Friday, December 31, 2010

A Final Quote for 2010

The pathos of death is this, that when the days of one's life are ended, those days that were so crowded with business and felt so heavy in their passing, what remains of one in memory should usually be so slight a thing. The phantom of an attitude, the echo of a certain mode of thought, a few pages of print, some invention, or some victory we gained in a brief critical hour, are all that can survive the best of us. It is as if the whole of a man's significance had now shrunk into... a mere musical note or phrase suggestive of his singularity.

-- William James, 1903
So it is cited for an epigraph to Bruce Kuklick's seminal work The Rise of American Philosophy: Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1860 - 1930 (1977). But tracking down the original source for this blog posting, I found it slightly but significantly different. The phrase omitted by the ellipsis ("the phantom of an attitude, into") does not seem to materially change the thought -- presumably it was omitted simply because it was felt that the repetition of the phrase "the phantom of an attitude" was an aesthetic gaff. On the other hand that final period (after "singularity") which Kuklick puts in, James does not: and it seems to me that the full paragraph is actually far more upbeat than how Kuklick, somewhat misleadingly, quotes it. Here is the full paragraph from James -- which is the opening paragraph from his "Address at the Emerson Centenary in Concord":
The pathos of death is this, that when the days of one's life are ended, those days that were so crowded with business and felt so heavy in their passing, what remains of one in memory should usually be so slight a thing. The phantom of an attitude, the echo of a certain mode of thought, a few pages of print, some invention, or some victory we gained in a brief critical hour, are all that can survive the best of us. It is as if the whole of a man's significance had now shrunk into the phantom of an attitude, into a mere musical note or phrase suggestive of his singularity — happy are those whose singularity gives a note so clear as to be victorious over the inevitable pity of such a diminution and abridgement.
As Kuklick elides it, the paragraph is wholly dark; but James (thinking, of course, of Emerson) adds a possibility of hope -- that one might possess a "singularity" which would enable one to "be victorious over the inevitable pity of such a diminution and abridgement." And James returns to this uplifting interpretation; he closes by recurring again to his opening metaphor:
I spoke of how shrunken the wraith, how thin the echo, of men is after they are departed? Emerson's wraith comes to me now as if it were but the very voice of this victorious argument. His words to this effect are certain to be quoted and extracted more and more as time goes on, and to take their place among the Scriptures of humanity. "'Gainst death and all oblivious enmity, shall you pace forth," beloved Master. As long as our English language lasts men's hearts will be cheered and their souls strengthened and liberated by the noble and musical pages with which you have enriched it.
Again, James's text seems to me quite different in spirit than that which one gleans from Kuklick's epigraphal quoting of him.

As a temperamentally pessimistic fellow, I must admit I prefer the Kuklick version to James's original. But I think it's a bit surprising that he would, without any acknowledgement of doing so, edit the paragraph in so substance-altering a fashion.

Happy new year to one and all.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Zeynep Tufekci on Wikileaks, the "Tax on DIssent" and the Internet as Privatized Public Space

Via the same Zunguzungu link roundup I got yesterday's quote from, here is Zeynep Tufekci on the lesson of L'affaire Wikileaks:
...the main lessons of the Wikileaks affair: the increasing control of (relatively) unaccountable corporations and states over the key components of the Internet, and their increased willingness to use this control in politicized ways to impose a "dissent tax" on content they find objectionable. Ability to disseminate one's ideas on the Internet is now a sine qua non of inclusion in the global public sphere. However, the Internet is not a true public sphere; it is a public sphere erected on private property, what I have dubbed a "quasi-public sphere," where the property owners can sideline and constrain dissent....

During these past weeks, rather than a nerd takeover, I saw the crumbling of the facade of a flat, equal, open Internet and the revelation of an Internet which has corporate power occupying its key crossroads, ever-so-sensitive to any whiff of displeasure by the state. I saw an Internet in danger of becoming merely an interactive version of the television in terms of effective freedom of speech. Remember, the Internet did not create freedom of speech; in theory, we always had freedom of speech--it's just that it often went along with the freedom to be ignored. People had no access to the infrastructure to be heard. Until the Internet, the right to be heard was in most cases reserved to the governments, deep pockets, and corporate media. Before the Internet, trees fell in lonely forests.

The Wikileaks furor shows us that these institutions of power are slowly and surely taking control of the key junctures of the Internet. As a mere "quasi-public sphere," the Internet is somewhat akin to shopping malls, which seem like public spaces but in which the rights of citizens are restricted, as they are in fact private. If you think the freedom of the Internet could never be taken back, I implore you to read the history of radio. Technologies that start out as peer-to-peer and citizen-driven can be and have been taken over by corporate and state power.
And then, via one of the links in the very excerpt reprinted above, here is Zeynep Tufekci with more about the internet as a public sphere on private property, and the limits that entails:
The answer cannot be: well, people who are unhappy shouldn’t use those services. Presence on the Internet is effectively a requirement for fully and effectively participating in the 21st century as a citizen, as a consumer, as an informed person and as a social being. Further, many such services are natural monopolies: Google, Ebay, Facebook, Amazon, all benefit greatly from network externalities which means that the more people on the service, the more useful it is for everyone. This makes it very hard for a market leader to be challenged. (Wikipedia is also such a natural monopoly but it is not corporate controlled).

Facebook or Google are optional in the sense that electricity, telephone, modern medicine are optional. Don’t like the medical establishment? Don’t use antibiotics! Don’t like how deregulated electricity markets are run? Well, don’t use electricity! Hey, solar panels are available. Telling people to opt-out of major streams of sociality, information and markets on the Internet makes almost as much sense. While I’ll readily concede the urgency of antibiotics differs from the urgency of social interaction, sociality is a fundamental part of being. It is not optional. It is not a coincidence that solitary confinement is the most severe legal punishment –short of the death penalty—that is legally imposed on people.

The next argument is: well, use an alternative service! That too is as valid as telling people to use a different cable company or an electric utility if they don’t like the current one. In most markets, there is only one or two such utilities, and for good reason. The investment in laying cables and connecting doors is large enough that most markets cannot support multiple, truly alternative services. Similarly, especially in the lives of young people, Facebook acts like a phone directory used to and opting out of Facebook during college would significantly constrain social options for many. Facebook has become de facto social commons, especially in college but now has spread to other cohorts. It takes effort to maintain a profile and people are unlikely to duplicate that effort in multiple services the same way multiple electric companies don’t put down parallel cables to each neighbor to compete with each other. Google is such an environment for searching and for many people who do not have an institutionally-supplied email account they can freely use for personal matters, Gmail makes a lot of sense.
Both articles flesh out the ideas these excerpts are from; click through if the quoted bits interest you.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Fabulous Paragraph from a Bruce Sterling Essay Mostly About Something Else Entirely

As a novelist, I never think of Monica Lewinsky, that once-everyday young woman, without a sense of dread at the freakish, occult fate that overtook her. Imagine what it must be like, to wake up being her, to face the inevitability of being That Woman. Monica, too, transgressed in apparent safety and then she had the utter foolishness to brag to a lethal enemy, a trusted confidante who ran a tape machine and who brought her a mediated circus of hells. The titillation of that massive, shattering scandal has faded now. But think of the quotidian daily horror of being Monica Lewinsky, and that should take a bite from the soul.

-- Bruce Sterling
...the rest of the essay is fascinating too, and filled with equally quotable bits; its about L'affaire Wikileaks. Check it out. (Via, who adds their own thoughts too, as well as other links.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

On Grading: From Ursula K. LeGuin's Novel The Dispossesed

I read The Dispossessed in high school, and loved it, but I don't think I've read it since. (And that, by now, is a very very long time.) But Gerry Canavan reminded me of this moment of the novel, in which Shevek, (the protagonist, who is a physicist), who is from an Anarchist society, goes to a US-style university and encounters the grading system:
He was appalled by the examination system, when it was explained to him; he could not imagine a greater deterrent to the natural wish to learn than this pattern of cramming in information and disgorging it at demand. At first he refused to give any tests or grades, but this upset the University administrators so badly that, not wishing to be discourteous to his hosts, he gave in. He asked his students to write a paper on any problem in physics that interested them, and told them that he would give them all the highest mark, so that the bureaucrats would have something to write on their forms and lists. To his surprise a good many students came to him to complain. They wanted him to set the problems, to ask the right questions; they did not want to think about questions, but to write down the answers they had learned. And some of them objected strongly to his giving everyone the same mark. How could the diligent students be distinguished from the dull ones? What was the good in working hard? If no competitive distinctions were to be made, one might as well do nothing.

Well, of course, Shevek said, troubled. If you do not want to do the work, you should not do it.

-- Ursula K. LeGuin, The Dispossessed
Michael Widner adds a few thoughts here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Joseph Saperstein Frug!

...but if you're reading this, stop: you're still too young to read the internet!!

(I don't care if Ima did say that 2 was old enough. But, by the by, I'm fairly sure she didn't.)

(Photo by John Henry Stassen)

(Disclaimer: the above photo is from Thanksgiving, back when he was still 1 and not all old and stuff as he now, at 2, clearly is...)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Quote of the Day

While we can continue to abhor the system of human bondage that flourished in the Old South, there is much we can learn from a more dispassionate examination of the arguments used to defend it. We have sought to distance the slaveholders and their creed, to define them as very unlike ourselves. Yet their processes of rationalization and self-justification were not so very different from our own, or from those of any civilization of human actors. The persistence of modern racism is but one forceful reminder of the ways that human beings always view the world in terms of inherited systems of belief and explanation that only partially reflect the reality they are meant to describe. By understanding how others have fashioned and maintained their systems of meaning, we shall be better equipped to evaluate, criticize and perhaps even change our own.

-- Drew Gilpin Faust
...from the amazing blog of Ta-Nehisi Coates, who continues to write what I think is some of the best popular history being written today in any medium.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Few Sentences On the Notion of Smaller Government

Progressives think government is too big and therefore want to reduce secrecy and prevent the president from imprisoning and assassinating American citizens without due process; Tea Partiers think government is too big and therefore want to prevent universal health care. Progressives think the national deficit and debt are out of control and therefore want to shrink the military; Tea Partiers think the national deficit and debt are out of control and therefore want to eliminate social security.

-- Barry Eisler
...which is why I don't take limited government rhetoric the least bit seriously: it's simply too empty a phrase, meaning too many different things to too many different people. Like the (probably even sillier) rhetoric of "states' rights", its value or lack thereof is entirely in the specific case, not in the abstract virtue. Better to simply talk about what you're talking about, and not prattle on about almost entirely empty forms.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Purple Cow and Its Parodies

Saying nursery rhymes to my son recently I happened to quote the famous poem by... well, I had to look up his name: it's Galett Burgess. And as is so common I omitted the first two lines of this six-line poem -- it's usually, but erroneously, treated as a four-line poem. Anyway, here it is, in its majestic entirety:
The Purple Cow

Reflections on a Mythic Beast,
Who's Quite Remarkable, at Least

I never Saw a Purple Cow;
I never Hope to See One;
But I can Tell you, Anyhow,
I'd rather See than Be One.

-- Gelett Burgess

And Wikipedia (bless it) has an image of its original appearance:

...which, you'll note, also leaves off the opening two lines (which definitely are in some versions, e.g. here); so I suppose there's a reason for the common, truncated form of the quotation.

But I've always liked even better the sequel that Burgess wrote -- twenty years after, if the title is to believed. Wikipedia claims that the sequel is "almost as well-known as the original"; in my experience that's not true, although I think it ought to be true: one of several motivations for this little post on the topic. Anyway, the sequel goes like this:
Cinq Ans Apres

(Confession: and a Portrait, Too,
Upon a Background that I Rue!

Ah, yes! I wrote the "Purple Cow"--
I'm Sorry, now, I Wrote it!
But I can Tell you, Anyhow,
I'll Kill you if you Quote it!

-- Gelett Burgess
It's a good thing I'll never meet the late Mr. Burgess, as he'd have killed me many dozens of times over.

Burgess's poem has inspired numerous parodies -- Wikipedia quotes several, although I'm certain there's more. (For none of the parodies do they quote opening lines to parallel the opening lines of "The Purple Cow"; whether this is an omission by the quoter or the author I don't know.) This is one of the most famous (and justly so), after Burgess's own sequel:
I've never seen a purple cow.
My eyes with tears are full.
I've never seen a purple cow,
And I'm a purple bull.

-- Anonymous
(If Martin Gardner couldn't find an author for that one, I suspect it can't be found.)

That one I'd seen before -- in the Gardner collection, I think. This one, however, is new to me -- and, I think, almost as funny:
I never was a vitamin;
I never hope to be one;
but I can tell you anyhow;
I'd rather C than B1!

-- Tom Montgomery
And I also like:
I've never seen a purple cow.
I never hope to see one.
But from the milk we're getting now,
There certainly must be one!

-- Ye Old Prolific Author Anonymous

Oddly, I don't particularly care for the ones by famous writers that are quoted either by Wikipedia (Ogden Nash) nor by Gardner (O. Henry). Not as good as the unknowns and anonymouses, in this case.

And, of course, with all that Purple Cowy Goodness sloshing around in my brain, it was perhaps only a matter of time until I got into the game. So I herewith present a World! Exclusive! Premiere! of Yet Another Parody of "The Purple Cow", by yours truly:
The Purple Postmodernist

Reflections, in a meta way,
On how I'm saying what I now say.

I never pastiched "A Purple Cow",
I'd never hoped to do it;
But reading what I'm writing now
I'm very nearly through it.

-- Stephen Saperstein Frug
And I wish to note for the record that, even an hour before I wrote this, the claim in the antepenultimate line was perfectly true.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Searle on (Foucault on) Derrida

John Searle, in an interview with Reason Magazine*:
With Derrida, you can hardly misread him, because he's so obscure. Every time you say, "He says so and so," he always says, "You misunderstood me." But if you try to figure out the correct interpretation, then that's not so easy. I once said this to Michel Foucault, who was more hostile to Derrida even than I am, and Foucault said that Derrida practiced the method of obscurantisme terroriste (terrorism of obscurantism). We were speaking French. And I said, "What the hell do you mean by that?" And he said, "He writes so obscurely you can't tell what he's saying, that's the obscurantism part, and then when you criticize him, he can always say, 'You didn't understand me; you're an idiot.' That's the terrorism part." And I like that. So I wrote an article about Derrida. I asked Michel if it was OK if I quoted that passage, and he said yes.

Foucault was often lumped with Derrida. That's very unfair to Foucault. He was a different caliber of thinker altogether.
I'm not entirely sure how reliable or accurate this is, but I thought it was interesting, and kinda funny.

For a direct attack by Searle on Derrida, see this review by Searle of Culler's On Deconstruction here. (That link goes to a reprint; the original publication is behind a paywall.) This is presumably the article mentioned in the above quote, since Searle does, in fact, quote Foucault on this point within it. Here's a bit of it that I found interesting (at least in part because it is consonant with other reactions to skepticism I've read and found interesting):
I believe that Derrida's work, at least those portions I have read, is not just a series of muddles and gimmicks. There is in fact a large issue being addressed and a large mistake being made. The philosophical tradition that goes from Descartes to Husserl, and indeed a large part of the philosophical tradition that goes back to Plato, involves a search for foundations: metaphysically certain foundations of knowledge, foundations of language and meaning, foundations of mathematics, foundations of morality, etc.... Now, in the twentieth century, mostly under the influence of Wittgenstein and Heidegger, we have come to believe that this general search for these sorts of foundations is misguided. There aren't in the way classical metaphysicians supposed any foundations for ethics or knowledge.... Derrida correctly sees that there aren't any such foundations, but he then makes the mistake that marks him as a classical metaphysician. The real mistake of the classical metaphysician was not the belief that there were metaphysical foundations, but rather the belief that somehow or other such foundations were necessary, the belief that unless there are foundations something is lost or threatened or undermined or put in question. It is this belief that Derrida shares with the tradition he seeks to deconstruct. Derrida sees that the Husserlian project of a transcendental grounding for science, language, and common sense is a failure. But what he fails to see is that this doesn't threaten science, language, or common sense in the least. As Wittgenstein says, it leaves everything exactly as it is.

All this via a fruitless search for an online copy of Searle's "Reply to Derrida: Reiterating the Differences". Say what you will about Derrida, I really wish that Searle had given him permission to reprint that piece in his book Limited, Inc.

Update: Thanks to commentator Francis Jervis for providing this link to an online copy of Searle's Reply to Derrida."

* Why Reason Magazine, you ask? I dunno. But later in the interview Searle does discuss an article he wrote claiming that Hayek's Road to Serfdom as one of "the book of the century".) He says of Hayek:
It would be interesting for somebody to analyze in a more scholarly vein to what extent he was right: that there wasn't any halfway point of democratic socialism, that it would naturally collapse into various forms of oppression, that however well-intentioned the setting up of the socialist bureaucracy was, it would be bound to have calamitous effects.
Possibly such a survey might start out by studying the various democratic socialist countries of Europe, which tend to be roughly as free, prosperous, stable and happy as the U.S. Which means, unless I'm missing something (and of course maybe I am) that the answer to "what extent he was right" was not at all. (On this point, see also this actual economist.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quotes About Harry Mathews's Cigarettes (1987)

Cigarettes.... [I]dentified by the author as his only "purely Oulipian novel." Its method of composition has not be revealed beyond a statement that it is based on a "permutation of situations".

-- Oulipo Compendium, ed. Harry Mathews & Alistair Brotchie, rev. ed., p. 126

During this time, I decided to write an Oulipian novel. And I created this abstract scheme of permutations of situations in which A meets B, B meets C, and so forth. There’s no point in looking for it now because no one will ever figure it out, including me....

-- Harry Mathews

MATHEWS: I’d never been able to write about the world I grew up in, but Cigarettes allowed me to do it, with Saratoga Springs standing in for the Hamptons.

INTERVIEWER: Could you have done it without the method?

MATHEWS: No, I don’t think so. That’s the way I tell the truth. Oddly, the one novel I wrote using an Oulipian structure is the most conventional.

-- Ibid.

In the Oulipo, there are two schools of thought. People like Calvino and Perec said that the author should acknowledge the methods he’s been using. And the other clan, which included Raymond Queneau and myself, thinks it’s much better not to let on, because this will keep the reader straining to find out.

-- Harry Mathews in Ibid.

NTERVIEWER: Cigarettes... Why that title?
MATHEWS: The question, “Why is the book called Cigarettes?” is a question that should be asked.

-- Harry Mathews Interviewed by Lynn Tillman

Update: And now a quote from Cigarettes about writing -- one that seems, on its face, as if it is also about the writing of Cigarettes itself (as well as its ostensible subject within the novel) -- therefore, a quote that also seems to me to fit appropriately under the title of this blogpost:
Morris was showing him what writing could do. He advanced the notion that creation begins by annihilating typical forms and procedures, especially the illusory "naturalness" of sequence and coherence. Morris did more than state this, he demonstrated it. He made of his essay a minefield that blew itself up as you crossed it. You found yourself again and again on ground not of your choosing, propelled from semantics into psychoanalysis into epistemology into politics. These displacement seemed, rather than willful, grounded in some hidden and persuasive law that had as its purpose to keep bringing the reader back fresh to the subject.

-- Harry Mathews, Cigarettes, p, 135
(Derik Badman thought of applying this quote to Mathews own writing years before I did; but he gave only the first two sentences of the above, so I thought it was worth my quoting it at somewhat greater length.)

Update 2: And for completeness's sake, from Mathews's essay "Translation and the Oulipo", a comment reiterating the above in slightly different wording (via):
I had a similar experience with my novel Cigarettes. My "object of desire" was telling the story of a passionate friendship between two middle-aged women. That was all I knew. I had concocted an elaborate formal scheme in which abstract situations were permutated according to a set pattern. This outline suggested nothing in particular, and for a time it remained utterly empty and bewildering. It then began filling up with situations and characters that seem to come from nowhere; most of them belonged to the world I had grown up in. I had never been able to face writing about it before, even though I'd wanted to make it my subject from the moment I turned to fiction. It now reinvented itself in an unexpected and fitting guise that I could never have discovered otherwise.

For Perec and me, writing under constraint proved to be not a limitation but a liberation. Our unreasonable home grounds were what had at last enabled us to come home.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Poem of the Day: Warning to Children

Warning to Children

Children, if you dare to think
Of the greatness, rareness, muchness
Fewness of this precious only
Endless world in which you say
You live, you think of things like this:
Blocks of slate enclosing dappled
Red and green, enclosing tawny
Yellow nets, enclosing white
And black acres of dominoes,
Where a neat brown paper parcel
Tempts you to untie the string.
In the parcel a small island,
On the island a large tree,
On the tree a husky fruit.
Strip the husk and pare the rind off:
In the kernel you will see
Blocks of slate enclosed by dappled
Red and green, enclosed by tawny
Yellow nets, enclosed by white
And black acres of dominoes,
Where the same brown paper parcel -
Children, leave the string alone!
For who dares undo the parcel
Finds himself at once inside it,
On the island, in the fruit,
Blocks of slate about his head,
Finds himself enclosed by dappled
Green and red, enclosed by yellow
Tawny nets, enclosed by black
And white acres of dominoes,
With the same brown paper parcel
Still untied upon his knee.
And, if he then should dare to think
Of the fewness, muchness, rareness,
Greatness of this endless only
Precious world in which he says
he lives - he then unties the string.

-- Robert Graves

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Quote of the Day

Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore, we are saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we are saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore, we are saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.

-- Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History (h/t)

Alphabetical Africa Errata: an Updated List

My previous post on Walter Abish's Alphabetical Africa contained an introduction to the book and its unique constraint, a few remarks on what I thought of it, a table of all the errata I'd either seen elsewhere or found myself, and a list of possible corrections for them.

Now Johnathan Arnold, in a comment on that post has vastly expanded the list to the point where I am putting it up here in a separate post.

A reminder of Alphabetical Africa's constraint: The first half of the book consists of 26 chapters, labeled A through Z. The first chapter contains only words beginning with A; the second contains words beginning with A and B; the third words beginning with A, B and C; and so on up until Z, in which any word may appear. The second half of the book, also 26 chapters long, reverses the process. The chapters are labeled Z through A; Z uses any words; Y uses any words save those beginning with Z; X uses any words save those beginning with Y or Z, and so on back through the final chapter, A, which again uses only words beginning with A. (Again, there's more, including a few example passages, in the earlier post.)

That's the idea, anyway. But it turns out there are at least 40 50 and counting (!) departures from that schema. Here is a complete list of all the ones I know of, from all the various sources I've seen:

A1, p. 2
premature I
Alex and Allen alone, arrive in Abidjan...
D1, p. 9
premature H
...because Chester cannot hear Dogon birds chirp:
D1, p. 9premature O
biu, biu, biu, or Dogon dogs bark:
D1, p. 9premature O
bow, bow, bow, or antelopes:
G1, p. 15premature IAre Germans convincing in Africa?
H1, p. 18premature O...a bridge or an airport...
H1, p. 18premature O...a book, or a husky German...
H1, p. 18premature O...doors. One hundred and fifty...
H1, p. 19premature L...he chatters a lot...
I1, p. 21premature UI used to draw Alva.
J1, p. 26premature long as he could.
K1, p. 27premature N...he could design a new colony...
L1, p. 30premature O...finds a lot of lakes...
L1, p. 31premature S...being a compulsive liar she lies about him
M1, p. 32premature THe appeared to have been a middle-aged man.
M1, p. 32
premature T
He had gone to a hotel.
N1, p. 34premature OI am afraid of loving her...
N1, p. 35premature S...everything, even all sounds, heavy, dark...
N1, p. 35premature OEach moment is a kind of impermanent...
N1, p. 35premature favorite map of another African country...
O1, p. 38premature P...I promise her.
P1, p. 39premature T [arguable]...part-time only...
P1, p. 40premature S"...not invented anything I've seen or done."
Q1, p. 42premature TI am convinced that people...
R1, p. 46premature T [arguable]After a bit of rough-and-tumble...
V1, p. 58premature W...from the eastern and western edges...
W1, p. 59premature Y...had we been here a hundred years ago...
V2, p. 87belated WThe children are at school when the mailman arrives...
V2, p. 88belated W...preferably at a time when her children...
U2, p. 91belated rapid sweep with a pen...
U2, p. 92belated W...laughing men with unpronounceable names...
T2, p. 93belated WWhen Boyd discovered this...
T2, p. 94belated W...they meet men who are transplanting Africa.
T2, p. 95belated W...have come to terms with African emotions.
T2, p. 97belated WHe walks as far as the gates of the consulate.
S2, p. 99belated T...Miti Safu Safu is a line of trees....
P2, p. 112belated Q"An hour later drums mysteriously become quiet..."
N2, p. 117
belated O...both ends of caravan...
K2, p. 123belated LLike everything else...
k2, p. 123belated conceals all hope for life by...
J2, p. 126belated I dig a large hole...
J2, p. 127belated LAlex and Allen left for Africa...
F2, p. 138belated I...boosted an innovative design...
E2, p. 140belated H...Alva, her deletions are...
E2, p. 140belated H...accepts her corrections.
E2, p. 140belated buyers for Emperor...
C2, p. 146belated IAfter considering all alternatives, I capture a couple crocodiles.
C2, p. 147belated IAfter I cross a...
C2, p. 147belated D...bag containing Alva's description.
B2, p. 148belated C...afraid ants can't be beaten.

Phew! That's a lot. I must admit that somewhere between 20 and 40 errors my feelings about them slip from "everyone makes mistakes" to "that's sloppy work". Assuming that they're not deliberate (and I don't think they are, based on both internet rumor about Abish's reaction to one being pointed out, and my judgment of how they seem (although obviously I could be wrong about this)), then I have to say that this mars the book in a substantial way.

In the earlier post I came up with patches for the eighteen or so I'd seen then... but another 24 takes the wind out of my sails. If anyone has patches for these, feel free to leave 'em in comments. And please do leave any further errors you see -- I will add them to the above chart once I see them.

Update (07/10/2011): Three more added from comments. Update (02/07/2012): And five more, plus a correction. Thanks! Keep 'em coming, everyone!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Links of the Day

Charlie Stross: we are living in the aftermath of an alien invasion! (via)

Paul Krugman: dude, that all happened, like, back in the 60's, man. Catch up.

(Note: these are not SF stories they're talking about. This is nonfiction about politics.)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Quote of the Day

Sir, this doctrine of a white man's Government is as atrocious as the infamous sentiment that damned the late Chief Justice [i.e Roger Taney] to everlasting fame; and, I fear, to everlasting fire.

-- Thaddeus Stevens, December 18, 1865 [via]

Saturday, December 04, 2010

What Krugman Said, Times Three

What Krugman said:
After the Democratic “shellacking” in the midterm elections, everyone wondered how President Obama would respond. Would he show what he was made of? Would he stand firm for the values he believes in, even in the face of political adversity?

On Monday, we got the answer: he announced a pay freeze for federal workers. This was an announcement that had it all. It was transparently cynical; it was trivial in scale, but misguided in direction; and by making the announcement, Mr. Obama effectively conceded the policy argument to the very people who are seeking — successfully, it seems — to destroy him.

So I guess we are, in fact, seeing what Mr. Obama is made of.

Mr. Obama, who has faced two years of complete scorched-earth opposition, declared that he had failed to reach out sufficiently to his implacable enemies. He did not, as far as anyone knows, wear a sign on his back saying “Kick me,” although he might as well have....

It’s hard to escape the impression that Republicans have taken Mr. Obama’s measure — that they’re calling his bluff in the belief that he can be counted on to fold. And it’s also hard to escape the impression that they’re right.

The real question is what Mr. Obama and his inner circle are thinking. Do they really believe, after all this time, that gestures of appeasement to the G.O.P. will elicit a good-faith response?

What’s even more puzzling is the apparent indifference of the Obama team to the effect of such gestures on their supporters. One would have expected a candidate who rode the enthusiasm of activists to an upset victory in the Democratic primary to realize that this enthusiasm was an important asset. Instead, however, Mr. Obama almost seems as if he’s trying, systematically, to disappoint his once-fervent supporters, to convince the people who put him where he is that they made an embarrassing mistake.

Whatever is going on inside the White House, from the outside it looks like moral collapse — a complete failure of purpose and loss of direction.
So say we all.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Quote of the Day

Obama has another two or three weeks to prove he's not an idiot.

-- Kevin Drum (via)
(The context, btw, is Obama's relentless willingness to negotiate with Lucy about whether she'll pull the football away the Republicans, despite the latter's blindingly obvious bad faith. (Remember, however: they think they're doing well.))

In general Drum's on a roll today. Even better than the above-linked post is this post about the hopelessness of our tottering empire (via):
The strongest country in the world — my country — is allowing its economy to decay before our collective eyes even though we know how to stop it. But we're not going to. We're just going to let it happen.... We need: a big stimulus now aimed at infrastructure development. A credible plan to close the long-term deficit that acknowledges the need for tax increases to be part of the solution. A serious and sustained effort at reining in healthcare costs and broadening access. A collective decision to cut out the culture war nonsense and figure out how to improve our educational system with no more than modest spending increases. Real financial reform, not the weak tea of Dodd-Frank. Less spending on empire building and much, much more spending on real sustainable energy development and engineering.

But we're not going to do this stuff. As near as I can tell, we're not even going to do one single thing on this list. We're not even going to try. In fact, they're all so far from being realistically achievable that it's sort of foolish to even waste breath writing about them.