Backspin articles

Updike on new biblical translation

UC Berkeley professor Robert Alter has a new annotated English translation of the Hebrew Bible (Pentateuch). In the New Yorker, novelist John Updike gives Alter’s work a mixed review, and concludes with this: The miracle of the Pentateuch is that, unlike the numerous other tribes and gods that vitally figure in it, the Jews and

Guardian: settlements are ‘colonies’

The Guardian’s Chris McGreal today joins RFI in calling Israeli settlements ‘colonies’: They all believe that yesterday’s vote in the Israeli parliament backing the removal of Jewish settlers from the Gaza strip is a historic step that will inevitably lead to the unravelling of his life’s work at the vanguard of expanding Israel’s colonies and

A French Apology

When the Franco-German TV channel Arte aired an Egyptian film portraying Israel’s founders as Nazis, Frenchman Armand Laferrere was outraged. Not just because “Les portes du soleil” (Door to the Sun) depicted Israeli soldiers massacring Palestinians and compared kibbutzim to slave labor camps. Laferrere was also angry that his tax money supported the broadcast. So

Sun-Times on UN/Hamas scandal

The Chicago Sun-Times has an staff editorial today castigating the UN for employing Hamas members: [I]f you’re a terrorist who brutally murders innocents or a sympathizer who supports such crimes, to further some political cause, you can’t be held any less accountable because you help people on your “good” days… It’s bad enough that the

More on blogs vs. mainstream media

- William Raspberry, Washington Post: The explosion of the Internet leaves us, in effect, with no gatekeeper. Sometimes important information gains currency that way. The problem is that anyone with Web access can run any cockamamie story up the flagpole — and if enough people salute, prompt the mainstream press to deploy its resources. -

Guardian removes call to assassinate Bush

On Oct. 23, Charlie Brooker, a columnist at The Guardian, called for someone to assassinate President Bush: On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod’s law dictates he’ll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of

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