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The American Virus

Eliot Weinberger, 4 June 2020

... Week one:​ 3-9 May. Along with toilet paper, which remains scarce, condolence cards are sold out, though birthday cards are plentiful. Popular images include a trail of footprints in the sand and an angel with its forehead pressed into the crook of its arm.As confirmed American coronavirus deaths pass 67,000, the president declares, in an interview with Fox News held inside the Lincoln Memorial, where events are traditionally banned: ‘They always said nobody got treated worse than Lincoln ...

Ten Typical Days in Trump’s America

Eliot Weinberger: Ten (More) Days in America, 25 October 2018

... As dozens​ of lagoons of pig waste overflow in North Carolina, President Trump says that Hurricane Florence is ‘one of the wettest we’ve ever seen, from the standpoint of water’. (In North Carolina 9.7 million pigs produce ten billion gallons of manure a year.)*President Trump says: ‘I hope to be able to put this up as one of my crowning achievements that I was able to expose something that is truly a cancer in our country ...

What I Heard about Iraq

Eliot Weinberger: Watch and listen, 3 February 2005

... In 1992, a year after the first Gulf War, I heard Dick Cheney, then secretary of defense, say that the US had been wise not to invade Baghdad and get ‘bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq’. I heard him say: ‘The question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is: not that damned many ...

One Summer in America

Eliot Weinberger, 26 September 2019

... In​ the concentration camps for migrant children, they sleep on a concrete floor with a single blanket, often made of mylar. It is so crowded that the older children try to sleep standing so that the younger ones can stretch out. The lights stay on 24 hours a day. They wear the clothes they arrived in, days or weeks or months before. They rarely have soap, toothbrushes or showers ...

What I heard about Iraq in 2005

Eliot Weinberger: Iraq, 5 January 2006

... In 2005 I heard that Coalition forces were camped in the ruins of Babylon. I heard that bulldozers had dug trenches through the site and cleared areas for helicopter landing pads and parking lots, that thousands of sandbags had been filled with dirt and archaeological fragments, that a 2600-year-old brick pavement had been crushed by tanks, and that the moulded bricks of dragons had been gouged out from the Ishtar Gate by soldiers collecting souvenirs ...

Real isn’t real

Michael Wood: Octavio Paz, 4 July 2013

The Poems of Octavio Paz 
edited and translated by Eliot Weinberger.
New Directions, 606 pp., £30, October 2012, 978 0 8112 2043 9
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... in 1990. Late in life he became a prolific political commentator on television and elsewhere – Weinberger puts it kindly when he evokes Paz’s ‘anti-authoritarian European-style socialism’ and says he ‘was considered right-wing by the Latin American left’. Other observers have felt that Paz was an old-fashioned liberal who perhaps didn’t know ...

Responses to the War in Gaza

LRB Contributors, 29 January 2009

... up straight and stops thinking.’Jacqueline Rose is a co-founder of Independent Jewish Voices. Eliot Weinberger 1. Who remembers the original dream of Israel? A place where the observant could practice their religion in peace and the secular would be invisible as Jews – where being Jewish only mattered if you wanted it to matter. That dream was ...

The Terror Trail

Tariq Ali: The real story of Daniel Pearl, 20 May 2004

A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life and Death of My Husband, Daniel Pearl 
by Mariane Pearl.
Virago, 278 pp., £7.99, March 2004, 1 84408 126 5
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Who Killed Daniel Pearl? 
by Bernard-Henri Lévy.
Duckworth, 454 pp., £20, September 2003, 0 7156 3261 2
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... Bernard-Henri Lévy and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the German Green MEP, berated the New York poet Eliot Weinberger and myself for opposing the bombing and occupation of Afghanistan. Lévy had told the Berlin audience that he was a bit jet-lagged since he had just returned from Kabul, where he had met with the implanted leader Hamid Karzai and launched a ...

‘Beyond Criticism’

Eliane Glaser: Concentration Camp Memoirs, 20 November 2008

Under Two Dictators: Prisoner of Stalin and Hitler 
by Margarete Buber-Neumann, translated by Edward Fitzgerald.
Pimlico, 350 pp., £17.99, January 2008, 978 1 84595 102 3
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... and the veracity of The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski has been questioned by many, including Eliot Weinberger. The reaction to these discoveries has been oddly mixed. When doubts began to circulate about Fragments, Deborah Lipstadt wrote in the Forward that if the story told there were untrue it ‘might complicate matters somewhat’, but that it ...

Fast Water off the Bow-Wave

Jeremy Harding: George Oppen, 21 June 2018

21 Poems 
by George Oppen, edited by David B. Hobbs.
New Directions, 48 pp., £7.99, September 2017, 978 0 8112 2691 2
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... Bunting and Rakosi were included. In came Pound alongside Williams. But so did disparate work by Eliot, Kenneth Rexroth, Mary Butts and others. Once again the team colours that Monroe had asked Zukofsky to supply had run in the wash. Still, the core Objectivists knew what they didn’t like. For instance, the ‘semi-allegorical gleam’ of Symbolism ...

Goodbye to Borges

John Sturrock, 7 August 1986

by Jorge Luis Borges, in collaboration with by Maria Kodama, translated by Anthony Kerrigan.
Viking, 95 pp., £12.95, March 1986, 0 670 81029 0
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Seven Nights 
by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Eliot Weinberger.
Faber, 121 pp., £3.95, June 1986, 0 571 13737 7
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... Borges died on 14 June, in Geneva – which bare fact virtually calls for an ‘English papers please copy,’ as they used to say, so complacently scant and grudging were the notices which we were given to read at the time. There was much Englishness about him, starting with his mother’s family, which was English, but obvious also in the plain way that he wrote, and in the humour with which he used to deprecate his own high literary standing ...

Spanish Practices

Edwin Williamson, 18 May 1989

Collected Poems 1957-1987 
by Octavio Paz, edited by Eliot Weinberger.
Carcanet, 669 pp., £25, October 1988, 0 85635 787 1
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Sor Juana: Her Life and her World 
by Octavio Paz, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden.
Faber, 547 pp., £27.50, November 1988, 0 571 15399 2
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ASor Juana Anthology 
translated by Alan Trueblood, with a foreword by Octavio Paz.
Harvard, 248 pp., £23.95, September 1988, 0 674 82120 3
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... Octavio Paz occupies a unique position in the Spanish-speaking world. He is the foremost living poet of the language as well as being one of the most authoritative interpreters of the Hispanic situation, a pensador in the tradition of Unamuno, Ortega y Gasset, Rodo and Mariategui. Poetry, however, has always been the vital source of his ideas. His work as cultural historian, political essayist and editor of Vuelta, the most influential journal in Latin America today, is rooted in his belief that the poetic conscience must be brought to bear on the central issues of contemporary history ...

Take out all the adjectives

Jeremy Harding: The poetry of George Oppen, 6 May 2004

New Collected Poems 
by George Oppen, edited by Michael Davidson.
Carcanet, 433 pp., £14.95, July 2003, 1 85754 631 8
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... is a fine, capacious dwelling, tended by two of Oppen’s most devoted caretakers, Davidson and Eliot Weinberger, who supplies a short preface ahead of the main editorial introduction. The notes are copious and extremely helpful. Altogether a marvellous piece of work. Yet it’s a relief to return to the first US Collected, or some of the smaller ...

What Is Great about Ourselves

Pankaj Mishra: Closing Time, 20 September 2017

The Retreat of Western Liberalism 
by Edward Luce.
Little, Brown, 240 pp., £16.99, May 2017, 978 1 4087 1041 8
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The Fate of the West: Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea 
by Bill Emmott.
Economist, 257 pp., £22, May 2017, 978 1 61039 780 3
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The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics 
by David Goodhart.
Hurst, 256 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 84904 799 9
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The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics 
by Mark Lilla.
Harper, 143 pp., £20, August 2017, 978 0 06 269743 1
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The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam 
by Douglas Murray.
Bloomsbury, 343 pp., £18.99, May 2017, 978 1 4729 4224 1
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... from Within (2006) was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle award, prompting one judge, Eliot Weinberger, to denounce Bawer for engaging in ‘racism as criticism’. Worried that Hispanics were undermining ‘Anglo-Protestant society’, Samuel Huntington, writing in Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity (2004), denounced ...

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