Philobiblon: Weekend reading

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Weekend reading

The BNP reveals its true colours:

The British National party was riven last night over its decision to select the grandson of an asylum seeker to fight a seat in next month's local elections.
Sharif Abdel Gawad, whom the BNP describes as a "totally assimilated Greek-Armenian", was chosen to stand in a Bradford ward as part of the party's biggest ever electoral push.
The decision has provoked a backlash among BNP hardliners who described Mr Gawad as an "ethnic" who should be barred from the party on race grounds. One regional organiser responsible for the candidate's selection is thought to be under pressure to resign. Another regional organiser is leading the dissent against the party leadership, saying it had betrayed the members and would confuse voters.


We need to change back from a hydro-carbon economy to a cellulose economy. An interesting over-view of chemistry history. Really! I promise. e.g.:

The first plastic was a bioplastic. In the mid-19th century, a British billiard ball company determined that at the rate African elephants were being killed, the supply of ivory could soon be exhausted. The firm offered a handsome prize for a product with properties similar to ivory, yet derived from a more abundant raw material. Two New Jersey printers, John and Isaiah Hyatt, won the prize for a cotton-derived product dubbed collodion.
Ironically, collodion never made it as a billiard ball: The plastic, whose scientific name is cellulose nitrate, is more popularly known as guncotton, a mild explosive. When a rack of cellulose nitrate pool balls was broken, a loud pop often resulted. Confusion and casualties ensued in saloons where patrons were not only drinking but sometimes armed.

Amazing how these things go missing, but a letter from the executioner of Louis XVI has just resurfaced.

An article in Thermomètre du Jour, a revolutionary journal, soon afterwards provoked Sanson’s response a month later.
Promising “the exact truth of what occurred”, he set out to contradict suggestions that Louis had to be led to the scaffold with a pistol at his temple, that he had let out a terrible cry and that he had been mutilated because the guillotine struck his head rather than his neck.
Sanson described how the King arrived at the place of execution in a horse and carriage and mounted the scaffold, stretching out his hands to be tied and asking whether the drums would continue beating.
Sanson wrote: “It was answered to him that no one knew and that was the truth. He mounted the scaffold and wanted to rush towards the front as though wanting to speak . . . He was again told that that was impossible; he then let himself be led to the place where he was tied up, and where he exclaimed very loudly, ‘People, I die innocent.’ Then, turning towards us, he told us, ‘Gentlemen, I am innocent of everything of which I am accused. I wish that my blood may be able to cement the happiness of the French’.”

I've been debating modernism and postmodernism, and admit to some affection to art generally grouped in both categories, including that ofBanksy, who demonstrates again that art can be both subversive and witty.


Blogger Jack H said...

Well. I hardly know what to make of you. Very interesting, yet a feminist. Seems a contradiction. Perhaps the word has different connotations, on your side of the Atlantic - like the words "fag" or "fanny"? Here it means "a shrill and self-righteous female bigot."

Aside from this unfortunate confusion of idioms, however, well done.


4/09/2006 08:55:00 am  

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