On January 6, North Korea detonated a nuclear device with a yield larger than that of any previous North Korean test, but the kind of bomb tested remains a mystery. Most likely, the bomb was a “boosted device.” This is a very serious matter because these weapons, while having an enhanced yield, can be made light enough to fit on rockets, which the North Koreans have in abundance.
Director Miguel Gomes has always enjoyed combining two separate elements in a single film, and in Arabian Nights this technique is cosmically expanded. The dream is of pure lightness (a film as fantasia) and simultaneously of pure weight (a film as witness). Or, to put this another way: How do you take political and aesthetic risks in a film’s form while dramatizing them within that film as well?
In my previous piece on translation, discussing Stuart Woolf’s translation of Levi’s first memoir, If This is a Man, I observed that, although mostly serviceable as a translation, the English is frequently a little stilted or simply odd where the original is fluent and standard. Here, I compare places, in Goldstein’s translation of Levi’s The Truce, where the English sounds distinctly odd, or where I felt that there was some interference from the Italian original, to Woolf’s translation of the same text. Since it seems unfair to criticize others without offering up something of one’s own to be shot down, I’ll give my version too.
At least seven people were killed when, January 20 in Kabul, a suicide bomber drove a car laden with explosives into a minibus taking forty journalists and staff of Afghanistan’s Tolo TV home after a day at the office. With the Tolo TV massacre, public patience for President Ashraf Ghani is running out.
What stands out about the Clinton System of big money politics is the scale and complexity of the connections involved, the length of time they have been in operation, the presence of former president Bill Clinton alongside Hillary as an equal partner in the enterprise, and the sheer magnitude of the funds involved.
The serendipitous confluence of technology, art, and politics in the fields of photography and film is the subject of the Jewish Museum in New York’s current exhibition, “The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography, Early Soviet Film.” In his catalogue essay, the Russian art historian Alexander Lavrentiev, grandson of the artists Varvara Stepanova and Alexander Rodchenko, gives a nuanced view of the complex situation in which Soviet photography developed: photography was dominated by three groups or tendencies, whose aesthetics mirrored, to some extent, the spectrum of political factions on the post-Soviet cultural stage. None of these groups opposed the Revolution, however; initially, in fact, most artists and the intelligentsia supported the regime.
After reading Ji Xianlin’s The Cowshed: Memories of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, a Chinese intellectual friend summed it up to me: “This is our Auschwitz.” Indeed, though what happened in the cowshed where the celebrated Indologist Ji was held was by no means exceptional (torture and violence were widespread at the time), of all the memoirs of the Cultural Revolution I have read, I cannot think of another one that offers such a devastatingly direct and detailed testimony on the physical and mental abuse an entire imprisoned intellectual community suffered.
In exchange for putting Ugandan troops at America’s disposal, Uganda has received some $15 billion in foreign aid from the West since 1990 and a virtual free pass from the US when it comes to human rights violations. Its presidential election on February 18 may be decided outside the voting both.
Bao Pu: I am interested in telling stories about human nature. The Communists are so against human nature….I’m going to demythify Chinese culture. My example is Alan Moore’s graphic novel V for Vendetta. Our next book will be like that—a graphic non-fiction book on the Lin Biao incident [the probable attempted coup and flight by Mao’s most trusted aide in 1971, ending in his death in a plane crash].
My review of Levi’s Complete Works regrettably did not name the translators or discuss their work. We owe Stuart Woolf our gratitude and admiration for having introduced If This Is a Man to the English-speaking world when it mattered in a highly serviceable, if undistinguished, translation. Unfortunately, that is the version we still have, since the 2015 “revision” amounts to little more than a light edit.