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history

Invisible horns and haloes: America’s symbolic civil war

For some, history consists of only two events: the present, and the Nazis. Any unwelcome political action is thrust into a crude parallelism with a singular mode of fascism, stripped of complication and context, and offered as a warning.

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The Lesson of Levi

This is not to be merely provocative, but rather to observe one of history’s milder ironic possibilities .

If This Is a Man, that most vital work published in the ashes of 1946 Europe, could easily have borne the title: Mein Kampf.

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From Cradle to Grave

The sordid irony of location in human history has never been so cruelly exemplified as it now is, in the actions of the brazenly barbarous Islamic State.  Their opportunistic infection of the Hobbesian chaos of Syria, and the militarily porous swathes of northern Iraq, places the refitted jackboot of theological fascism on land to which the world owes a debt.

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The Judgement

 

Cliché is as ubiquitous as the weather in certain cities.  Through a process of continual self-portraiture by the curators of cliché (those lacking in particular faculties of imagination), a repetition amounting to the erosion of originality, they shape for us the inexorable stasis of the lauded, and lamented, locale.  Attempt a retreat into the landscape of the Lake District and one is found bound and gagged by the forces of Wordsworth, or venture to look upon the Liffey without Mr Bloom ambling into view.  It is possible the inverse is true, that cliché is the progeny of the city, that perhaps the inanimate is the founder of this dynasty of, well, the inanimate.   Whatever the causal beginnings, we are nevertheless ruled by it.  Amid the spires of Prague, it is Kafka who reigns, he who waits in ambush, he in a dozen cafes and museums and sparrow-faced in advertisement.

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