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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Non-Proliferation in 2013

On Monday, I attended a lunchtime talk by Ambassador Susan Burk, former Special Representative to the President for Nuclear Non-Proliferation. Her talk, sponsored by the Center for Asian Democracy, was entitled “Reducing Nuclear Dangers: Challenges and Opportunities for the International Non-Proliferation Regime.” It was the second in a recent series of talks on nuclear nonproliferation.

Ambassador Burk did a nice job of presenting the conventional wisdom about the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and regime. She reviewed some of the history, talked about her own experiences attending three review conferences, and briefly overviewed some of the concern about potential proliferants.

However, Burk didn't really talk about Article VI of the NPT or U.S. responsibility to reduce its nuclear weapons. I guess the ideals expressed in President Obama's 2009 Prague address have lost some of their power.

One of my former graduate students asked Burk a question about the potential illegality of nuclear weapons, but I had to attend another event before I could hear the response. Apparently, Burk does not believe nuclear weapons are illegal for the original five nuclear weapons states of the NPT.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Comedy and Satire as Discourses of Protest in Asia

This Saturday, I am participating in an event sponsored by the Center for Asian Democracy at University of Louisville: “Comedy and Satire as Discourses of Protest in Asia” -- A Symposium.
This year’s workshop seeks to examine the relationship between political protest and comedy in East Asia. In particular we are interested in the ways in which comedy has and is being used to critique and parody authoritarianism, corruption and political leadership.  Recognizing that in the West comedy and satire have a long tradition of not just speaking truth to power but also as a powerful tool of public criticism, this workshop aims to analyze the role of comedy in East Asia. Is it analogous to the role it plays in the West? Are there unique forms of comedy and protest? Are there cultural obstacles to parody and satire?
Specifically, I'm slated to give the Introductory Remarks at 10:00am — "Comedic and Satirical Narratives in Global Politics."

Note this detail: Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library.  Lunch provided. Free and open to the public. RSVP for lunch is requested. RSVP to, or call 502-852-2667.

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Friday, October 04, 2013

The 100 Greatest Novels Ever

This list was in Entertainment Weekly, mid-July:

1. Anna Karenina (By Leo Tolstoy -- 1878)
2. The Great Gatsby (By F. Scott Fitzgerald -- 1925)
3. Pride and Prejudice (By Jane Austen -- 1813)
4. Great Expectations (By Charles Dickens -- 1861)
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude (By Gabriel Garcia Marquez -- 1967)
6. My Antonia (By Willa Cather -- 1918)
7. The Harry Potter series (By J.K. Rowling -- 1997-2007)
8. The Rabbit quartet (By John Updike -- 1960-1990)
9. Beloved (By Toni Morrison -- 1987)
10. Charlotte's Web (By E.B. White -- 1952)
11. Mrs. Dalloway (By Virginia Woolf -- 1925)
12. The Sound and the Fury (By William Faulkner -- 1929)
13. To Kill a Mockingbird (By Harper Lee -- 1960)
14. Crime and Punishment (By Fyodor Dostoevsky -- 1867)
15. Ragtime (By E.L. Doctorow -- 1975)
16. Jane Eyre (By Charlotte Bronte -- 1847)
17. The Road (By Cormac McCarthy -- 2006)
18. Moby-Dick (By Herman Melville -- 1851)
19. Lolita (By Vladimir Nabokov -- 1955)
20. Lonesome Dove (By Larry McMurtry -- 1985)
21. An American Tragedy (By Theodore Dreiser -- 1925)
22. Wuthering Heights (By Emily Bronte -- 1847)
23. The Brothers Karamazov (By Fyodor Dostoevsky -- 1880)
24. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (By James Joyce -- 1916)
25. Bleak House (By Charles Dickens -- 1853)
26. Invisible Man (By Ralph Ellison -- 1952)
27. A Wrinkle in Time (By Madeleine L'Engle -- 1962)
28. War and Peace (By Leo Tolstoy -- 1869)
29. The Handmaid's Tale (By Margaret Atwood -- 1986)
30. Native Son (By Richard Wright -- 1940)
31. Blindness (By Jose Saramago -- 1995)
32. The Catcher in the Rye (By J.D. Salinger -- 1951)
33. Maus (By Art Spiegelman -- 1986)
34. The World According to Garp (By John Irving -- 1978)
35. A Personal Matter (By Kenzaburo Oe -- 1964)
36. Atlas Shrugged (By Ayn Rand -- 1957)
37. The Sun Also Rises (By Ernest Hemingway -- 1926)
38. The Regeneration trilogy (By Pat Barker -- 1991-1995)
39. Middlesex (By Jeffrey Eugenides -- 2002)
40. A Suitable Boy (By Vikram Seth -- 1993)
41. Go Tell It on The Mountain (By James Baldwin -- 1953)
42. The Stand (By Stephen King -- 1978)
43. A Confederacy of Dunces (By John Kennedy Toole -- 1980)
44. His Dark Materials (By Philip Pullman -- 1995-2000)
45. The Color Purple (By Alice Walker -- 1982)
46. The Age of Innocence (By Edith Wharton -- 1920)
47. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (By Haruki Murakami -- 1994)
48. The Talented Mr. Ripley (By Patricia Highsmith -- 1955)
49. Ender's Game (By Orson Scott Card -- 1985)
50. Snow (By Orhan Pamuk -- 2002)
51. The Corrections (By Jonathan Franzen -- 2001)
52. Song of Solomon (By Toni Morrison -- 1977)
53. Gone With the Wind (By Margaret Mitchell -- 1936)
54. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (By Ben Fountain -- 2012)
55. A Fine Balance (By Rohinton Mistry -- 1995)
56. Sophie's Choice (By William Styron -- 1979)
57. The Children of Men (By P.D. James -- 1992)
58. Midnight's Children (By Salman Rushdie -- 1981)
59. Dracula (By Bram Stoker -- 1897)
60. Their Eyes Were Watching God (By Zora Neale Hurston -- 1937)
61. Love in the Time of Cholera (By Gabriel Garcia Marquez -- 1988)
62. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (By Mark Twain -- 1884) 
63. Portnoy's Complaint (By Philip Roth -- 1969)
64. Infinite Jest (By David Foster Wallace -- 1996)
65. Herzog (By Saul Bellow -- 1964)
66. Howards End (By E.M. Forster -- 1910)
67. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (By Michael Chabon -- 2000)
68. Middlemarch (By George Eliot -- 1874)
69. Money (By Martin Amis -- 1985)
70. Neuromancer (By William Gibson -- 1984)
71. The Hobbit (By J.R.R. Tolkien -- 1937)
72. The Remains of the Day (By Kazuo Ishiguro -- 1989)
73. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (By John le Carre -- 1963)
74. Cold Mountain (By Charles Frazier -- 1997)
75. Madame Bovary (By Gustave Flaubert -- 1857)
76. The Golden Notebook (By Doris Lessing -- 1962)
77. Tom Jones (By Henry Fielding -- 1749)
78. A House for Mr. Biswas (By V.S. Naipaul -- 1961)
79. Bring Up the Bodies (By Hilary Mantel -- 2012)
80. Swann's Way (By Marcel Proust -- 1913)
81. Frankenstein (By Mary Shelley -- 1818)
82. Disgrace (By J.M. Coetzee -- 1999)
83. The Stone Diaries (By Carol Shields -- 1993)
84. Clockers (By Richard Price -- 1992)
85. Catch-22 (By James Heller -- 1961)
86. A Home at the End of the World (By Michael Cunningham -- 1990)
87. White Teeth (By Zadie Smith -- 2000)
88. The Bonfire of the Vanities (By Tom Wolfe -- 1987)
89. Tristram Shandy (By Laurence Sterne -- 1895)
90. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (By Carson McCullers -- 1940)
91. The Leopard (By Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa -- 1958)
92. The Glass Bead Game (By Hermann Hesse -- 1943)
93. Bastard Out of Carolina (By Dorothy Allison -- 1992)
94. The Moonstone (By Wilkie Collins -- 1868)
95. The Poisonwood Bible (By Barbara Kingsolver -- 1998)
96. If on a Winter's Night a Traveler (By Italo Calvino -- 1979)
97. The Big Sleep (By Raymond Chandler -- 1939)
98. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (By Judy Blume -- 1970)
99. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (By Douglas Adams -- 1979)
100. The Joy Luck Club (By Amy Tan -- 1989)

Notes: I've read the books highlighted in blue.

Update: books read after October 2013 highlighted in yellow.

We have at least another 15-20 of these books in my house, so I could/should read them at any time.

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Thursday, October 03, 2013

Bowie book list

That's right, this is David Bowie's top 100 must-read books:

The Age of American Unreason, Susan Jacoby (2008)
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz (2007)
The Coast of Utopia (trilogy), Tom Stoppard (2007)
Teenage: The Creation of Youth 1875-1945, Jon Savage (2007)
Fingersmith, Sarah Waters (2002)
The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens (2001)
Mr Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder, Lawrence Weschler (1997)
A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1890-1924, Orlando Figes (1997)
The Insult, Rupert Thomson (1996)
Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon (1995)
The Bird Artist, Howard Norman (1994)
Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir, Anatole Broyard (1993)
Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post-Historical Perspective, Arthur C Danto (1992)
Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, Camille Paglia (1990)
David Bomberg, Richard Cork (1988)
Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom, Peter Guralnick (1986)
The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin (1986)
Hawksmoor, Peter Ackroyd (1985)
Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music, Gerri Hirshey (1984)
Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter (1984)
Money, Martin Amis (1984)
White Noise, Don DeLillo (1984)
Flaubert's Parrot, Julian Barnes (1984)
The Life and Times of Little Richard, Charles White (1984)
A People's History of the United States, Howard Zinn (1980)
A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole (1980)
Interviews with Francis Bacon, David Sylvester (1980)
Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler (1980)
Earthly Powers, Anthony Burgess (1980)
Raw, a "graphix magazine" (1980-91)
Viz, magazine (1979 –)
The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels (1979)
Metropolitan Life, Fran Lebowitz (1978)
In Between the Sheets, Ian McEwan (1978)
Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, ed Malcolm Cowley (1977)
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Julian Jaynes (1976)
Tales of Beatnik Glory, Ed Saunders (1975)
Mystery Train, Greil Marcus (1975)
Selected Poems, Frank O'Hara (1974)
Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s, Otto Friedrich (1972)
n Bluebeard's Castle: Some Notes Towards the Re-definition of Culture, George Steiner (1971)
Octobriana and the Russian Underground, Peter Sadecky (1971)
The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll, Charlie Gillett(1970)
The Quest for Christa T, Christa Wolf (1968)
Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock, Nik Cohn (1968)
The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov (1967)
Journey into the Whirlwind, Eugenia Ginzburg (1967)
Last Exit to Brooklyn, Hubert Selby Jr (1966)
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote (1965)
City of Night, John Rechy (1965)
Herzog, Saul Bellow (1964)
Puckoon, Spike Milligan (1963)
The American Way of Death, Jessica Mitford (1963)
The Sailor Who Fell from Grace With the Sea, Yukio Mishima (1963)
The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin (1963)
A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess (1962)
Inside the Whale and Other Essays, George Orwell (1962)
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark (1961)
Private Eye, magazine (1961 –)
On Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious, Douglas Harding (1961)
Silence: Lectures and Writing, John Cage (1961)
Strange People, Frank Edwards (1961)
The Divided Self, RD Laing (1960)
All the Emperor's Horses, David Kidd (1960)
Billy Liar, Keith Waterhouse (1959)
The Leopard, Giuseppe di Lampedusa (1958)
On the Road, Jack Kerouac (1957)
The Hidden Persuaders, Vance Packard (1957)
Room at the Top, John Braine (1957)
A Grave for a Dolphin, Alberto Denti di Pirajno (1956)
The Outsider, Colin Wilson (1956)
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov (1955)
Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell (1949)
The Street, Ann Petry (1946)
Black Boy, Richard Wright (1945)

Notes: I've read the books highlighted in blue.

I own a copy of the books highlighted in green.
Could read them any time.

One day, I still plan on reading books highlighted in yellow.