Sunday, April 12, 2015

Rude awakening

The cherry blossoms are out here, the fairly horrible winter is over, and at about 5:45 this Sunday morning some people -- presumably young men; who else would be such jerks? -- decided to rev their hot rod's engines very loudly and continuously for roughly fifteen minutes -- though it felt more like an hour.  Eventually I saw a police car cruising around, but by then the malefactors were gone.  If you infer from this that I do not live in one of the fancier suburbs of Washington, D.C. -- the sorts of places wherein reside (some of) the people who make (some of) the policies often critically examined on this blog -- well, you are so damn right.


Ronan said...

You dont think the likes of Fred and Robert Kaplan freewheel it around those more salubrious neighbourhoods late into the night ; ) ?

LFC said...

Actually Robert Kaplan lives, I believe, in Connecticut (in a nice house, presumably) when he's not traveling around gathering material for his books -- we are talking about Robert Kaplan the author, right, the guy who writes books as fast as some people churn out articles? I've only semi-read one of his bks but I did read 'the coming anarchy' (the article version) a long time ago.

As for Fred Kaplan, is that the guy who wrote 'The Wizards of Armageddon' and the bk on COIN etc? Yeah, he prob spends his nights blasting through his neighborhood in a very loud car ;).

This post was trivial, but i figured what the heck. I'm actually in sort of a bad mood rt now. I'm reading a book that I plan to post a review of, but it prob won't be ready for a while. Plus I need a new computer. My current one is going to give out any day now. When I go to site like The Atlantic, maybe it's the volume of ads, I don't know, but my computer starts going nuts and the wifi/internet connection light blinking furiously and continuously. That's just one example of a symptom. I've had this computer since '07. Basically the only browser I can run now is Firefox in 'safe mode'. I hating shopping for items like this -- hate shopping for anything, actually -- but i will have to.

LFC said...

That F. Kaplan bk was more about Petraeus I guess -- I can never remember how to spell the latter's name and have to look it up each time.

Ronan said...

I like to imagine the Kaplans as close, inseperable friends and allies, mainly because up until about two hours ago I assumed they were brothers.
re the computer, that sounds like a pain. I will say the same thing happens to my computer now and again, not at the Atlantic as far as I know but at a few sites (blinking wifi, something stalls it and shuts it down)so maybe there's life in it yet.
8 years isnt bad for a laptop though. Mine tend to start malfunctioning after 3(which ends up convincing me never to go with anything overly expensive)

LFC said...

The Kaplans-as-brothers idea made me smile -- I'm not laughing at you, Ronan, but you did lighten my evening. It just occurred to me that the source of your confusion may have been Frederick and Robert Kagan -- they are brothers. But Fred and Robert Kaplan, I think not. (Ok, I'm going to stop before things slide over the edge into silliness here.)

Anyway, you know a *lot* more about the US intelligentsia than I know about their Irish counterparts.

Re the laptop, I suppose that's the question: get something cheap that will wear out in a few years, or spend a bit more and get something that presumably will last? I think I might go w/ the latter, though I can't go overboard. (What I have now is a Lenovo ThinkPad; it's had its problems, but it still runs, well sort of. I think I'll go with something different for the replacement. Not sure what; haven't started looking yet.)

Ronan said...

Dont worry I didnt think you were laughing at me. And, tbh, wouldnt really mind if you were. ; )
You're right, I think, that I might have gotten confused between Frederick and Fred....

As for the Irish intelligentsia , well let me just say, you're not missing much!

LFC said...

It's wise to make that remark about the Irish intelligentsia in the relative obscurity of this comment thread, rather than on CT, where all hell might break loose ;).

For the record, I don't know enough about it to have an opinion. There is a tradition of great Irish writers of course, though to what extent that's being carried on I'm not sure.

Ronan said...

Being less facetious, I dont know necessarily about an Irish intelligentsia, but there are an interesting generation of historians/political scientists/sociologists etc writing at the moment. I would say H Farrell, Healy et al belong to that (just they ended up studying somewhere else)
I think though ( as a layman) that a lot of the rhetoric and debate historically in Ireland has centred around the nationalist struggle to the detriment of everything else. It is intersting, but parochial and self referential and obscures a lot.

This was the case (afaict, although I didnt really live through it )up until quite recently, right up to the Troubles, where undermining the IRA ideologically, in some places, became more important than historical accuracy and became the central cause of a generation of 'public intellectuals.'
The Troubles and the IRA etc dont have much relevance anymore though, so theyre still working through the changeover phase from the generation who came of age during the Troubles, to those who come next.

The story of Ireland's great writers from the turn of the last century I think is (probably) interesting, though I havent read enough about it. I'd imagine you've read a lot more of the writers themselves and the history than me. I think a lot of it is probably quite sad, really, how much the resentments from that era coloured everything. A lot of that generations best writers came from an 'Anglo Irish' (Protestant) background, which during the revolutionary period and after meant an emphasis (by a growing, politically aware catholic middle class, who resented them in a lot of ways) on the Anglo part of their identity.
Anyway, i havent really read any of this stuff in years and have only just got back into it. I'd love to know more about the intellectual history(particularly the Anglo Irish aspects) but as you know yourself there's never enough time.

(though a tradition thats always been strong in ireland is local history, from semi professional to completely amateur down to just random old people who could trace family histories back generations - to be taken with a bit of scepticism though! Im sure this is true in a lot of places though, particularly in quite small close knit, insular societies)

LFC said...

That's interesting.

My knowledge of Irish history (I don't mean local history, I mean the basic stuff about the early 20th cent. struggles culminating in independence) is not strong at all; I'm sure you know that history much better than I do (for obvious reasons of your having had to study it in school, etc.)

When I said 'great Irish writers' I was thinking first of all of Joyce, Yeats, Shaw (a case of the 'Anglo' identity there), and to a lesser extent, say, J.M. Synge (sp?). Joyce and Yeats of course were not Protestant (Anglo-Irish), but Shaw was (escaping to England as a young man). I forget (!) whether Wilde was or not, but I think so. And Beckett was originally Irish (I forget what religious background, prob. Catholic, I'll guess). (There was a long piece about a vol. of Beckett's correspondence in a recent NYRB, btw.)

When I went to high school and college, some at least nodding acquaintance w the above-mentioned names was pretty much part of the curriculum. Plus at one point I had a particular interest in plays. So I've read some Wilde, Shaw, Beckett, and Joyce (not 'Finnegans Wake' or 'Ulysses' except for a page or two, just the shorter stuff).

I had one or two pretty good English lit. courses in high school, took a course on 'modern' plays (meaning early and mid 20th cent) in college. But mostly I'm aware of how spotty and inadequate my education was. Which, when you consider I went to an excellent (by reputation, at least) high school and an excellent (by reputation, at least) college is actually kind of frightening...

LFC said...

Ok, I was wrong about Yeats -- he was "of Anglo-Irish descent" (to quote Wiki). I was right about Wilde being Anglo-Irish, but had to check to make absolutely sure.

(As I said, a bad education.)

LFC said...

I like the "of course" (as in "of course" Yeats was not Anglo-Irish).

Next I'll be saying that "of course" Mahatma Gandhi was Swedish...

Ronan said...

Synge was as well, afaik. One of the more (in)famous theatrical events of the time (maybe not, but allow me my hyperbole ; ) ) were the riots after they put on 'The Playboy of the Western World' around 1910 in the Abbey Theatre.

The riots have been mostly remembered as 'conservative catholicism running wild', but as much of it was about his representation of the Catholic Irish peasant (which was mainly positive*, but to the newly emergent catholic nationalist middle class. a lot of who came from that background, was seen as patronising)
As I say though, id want to read more on this to get the nuances down.

*Ive never seen or read it. This is just my impression from what ive read about the event.