Archive for Donald Trump

M cover

Posted in Books, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , on January 17, 2021 by xi'an

it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair

Posted in Kids, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2021 by xi'an

it was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Posted in Books, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2021 by xi'an

The trouble with peace [book review]

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , on December 26, 2020 by xi'an

This is the second volume of Joe Abercombie‘s The Age of Madness trilogy, which takes place (as usual) in a renaissance-like universe, except it now comes with Da Vinci’s like industrial innovations starting to disrupt its medieval social order (and the role of magic, almost gone) and making this admittedly ugly cover relevant. (Just like the rich quotes and titles from his previous books, Abercrombie is demonstrating a serious grasp of literature, since the title comes from a line of Bertold Brecht: “You know what the trouble with peace is? No organization.”)

“Enemies are like furniture, aren’t they? Better chosen for oneself than inherited.”

This book is just as good as the previous one, if a bit slow in building its climactic battle and somewhat predictable. The characters are as formidable as previously, if facing steep odds and declines of fortune, with hilarious scenes and dialogues (as always with Abercrombie), including some pastiches of Trumpian talks. And a more serious take on the standards of the genre, with workers becoming a revolutionary force ready to overthrown the antiquated power structure. Looking forward the last volume, planned to be published a year from now.

“So President Emmanuel Macron of France called me on Thursday afternoon” [really?!]

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2020 by xi'an

When I read this first sentence in The New York Times article by Ben Smith, I was a wee bit suprised as it sounded more Trumpian than Macronesque. Esp. when the article continued with the French president “having some bones to pick with the Anglo-American media”… As it transpired, it is factually correct, if giving an impression of the exact opposite of the right causality arrow. The Élysée palace indeed called back the NYT journalist after the latter asked for an interview a few days earlier and that Macron agreed to it. Beyond this misleading launch, the article is much more of an opinion piece (about Ben Smith’s opinions on French politics and secular principles) than an interview. Just like most principles, the rather specific core concept of “laïcité” (secularism) can be both debated ad nauseam and turned into political weapons for all positions on the political spectrum, from extreme-left to extreme-right. It is also almost invariably presented from abroad as an attack on the freedom of religion (and lack thereof), mostly against Muslims, and almost automatically mixed with institutional racism. The article actually goes all over the place, from attributing the uncovering of a pedophile writer to The Times journalists, to seeing Macron’s position as a theatrical posturing helping his own agenda for the next presidential elections. And while I readily concede the many woes of the French society, government, institutions, like police and justice, politics, &tc., I cannot but support an idea of a model that remains universalist and therefore secularist.