Archive for February, 2009

DSW, #75

February 28th, 2009

Olof Palme, Swedish social democrat and prime minister; born in Stockholm, 30 January 1927, shot dead, also in Stockholm, 28 February 1986.

DSW, #74

February 28th, 2009

Friedrich Ebert, German social democrat and first President of the Weimar Republic. Born in Heidelberg, 4 February 1871, died in Berlin, 28 February 1925.

DSW, #143

February 27th, 2009

Paul Sweezy, Marxist economist, born 10 April 1910, died 27 February 2004.

Attention: All Users of the Chris Lightfoot Memorial Naziometer

February 26th, 2009

The Chris Lightfoot Memorial Naziometer recently flickered back into life, recording “one” fairly recently, and this evening moving up to “four”. I don’t read Melanie Phillips’ blog on a regular basis these days, but I headed over just now to see what was going on. And I learned something interesting, which is that the CLMN may be undercounting Melanie P’s uses of the word ‘Nazi’ (and similar).

The Naziometer only counts mentions of the Nazis on the front page of her blog – but now that she’s blogging at the Spectator site, not all of her longer posts appear on that front page; you get the first paragraph, and have to ‘click to continue’ to read the rest on a separate page. So, in her most recent post alone, “Liberal Fascism“, the word Nazi (or similar) appears twelve times, but only four of these have been picked up by the Naziometer. So we shall need to be careful in future when interpreting the invaluable data generated by the CLMN.

Blue Blood: Screening & Symposium

February 26th, 2009

From the Ruskin School website:

The film director Stevan Riley will be coming to Oxford at 4.30pm on Friday 27 February to screen his brilliant documentary Blue Blood in the auditorium at Magdalen College.

Blue Blood follows a group of Oxford students in the run-up to the Varsity boxing match and stars ex-Ruskin School undergraduate Charles Ogilvie.

Stevan will introduce the film and he, Charlie and others will contribute to a round-table discussion immediately afterwards.

Variety described it as one of the better sports movies in recent memory, but Blue Blood is also a wonderful story about obsession and the search for personal identity.

Admission free.

Bonnie Honig on Slumdog Millionaire

February 25th, 2009

It turns out that Slumdog Millionaire is a much more interesting film than I took it to be. Faced with cardboard-cutout characters and an implausible plot, I rather switched off and stopped enjoying myself. My former-teacher-and-current-colleague Bonnie Honig, on the other hand, started thinking instead about what it all had to say about democratic theory — and her splendid essay on Slumdog has just been published on the website of the Indian Express newspaper (albeit under a not-entirely-ideal title). So go over there and read it.


February 25th, 2009

I posted this seven years ago, when Jennifer Jane Brown died at birth. Here it is again, this time for David and Samantha Cameron, and in memory of Ivan, poor chap.

Nun will die Sonn’ so hell aufgehn,
Als sei kein Unglück die Nacht geschehn!
Das Unglück geschah nur mir allein!
Die Sonne, sie scheinet allgemein!

Du mußt nicht die Nacht in dir verschränken,
Mußt sie ins ew’ge Licht versenken!
Ein Lämplein verlosch in meinem Zelt!
Heil sei dem Freudenlicht der Welt!

Now the sun will as brightly shine
As if the night had brought no misfortune.
The misfortune fell alone on me;
The sun shines on everybody.

You must not clasp the night within you,
It must sink away into everlasting light.
A little lamp has gone out in my house!
Hail to the joyful light of the world!

The poem is by Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866); it is also the text of the first song in the Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the death of children) song cycle by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), composed in the early years of the last century.