India Uncut

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Friday, August 04, 2006

McCarthy and Bush, male and female, Castro and Coke

I shall sign off for the day now, and return 19 hours from now. In the meantime, some links:

Hendrik Hertzberg tells us in the New Yorker about something George W Bush has in common with Joseph McCarthy: both of them refer(red) to the Democratic Party as the Democrat Party. Hertzberg examines the origin of this misterminology, which he likens to "the partisan equivalent of flashing a gang sign." He quotes William F Buckley Jr's assertion that this "has the effect of injecting politics into language," on which note I direct you to this classic essay by George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language." (It's just one of the many delights of this great collection.)

The Economist has a fine article up on innate differences between male and female brains, a subject that, bizarrely, is considered by some to be too politically incorrect to even discuss. Pfaw. Differences do not imply inequality, and the differences are undeniable, across species. The article cites a study in which researchers "gave some vervet monkeys a selection of toys, including rag dolls, pans, balls and trucks." What did they find? "Male monkeys spent more time with the trucks and balls. Females played for longer with the dolls." Nothing to do with 'cultural sterotyping' here.

Speaking of differences between men and women, Stephen King and John Irving have requested JK Rowling to let Harry Potter live. "But he's male," she is reported to have replied. "It will give me such satisfaction to finish him off." (Ok, ok, I made that quote up.)

From authors to publishers. Penguin has a blog. Heh. Maybe Blogger should bring out a book now. No, seriously, it's a good move, but only if it is accompanied by a genuine respect from the writer of the blog for the medium, and isn't just another gimmicky attempt to get on the blogging bandwagon. Readers are smart enough to discern which it is, and I hope it's the real McCoy, and gives us a juicy, inside look into the publishing world.

On to politics. Peggy Noonan says in the Wall Street Journal that Fidel Castro may be dead, and now "it's time to kill Castroism." She suggests:
Declare the old way over. Declare a new U.S.-Cuban relationship, blow open the doors of commerce and human interaction, allow American investment and tourism, mix it up, reach out one by one and person by person to the people of Cuba. "Flood the zone." Flood it with incipient prosperity and the insinuation of democratic values. Let Castroism drown in it.
Hmm. And maybe Castro isn't dead and he'll just stomp out of his hospital bed and march over to a MacDonald's and make a final request. "Before I die," he will wheeze, "lemme have just one Coke. Just one."

Good riddance.

Update (August 5): Karthik PG writes in to point me to an interesting piece in the Guardian, "638 ways to kill Castro." Of course, it was Way No. 639 that finally seems to be working: Wait for Old Age to kill him. If you want to hire an assassin and can afford to be patient, Time will never fail ya.
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