ignore empirical lessons of how states like Massachusetts achieved historic successes. Neither local leaders nor their constituents like having policies force fed by Washington, especially when the new requirements amount to a massive, and possibly illegal, unfunded mandate.
The discovery of liquid woolly mammoth blood gives hope for cloning the great beasts. YES. DO IT. This is the best preserved mammoth ever found and the first time mammoth blood has been discovered.
Researchers from the Northeast Federal University in Yakutsk found the 10,000-year-old female mammoth buried in ice on the Lyakhovsky Islands off the coast of northeast Russia. Scientists say they poked the frozen creature with a pick and dark liquid blood flowed out. “The fragments of muscle tissues, which we’ve found out of the body, have a natural red color of fresh meat. The reason for such preservation is that the lower part of the body was underlying in pure ice,” said Semyon Grigoriev, the head of the expedition and of the university’s Mammoth Museum…”The blood is very dark, it was found in ice cavities below the belly and when we broke these cavities with a poll pick, the blood came running out,” he said. “Interestingly, the temperature at the time of excavation was -7 to -10ºC. It may be assumed that the blood of mammoths had some cryoprotective properties.” Cryoprotectant is a substance found in modern fish and amphibians living in the Arctic and Antarctic that minimizes the damage to the creatures’ tissue in freezing temperatures.
The most comprehensive exhibition of Edvard Munch’s art is going on display in Oslo for the artist’s 150th birthday. More than 270 works will be displayed.
Europeans have much more tolerance for the “nanny state” than we do, but when you take pint glasses away from the Scottish people…well, you’ve gone too far.
The traditional vessel is already outlawed in nightclubs in the Highlands, which are forced to serve all drinks – including champagne, cocktails and the finest malt whiskies – in plastic containers after 9pm because of police fears over potential injury. Now anyone enjoying a leisurely drink by the roaring fireside of even the remotest rural location could have to drink out of plastic because of the ruling. As the plans to extend the scheme were revealed, landlords labelled them “nanny-state” interference, and accused licensing board chiefs of treating their customers like children.
Our possible future: the French quit France because socialism sucks.
Hurry up and pick your kid for the Scripps spelling bee/fight to the death tonight.