Ill Fares The Land

6 thoughts on “Ill Fares The Land”

  1. Yes. I read the essays as they appeared in TNYRB and found myself genuinely mourning his death. Imagine a conversation between Judt and Edward Said about Arab Spring and Occupy (among many other things).

  2. I like Naomi Klein’s writing but this time I think she got it a little wrong. The crackdown was not so much a top-down conspiracy but rather a coordination of local repressions (as Corey Robin points out). The 1% have a more or less coherent world view that isn’t quite an ideology; this world view is shared by many among the 99% who think cracking heads is the proper response to dissent. There are many in Congress who don’t want reform, of course, many who are pleased with their own place in the scheme of things, but they didn’t order the crackdown. And to attempt to make Obama responsible is silly.

    1. I like Naomi Klein’s take on the world, too – but this was Naomi Wolf, less well-known to me, but seems to have raised her profile recently as a result of several visits to support Occupy New York. I’m unable to judge the veracity of her case that there has been a nationally coordinated clampdown, but I thought her discovery of the issues that dominate to the Occupy movement – and the challenge they pose to the powerful – was spot on.

      1. Whoops! Well, I’m less enthused about Wolf than Klein — though I’m only familiar with some of her feminist writings. I’m glad it wasn’t Klein getting all paranoid here. Occupy is indeed a challenge to entrenched power.

  3. In association with this book, which I shall have to purchase, can I recommend a book called ‘Soil and Soul’ by Alastair McIntosh, which I am about a third of the way into and which contains the most beautiful appraisal of where we have ‘lost the plot’, with as Thom Yorke of Radiohead says, ‘a desire for ecological change with no ego or malignance and no messianic tendencies’ or as George Monbiot (Guardian contributor) says, (perhaps rather grandly) ‘Make no claim to know the world if you have not read this book’ (It’s his second favourite/important book, his blogs worth a look too).

    I am also almost half way through a book called ‘The Philosopher and the Wolf’ by Mark Rowlands (teaches Philosophy at Miami Uni) and as well as his wonderful relationship with a 96 percent (or thereabouts) wolf he lived with for 11 years, called Brennin (magnificent creature) he delves into our relationship with animals, the nature of evil and how we, that is Man, came to be at our current crossroads. He uses an old Medieval philosophers phrase that he thinks is both beautiful and important –
    ‘sub specie aeternitatis’ – under the gaze of eternity and it serves as a warning to highlight our pompous and degrading attitude towards our planet and our lack of understanding of our ancestry and origins and how our thought processes have led us to believe in our superiority above all else and our simian ways are ‘better’, when in fact ‘the idea that the gaze of eternity cares any more for my (our) ability is just petty conceit’.

    I would recommend both books heartily, if only those who hold the power could read them!!

    1. Les – thanks for your response – I’ll investigate those titles further. This, I think, is blogging at its best – sharing recommendations and responses to books, etc.

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