Posts Tagged 'history'

Doing History Wrong

Was Gandhi-ji a saint, a devil, neither, or both?

Neoconservative historian Andrew Roberts has written a thoroughly dickish profile of Mahatma Gandhi in the Wall Street Journal, entitled Among the Hagiographers. Under the thin guise of a review of Joseph Lelyveld’s new biography, Great Soul, Mr. Roberts unleashes an unprovoked, relentlessly cruel smear-piece on Gandhi-ji. The essay bristles with the sort of raw enmity one might expect from a man whose professional career has revolved around the lionization of Winston Churchill and who has unreservedly adopted the venomous loathings of the man he idolizes.

The facile way to read Mr. Roberts’s offensively negative presentation is as a smoking condemnation of Gandhi-ji: the father of satyagraha was a creep and a pervert. Indeed, the essay catalogs many of Gandhi-ji’s personal shortcomings and reversals of position; and Mr. Roberts’s project is to spin these into an unflattering portrait of hypocrisy, if not outright depravity. Roberts presents precisely the opposite portrait from that assembled in the usual, beatifying hagiography; and the true object of Roberts’s loathing may be as much the Gandhian canon as Gandhi-ji himself. But, in this detail, I see a shred of subtle value in Mr. Roberts’s malicious piece. It illustrates the absurdity and ruthlessness of a bizarrely one-dimensional mining of the historical record.

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Talking Turkey

memestream turkey
Better Thanksgiving turkey in half the time — by braising.

It’s time for traditionalists to face facts: turkey is a pretty lousy item of poultry. That it became the standard for the Thanksgiving celebration is, of course, a function of the mythologized first date of “pilgrims” and “Indians” in 1621, Plymouth Colony. (Somehow, a carefree night of dinner and dancing led to a violent, abusive long-term relationship, to the everlasting regret of the indigenous peoples of North America and the well-repressed shame of generations of settler colonizers.) Turkeys were one of the principal comestibles mentioned in the account of Plymouth Governor, William Bradford. But he also listed waterfowl, venison, fish, lobster, and clams on that first menu – all of which are way tastier than turkey.

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Nirmala Desphande and the Death of Gandhianism

With Nirmala Deshpande in November 2002
With Nirmala Deshpande in November 2002

Nirmala Deshpande died yesterday; and she is being eulogized as a great Gandhian leader in the major newspapers and hailed by politicians across India. I strenuously demur.

Continue reading ‘Nirmala Desphande and the Death of Gandhianism’


Blasts from the Past

Man Up!
Man up you pussy!

... because the idiocy of manliness is an evergreen topic.

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Talking Turkey
how to cook a perfect turkey in half the time

... because Canada and the US will celebrate their Thanksgiving holidays and, regrettably and preventably, not 1-cook-in-10 will serve a decent turkey.

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Filial Piety Awareness Day
Kaki Tusler, Mother's Day Celebrant

... because everyday is Mother's Day.

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America Dreaming Small
American Dream

... because the American Dream seems but a distant memory, given the country's dominant ethos of small-mindedness.

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Serenity and Gratitude to Bring in the New Year
New Year's Eve at Tibetan Pavillion

... to remind us that not every mix of Tibetans and Western spiritual seekers has to be nauseating.

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Incredible Vision
Infinite Vision

... to celebrate the new edition of Infinite Vision published in India.

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Expelliarmus! Harry Potter and the Path to Gandhian Nonviolence
Expelliarmus, Potter, Gandhi, Nonviolence

... reprised because military strategy seems more cruel and less effective than ever -- and certainly there is a better way.

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India Going Nowhere Fast
Nano in Flames

... because cars are ruining Pondicherry, where I live. How badly are they fucking up your Indian town?

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Understanding the Gift Economy
Gift Economy Explained

... reprinted because more-and-more people seem want to understand the gift economy. (Yeah!)

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