American Pharaoh

The Mayor at the opening of the Lake Front Festival, 1973, showing his sartorial flair

Mayor Richard J. Daley: His Battle for Chicago and the Nation (by Adam Cohen & Elizabeth Taylor) (2000) What other book to buy in the south side of Chicago? TVC was only a few blocks from Bridgeport, where Richard J Daley lived and died, with his wife of five or so decades and 7 children, bog Irish and loyal to their neighbourhood to an insane degree, so loyal that they looked down on Irish families that moved to the suburbs, the ones so pretentious that they “had fruit in the house when nobody was sick,”  Having selected this and one other book, TVC…

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Socialism as Religion

Be careful who you give awards to...the Reverend Jim Jones, 1977's Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian award winner

Born May 13 (1931), the Reverend Jim Jones is famous for his deep Christian-Socialist beliefs, his humanitarian impulses, his Peoples’ Temple in San Francisco where he organised leftist demonstrations, and of course, the workers’ paradise he established at Jonestown in Guyana.  His passionate commitment to equality and fairness drew inspiration from thinkers such as Jesus, Buddha, Lenin, Marx, Castro and Mao, and won him kudos from the likes of well-known lib-labs Walter Mondale, Rosalynn Carter, Jerry Brown, and Harvey Milk (who called the Reverend “a man of the highest character.”) In any case, the socialist paradise shuddered to a halt…

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…And the Winner is…

May 8, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | LIFE, POLITICS, Ulalume, WRITING & LITERATURE |

When the Nobel made some sense...Selma Lagerlof is honoured

…Nobody! Gerald Murnane must be spitting chips. The Nobel Prize for Literature won’t be handed out this year. Not because the prize has become a global joke (recipients of the recent past: Mo Yan, Kazuo Ishiguro and Bob Dylan); not because there’s no-one worthy (now that should be a reason), but because the Committee may be under legal interdict. The criteria for inclusion in the Academy, and its selections, are obscure. Academicians must be blonde, of course. They gather at a secret location, parking their Volvos underground. Then, over herring eaten-off recyclable plates, the sound of “Fernando” tinkling gently in the background,…

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Our Review: Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America

May 6, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | POLITICS, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Adelaide University Theatre Guild, 5 May 2018 – Memo to playwrights: Beware Godwin’s Law! Which is not a law as such, but an exercise in mimesis. The ‘Law’ has it that whoever invokes Hitler or the Nazis in an argument thereby terminates that process, usually in defeat. In Australian playwight Stephen Sewell’s work (we’ll call it “Myth / Nazi” for short, à la Marat / Sade) an academic at New York University (oops, that is, a NYC Campus), Talbot Finch (Nick Fagan) writes a piece comparing post-911 America to Nazi Germany. Of course! (Snap fingers significantly). The myth of American righteousness…

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The Glorious Dead at Arlington

April 15, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | American Politics, HISTORY, POLITICS, TRAVEL |

April 2018 ‘Over there…’ The seemingly endless rows of graves (over 600 acres’ worth), begun to accommodate the charnel house that was the Civil War, testify to the blood and treasure hazarded by the US over the years, and not just on the battlefield… Recently a series of photos were featured of the funeral train that took RFK’s body from New York (after it was flown from California, where he was shot) to Washington, to be buried near his older brother. People lined the track to pay homage, and even to reach out and touch the passing carriages, as if to lay hands…

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