:: Nonfiction archive ( 2000-2005, click for articles pre-2006)

Amnesia: Spain, Sand Creek, Oklahoma, Germany published 19/07/2014

Founding amnesia about extermination weighs heavily on Denver. The University of Denver still lionizes Evans. Evans was a visionary for the city, for railways and for founding universities – for white people. Being an Evans professor is a little, I have discovered, like being a Jefferson Davis professor at a Southern University; these men do not deserve the honor.

Alan Gilbert on how historical amnesia distorts.

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A Life in the Life published 12/07/2014

He knows that many of the crowd watching him are re-living their youth. Would it be so easy for them to do so if confronted with a silver-haired troubadour long past the age of 64? For some of his contemporaries such youthful pretence is no longer an issue: Bob Dylan sports a pompadour of grey cumuli, Jimmy Page, a raffish mane of white. James Taylor meanwhile is defiantly bald on top and has been for some time. But there are more who resist: Mick Fleetwood, Paul Simon, the Edge, none of whom are ever seen out of doors without headgear. Jeff Beck, who I recently spotted in my local branch of Planet Organic, also resists the Hi Ho Silver Lining. Like them, McCartney tenaciously holds onto his youth, no doubt to please please those who love him yeah yeah yeah.

Coinciding with Richard Lester’s seminal A Hard Day’s Night being re-released for its 50th anniversary, Simon Fellowes thinks back to seeing The Beatles aged four.

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The Unfortunate (or: Watching Dimitar Berbatov) published 05/07/2014

Like the reverse fixture, I somehow know the ending from the start, and expecting another goalless draw, I should be interested in how our new striker Luciano Becchio does, but I focus on Fulham’s Dimitar Berbatov, my favourite Premier League player, his style so idiosyncratic that no manager can quite fit him into a team, but capable of the most incredible skill, like that moment for Manchester United where he chases an over-hit pass, steps on the ball, turns, flicks it past West Ham’s defender and crosses for Ronaldo to score. He reminds me of Buster Keaton, his face as deadpan as Keaton’s when his house fell around him, with the same ability to see some audacious trick to change a situation and the same contortionist skills to make it work.

By Juliet Jacques.

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Georges Perec’s Je me souviens: a participatory text published 02/07/2014

Perec’s sense of disappearing human experience is wrapped up both in the socio-cultural sum, and the fleeting, individual, personal human interactions that punctuate the quotidian drift. Shared jokes, schoolyard games, a meal prepared by an aunt. His texts predicate on, he writes, the “overlooked commonplace” that is always in the process of evaporating; the very things that reassure us we are living.

Andrew Hodgson opens Georges Perec’s Je me souviens.

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What’s Wrong with Paul Krugman’s Philosophy of Economics? published 26/06/2014

The trouble is that Krugman’s recipe for how economics at its best is done undermines his substantive economic arguments. It’s just what is needed by those who reject his economic analysis and the policies based on it. Chicago school “extremists,” freshwater ideologues, and other free-market fundamentalists can help themselves to Krugman’s methodology to defend the very views he rejects. This raises the question of whether Krugman should worry more about the right way to do economics?

Alex Rosenberg on why Paul Krugman needs to be more philosophical.

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Vincent Harding Remembered published 24/06/2014

But even Vincent, far along the road into the mountains of the spirit compared to many of us (to me anyway), had some deep struggles. Vincent had long thought that the state assassinated King (he was no enthusiast for LBJ…) a year to the day after that speech was given (the King family also does not believe that James Earl Ray was the killer…). And he had a long ordeal over the fact that King had spoken words, many of which Vincent had written, which had led to his death. Vincent wrestled with this spiritual connection and though he made peace with it, though it had quieted in his heart and spirit, though he was a man without bitterness or self-wounding, it seemed to me still to remain there as a presence later on.

Alan Gilbert on Vincent Harding.

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Pissing in Duchamp’s Fountain published 23/06/2014

On 24 August, Pierre Pinocelli struck the sculpture with a hammer, and deposited some liquid in it, either urine as he claimed, or tea according to the director of the museum. Pinocelli was an underground artist influenced by the situationists, whose previous performances had included extorting ten francs from a bank with a sawn-off shotgun, and smashing toys outside a department store while dressed as Santa Claus.

Paul Ingram traces the historical aestheticism of micturition in Duchamp’s many Fountain[s].

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Bartleby Politics: On Disavowal, Derangement, and Drugs published 19/06/2014

The disavowalist favors the pole of derangement, compassion, and drug over and against the pole maintained by the state and its program of sobriety. More aptly, the politics of disavowal might name the figure of Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener as its spokesperson. It is precisely the difference between weak and radical disavowal that is illuminated when one utters: “I would prefer not to.”

Jake Nabasny on Bartleby politics.

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now we are all angry published 16/06/2014


In the UK, the mantle of urban guerilla was taken up by a group who called themselves the Angry Brigade – the subject of Carr’s considerate and in-depth account, which describes the group’s history from genesis to conviction. It is a journey that follows the protagonists from their radicalization and rejection of society’s values, through the wild underworld of freedom fighters and libertarian politics, to their eventual entrapment and prosecution by the law. Part-history, part-noir detective story, the reader can hardly help but hold their breath as the story relentlessly progresses to its inevitable climax.

Gyorgy Furiosa on Gordon Carr‘s account of the Angry Brigade.

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Enter Mister Maurice published 14/06/2014

With Maurice Girodias there would always be hidden minefields, unresolved passions, booby traps, contracts and wills waved about by shrill solicitors who represented giant insects from another galaxy, absentee thought lords, lost manuscripts from Aubrey Beardsley and Frank Harris found in pumpkins, Czarist promissory notes, smooth assistants lurking in the background who want to find out everything you know for the price of a cheap Indonesian dinner, ghosts in the catalog, a never-ending concealment of revelations and revelations of concealment.

William Levy looks back at the turbulent times of maverick publisher Maurice Girodias of Olympia Press.

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