31
   

hello

 
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2014 04:36 pm
@georgeob1,
Your compliments land happily. And as fond as I am of myself, I am reminded on a constant basis, when reading or listening to many others, how dim and shallow and short of education I am. I'm not terribly unhappy with my notions of self as it pushes me in the right directions. And I know that sometimes I can do a thing that sparkles. But it's rare for a day to go by where I haven't bumped into something that clarifies or that presents a perspective I hadn't considered. Along with breasts, it's how I get my jollies.

If I haven't previously, let me link one of my very favorite things. Woody Allen had a few TV specials and in one, he had on William Buckley as a guest. It's magnificent. Both are incredibly smart, witty and gracious. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNErWi_lTig
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2014 05:40 pm
@blatham,
Thanks very much for the Woody Allen/Buckley link it was a great bit, and I enjoyed it. Interesting to note the degree to which Buckley got it wrong about the efficacy of the 1967 (six day) war in "settling" the issue of Israel's borders and relations with its neighbors. I'm sure that at the time it seemed like a solution, but history has shown us otherwise.

With respect to the French Revolution: It delivered France to Danton, then Robespierre and finally Napoleon, replacing a mild-mannered but authoritarian King with a pugnacious democrat, then a fiercely zealous and murderously authoritarian despot, and finally an empire at the hands of an overcompensating Corsican short guy. Very different from ours and I believe de Tocqueville described the difference well. (It too was a top down bit of revolution and change).

Have you ever read Robert Ingersoll's "After Visiting the Tomb of Napoleon" , an interesting mid 19th century elocution piece ? Here's a link: you might enjoy it;
http://www.bigeye.com/napoleon.htm

blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2014 06:17 am
@georgeob1,
Quote:
Interesting to note the degree to which Buckley got it wrong about the efficacy of the 1967 (six day) war

That stands out, doesn't it. But I don't think anyone then or even later had this right. As a high school student, I wanted to go to Israel and work on a kibbutz in support of the Israeli project. That sentiment is now nearly completely evaporated. I won't get into it other than to note this http://bit.ly/1z5WJ0X

Re the French Revolution... what you describe are, of course, not the only consequences of the event. Let's borrow a phrase popular in certain corners of the economics community and label the thing as a piece of "creative destruction".

I'm not familiar with the Ingersoll piece but will get to it a bit later. Thanks.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2014 08:31 am
@blatham,
I had the experience of being a squadron commander on a carrier making the first ever port visit of a U.S. warship to Haifa Israel in 1977 (relations between our Navy and Israel hadn't been very good since the USS Liberty incident in the 6 day war) .This occurred soon after Menachem Begin led the Likud party to political power there. I and others were hauled around from IDF airbase to airbase and entertained with lengthy showings of gun camera films of air combat with Syrian and Egyptian fighters, while being served tea by good looking female IDF "soldiers". We also took the, now standard, helo trip up to Masada. The pilots were good guys, highly proficient in the specialized conditions they faced, but visibly full of themselves and rather smug. The whole thing reeked of triumphalism.

I left it all with the strong feeling that their sudden and apparently overwhelming victory in the 6 day war had gone to their heads, and blinded them to what they had really done in taking control of virtually all of the former Palestine while remaining an exclusively Jewish state. They were riding a tiger. Very interestingly, I heard Ezer Weizman, who then headed the Israeli Air Force (later becoming President) make a casual remark in a conversation at a reception suggesting a similar fear.

History, of course doesn't reveal its alternatives, and we will never know for sure if a different approach after the stunning 1967 victory might have yielded a better outcome for all than what we have now.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2014 09:22 am
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
I had the experience of being a squadron commander on a carrier making the first ever port visit of a U.S. warship to Haifa Israel in 1977 (relations between our Navy and Israel hadn't been very good since the USS Liberty incident in the 6 day war) .This occurred soon after Menachem Begin led the Likud party to political power there. I and others were hauled around from IDF airbase to airbase and entertained with lengthy showings of gun camera films of air combat with Syrian and Egyptian fighters, while being served tea by good looking female IDF "soldiers". We also took the, now standard, helo trip up to Masada. The pilots were good guys, highly proficient in the specialized conditions they faced, but visibly full of themselves and rather smug. The whole thing reeked of triumphalism.
You really should mention that Cardinal Albino Luciani (subsequently Pope John Paul I) called upon the ship as well (in Venice). Wink
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2014 10:06 am
@georgeob1,
I've been reading along this morning, George and Bernie, as I have off and on in the whole thread. These last bunch of commentaries by both of you are neat and I'll be looking up your links and references.

I too was pleased after the six days, and like your insight on that, George. Makes me feel dumb that I and our lab crew were all jolly about it, but I have felt that way, dumb, about my reaction back then for a lot of years now. I don't remember if I had trepidations mixed into my then-sense of the celebratory, in '67, maybe and maybe not, but they grew apace as time went on.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2014 10:57 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:
You really should mention that Cardinal Albino Luciani (subsequently Pope John Paul I) called upon the ship as well (in Venice). Wink


I suppose that was from another long ago conversation. However I think that was on another ship.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2014 11:01 am
@ossobuco,
Glad you enjoy the posts.

You and your friends were not alone in your reactions. Not dumb at all. It is dangerously easy to speculate about revisionist history and "what might have been", but still tempting to imagine what would have been the result if Israel had retained the West Bank and given political rights to all its inhabitants, including Moslem and Christian Palestinians.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2014 11:04 am
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
However I think that was on another ship.
Indeed, but shortly afterwards. My bad.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  3  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2014 03:07 pm
@georgeob1,
Quote:
I had the experience of being a squadron commander on a carrier making the first ever port visit of a U.S. warship to Haifa Israel in 1977

That's just about the time period when I completed my fruitless search for God. It's not that we didn't meet. We did. It's just that we both came away disappointed.

I envy those experiences you had there at that point in time and the close-up view that permits an educated reflection now. You've read Judt so you know his trajectory. It's sad and worse than that. The settler movement has become a horrid creature. Before Ha'aretz went behind a pay wall a year or two ago, I visited its online version every day. Just as an aside, when I speak of the brilliant political writers and reporters who've emerged over the last decade or two, the percentage of them who are of Jewish heritage is bloody amazing. One of the key reasons I fell in love with New York and felt so at home there was the presence of this cultural group - in our neighborhood, coming into our store, in the psychoanalytic community, and of course in the arts and letters activities going on everywhere there. It didn't hurt that I own (what Larry David calls) a "jewface" and that I crack wise. The normal presumption local Jewish people took (also happened in Portland) was that I was Jewish too. Sometimes I corrected, sometimes not. Is there a potential sale involved? (Wasn't Woody's line about "selling back" the territories brilliantly funny).

Last thing then I'm not going to speak about this any more. It is more than obvious that the Likud plan is 1) gain control of as much land as possible for as long as possible for Israelis and 2) to facilitate this through a ceaseless campaign of destroying any emerging Palestinian leadership or organizational systems and through a ceaseless campaign of demoralization. Regardless of what's going on with their neighbors, this is an indefensible evil. And now I'm done on that god awful topic.



ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2014 05:41 pm
@georgeob1,
I don't know. I had been primed by one or two best seller books (no mem of titles).
I was your sincere person, still am.. It took me a while, years, to find chaff.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2014 05:45 pm
@blatham,
Well our home in Detroit was near the border between an Irish and Jewish neighborhood. It was a very ethnic stew then and if you answered the question "What are you? " with 'American" you had to be tough. Most kids parents, or grandparents, spoke a different language at home. We had different epithets for Irishmen, Czechs and Slovaks and German and Ashkenazi Jews along with many others. All the Jewish mothers told their sons that sowing their wild oats was OK as long as they did it with shiksas. What they didn't know was the Jewish princesses did it with us... and they were a bit exotic, at least at that early age.

I even attended Hebrew day School for about a month under a suitable pseudonym (Al Weiss as I recall). The CYO gym was closed for repairs and the JCC was the nearest alternative. Forty minutes pretending to study Hebrew, along with other boys preparing for Bar Mitzvah, and we could play basketball. Then everything came crashing down at once. The Weiss family didn't pay the bill, and my mother found the mezuzah on a chain I would put around my neck, instead of the scapular, before going in. It was a great scandal.

I agree some fundamental mistakes were made after 1967, and they now appear irreversible - along with the consequences. However I find it hard to fault the generation of Jewish émigrés who found they were no longer welcome in their old European homes in the midst of the destruction after WWII. We also face a parallel (and largely independent) Islamic awakening with likely long and deep historical roots. It is worth recalling that in 1945 virtually all of the Moslems and Arabs in the world were under the mis-rule of some European government, Russia, Britain, France or Holland, who are the likely authors of the current distemper. The synergy between the two is all bad. The world is still dealing with the awful after effects of the disaster of WWI. This may illustrate some of my preference for a longer term view of current events than the horde of pundits around us tend to consider.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2014 05:48 pm
@ossobuco,
Ah, someone had to be the transition pansy..
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2014 04:42 am
@georgeob1,
On the Oz thread, hingehead posted the following cartoon from the Guardian http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/8/22/1408677722580/monu.jpg
I'm not a fan of the term "pundit". It is almost always used as a derogation and it usually lacks any sort of discernment - a convenience in the derogation enterprise. One could include Judt and Hannity in this category so that makes it pretty much useless.

The dynamics and economics of modern media tends to push content towards the immediate and the shallow. Memory is an impediment and consistency is a profit-killer. Add in the purposeful and pervasive blasts of propaganda designed to deceive and one can certainly become weary of this "news" universe.

But even so, there are many individuals and media operations that don't fall prey to those structural facts, to the money-motivation, to the temptations to forward deceits and who quite purposefully work to correct them. The search for them is worthwhile and fruitful. And necessary.

@Osso
You may have told me where you grew up but I'm terribly self-involved and tend to forget anything that isn't about me.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2014 07:49 am
@blatham,
Well I entirely agree with you about that.

If you travel to the West of Ireland you will find the occasional famine museum, preserving the memories of the Great Famine of 1845 thru about 1851 (also known as the potato famine). Over a million starved to death and even more emigrated reducing the country's population by a quarter. Throughout this period Ireland remained a large net exporter of food, mostly to Great Britain, exporting well over what was required to feed the starving masses. Mostly this was the result of the fact that most of the good land that could produce grain and cattle was in the hands of absentee British Landlords, who had expropriated the land over a century of oppression and discrimination, and who could profit more from selling their products in the UK. Only the hillsides and the poor lands, suitable for potato cultivation remained in the hands of the native population who became utterly dependent on it for their survival. A persistent blight wiped out the monoculture and mass starvation resulted in the midst of plenty. Jonathan Swift parodied the English policy in his "A Modest Proposal" in which he suggested it might be better for the British to eat the Irish babies rather than starve them.

This is a constant theme in human history from China to Persia and Central Asia, Europe, Australia, South Asia and the Americas. The Irish Famine and the elimination of the Australian aborigines have been repeated countless times in the history of human civilization, and there is no reason to believe we have seen the end of it. Indeed we may be witnessing some new beginnings.

I agree with you about the ability of modern communications to trivialize information and understanding. Yet another example of unintended, unforeseen and unexpected side effects from new techniques and new processes.

"Pundits" and every other category of people includes the good, the bad and the ugly ... and everything in between. Discriminating among them is often hard and confusing, and very few are entirely without defect or some element of merit.

Greed and avarice are obvious and mostly bad. Power seeking behavior can be more difficult too evaluate. A great deal of misery has been inflicted on mankind in the name of noble sounding goals, and history reveals numerous tyrants who have slaughtered thousands or millions in the name of lofty aspirations. Remember Robespierre, Lenin and Jim Jones.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2014 08:05 am
@blatham,
blatham wrote:

Your compliments land happily. And as fond as I am of myself, I am reminded on a constant basis, when reading or listening to many others, how dim and shallow and short of education I am. I'm not terribly unhappy with my notions of self as it pushes me in the right directions. And I know that sometimes I can do a thing that sparkles. But it's rare for a day to go by where I haven't bumped into something that clarifies or that presents a perspective I hadn't considered. Along with breasts, it's how I get my jollies.


I think the real sign of education is one who continues to inquire and learn throughout his life. The formal part at the start is, in comparison, relatively insignificant in my experience. It's never too late to fail or to close your mind, and the world is full of well-trained dunces. I like to think I'm a bit of a history maven, but Setanta repeatedly puts me to shame. It sometimes annoys me, but you likely are a good deal better informed than me about contemporary political events and trends. The world and human behavior are endlessly complex, and the best we can do is make good approximations and estimates of events. Decspite that, we're both stubborn and opinionated, so we'll continue to argue sometimes, and perhaps occasionally benefit from it.
panzade
 
  5  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2014 08:34 am
I am prompted to remind our little community how lucky we are to have blatham back.
It might be imagined but i feel there's been a general dumbing down of the discourse here on A2K in the last year..
These last few pages are good reading and even george ob1 seems to have regained the top of his game
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2014 10:20 am
@panzade,
Quote:
I am prompted to remind our little community how lucky we are to have blatham back.

Oh, I don't know. I think I'm rather obvious and if I get my proper due, I'll be reincarnated as a 1970s black pimp's hat.

I once saw an interview with Lawrence Olivier where he was asked why he'd done shows where, on a single evening, he'd perform Lear, Hamlet and Richard. He said, "Showing off."

Another time, Dustin Hoffman was recounting working on Marathon Man with him (near the end of his life and in bad shape). Hoffman asked, rhetorically, "Why do we [actors] do what we do?" Olivier slowly rose from his chair and put his face right up close to Hoffman's face and intoned, "Look at me, look at me, look at me"

Lawrence Olivier. Bernie Latham. Pretty easy to mistake the two of us.

@george - back later

georgeob1
 
  0  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2014 11:36 am
@panzade,
panzade wrote:

These last few pages are good reading and even george ob1 seems to have regained the top of his game


Such delightful condescension, and from such a source.
panzade
 
  3  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2014 11:46 am
@georgeob1,
You took it wrong.
And Mama george ob1 was remiss in not teaching you how to accept a compliment
 

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