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Chase Madar: Human Rights Window Dressing, 2 July 2015

... on human rights in the reworked US Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual. Or Michael Posner, the founder of Human Rights First, now a business professor at NYU, who, as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labour in Obama’s first term, helped bury the Goldstone Report, commissioned by the United Nations to ...

Almost Zero

Ian Hacking: Ideas of Nature, 10 May 2007

The Veil of Isis: An Essay on the History of the Idea of Nature 
by Pierre Hadot, translated by Michael Chase.
Harvard, 399 pp., £19.95, November 2006, 0 674 02316 1
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... is here further translated into numbing English. It could put you off the poem for life. Seek out Michael Hamburger’s version, in Christopher Middleton’s Goethe: Selected Poems. It begins, incidentally, by making fun not only of the search for a secret inside, but also of Linnaean nomenclature. Don’t classify, it says: look! ‘Nature, it seems, must ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’, 15 July 2021

... he seems more a curser than a killer. Reynolds, as Jackson’s supposed protector, the bodyguard Michael Bryce, says he has ‘single-handedly ruined the word motherfucker’. I don’t know about the ruin, but he certainly uses the word a lot. We may have thought there was going to be a bit of metaplay in the film when we learned that the Japanese ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘No Time to Die’, 21 October 2021

... bomb doesn’t do the trick. Bond, naturally, is driving an Aston Martin. There is a magnificent chase along the improbable streets, the town becoming the nightmare negative of a racetrack. And we haven’t even arrived at the film’s credits yet. I don’t want to say it’s all downhill from here, because, quite apart from the merits of the pun, there are ...

From a Summer to an Autumn

Michael Wood: Julian Barnes, 9 May 2013

Levels of Life 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 118 pp., £10.99, April 2013, 978 0 224 09815 1
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... in opera is ‘both higher and deeper’ than the spoken word, because ‘opera cuts to the chase’. In this context when people say, ‘I thought you’d be over it by now,’ they are unwittingly plugging themselves into the aerial lexicon of the book, their ‘over’ meaning ‘past’ turning automatically into ‘over’ meaning ‘above’. And ...

War Therapy

Chase Madar: Victors’ Justice, 22 April 2010

Victors’ Justice: From Nuremberg to Baghdad 
by Danilo Zolo, translated by M.W. Weir.
Verso, 189 pp., £14.99, October 2009, 978 1 84467 317 9
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... to the invasion of Afghanistan. Some promoters of the liberal Kantian project – for example, Michael Ignatieff – have gone further, embracing the invasion of Iraq as a muscular extension of normative human rights, and in some cases dreaming of yet more humanitarian assaults on targets from Khartoum to Tehran. Victors’ Justice, a collection of seven ...

A Preference for Torquemada

Michael Wood: G.K. Chesterton, 9 April 2009

Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy: The Making of GKC 1874-1908 
by William Oddie.
Oxford, 401 pp., £25, November 2008, 978 0 19 955165 1
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The Man Who Was Thursday 
by G.K. Chesterton.
Atlantic, 187 pp., £7.99, December 2008, 978 1 84354 905 5
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... and edginess, which point us to a certain complicated conclusion. The first concerns the chase of Syme by the infirm and elderly Professor de Worms, whom Syme at this stage still believes to be an anarchist. The Professor moves ‘slowly and painfully’, or seems to, and yet manages instantly to appear wherever Syme goes. Syme walks through a snowy ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘True Grit’, 3 February 2011

True Grit 
directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen.
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... away from them, uncatchable now. It is precisely at this moment, just after the abandonment of the chase, that she meets the killer. The story is over; the story starts up again. A sort of miracle; or a reminder that movie writers are masters of ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’, 30 August 2018

... inside CIA headquarters. In the new one there is a nearly failed parachute drop, a rooftop chase in London, a lot of motorised whizzing around the streets of Paris, some fine scenery in Kashmir, and battle of smashed helicopters. And in one splendid moment Cruise and a companion drive a truck at great speed down a narrowing alley. The vehicle is too ...

Man-Eating Philosophers

Will Self: David Cronenberg, 18 June 2015

Consumed 
by David Cronenberg.
Fourth Estate, 288 pp., £18.99, October 2014, 978 0 00 729915 7
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... the eponymous Dr Roiphe, another medical showman who has interred his beautiful daughter Chase in a weird atelier where she holds auto-cannibalistic tea parties and operates a 3D printer. As might be anticipated, Chase Roiphe uses her FabrikantBot to print out models of Célestine Arosteguy’s body parts ...

How Dirty Harry beat the Ringo Kid

Michael Rogin, 9 May 1996

John Wayne: American 
by Randy Roberts and James Olson.
Free Press, 738 pp., £17.99, March 1996, 0 02 923837 4
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... civilised Indian who joins Ethan in his quest, the audience finds itself caught up in the chase. We may finally break with Ethan, as Martin does, when, discovering that his niece is cohabiting with the Indian ringleader, he determines to kill rather than rescue her. Nonetheless, the condition of our initial sympathy is that primal scene, the ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, 17 April 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel 
directed by Wes Anderson.
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... making a crucial phone call on behalf of Monsieur Gustave. And there is an orchestrated chase across snowy mountains; one of the best lines in the film is the instruction given to Monsieur Gustave and Zero as they gallop into an isolated alpine monastery: ‘Put these on and sing.’ ‘These’ are the white habits of a monk and a rosary each. The ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Miles Ahead’, 19 May 2016

Miles Ahead 
directed by Don Cheadle.
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... over-played gangster and his hit man, much pistol waving on the part of Davis, and a ludicrous car chase. And it does tell essentially the same tale, prompting a question about time and success in jazz stories, and perhaps in celebrity stories more generally. Why can’t we see early success as anything other than a burden? In Born to be Blue, Baker makes a ...

On Lawrence Joseph

Michael Hofmann, 19 March 2020

... almost uniquely among contemporary American poets, Joseph doesn’t retail privities, doesn’t chase the minuscule scraps of sublimity left to us, doesn’t retreat to his literal or figurative cabin in the woods. Readers of his work may be tempted to conclude: this poet doesn’t have a personal life. That’s because what the poems give us are the past ...

Feeling good

Michael Rogin, 11 January 1990

The Great Divide: Second Thoughts on the American Dream 
by Studs Terkel.
Hamish Hamilton, 439 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 0 241 12667 3
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More than Bread: Ethnography of a Soup Kitchen 
by Irene Glasser.
University of Alabama Press, 180 pp., $22.95, November 1988, 0 8173 0397 9
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... the actual existence of Americans and the fantasies they inhabit. ‘Instead of saying, It’s Chase Manhattan that created Wisconsin Steel’s closing, it’s not you,’ explains the director of a neighbourhood association, ‘we live in the world of Dallas, of daytime soaps, in a world of fantasy. So we don’t have to deal with the real world.’ A ...

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