Category Archives: Todo

Jacques Barzun

“For politicians not only represent us…They are the hardest working professionals; they must continuously learn new masses of facts, make judgments, give help, and continue to please. It is this obligation, of course, that makes them look unprincipled. To please and do another’s will is prostitution, but it remains the nub of the representative system.”

— Jacques Barzun

Is Democratic Theory for Export?: “Cultural historian Jacques Barzun argues that democracy is not an ideology that can be exported but a historical development and mode of life peculiar to the political context in which it developed. Extrapolating from this, we can say that attempts to base a foreign policy on the idea of exporting democracy—as sought by both the Reagan and Clinton administrations—will forever be doomed to failure.

A prominent feature of American political consciousness is a desire to propagate democracy throughout the world. In our enthusiasm to share what we enjoy, Jacques Barzun sees that little attention is paid to exactly what we are trying to distribute. Through a brief historical survey of democracy, he shows that our popular conception of the term does not correspond with any particular definition. U.S. democracy has no central text and is distinctly different, in theory and in practice, from the democracy of other states, both historical and contemporary. Democracy is an abstract ideal that is a function of time. Its present incarnation in the United States emphasizes freedom and equality through the means and language of specific personal rights. Barzun sees an internal tension in this formulation, one that ultimately threatens both freedom and equality if exported to the rest of the world.”

Print Interview The Austin Chronicle: Books: The Man Who Knew Too Much: Jacques Barzun, Idea Man

Recorded InterviewJacques Barzun. American scholar, cultural historian, teacher and educator and prolific author.

Online Library of Liberty – The Intellectual Portrait Series: Conversations with Leading Classical Liberal Figures of Our Time

Jacques Barzun on Cornell Woolrich – Christian Bauer

TIME Magazine Cover: Jacques Barzun – June 11, 1956 – Writers – Books | TIME: Parnassus, Coast to Coast

Flak Magazine: Melatonin Up, Civilization Down, 12.28.07

I met a seducer – Grace Paley

One day a seducer met a seducer
now said one                           what do we do
fly into each other's arms said
the other                           ugh said one                           they turned
stood back to back                           one
looked over one's shoulder                           smiled
shyly                           other turned seconds
too late                           made a lovelier
shy smile                           oh my dear said other
my own dear                           said one

Books – To Read (The New yorker)

Burqua & Nun & Modern1. “The Exception” by Christian Jungersen
Body Count: Books: The New Yorker: “In a Danish novel, office politics can be murder.”

This icy and affecting novel, with its juxtaposition of people trying to do good and yet behaving very badly toward each other, can certainly be read in many ways, but always with the vague unease that the privileged residents of Western liberal democracies feel about their comfortable lives. A onetime journalist and international-development expert named Gunnar observes, “We all know that the bottle of wine we’ve drunk tonight could have paid for vaccinating twenty kids and saving the life of at least one.” Soon enough, Gunnar has more to say on the broader question:

“I very much hope that the world will become a better place. And if it does, our grandchildren may look at us the way young people today regard the generation who collaborated with the Nazis. They’ll say, ‘I do not understand you.’ We will explain that life simply was the way it was. ‘Famines came and went and no one did anything about it. People died of hunger to provide us with cheaper coffee.’ We’ll have to admit that we knew but chose to do nothing about it.”

2. The Long March by Sun Shuyun
Briefly Noted: The New Yorker: Shuyun, a Chinese-born BBC documentary producer, retraces the route and interviews the few remaining survivors, in an account that shows the human cost of Mao’s revisionism

3. Prophet of Innovation by Thomas K. McCraw
Briefly Noted: The New Yorker: “After a series of dramatic turns (including stints as Austrian finance secretary and investment adviser to an Egyptian princess, and a tragic, arguably bigamous marriage), Joseph Schumpeter landed in the dubious sanctuary of Harvard (“despicable playground of despicable little tyrants,” he wrote), where he turned out several key texts in twentieth-century political economics. McCraw doesn’t get lost in the baroque details of Schumpeter’s story”

Movies to watch (Netflix)

1. No End in Sight

2. Rocket Science

3. Alice Neel

4. Superbad

5. The Devil came on Horseback

6. Blame it on Fidel

Reading Recommendations – American & English Fiction

ஆங்கிலத்தில் ‘must read’ என்று ஒரு பட்டியல் போடச்சொன்னால், நீங்கள் பரிந்துரைக்கும் பட்டியல் தருவீர்களா எனக்கு? நவீன இலக்கியத்தில் தான் வேண்டும்.

என்று நண்பரிடமிருந்து கேள்வி. என்றாவது நேரம் கிடைக்கும்போது படிக்க வேண்டும் என்று நான் நினைக்கும் பட்டியல்:

  1. Reservation Blues – Sherman Alexie (1995)
  2. The House of Spirits – Isabel Allende (1985)
  3. Money – Martin Amis (1984)
  4. Bless Me, Ultima – Rudolfo Anya (1973)
  5. Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood (1996)
  6. Go Tell it on the Mountain – James Baldwin (1953)
  7. Collected Fictions – Jorge Luis Borges (1998)
  8. Drop City – TC Boyle (2003)
  9. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury (1953)
  10. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card (1985)
  11. Death Comes for the Archbishop – Willia Carther (1927)
  12. The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler (1939)
  13. The Fruit ‘N Food – Leonard Chang (1996)
  14. Donald Duk – Frank Chin (1991)
  15. A Murder is Announced – Agatha Christie (1950)
  16. American Woman – Susan Choi (2003)
  17. Fifth Business – Robertson Davies (1970)
  18. Rockbound – Frank Praker Day (1928)
  19. White Noise – Don DeLilo (1985)
  20. The Red Tent – Anita Diamant (1997)
  21. The stolen Child – Keith Donohue (2006)
  22. A Yellow Raft on Blue Water – Michael Dorris (1987)
  23. An American Tragedy – Theodore Dreiser (1925)
  24. Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison (1952)
  25. Love Medicine – Louise Erdrich (1984)
  26. Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides (2002)
  27. The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner (1929)
  28. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
  29. From Russia with Love – Ian Fleming (1957)
  30. Inez – Carlos Fuentes (2000)
  31. A gathering of Old Men – Ernest J Gaines (1983)
  32. Dreaming in Cuban – Cristina Garcia (1992)
  33. I Wish Someone were Waiting for me Somewhere – Anna Gavalda
  34. Herland – Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1915)
  35. Three Junes – Julia Glass (2002)
  36. Rites of Passage – William Golding (1980)
  37. Our Man in Havana -Graham Greene (1958)
  38. The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett (1930)
  39. The Puppet Masters – Robert Heinlein (1951)
  40. Winter’s Tale – Mark Helprin (1983)
  41. Goodbye, Mr. Chips – James Hilton (1934)
  42. The River King – Alice Hoffman (2000)
  43. Brave New world – Aldous Huxley (1932)
  44. Deafening – Frances Itani (2003)
  45. The Love Wife – Gish Jen (2004)
  46. Dead Solid Perfect – Dan jenkins (1974)
  47. The Colony of Unrequited Dreams – Wayne Johnston (1998)
  48. The Healing – Gayl Jones (1998)
  49. Fear of Flying – Erica Jong (1973)
  50. Echo House – Ward Just (1997)
  51. Andersonville – Mackinlay Kantor (1955)
  52. Fateless – Imre Kertesz (1975)
  53. Sometimes a Great Nation – Ken Kesey (1964)
  54. Green Grass, Running Water – Thomas King (1993)
  55. Animal Dreams – Barbara Kingslover (1990)
  56. A Separate Peace – John Knowles (1959)
  57. The Buddha of Suburbia -Hanif Kureishi (1990)
  58. The Diviners – Margaret Laurence (1974)
  59. The Gangster We All are Looking For – Thi Diem Thuy Le (2003)
  60. Native Speaker – Chang-Rae Lee (1995)
  61. The Call of the Wild – Jack London (1903)
  62. Zami – Audre Lorde (1983)
  63. Midaq Alley – Naguib Mahfouz (1947)
  64. Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy (1985)
  65. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers (1940)
  66. Beloved – Toni Morrison (1987)
  67. Song of Solomon – Toni Morrison (1977)
  68. Little Scarlet: An Easy Rawlins Novel – Walter E Mosley (2004)
  69. The Delta of Venus – Anais Nin (1969)
  70. When the Emperor was Divine – Julie Otsuka (2002)
  71. Kiss of the Spider Woman – Manuel Puig (1976)
  72. Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand (1957)
  73. Joshua Then and Now – Mordecai Richler (1980)
  74. Housekeeping – Marilyn Robinson (1980)
  75. The Counterlife – Phillip Roth (1986)
  76. The Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger (1951)
  77. The Killer Angles – Michael Shaara (1974)
  78. The Stone Diaries – Carol Shields (1993)
  79. Prep: A Novel – Curtis Sittenfeld (2005)
  80. In America – Susan Sontag (2000)
  81. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark (1961)
  82. Angle of Response – Wallace Stegner (1971)
  83. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck (1939)
  84. The Bonesetter’s Daughter – Amy Tan (2001)
  85. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole (1980)
  86. Anatomy of a Murder – Robert Traver (1958)
  87. Reversible Errors – Scott Turow (2002)
  88. Rabbit Angstrom: The Four Novels – John Updike (1995)
  89. The Hummingbird’s Daughter – Luis Alberto Urrea (2005)
  90. Washington DC: A Novel – Gore Vidal (1967)
  91. Slaughterhouse-Five : Kurt Vonnegut (1969)
  92. Force Majeure – Bruce Wagner (1991)
  93. Meridian – Alice Walker (1976)
  94. All the King’s Men – Robert Penn Warren (1946)
  95. Decline and Fall – Evelyn Waugh (1928)
  96. The Day of the Locust – Nathaniel West (1939)
  97. The Old School – Tobias Wolff (2003)
  98. Native Son – Richard Wright (1940)
  99. A Good School – Richard Yates (1978)
  100. We – Eugene Zamyatin (1920)

இது ஒரு ஜாலியான பட்டியல். ‘அவசியம் படிக்க வேண்டும்’ அல்லது ‘மிகவும் புகழ் பெற்றவை’ என்பதை விட வெரைட்டி + வித்தியாசம் நிறைந்த லிஸ்ட்.

அவசியம் புரட்ட வேண்டிய புத்தகங்களுக்கு The Book of Great Books: A Guide to 100 World Classics: (W. John Campbell) போன்றவற்றையும் கவனிக்கலாம்.

Amazon Books – Wishlist

1. Oliver August: Inside the red Mansion / Excerpt: சீனாவில் ‘நாயகன்’ (நிஜக்) கதை Inside the Red Mansion: On the Trail of China’s Most Wanted Man: Books: Oliver August

2. The Boys from Dolores: Fidel Castro’s Classmates from Revolution to Exile: Patrick Symmes – Washington Post Book Reviews – THE BOYS FROM DOLORES: Fidel Castro’s Classmates From Revolution to Exile – ArcaMax Publishing

The Boys from Dolores is a chronicle of 230 young students and the Cuba they were born to lead. Brought together one day in 1940 for a school photo at one of the island’s most elite academies, their ranks included future doctors and engineers, refugees and warriors, and two brothers – Fidel and Raúl Castro – who would come to rule the fate of all Cubans.

The Boys from Dolores follows the tale of this generation, born to privilege and power, which gave birth to the Cuban Revolution. Dozens of the boys from Dolores would aid their classmate Fidel in his rise to power; some would later take up arms against him. Ranging from the basketball courts and alleys of Santiago, Cuba, to the beaches of the Bay of Pigs and Miami, The Boys from Dolores offers a collective biography of the generation that made and lost Cuba.

This is the story of Cuba across 70 years of tumult, battle, Revolution, and diaspora, a tale of success and ruin, or escape and defeat.

3. Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire: Books: Alex Von Tunzelmann – இந்திய இணையம் முழுக்க இதப் பற்றித்தான் பேச்சு

N்ewindpress on Sunday: Tunzelmann provides the fascinating factoid that World War II and reconstruction loans were fully paid back by Britain only in December 2006 — irritated by American reservations about the imperial venture, overwhelmed by the Nehru-Jinnah fight, perplexed by the Mahatma, wary of Sardar Patel and with neither the resources nor the will to stop sectarian violence, the British establishment gave up India and gave up on India.

4. India After Gandhi: Ramachandra Guha

  1. The Hindu : Book Review : Democracy in practice: “A tribute to Indian democracy capturing the pain and the struggle, the humiliations and the glories”
  2. Midnight’s citizens | Review | Guardian Unlimited Books: “Amit Chaudhuri is impressed by Ramachandra Guha’s shrewd survey of India since the second world war, India After GandhiGuha, as a citizen, has been “exasperated” by India, but, in the light of historical evidence, has been won over by it. This mixture of distance and surrender is fairly emblematic of why many middle-class Indians continue to invest themselves, emotionally, in the country; it’s quite distinct from patriotism.

    Guha’s book reminds us that the citizenly pride that permeates it is not incompatible with judgment, hindsight, intelligence and distance; that citizenship is not a natural thing, but that it is, in some cases, inevitable.”
  3. Tehelka – The People’s Paper: “Ramachandra Guha in conversation with Sankarshan Thakur on the historian’s new book, India After Gandhi, and the ideas and errors that shape us”
  4. remain connected
  5. : Why Is India the most Interesting Country in the World ?

  6. Independent Online Edition > Reviews: “Two cheers for democracy”

5. The Fire This Time: Randall Kenan

  1. Identity crisisLos Angeles Times
  2. Kenan may be a good chronicler and debater, but he lacks the instincts of an essayist. He mounts arguments and then forgets about them or lets them teeter; he mistakes detail for substance, piling on scenes from his boyhood in rural North Carolina that are interesting but often not germane to anything. His narrative voice is inconsistent: He talks to himself here, lectures the reader there. His discussion of certain common-knowledge topics can be downright patronizing — for instance, he speaks of the American tendency toward anti-intellectualism as if we’ve never heard of it before.

  3. Three Answer: Randall KenanPublishers Weekly

6. Sister Outsider: Essays & Speeches: Audre Lorde

SISTER OUTSIDER presents essential writings of black poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde, an influential voice in 20th century literature. In this varied collection of essays, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. “Being an open lesbian in the Black community is not easy, although being closeted is harder.”

Sister Outsider:

7. Interventions: Noam Chomsky

  1. நேர்காணல்கள்
  2. » ஒலிப்பதிவு
  3. Interventions: Foreign Policy Since 9-11
  4. Part II
  5. Part III
  6. Part IV
  7. Part V

8. Poisoned Nation: Pollution, Greed, and the Rise of Deadly Epidemics: Loretta Schwartz-Nobel

மைக்கேல் மூரின் ‘சிக்கோ‘ பார்த்த சூட்டோடு புரட்ட வேண்டிய புத்தகம். நோய்களை யார் கொடுக்கிறார்கள்? எவ்வாறு குணப்படுத்தி காசு பார்க்கிறார்கள்?

  1. No place at the table Sojourners Magazine: Growing Up Empty
  2. Still hungry: The Hunger Epidemic in America

Talk to me (weekend Release)

Talk to Me – Rotten Tomatoes

Talk to Me (2007)

A Pioneer Shock Jock, but With a Big Heart – New York Times