The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone — Especially Ourselves
Watch for our review in the near future…
Slavoj Zizek reviews Damming the Flood,
a new book on recent politics in Haiti.
“Noam Chomsky once noted that ‘it is only when the threat of popular participation is overcome that democratic forms can be safely contemplated.’ He thereby pointed at the ‘passivising’ core of parliamentary democracy, which makes it incompatible with the direct political self- organisation and self-empowerment of the people. Direct colonial aggression or military assault are not the only ways of pacifying a ‘hostile’ population: so long as they are backed up by sufficient levels of coercive force, international ‘stabilisation’ missions can overcome the threat of popular participation through the apparently less abrasive tactics of ‘democracy promotion’, ‘humanitarian intervention’ and the ‘protection of human rights.’
This is what makes the case of Haiti so exemplary. As Peter Hallward writes in Damming the Flood, a detailed account of the ‘democratic containment’ of Haiti’s radical politics in the past two decades, “never have the well-worn tactics of ‘democracy promotion’ been applied with more devastating effect than in Haiti between 2000 and 2004”. One cannot miss the irony of the fact that the name of the emancipatory political movement which suffered this international pressure is Lavalas, or ‘flood’ in Creole: it is the flood of the expropriated who overflow the gated communities that protect those who exploit them.
Read the full review:
“The beginning of August means I read a book on teaching, and my pick this year has been all and much more than I expected. It is by Ken Bain and is called What the Best College Teachers Do. This book deserves to be in the library of every pastor and church educator; parents would do well to let it shape parenting. There are two basic approaches to education:
Some think it is “information download.” Teacher knows; teacher informs; student doesn’t know; student absorbs. Student answers tests; teacher grades. This is the teacher model.
Others think it is about “motivating students.” The teacher may be the knower, but the student is a learner. The teacher’s task is to design an environment that puts students in learning situations so they can learn, the teacher can give feedback, and then assess or evaluate the student. This is the learner model.
Questions for the teaching dimension of church ministry: Is the role of the pastor a teacher? Is preaching teaching? What happens if churches reshape their “educational” programs according to the “learning model”?
“Gene Logsdon lives at what he describes as a ‘small-scale experimental farm’ in north-central Ohio. He raises sheep, cultivates a variety of crops and writes books — more than two dozen thus far.
He imparts his wisdom in memoirs like “You Can Go Home Again” and “Adventures of a Contrary Life.” A passion for farm ponds led him to write “The Pond Lovers.”
A real Renaissance Man, Logsdon even writes fiction, most recently “The Last of the Husbandmen: A Novel of the Farming Life.” Set in an Ohio farming community, it traces the lives of two young men, Ben and Emmet. In 1940, as the story begins, they are embarking on very different paths.
Ben’s life is the central focus here. He is a husbandman, a follower of the old ways. He loves farming. His character is clearly a mouthpiece for the author’s viewpoints on agriculture. Ben’s family is poor. His father, Nat, a German veteran of World War I, came to this country after the war and scraped together the money to buy a farm by distilling moonshine whiskey.
Emmet, Ben’s best friend, is a spoiled rich kid. His family owns a huge farm and the bank. Their town bears his family name. WWII changes his luck. Emmet goes to war and experiences horrors.
“The Last of the Husbandmen” reads like a parable. Emmet is the grasshopper, fiddling with crazy schemes that lead to disaster. Ben is the ant, steady and industrious, storing away the fruit of his labors to keep him happy and warm all winter. Logsdon addresses his readers through Ben.
This uplifting book had a few surprises. A scary episode with the Ku Klux Klan morphs into slapstick. A murder occurs during a land dispute, and Logsdon pulls out all the stops for a drunken funeral that would do Lake Wobegon proud. …”