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The Anti-Matter of George Orwell

George Orwell matters because he not only coined the term "Cold War," but because he’s been the champion of Cold War propaganda since 1947. Of course, despite his title, Christopher Hitchens won’t tell you that. Indeed, he makes no effort to address the question of Why Orwell Matters. More in keeping with his trajectory is the United Kingdom title, Orwell’s Victory, the imperialist boast of which Hitchens was right to suspect might not play too well in the United States.

Women on War

Edited with an Introduction by Daniela Gioseffi (Feminist Press, 2003) In Pericles’s famous "Funeral Oration" of 430 BC, delivered toward the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, he praised the bravery of the dead Athenian soldiers and prepared Athens for the certain deaths that were ahead. But toward the end of the speech, he also remarked on the role of women in war: Perhaps I should say a word or two on the duties of women to those among you who are now widowed. I can say all I have to say in a short word of advice. Your great glory is not to be inferior to what God has made you, and the greatest glory of a woman is to be least talked about by men, whether they are praising you or criticizing you.

Footage Fetish

William Gibson will always be remembered as the guy who coined the term "cyberspace." Like one of his own hardwired artificial intelligences epoxied into a hunk of designer plastic, Gibson’s neologism has, for better or for worse, launched itself into a kind of global sentience.

Imaginary Crossings

The opening story in Gabriel Brownstein’s nicely crafted collection is as brief and potent as a slap. Our narrator, Davey, recalls the day when an unhinged neighbor, Dr. Schlachter, launched his son Solly from the roof of their apartment building in a pair of makeshift wings. The modern-day Icarus glided over treetops, toward Riverside Park, and the look on his face "passed not from ecstasy to terror but from fear to exultation.

The Crimes We Commit

The twelve stories in Dacia Maraini’s Darkness are documents of horrendous crimes: rape, forced prostitution, physical abuse, murder. Throughout, Maraini takes a dispassionate tone; there is very little sympathy for the characters, including Adele Sofia, the police commissioner who threads the stories together. This dispassionate style serves to remind us that in our daily lives there are terrible things happening every moment, as we buy a cup of coffee, wash the dishes, or talk to a friend on the phone— and for someone like Adele Sofia, this is nothing to get excited about.

In Conversation

John Strausbaugh with Theodore Hamm

John Strausbaugh is the former editor of New York Press. His book Rock ‘Til You Drop (Verso) is now in its second edition. The following conversation took place on a Saturday afternoon in early February 2003, at Montero’s Bar and Grille.


The Brooklyn Rail

APR-MAY 2003

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