Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday Night Links

Here's all the stuff I wanted to blog about over the past week, but couldn't get to for one reason or another.

Daily Kos has a must-read post that uses Sarah Palin's words to extrapolate that she has consigned herself to Hell (literally).

I know Christopher Hitchens gets a lot of flack around these parts, but his Vanity Fair piece on Eton, despite his usual pomposity, makes for interesting reading.

Christopher Buckley, the son of the late conservative intellectual William F Buckley, and a fantastic novelist in his own right, comes out for Barack Obama. Of the few movement conservatives who have broken for Obama, I find Buckley's endorsement the most telling. Unlike, say, Andrew Sullivan, who clearly likes Obama and is trying to foist some of his right-wing positions on him, Buckley says straight up that Obama is extremely liberal but he cannot bring himself to vote for a man who would chose Sarah Palin as his running mate and conduct a disgusting campaign.

The always insightful Mike Atherton explains why it is so difficult for foreign coaches to succeed in India and Pakistan (it is telling that he left out Sri Lanka).

India presents different problems, in so much as it is not the unpredictability that challenges a coach, but the lack of it. Chappell wanted to modernise Indian ways and challenge what he saw as a cosy club of ageing, unathletic stars. But anyone who wants to challenge the status quo must remember that it is the players in India who call the shots. Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly are icons, wealthy and revered beyond measure, and used to playing on their terms or not at all.

At the end of his five years coaching in India, Wright reflected on his experiences in his book, Indian Summers. He recalled one of his first training sessions, how the players got off the team bus, leaving their kit for porters to take to the nets, how they sat in wicker armchairs while tea and biscuits were brought and how “when they did go for a run they set a pace that a tortoise with a double hip replacement would have found comfortable”. Post-independence cricket, the maharaja way.

The new Nobel prize winner in literature may not be as well known as you might expect:

According to the author's official biography, Le Clézio was born in 1940 in Nice and has lived in France, Mauritius (where his family has roots), Nigeria, Thailand and Mexico. He got off to an auspicious start with his first novel, Le procès-verbal (The Interrogation) in 1963. His breakthrough evidently came in 1980 with the publication of Désert. His more recent writings have captured Le Clézio in a more self-preoccupied mood, with Onitsha (1991), La quarantine (1995), L'Africain (2004) and Ballaciner (2007) each carrying autobiographical elements.

Or so the Swedish Academy tells us. Good luck finding any of these titles at your local English-language bookstore.

Montreal-based chain Archambault runs 12 bookstores, all in Quebec. Its website lists 17 of Le Clézio's books available in French. The English side of the site, meanwhile, has one result: Wandering Star, a 2004 translation of his 1992 novel Étoile errante.

And what do you guys think about Paul Krugman winning the economics prize? Since I have never studied Econ, I just assumed he was a well-regarded economist who became a bitter NYT columnist. I never realized that he had contributed original economic theories of his own.

Our favourite right-wing nut jobs over at World Net Daily reveal that Barack Obama is too dumb to have written Dreams From My Father. Their obvious conclusion: William Ayers wrote it.

The New Yorker has a fantastic piece (is that a redundant statement to make?) on the Republican war on words.

And, finally, here's why Google has inspired a large base of fanboys that can compete with the Apple crowd in enthusiasm if not misplaced superiority:

Gmail, Google's free consumer e-mail, added a unique new feature to the service Monday: Mail Goggles, which gives you the ability to double check whether you are really sure you want to send an e-mail message, particularly late at night..Here's how Mail Goggles works: it allows you to preset what times you want Gmail to double check if you're sure you want to send an e-mail. (You can add Mail Goggles by going to "Settings" in the right hand corner of Gmail and then clicking on the "Labs" tab, where it is listed as a new feature). If you enable the feature, it will default to double-checking with you that you want to send e-mails in the wee hours of Friday and Saturday by making you solve some simple math problems.


Ahsan said...

Athers' is sort of right, but it's hard to pin him down because he never actually says anything of substance. If you're comparing coaches simply based on track record and the success in instituting a "scientific" type of cricket, well you could say the same thing about the Windies (woefully unprofessional to this day).

Also, while I'm no Ganguly fan, the fact is, Chappell dug his own grave in India with his bitching guys out in the media and having personal favorite reporters who he would leak private assessments to in the form of text messages and whatnot. Many people forget that Chappell actually won the battle against Ganguly, who was first removed from the captaincy and then eventually dropped. It wasn't Ganguly that led to Chappell's downfall, but everyone else - they got sick of terrible man-management, his bullshittery to the media, and the eventual downturn in results (people forget that by the end of his tenure, India had once again regressed to being a fairly average team).

In addition to all this Woolmer loved being in Pakistan, and he loved our players, and he loved our people.

I'm not saying coaching in the subcontinent is easy for outsiders (fact is, it's not easy for insiders either). But I am saying such analyses drip with the Saidian notion of Orientalism.

AKS said...

I'm left speechless after the WorldNet article. Wow.

AKS said...

It's a small world out there.

One of the commentators on the Buckley article references the same "Ayers wrote Obama's book" piece by Jack Cashill.

Interestingly, the commentator provides a link for an article in the Campus Watch website, that isn't in anyway relevant except that it raises questions about Obama's associates (terrorists). The Campus Watch itself reproduces a National Review Online article.

To give the NRO credit, they think that it's outlandish to claim that Ayers wrote Obama's book. I think our commentator forgot to read the article he's citing. (By the way, the NRO doesn't think Obama wrote the book, just that Ayers wasn't the ghost writer.)

Coming back to the topic, the reason why Campus Watch links to the NRO article is because it mentions that Obama is associated with Rashid Khalidi. In his article Cashill too speaks about Khalidi and states that he is
"a radical Arab American...and reputed ally of the PLO." (And the term 'Arab-American' appears to be used in an extremely scornful manner.)

And who is this radical PLO member Rashid Khalidi any way? Well, he's the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia, who prior to joining Columbia, spent many years as a professor and director of both the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Center for International Studies at the University of Chicago.

I get it now, Obama, Ayers and Khalidi must have met at Chicago and decided to destroy America from within. Of course, Ayers must have been the intellectual force behind this complot because, you know, like, you know... (By the way, Cashill when claiming Ayers wrote Obama's book makes it a point to mention that Khalidi mentioned that Ayers really helped him out with his book).

The only conclusion that I can come to is that we need to bomb University of Chicago. I mean, it's clear that this is the place that breeds terrorist leaders and we need to strike these bastards straight at the top!


Campus Watch:

National Review:

bubs said...

I think you're being a bit uncharitable towards Atherton. I don't see anything particularly Orientalist in what he has written. The basic point he is making is that individuals hold so much sway in India and Pakistan that foreign coaches who do not defer to them will never be able to succeed. This is why I feel he did not include Sri Lanka, who, in the post-Ranatunga era do not have a cult of personality built around their players.

The reason why its easier to coach 'white' countries is that cricket is not the be-all-and-end-all of their sporting interest. In England that honour is reserved for football, which is why I would comparing coaching the England football team to coaching the Indian and Pakistani cricket teams.

I've been following the debate on National Review over the Cashill column. One writer, Andy McCarthy, seems quite convinced that Cashill is right, while Jon Adler described Cashill as a nutter, and a great cat fight ensured.

bubs said...

Here are some updates to a couple of links.

Christopher Buckley says that the reaction from the Right to his Obama endorsement was so vitriol that he resigned his National Review column.

National Review's editor Rich Lowry responds here:

And Jack Cashill has a follow up to his story that William Ayers wrote the Obama book.

He claims that both Obama and Ayers used nautical metaphors which seems to only prove that Herman Melville wrote both their books. He also seems to think that the Columbia and Harvard-educated Obama is too dumb to know what ballast means, which further proves Ayers authorship of the book.

Ahsan said...


Ayres isn't at U of C. He's at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a school about 17 tiers below that of U of C but one which pays its TAs 1.5 times as much as U of C pays. The ratio actually used to be 3:1 until very recently, before U of C upped the pay - how generous U of C is! In some respects, I'd rather be a grad student at UIC than U of C, and that really says something about the way these bastards treat us.

In other words, let me know if you need help selecting the targets.


Individuals hold sway everywhere, in all sports, in all countries. Shane Warne spent his career undermining Ponting, Gilchrist, and most of all, John Buchanan. Lara cost at least three captains their job (Richardson, Walsh, Adams), and I say that as the biggest Lara-phile on the planet. The South African system is a mess, with overbearing coaches (Jennings) being replaced by sweet talkers (Arthur) all the while racial resentment breeds under the surface (the entire ICL exodus, Pietersen etc).

My point is that coaching/managing international sports teams is hard. Is it harder in the subcontinent? I guess. But it has very little to do with the putative sacrosanct status of the individual (I repeat: Chappell did not get fired because of Ganguly, Woolmer loved it here, Pybus was incompetent and would have failed anywhere, Lawson HAS failed everywhere he's been).

The trouble in these countries does not stem from overly powerful players but the dysfunctional system and unestablished hierarchy. Nobody knows who's in charge at any time for anything - selection issues, marketing, TV rights, the captain. Everything is always up for grabs, and consequently it leaves a very pervasive feeling of ad-hoc-edness.