Monday, November 14, 2016

My marital status may change but not my politics

With all the discussion about various divisions among groups in the election, one has been little mentioned: single people voted more for the party advocating a more compassionate, inclusive and heterogeneous society, while married people voted more for the party advocating the opposite. Isabella and I are getting married this spring and it will be a happy and special and wonderful event. But, God willing, may I still vote the way the single people tend to do.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Forget Hillary

I have been polite so far about the election. Now I have had it because of what a now-ex-friend posted on my page. (It has been deleted).
First of all, forget Hillary. In much the same sense Jean Baudrillard once urged us to "forget Foucault." Bracket her. Leave her aside. Some like her, some don’t like her. I have worked hard for her both in 2008 and now, donating money I could not afford, making countless phone calls to total strangers. But even I will admit she has her strong points and weak points. I certainly do not claim her as a figure who should exert universal admiration.
But we are talking about Trump. And you should vote against Trump. Not for Hillary. And by this I don't mean for Stein and Johnson. I actually contributed $10 to Jill Stein when she was running for governor, I think, of Massachusetts. You can see that if you search online. But she is not presidential calibre. She is a vaccine sceptic and would not defend the country.
Gary Johnson is appealing to young white males who feel they will lose some of their privilege under a Hillary administration. Guys, one of the things straight white men have to deal with in this era is conceding our privilege. My generation had to deal with it. So does yours. Johnson is a radical free-marketer and guess what, millennials, you will be stuck with your student loans forever under a Gary Johnson administration, with your only consolation knowing what Aleppo is. And Gary Johnson would roll back the Obamacare that, among other things, paid for my colonoscopy last year. But that doesn’t matter, as he will never win. It is between Trump and the Democratic candidate.
But here is the thing: you should vote against Trump, not for Hillary, but for yourself. So many of you I know on here are idealistic, have your own dreams and aspirations; want this to be a better country and world. Your visions may be different from mine; my politics are very idiosyncratic and will be mirrored exactly by no one. But in all cases Trump will squelch and corrode your dreams. He will make them impossible. He is a racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, atavistically ignorant moron who stands against everything that has always made this country truly great, even if sometimes more in promise than in fulfillment. So forget Hillary. Close your eyes and pull the Democratic lever and just forget who is on it. Vote against Trump. Vote for yourselves and your dreams.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Trump, Obama, Putin--and systemic racism

Can anybody deny that when Trump says Putin is 'far more' of a leader than Obama, he is appealing to race and race only? In other words, I don't see Trump saying that Xi Jinping or Narendra Modi or Shinzo Abe is more of a leader than Obama, just Putin--the white guy. I think there is systemic racism in American life and I am not wary of attributing nearly any aberration in American culture to this systemic racism. This certainly includes "Mr. Trump" and his bizarre hostility to our President, whose American birth he has denied.  And, furthermore, I believe that, to my horror and disgust, this systemic racism 'trumps’ the Republican Party's historic hostility to Russia (seen as recently as Mitt Romney’s comments in 2012), and their historic championship of the small countries menaced and, yes, dominated a 1976 campaign reference), by the USSR and now Russia. I think Estonia, Poland, etc. are finding hat their former Republican friends have swerved away now that a chance to champion a more powerful white man, Putin, has presented itself

Friday, August 12, 2016

That Trollope



Podcast concerning the life and works of Anthony Trollope
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B19MGvOdqactdXk2ZmRtNDB4Rmc/view

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Dates and order of reading of my NYU Australian course

September 28 Gail Jones, Five Bells
October 5 Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang;
October 12 Charlotte Wopd, The Natural Way of Things
October 19 Shirley Hazzard, The Transit of Venus
October 26 Tim Winton, Breath 
November 2 Melissa Lucashenko, Mullumbimby; 
November 9  Christos Tsiolkas, The Slap
November 16 Thomas Keneally, The Daughters of Mars;

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

More on my NYU Australian course




Charlotte Wood's book just came out; it is an incredibly engaging  and also quite riveting thriller. Liane Moriarty just raved about it in the Times, and it got a long feature in the Economist.

Christos Tsiolkas's The Slap got huge publicity worldwide and was made into a very good Australian TV miniseries and a far less good American one. It is a highly contemporary, often divisive, but quite attention-holding book.

Peter Carey and Tim Winton really need to introduction to American readers; of course they are writers of widespread fame, among the finest in the world, and both Nobel contenders. Both Carey and Shirley Hazzard have lived and worked in New York City for many years and have been vital players on the American literary scene, demonstrating the continuing global stakes of Australian literature.  Thomas Keneally won the Booker Prize in 1982 for Schindler's List and has made war and its legacies his particular subject. 

Gail Jones and Melissa Lucashenko are up-and-coming writers who address Australia's neglected histories and the possibilities for changing them in this new century.