As already touched on, all non-Americans are made ‘aliens’ in an exceptionalist conception – ‘aliens’ being the pejorative, bureaucratic term the USA applies to ‘foreigners’. It is a concept that doesn’t just reference ‘foreignness’, but the implication that people who are not American are in fact a different species altogether, like extra-terrestrials.
One of the things I learnt in the war is that we’re not the top species on the planet because we’re nice. We are a very aggressive species. It is in us. And people talk a lot about how, ‘well the military turns,’ you know, ‘kids into killing machines’ and stuff. And I’ll always argue that it’s just finishing school.
What we do with civilization is that we learn to inhibit and rope in these aggressive tendencies. And we have to recognise them. I worry about a whole country that doesn’t recognise it. ‘Cause you think of many times we get ourselves in scrapes as a nation because we’re always the good guys.
Sometimes I think if we thought that we weren’t always the good guys we might actually get in less wars.
– Karl Marlantes, former Marine, about 48 minutes into episode five.
‘Come around. I’ll cook steak with mushroom sauce … the way you like it,’ Giovanna said with that alluring Italian lilt. ‘We can watch the rest of Big Little Lies.’
The offer of steak was pretty well irresistible, so I knew there had to be a catch.
‘Can we do the steak without indigestion afterwards?’ I moped at her over the phone. I would have turned up on her doorstep without the offer of any dinner or entertainment. I think she knew it, but we conspired to play the game regardless.
Edited by Gardner Dozois, and originally published as The Legend Book of Science Fiction (1991), this weighty anthology reminded me why I stopped reading science fiction in the 1980s.
Gardner Dozois (pronounced doze-wah) was most famously the editor of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine between 1984 and 2004 (the publication was re-named Asimov’s Science Fiction in 1992). He has also been editor of The Year’s Best Science Fiction anthologies since 1984. As a writer he began in the late 1960s, sticking mainly to short-form pieces, and winning Nebula Awards in the early 1980s. Continue reading “Modern Classics of Science Fiction (1992)”
A friend recently remarked to me how similar the British and Japanese are, for their rigid class systems, and stolid custom of surrendering personal indulgence and judgement to ritual obedience of customs that fix social and personal boundaries.
Today I re-visited the 1993 film The Remains of the Day. An understated gem that makes my friend’s observation come to life.
How striking, still, after all these years, to see the privilege and tragedy of British aristocracy told quite so poignantly by Kazuo Ishiguro. How odd, too, that he met with the approval of the British literary establishment, winning the 1989 Man Booker Prize for the novel. Continue reading “The Remains of the Day (1993)”
If one of the domains of science fiction is to extrapolate a present phenomenon into an imagined future outcome, the anthology of stories by husband and wife writing team Henry Kuttner (1915-1958) and Catherine Lucille Moore (1911-1987), Clash by Night, is an exemplar of the genre that has weathered time more handsomely than most.
Published in 1980, but containing stories that were already decades older, I lost my copy to the Brisbane flood of 2010/2011, along with hundreds of other books. To my knowledge the book has not been reprinted, and the authors are now largely forgotten in the Sturm und Drang attending the rapid, enforced obsolescence that is a hallmark of the internet-driven cult of the new. Fortunately I was able to replace this one recently, and made it my bedside reading for a few nights earlier this month.
In this small opinion piece I will give you the reasons journalists and bloggers are too slack or ignorant to table when ‘reporting’ on the reasons given by the Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) and the Tor Project for opposing a ban on the American neo-Nazi hatespeech vehicle, Daily Stormer.
All the reasons cited by the EFF to oppose censoring the Neo-Nazi Daily Stormer web site by denying it registration, DNS propagation, and CloudFlare services are impeccable.
If the underlying premisses were realistic.
At the core of the EFF’s thinking is the assumption that policy and law in a functioning democracy should be the transparent levers by which unacceptable conduct is addressed.
US President Donald Trump’s prevarication on calling out white supremacists as terrorists and subversives resonates with the chilling 2001 BBC film, Conspiracy, about the Wannsee conference at which SS General Reinhard Heydrich bullied other representatives of the Nazi German hierarchy to accept the SS’s ‘Final Solution’ to the ‘Jewish question’.