On a personal note: I’m currently pondering the choices on offer in the upcoming German Bundestag (parliamentary) election. It’s not easy to get a handle on what’s going on when you’ve been living abroad for some years. From the Guardian News Blog I gather that there have been some significant changes in the campaigning style since I last observed it first-hand. At least the campaign music looks more interesting than what Mr Chirac came up with in 1981. (Except for the (liberal#[1]) FDP — “Money Money Money”, huh? Okay, I wouldn’t have voted for them anyway.)

And I’m still waiting for my postal-vote papers. Dealing with the German embassy is, as always, a pain. They must be the rudest people in Paris.

[1]: Not synonymous with “progressive” or “left-wing”. At all.

For the danglers…

Un complément du nom mal rattaché et de toute façon pas très clair.

I mean those who collect dangling modifiers in published writing.

This is from Jonathan Freedland’s opinion piece in today’s Guardian:

Like a character in Shakespearean tragedy, race is America’s fatal flaw, the weakness which so often brings it low.

I’m not even sure this counts as a mere dangling modifier: the imagery is just too confused. Or, as my friend Steph, who I ran this by on IRC, put it, “race isn’t a character that is a fatal flaw in Shakespearean tragedy”. Or, for that matter, like one. #[1]

There’s of course a lot to be said about race relations in the US or elsewhere, now or throughout history. And, to his credit, Freedland does try, though nothing he says is I think particularly original. Still, would it be too much asked to tackle the task using clear metaphors, even if the language may end up being a little less exalted?

[1]: For the record, I think he means something like: race:America::a flawed character:(a?) Shakespearean tragedy. But that’s still confused. Shakespearean tragedies would be much less interesting if the characters weren’t flawed; typically, all of them are. They are not the weakness that brings the tragedy low, even though they may, collectively, and assisted by literary devices, fate and stuff like this, bring the final catastrophe about.

The canonical example for a speech act that can cause real harm has long been “screaming ‘Fire’ in a crowded theatre”. Maybe this should be replaced with “screaming ’suicide bomber’ in a packed crowd”.

All in all, last week has been rather too murderous.

(I am aware that neither of these utterances is a performative act the consequences of which follow by virtue of its being spoken. Like declaring a convention open by virtue of someone in charge saying “I declare this convention open”. The one thousand or so pilgrims didn’t die from the words “there’s a suicide bomber in the crowd” merely being spoken, but of the physical acts that ensued.)

About that other Superdome

Une pub d’une chaîne de télévision spécialisée dans l’histoire. Trouvée à côté d’un article sur l’aide aux victimes de l’inondation à La Nouvelle Orléans.

On peut s’interroger sur le bon goût, mais aussi sur la justesse historique pratiqués par The History Channel.

When I read the AFP wire US declines Swedish water sanitation aid on Yahoo! News#[1], the ad I’ve reproduced here was shown next to the article. (You’ll probably see a different ad if you click on the link; the original file is here (gif file).) So what’s wrong with it? I don’t know how many other US […]

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Citations d’hier

Three quotes, two from yesterday, one from today. I’m leaving the post in this bilingual version: there’s an English translation for the one that was originally in French.

There is much less of a conflict between journalists and bloggers here in France; I even think this struggle might be a phenomenon that is particular to the US. On the contrary, quite a number of journalist have blogs, and their notes, penned in a personal, more intimate voice, are often a more interesting read than the articles the same journalists write for their newspapers.

  • 2005-09-03
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… et une d’aujourd’hui. Les journalistes qui bloguent, ne serait-ce que dans un coin du site officiel de l’organe de presse auxuels ils sont rattachés, apportent un je-ne-sais-quoi de parole à la première personne qui change du baratin des journaux. Voici la description de Pascal Riché, correspondant de Libération à Washington, du spectacle qu’il s’est offert à […]

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Interview with New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, uncensored

Plusieurs liens vers un entretien donné par le maire de la Nouvelle Orléans, Ray Nagin, hier sur une radio locale. C’est la version non-censurée, sans les « beep » que CNN a insérés pour camoufler les gros mots. Un document extraordinaire.

Debi Jones Joan Touzet, who blogs at An Atypical Life, has put up an uncensored recording (mp3 file, 3.2 MB) of the interview that the mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, gave to the radio station WWL-AM yesterday. I am locally mirroring the file here; another mirror is here. Via Debi Jones, who links to more […]

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