Most recent issue of CA

Eric_West's picture

I was at BN tonight, and I picked up the most recent issue of CA. Now I really like CA, so don't think I'm knocking it. See cover. I'd like to hear thoughts on the illlustration, whether it's implied meaning (commercialization/exploitation) could have been expressed with more clarity and sophistication. My thoughts after a few seconds were, the illustration was repeating itself multiple times over, given the audience (us) the point would be made immediately w/o the swoosh or 'pod buds. IMHO

fontplayer's picture

It all goes back to what I said long ago and far away, the problem isn't the systems, it is man himself. In our state we can corrupt any system. Period. Not much more to say, but that doesn't mean you all won't realize I am right, as usual, and will keep going on...
; )

William Berkson's picture

Tim, your examples are dated. The bombing in the Kosovo was in the end successful--in combination with the threat of ground force--contrary to the doubters in the press, including the one you cite, who were just wrong.

I don't have any expertise on this stuff, and find bombing morally repugnant in any case. It just that it seems that there are horrible situations in which not doing it seems worse, and that, it seems that Kosovo was one of them. Of course had Europe acted sooner it might not have been needed to stop the genocide.

Currently 'smart bombs' have become more accurate, so I think the issue is now somewhat different. They are more like artillery--such as when they recently were used to kill Al-Zarqawi. They still horribly kill a lot of innocents, but they are far from being like Dresden.

kristin's picture

Edel wrote:

"Give me your pov on Kosovo. I thought America did a good thing there.”

William wrote:

"Of course had Europe acted sooner it might not have been needed to stop the genocide."

To me, the problem with asking such statements (is bombing X country right if they are commiting genocide?) is that it seems ignorant of history. My basic response, well, yes, if you are going to ignore reality until it turns into a predictable blood bath, then somebody needs to do something to end the bloodbath.

Tragedies like mass killings in Kosovo don't just appear out of nowhere like a Jack-in-the-box. Deliberate policies led to the dismembership of Yugoslavia, including manipulation by the World Bank and inter-capitalist competition between Germany, France and the U.S. The tragedy resulted from capitalist international infighting and it probably won't be the last time we see such events.

Also, don't forget what the U.S. won in that war: Camp Bondsteel. While Kosovarans are struggling with few resources to rebuild their country, U.S. soldiers are relaxing in one of the most modern and luxurious military installations in the world:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/camp-bondsteel.htm

"The Bondsteel PX offers soldiers the latest CDs, DVDs, electronics, souvenirs, clothing, uniforms and everything to make your stay in Kosovo comfortable. With two stories of merchandise, the PX draws lots of multinational soldiers from throughout Kosovo. Also located at CBS are Burger King, Anthony’s Pizza and a Cappuccino bar."

I wish the U.S. did more with it's skilled tradespeople and humanitarian aid workers rather than sending the military. Our soldiers are trained to kill, not build, and it's absurd to expect them to do so. Meanwhile, thousands of Americans are ready, willing and able to help our their fellow human beings, once a method for doing so is created. I hope we don't wait too long.

hrant's picture

> Deliberate policies led to ...

And how did Iraq/Kuwait and Syria/Lebanon end up as enemies, when in the past they were essentially single entities? The Stalinesque partitioning of land at the hands of the West. Take a region and split it up into a small rich coastal country and a large desert continental one, and you've got decades of super-fun strife you can make gobs of money from! Go ahead, bomb us, but please don't say you're fixing something we messed up, and then on top of that expect the world not to rightly hate you for it.

hhp

William Berkson's picture

>Tragedies like mass killings in Kosovo don’t just appear out of nowhere like a Jack-in-the-box. Deliberate policies led to the dismembership of Yugoslavia, including manipulation by the World Bank and inter-capitalist competition between Germany, France and the U.S.

Kristin, I have a problem with ascribing all disorders to the powerful countries, and no responsibility at all to the people who directly messed things up themselves.

Let's start with the 'World Bank'. In the first place nobody gets loans from the IMF (it was not the World Bank but the Fund who was the big actor here) unless they ASK for them. And they only ask for them if they've gotten themselves into debt first. You leave the people in the former Yugoslavia, and especially their leaders completely out of the picture as key causal factors. But in peace time locals and their culture and institutions are in reality are the biggest influence on their fates.

This whole 'its all a conspiracy of the USA' thing is extremely patronizing to other countries, and presumes that we are so much smarter and more powerful than they, that they have nothing to do with their fates. Aside from its insulting and arrogant attitude, it fails to explain why some countries outside the West--such as in Asia--have prospered and others--such as in the Middle East and Africa--have done so much worse. If the USA were manipulating everything rapaciously, they should have controlled and destroyed all of them alike.

I am not saying that the US government hasn't done a lot of stupid and immoral things; it has. The whole 'enemy of my enemy is my friend' thinking has caused one disaster after another. This blundering and badness is one important factor, only one. And it ignores what the US has done right, which is also a lot. Fixating on blaming the US neither captures the reality of complex economic and social causes, nor helps anything.

ER's picture

Almost had me, but lost me with "the Empire is expanding so that our soldiers can eat at Burger King" theory.

ER

hrant's picture

Neither Kristin nor any reasonable person thinks in such absolute terms. But avoiding the reality that powerful entities have more say in the world is either ignorant or manipulative, or both. And for some reason it's often accompanied by the avoidance of the human necessity of linking power and responsability...

Your bit about "nobody gets a loan unless he asks for one" sounds just like something a mafia loan shark would say in such a situation. Ask South Americans what they think of your claim. And have you considered that Asia might be doing better than the Middle East because the West has never conquered it? Except for Japan, where btw for some reason gender equality is completely whacked, but the West doesn't mind it there, it only minds it in Iran et alia. You're only fooling people who are already fooled (which means you're wasting your time).

Ascribing blame (not fixating on anything) to the guilty party is a key means
of improving the future. Please don't act like that's some outlandish concept.

hhp

timd's picture

William, I wonder where one gets the data that demonstrates how accurate ‘smart bombs’ are, there are no reliable figures for civilian casualties, and it should be said precious little effort to gather those figures. Even your example demonstrates their failings on the ‘surgical’ front.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/5064590.stm

I won’t pursue this as I believe we both find bombing revolting, but I do believe other avenues should have been taken in recent conflicts before resorting to bombing, it seems our governments turn to that option far too easily, I won't go into motive.
Tim

Miss Tiffany's picture

linking power and responsibility

I've always linked responsibility to power. Where much is given much is (and rightly so) required. It is incorrect, imho, to think otherwise.

kristin's picture

William, I'm not blaming the U.S. for everything. Why would you jump to that conclusion? Would that be considered patronizing? However, you are correct: it was the IMF not the World Bank. I erred.

The topic was foreign military invasion into a sovereign nation, which is why I confined my comments to the actions of the U.S., France, Germany and the IMF rather than internal Slavic politics.

In addition, I believe that creating huge U.S. airbases like Bonesteel will lead to more problems. The citizens of the U.S. seem oddly complacent about accepting massive disparities in poverty and wealth, but Europe has not been as sanguine over the years. I'm thinking the Kosovars may want a chance at all those VCRs and Big Macs sometime soon.

William Berkson's picture

>The topic was foreign military invasion into a sovereign nation, which is why I confined my comments to the actions of the U.S., France, Germany and the IMF rather than internal Slavic politics.

No, you raised the question of the lead-up to our intervention, and you ignored their part in the mess and war that was there. You only talked about what the NATO countries had done; that's what I think is partronizing. They were killing each other before NATO intervened, and now NATO is keeping the peace. I fail to see how that makes NATO the bad guys here.

I agree with Tiffany that with power comes responsibility. I am just emphasizing that locals have much more power in many ways than outsiders--as has even finally dawned on our Idiot-in-Chief in Iraq.

For example, you say "I’m thinking the Kosovars may want a chance at all those VCRs and Big Macs sometime soon." Hopefully they have better taste. But who is going to bring about their prosperity? Do the members of NATO have all the responsibility to develop their land, and they have no responsibility?

ER's picture

Everybody loves movies and burgers, (or cappuccinos, or ipods, or nikes). That is the problem, look in your closet or fridge. Why should the world be denied the same crap we all have?

ER

hrant's picture

> They were killing each other before NATO intervened

Again you skirt the issue of what external power-player precedent actions
led them to that. Like how WWII was largely a result of how the victors
handled Germany after WWI.

And calling a puppet an idiot doesn't get you off the hook.
In fact it helps perpetuate the true problems at the core.

> who is going to bring about their prosperity?

The people who hold the power, as always. The implication of
your stance is that the "locals" are virtually all lazy and stupid.

hhp

ER's picture

>"Again you skirt the issue of what external power-player precedent actions led them to that. Like how WWII was largely a result of how the victors handled Germany after WWI."

How far can we go back? Is there a statute of limitations? For example, should I be blaming Communism in Cuba on Christopher Columbus?

>"Asia might be doing better than the Middle East because the West has never conquered it?"

I thought Britain colonized Hong Kong, India, etc., would that count as Asia?

Also, let's say the "superpower" or the "west" takes blame, yes, they (England, the U.S., France, The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal) admit it's all their fault. What next? O.K., so we all change to monarchies. What King should the U.S. pick, do we go back to the British throne? I'm trying to figure out your solution really.

ER

dezcom's picture

Pick Elvis

ChrisL

ER's picture

Chris,
We're almost at the point of solving the world's problems here, please refrain from jokes.

ER

Paul Cutler's picture

I don't think he was joking…

peace

kristin's picture

"No, you raised the question of the lead-up to our intervention, and you ignored their part in the mess and war that was there."

I *know* you have my point of view ass backwards, William. I'm not sure why you are misreading my posts. This might be a good point to bring up Edel's words:

"How far can we go back? "

On Kosovo, we need to go to a time before the mass killings began. The question is often posted, "Should NATO have intervened once the mass killing occured?" as if NATO and its member countries had no involvement BEFORE the killing occurred. Of course NATO was involved and NATO needs to take responsibility for what it did or did not do. No, William, I'm not blaming NATO for everything. But there is plenty of blame to pass around. NATO was never a disinterested bystander in Yugoslavia.

The Balkans are a warning about future international battles in which capitalist powers compete against each other, rather than the old-fashioned (!) Cold War battles between capitalist and communist nations. It's important we learn some lessons.

"For example, you say “I’m thinking the Kosovars may want a chance at all those VCRs and Big Macs sometime soon.” Hopefully they have better taste. But who is going to bring about their prosperity? Do the members of NATO have all the responsibility to develop their land, and they have no responsibility?"

Again you misunderstand me. I believe Kosovars getting VCRs and Big Macs is a GOOD thing. I want them to prosper. I want them to have access to the same decent housing and opportunities for food and entertainment that U.S. GIs are enjoying at Camp Bonesteel.

The U.S. has created isolated bases of wealth and prosperity in the middle of areas that have been devastated by warfare (Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan). Isn't it logical that at some point the locals are gonna stop peering over the armed parapets at wealth and the good life enjoyed by U.S. troops and take action? Don't they have the right?

dezcom's picture

Elvis is already King and he is already dead. Already being King, he needs no war of succession to get started; already dead, he can't start wars and he doesn't have to worry about the "Burnham Woods come to Duncnane" thing and the blood bath that kind of stuff brings.
The best choice would actually be the "King of Comedy" Groucho Marx. He is already king, already dead, and already very funny--something we can't say about any other king or president in history for that matter.

ChrisL

fontplayer's picture

If we're going this route, why not a queen?

For that matter, maximize the entertainment value by choosing someone whose reputation wouldn't be screwed up by indiscretion. Like Anna Nicole. And keep the reality show. Then we'd all finally get our money's worth for our cable connection.

Who wouldn't want to watch her meet with the Iran's government officials?

William Berkson's picture

Kristen, I'm sorry if I am misreading you, but what did I misread?

I never said that you thought Kosovars prospering was bad. I said that you did not make clear that it was to a great extent their own responsibility to do the work to prosper. Of course NATO should do what it can to create a stable framework for them to do that. But I thought that is what they are trying to do. I think our armed intervention and peace keeping now gives them a shot at building a better life. Do you think that once the civil war started we shouldn't have intervened? What do you suggest we do now? Withdraw? What do you suggest they do?

>international battles in which capitalist powers compete against each other

You still seem to me to be putting all causation on the 'Capitalist' powers, and nothing on the locals. You still don't assign any blame to the locals, like Milosovic, except to say that 'there is blame enough to go around'.

You seem to be saying--correct me if I'm wrong--that the world's problems are a simply a byproduct of capitalist powers competing. I think this leaves out a critcal factor: lot of the problems are because poor countries have rotten governments that keep them poor.

The problems of the rich countries--and indeed not so rich ones like China is how to deal with these rotten states, like North Korea. It is not actually an easy problem.

The point I have been trying to make from my first post here is that the method of starting with blame is a bad way to understand social problems. The first thing is to try to understand the causes. The causes are complex, and only when you start to understand the mix of social conditions, culture, economics can you really see what needs to be changed. Assigning blame is part of this, but only when you understand the bigger picture do you get a realistic picture of who is right and wrong when.

hrant's picture

> our armed intervention and peace keeping now
> gives them a shot at building a better life.

Sure, after you ruined it to begin with.

> poor countries have rotten governments that keep them poor.

With many of them propped up by the west.
And at least they're not rotten governments
that make/keep other nations poor...

North Korea?! FYI: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/5077984.stm

> The first thing is to try to understand ...

Pure, classic, western formalistic escapism.

> who is right and wrong when.

And you are wrong, right now.

hhp

kristin's picture

William, you have a point you want to make, so make it. Stop insisting that I am arguing with you on your point which you want to make. It's not all about you. You don't get to determine what I must say or must not say to remain in this discussion.

"You seem to be saying—correct me if I’m wrong—that the world’s problems are a simply a byproduct of capitalist powers competing."

You are wrong. That is not what I believe nor is it what I said. Would you please stop pretending you have a clue what my political beliefs are? I have no problem with you stating your own position, but pretending you know what my thoughts are is really irritating.

"The point I have been trying to make from my first post here is that the method of starting with blame is a bad way to understand social problems. "

I did not place blame. Not once. Why are you determined to see blame when it is not there?

"You still don’t assign any blame to the locals..."

Didn't you say we shouldn't blame? And then you disagree with me because I do not properly blame the people you blame?

William, seriously, take a break. Re-read my posts without your filter of blame and your erroneous assumptions. Feel free to contact me off line if you need clarification. Nothing good can come of your continued misinterpretation of my statements.

ER's picture

Kristin,
With all due respect, I intently read your posts and at times it is very difficult to figure out what you are trying to say.

And boy, I hope that BBC is always right, because it gets a lot of play around here.

ER

William Berkson's picture

>Stop insisting that I am arguing with you on your point which you want to make. It’s not all about you.

Sorry, I don't take orders, especially when followed by a gratuitious insult. You started your posts on Kosovo above (June 22 1:03 pm) by quoting me and Edel saying our views were "ignorant of history." You may be right or wrong about my ignorance but you were certainly arguing with me.

>I did not place blame. Not once. Why are you determined to see blame when it is not there?

This is what you wrote that I read as blaming:

"Deliberate policies led to the dismembership of Yugoslavia, including manipulation by the World Bank and inter-capitalist competition between Germany, France and the U.S. The tragedy resulted from capitalist international infighting and it probably won’t be the last time we see such events."

If you did not mean to say that the World Bank, and infighting between Germany, France and the US were primarily responsible for the dismemberment of Yugoslavia--that they were primarily to blame (blame=responsibility for a bad thing)--then I'm sorry for misinterpreting you. Though it may not be what you intended to say, I must say that I don't think my reading is a distortion of your text.

>Didn’t you say we shouldn’t blame? And then you disagree with me because I do not properly blame the people you blame?

No, I said we shouldn't start out blaming, but first trying to understand. And I said that after making that effort, assignment of blame would be part of the outcome of an effort at understanding. My problem is with *starting* with blaming before analyzing the multiple causes of a situation.

And I said that in my opinion that after such analysis you would generally find locals have a much larger role in the causality of what happens in their countries and the policies of international powers less of a role than often assigned (though of course an important one). So localities, in my view, deserve much more of the praise or blame for their own fates than much political commentary assigns.

I thought that you were assigning too much responsibility for events to the international powers, but you say I simply repeatedly misread you. I don't know what your views are, then, and I'll leave it at that.

ER's picture

>I’ll leave it at that.

Oh, it never stays "at that", you should know better. Hrant will come in here now and point out the stuff you've overlooked.

But I asked about what happens when the west admits it's all wrong and we move to monarchies. Can I please, please get an answer Hrant? I've been here for over 400 posts now and haven't gotten the answer.

ER

kristin's picture

" I don’t know what your views are, then, and I’ll leave it at that."

Thank you.

"No, I said we shouldn’t start out blaming, but first trying to understand. And I said that after making that effort, assignment of blame would be part of the outcome of an effort at understanding. My problem is with *starting* with blaming before analyzing the multiple causes of a situation."

This is our key difference. You think in terms of blame. For me, assigning blame is not a valuable way of looking at the world. It's not something I spend time on.

I try to concentrate on those who make the effort to improve the world. I have been a direct beneficiary of people who decided to help out others in trouble. I only hope I can live up to their examples.

William Berkson's picture

>For me, assigning blame is not a valuable way of looking at the world. It’s not something I spend time on.

So for example you don't spend time on blaming others for misunderstanding you and you don't insult those you blame by saying that they think, "it's all about me." You never wrote any of that, of course. It's all my misunderstanding.

kristin's picture

Hey, William, don't beat yourself up over it. Everybody makes mistakes. It's easy to misread posts on the internet.

Hrant, Bush was asked about the poll in your link at a press conference in Vienna:

Q: And if I may, to President Bush, you've got Iran's nuclear program, you've got North Korea, yet, most Europeans consider the United States the biggest threat to global stability. Do you have any regrets about that?

PRESIDENT BUSH: That's absurd. The United States is -- we'll defend ourselves, but at the same time, we're actively working with our partners to spread peace and democracy. So whoever says that is -- it's an absurd statement.

More here.

ER's picture

Kristin:
Hey, look at "little miss blame nobody". You don't blame,huh?, you just drop little links here and there. That's so cute!

You said "Meanwhile, thousands of Americans are ready, willing and able to help out their fellow human beings, once a method for doing so is created. I hope we don’t wait too long."

Here's a clue: If that's how you truly feel you should stop wasting precious time at this "forum" and go work for the methods that already do exist. You can start with Doctors Without Borders or Habitat for Humanity.

ER

timd's picture

We're getting too far into insulting now, maybe we should all back off this thread, after all nobody is going to be convinced enough to change minds.
Have a good weekend.

C'mon Ing-er-land.

Tim

kristin's picture

Edel, why assume I don't do these things already?

It's in poor taste to brag about one's volunteer work, but in this case, I don't mind. I'll put my volunteer time up against anybody posting here and I'm sure I come out in the top ten. On average, I have donated over 15 hours a week to non-profit organizations for over 30 years. That's on top of holding down a full time AND a part time job.

Please stop giving me credit for being amazingly clever in slipping in my subversive comments that only you can interpret correctly. I'm not blaming you. I don't know why you won't read what I write without putting your spin on it. I've explained it a couple of times without success and that's my limit.

Your most recent comment seems to be in response to my quote from Bush. How is that blaming anyone? It's Bush expressing what a very common idea in this country. We believe we're spreading peace and democracy and the majority of the world sees something different. It is a breakdown of communication (like we're having here). It doesn't matter who is right and who is wrong (see: not blaming). There is a bit of truth and falsehood ON BOTH SIDES. But there is no doubt that communication has failed.

Again, feel free to contact me directly off line if there's a chance we can communicate better.

Paul Cutler's picture

People. Do you like others to communicate in such harsh tones?

If you can be how you wish others were, you CAN save the world.

But alas, we are lost…

peace

ER's picture

Tim,
If you look back on this thread it has been rather insulting in the past to many people, including myself, so it's not just "now" because I am calling someone on something. Please, really, look back a bit.

I have tried to get everyone to "back off" this thread for quite a while, but it has become everyone's bathroom wall. If you're bored of the kern and glyph talk, come over here, spout your politics, slam people around, place links to your personal politics, etc. So please, go start a political thread somewhere else and deal with those issues somewhere else. The original topic of my work has been covered ad nauseum already.

I apologize if I offend. As I've said, I have a problem with hypocrisy. And I am one of the "blamers", of everyone, including myself.

Have a nice weekend, and I mean that.

ER

Paul Cutler's picture

quote - And I am one of the “blamers”, of everyone, including myself.

Get rid of everyone and you might be getting somewhere.

I don't have any enemies besides myself, and I can be formidable…

peace

ER's picture

:))) Oh, and a little sense of humor around here wouldn't hurt either :)))

ER

Paul Cutler's picture

Now that is funny!

peace

ER's picture

O.K., I put my techie hat on and created a new thread, it's really quite a technical achievement for me. Here it is "The world, politics, and typography", please go there for any and all political issues from now on. I think Typophile needs a place to vent or to "not blame" :) :) Here you go:

http://typophile.com/node/20879

ER

ER's picture

God, if I knew it was that easy I would have done this such a long time ago. New folks have joined in and the sparks are a flyin' already! Leave this joint, go HERE, NOW:

http://typophile.com/node/20879

ER

hrant's picture

> I have a problem with hypocrisy.

Well, make sure not to really open your eyes then, since
the fact that you're engulfed in it would drive you nuts.

hhp

ER's picture

Hrant, there's a place for politics and personal attacks now, please go here:

http://typophile.com/node/20879

ER

hrant's picture

Actually, the only "attack" featured there was an observation
of blissful ignorance... You might even count me as envious.

BTW, something else about type designers: we're loyal, and persistent.

hhp

ER's picture

lol :)
Really, it's nice and cozy over there, they've got snacks, and the thermostat is set just right...

http://typophile.com/node/20879

ER

ER's picture

hhp,
We're the real losers, you know we're the only ones that haven't talked about "what we listen to". Come on, tell me please, what are you listening to? Do you get up on the left, or the right side of the bed? What hair gel do you use? But please tell me here:

http://typophile.com/node/20879

ER

hrant's picture

Goa, the side my wife is not on (right for the first ~10 years,
left for the past ~8 months - before marriage, right), none ever.

Oh, and I had to reply here because I didn't want the
post count to remain 2/3-rds the Number of the Beast.

hhp

fontplayer's picture

445/666 is much better. Good work there. Somehow that important distinction had escaped me.

ER's picture

yep, good work on the Beast, thanks man. Now, the "side" of the bed, is it defined when you're looking at it from the front, or is it when you're laying on it? And when you're laying on it, is it face down, or face up?

Laying on the bed, face up, I'm a left side of the bed person. So, clear the bed thing up, and you know where to go! btw, I think I've snagged one over yonder, and I think she wants a "lively discussion", thinks my "bashing of America" is not a good place to start, so you could have a good week ahead over there, go, go!:

http://typophile.com/node/20879

ER

hrant's picture

> the “side” of the bed, is it defined ...

You know, I've always wondered about a similar conundrum when it comes to "clockwise" and "counter-clockwise": it really depends whether you're looking at the watch from the top or the bottom. And then there's the issue of which end of a word is the "head" and which is the "tail" - I mean, if a word is a car it's different than if it's a street luger for example. I remember having persistent arguments about this with my classmates when we moved to Palo Alto when I was a kid (although I had even more arguments with classmates when we moved back to Beirut).

But dude, I don't support wittingly off-topic threads.

hhp

ER's picture

yeah, that "clockwise" thing is a bugger too. Speaking of such, 1:15 am on the east, so the left, or the right side, or wherever the wife is not, beckons.
And go! go! now the topic is whether designers are to blame (or not blame) for absolutely everything!:

http://typophile.com/node/20879

ER

wolfgang_homola's picture

>Liberal anti-Communist
Sounds to me as convincing as ‘compassionate conservative’.

I used to like to have a look at typophile, and when I posted something I always tried to be as accurate as possible and choose my words in a respectful way – but what I had to read when I went through this thread and the new one started by Edel got me really worrying. If this reflects in both the style of the language and the content how US citizens see the role of the US in international affairs, then I am really scared.

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