"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen


"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister


"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont


"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister


"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Ruling Class Revolutionaries
(and nihilistic sectarians)


Maybe you've heard of the band Decemberists whose leader says the name refers to people who feel December is their month. "They're sort of stuck in this month. And I think that sort of speaks to the songs and the characters in the songs: sort of marginalized, sort of on the outskirts, all living in the coldest month." Never realized some people get stuck in a certain month. Seems a little on the self-pitying side.

Anyway, there's also the blog "the Decembrist."

In the June issue of the Atlantic Monthly, Hitchens discusses Mikhail Lermontov, the inheritor of the failed, but noble Decembrist tradition.
Early Russian literature was intimately connected to the Europeanizing and liberal tendency of the "Decembrist" revolution of 1825, which was enthusiastically supported by Pushkin and his inheritor Lermontov. And the debt of those rebels to Byron's inspiration was almost cultish in its depth and degree.
Speaking of cultish worship, Che Guevara is quoted as an authority in a New York Times piece on the peculiar nature of the Iraqi "insurgency":
If the insurgency is trying to overthrow this regime, it is contending with a formidable obstacle that successful rebels of the 20th century generally did not face: A democratically elected government. One of the last century's most celebrated theorists and practitioners of revolution, Che Guevara, called that obstacle insurmountable.

"Where a government has come to power through some form of popular vote, fraudulent or not, and maintains at least an appearance of constitutional legality," he wrote, "the guerrilla outbreak cannot be promoted, since the possibilities of peaceful struggle have not yet been exhausted."
The Decembrists of course weren't facing an elected government and the revolution they fought for wouldn't happen for almost another century. Of Lermontov's death by duel, Hitchens writes,
When Lermontov was brought to the field of honor he apparently declined to fire on the fool who had provoked the duel. Slain on the spot, he never heard the czar's reported comment: "A dog's death for a dog." His unflinching indifferece on the occasion, however, drew on two well-rehearsed nineteenth-century scenarios: The contemptious aristocrat on the scaffold, and the stoic revolutionary in front of the firing squad. The Decembrists, in their way, admired and emulated both models.
The anti-American revolt in Iraq, which mainly targets Iraqis, is a nihilistic, sectarian variation on the unflinching indifference of the classic revolutionary.
Max Sawicky's informative take on the economy.