Thursday, November 11, 2010

Green Thang, Red Thang

Books go eco-friendly ... I mean, more eco-friendly than they already are.

Nathan Whitlock on Mordecai Richler.

Jacob Russell on Afghanistan.

Zach Wells reads two for Remembrance Day. Incidentally, one of my German co-workers told me that the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month is the beginning of Carnival in Germany. This isn't merely an example of cultural difference, it is, to my mind, an example of cultural difference crying out for semiotic/sociologic/psychoanalytic meta-analysis. On the one hand, a war in which a nation-state whose foreign policy was still beholden to an imperial power managed to prove [add irony quotes] itself on the battlefield, and thus, more or less in time for the next global conflagration, establish itself as truly sovereign, while another nation state, eager to prove its mettle/anxious to build an empire of its own/confused as to how to disentangle itself from a world-historical policy blunder, launched into a war that chewed up an entire generation of its young men (along with same for the war's other belligerents), lost, and ... set the stage for the political fanaticism that would trigger the next major war.

Remembrance Day is celebrated in Canada as a rather solemn event honoured primarily by school-kids led into gymnasiums where they are read "In Flanders Fields". World War One, not World War Two, remains the ceremony's focus (at least, that's how it was for me in grade school). In Germany, apparently, it is the beginning of a beer-centric bacchanalia whose purpose is a forgetful fun. Neither national culture quite wants to face the post-millennial reality: militarism is alive and well, and all the poppies and all the Becks cannot neutralize that fact that treating history as a museum piece or just obliterating it altogether with litres and litres of top-quality brew don't alter that one of war's main roots is cultural acceptance of militarism.

Round three, anyone?


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