November 04, 2004

Ends & odds

Sorry, sorry -- more of the usual crap tomorrow. I'm not sure why, but I'm exhausted. Well, I guess I do have an inkling as to why -- the last two days I've been consoling friends depressed over the election results (for the record, I'm not), and today even went so far as to order several adult beverages during lunch (something I'm not accustomed to doing).

I'm also reading Tyndale's translation of Romans, part of his excellent New Testament translation. Biblical exegesis isn't my strong suit, so I won't say much, although I will say this: religious language, even for a sanguinely secularist doubter like me, has a power quite unlike, say, political rhetoric (which can also be quite moving). I'm not prepared to say more, but it is something I've been thinking about.

North Sea Diaries sums up the Buttiglione affair -- and no, I'd never heard of it either, although I found it fascinating. (It would have been more interesting if it somehow involved alchemy, a stolen necklace, Jacques Chirac's mistress, the Paris catacombs and the Rosicrucians, but no such luck.) If misunderstandings caused by mistranslating words or mistaken gestures can develop into scandals, or be so misrepresented (not that I agree with Buttiglione, but hey, consider the source) in Europe, well, what does that say? But then there are some unfortunate souls I've talked to who think America is two irreconcilable countries -- it's best to gently remind them of what that really looks like (Cold Harbor, Gettysburg...)

Demosophia reminds us of an important anniversary, which serves also to remind me that I'd meant to blog Hamid Algar's book Roots of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Algar -- who's lived in the U.S. for years now, has taught, traveled, written books, and so on -- delivered four lectures in which he enthusiastically endorses not the overthrow of the Shah, but the rise to power of the theocrats. On a few occasions, his listeners ask questions, noting that the new regime has set about slaughtering its enemies. Algar's response is that the Shah killed far more. Well, that may or may not be the case, but of course it's missing the point -- murder as a routine means of domestic politics is not something any intellectual should dismiss so blithely.

And I still have to get around to the new Qutb work, which I haven't finished reading yet -- maybe by the middle of next week.

Posted by Ideofact at November 4, 2004 11:59 PM