Philobiblon: Weekend reading

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Weekend reading

* Downward social mobility in China: a Ming dynasty mansion sees probably the last generation of its builders' family. I think of travelling around Xian 10 years ago. The roads were all blocked with building materials for new houses. In the countryside at least, it is probably still another generation before the Chinese start treasuring and restoring such treasures.

* The media is still hounding Joanne Lees. She was the victim of a terrifying attack, showed great courage to escape and save herself, knowing her partner had been killed. And yet you still get ridiculous headlines like this, "jury still out". NO IT ISN'T. A Northern Territory jury, who knows its own very well, has found that Bradley Murdoch killed her boyfriend and subjected her to the ordeal she described. A judge made it VERY clear he believed her. Yet on Monday coming out is a book questioning the verdict. Pure sensationalism - but then you learn it is from a Daily Mail journalist - so a good dose of misogyny mixed in too.

* Turkey is teetering on the brink of what could be an enormous step: Could it really become part of the EU? (What a wonderful thing that would be if that happened - a great blow to the "clash of civilisations" thesis.) But as the trial of Orhan Pamuk shows it still has a long way to go.

* American tactics in Iraq: "A 30-year-old Oxford graduate with no public relations experience has been handed a $100m contract by the Pentagon - to plant false stories in Iraqi papers." So, that's what you call encouraging democracy?

* Finally, the death of a brave man. This was the only story I found identifying a teacher killed in Afghanistan for daring to ignore Taliban threats to stop him educating girls. He is recorded by the single name Laghmani. You can only hope, perhaps against hope, that another teacher will step up to take his place.


Anonymous bookdrunk said...

And in tabloid world, the fact that Lees is understandably reluctant to give interview after interview means that she must be hiding something. 'If she won't address a particular fantasy we invent then that means there must be a grain of truth in it.'


12/18/2005 01:04:00 pm  

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