I am just beginning to adjust to life after vacation. It was a whirlwind affair of quick visits, lots of California driving and not having enough time to see everyone I wanted to. (If I missed you, I apologize!) I also got a little vacation reading done in the wee hours of the night—mainly about Iraq and McCarthyism, with some old Jewish proletarian literature on the side.
Looking for some of these materials, I discovered two new-to-me used bookstores: Cosmopolitan Books in Hollywood and Acres of Books in Long Beach. At the former, I picked up an old copy of 1943 Henry Wallace speeches illustrated by Hugo Gellert. At the latter, I got a copy of Howard Fast's Freedom Road (1944) that came out with the TV-movie version (1979) of this radical tale of Reconstruction with Kris Kristofferson and Muhammad Ali on the cover. (These finds inspired this post's graphics, the first of which is self-explanatory and the last two are examples of Gellert's art.)
I'll be coming at you soon with more substantial blogging on my vacation reading and other things as I stumble across Moscow anew. In the meantime, five recent internet readings of interest:
1. Foreign Policy treats us to a photo-review of Putin’s presidency.
2. Window on Eurasia analyzes how “[as ideal types] imperial and ethnic nationalism contradict one another, but in practice, at least in the Russian case, they in fact interact and reinforce rather than undermine each other.”
3. Intercontinental Cry reviews Ever Decreasing Circles, a documentary film that explores the “typical environmental and social exploitation occurring in the Caspian region at the hands of western oil consortiums and corrupt local officials. What is not typical about Berezovka [Kazakhstan] is that the citizens are fighting back.”
4. In Counterpunch, geographer and activist Zoltan Grossman discusses the political activism of the 1980s, hoping that the youth of 2008 will look to the examples both of 1968 and of 1988: “True, we didn't invent tie-dye, but we did have punk Mohawks. We didn't give Hendrix or the Dead to the world, but we did have the Clash and Grandmaster Flash. We can compare Papa Bush to Baby Bush, or Cheney, Gates and Rumsfeld toCheney, Gates and Rumsfeld. And we can tell you how much Mitt Romney reminds us of Max Headroom.”
5. It is now six months since the murder of Satender Singh. One suspect is still presumed fugitive in Russia, while the other’s lawyers pulled out of the case as the defendant seems unable to cough up enough dough. The Christian Science Monitor just published an article (echoing an earlier SPLC report) linking the attack with organized anti-homosexual political activity in diasporic Slavic Christian communities. As yet, there has been little discussion of the intersection of homophobia and racism is Russian extremist nationalism, either in reporting the Singh murder or more generally, as far as I know.
If I had more time and energy, I would try to follow up on this last note, but one of my resolutions is to blog less and dissertate more. (Sorry to the few avid readers.) If anyone else knows of such a treatment, do forward it on to me to regurgitate here!