Nov. 7th, 2012

hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Dear voters of the United States of America:

Thank you for not fulfilling the nightmare that has haunted my sleep since the London Olympics. Visions of Mr. "Smugface" Romney and his sidekick Paul "the Randian" Ryan being able to make swagger with the world's largest arsenal of conventional and nuclear explosives at their back had been an unpleasant counterpoint to thoughts about global politics in the year 2013.

Sincerely, thank you for not electing a pair of empathy-deficient insulated aristocrats of business to positions where we had to take them seriously when they threw their weight around on the international stage. (I confess, you had me worried for a little while.)

I was more concerned about the outcome of your elections than I have been about any of ours. Your political discourse inevitably affects our own. Ireland has long been pulled between the competing poles of continental and transAtlantic economic and political ties. But more than that, our politicians are predictable in their imperfectly-concealed corruption, terrible policies, and general inanity: predictable, in that they're (none of them in positions to have an effect) not good leaders. Instead, they follow the path of least resistance, and look to foreign developments to provide for justifications for their domestic actions. The Irish electorate's general passivity in the face of adversity isn't our most admirable quality - but thank you, for not giving my country's Arseholes-in-Chief the example of Romney/Ryan to emulate.

I mean, France's only just stopped giving them the example of M. Sarkozy, and the less said about the economic policies of Mr. Cameron, the better.

Sincerely yours,

An Irish socialist.
hawkwing_lb: (dreamed and are dead)
Books 2012: 215-217

215. Alain Corbin, The Foul and The Fragrant: Odour and the Social Imagination. Papermac, London, 1996.

It would be wrong to accuse Corbin's magnificent work on the role of the sense of smell in 18th and 19th century French of being easily read: but it is, however, fascinating, detailed, and absorbing, and more than rewards the effort expended in its reading. I recommend it very highly, and wish I didn't have to give my copy back to the library.

216. R.M. Meluch, Jerusalem Fire. 1985.

A moderately interesting SF novel. I wave my hands at it, not necessarily in a good way. See a forthcoming column for more details.

217. Lois McMaster Bujold, Captain Vorpatril's Alliance. Baen, 2012.

Oh. Oh. Sweet godless heavens, this is so much better that Diplomatic Immunity and Cryoburn. It's a happy adventure story, true, but Bujold does that excellently well, and Ivan's day in the sun is not nearly as slight or lopsided as the last two Miles outings.

I do think Bujold could stand to avoid epilogues, however.


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