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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Keillor on Lévy

Many, many, many years ago (pretty close to thirty, as I can recall) I stumbled across the voice of Garrison Keillor on some local public radio station. Despite ups and downs in his career and my listening habits, I have always admired and remained in awe of this entertaining genius. Just yesterday, as we were driving to some event, we tuned into a little piece of a prairie Home Companion show being broadcast from Purdue University's campus, and within those few minutes were heard a bit of information on the legacy of that institution (and its links to, among others, Amelia Earhart and Lillian Gilbreth) as well as a rendition of a song about Indiana written by Hoagy Carmichael. And just as we reached our destination, Keillor was starting on his weekly (well, at least any week the show is on) "News from Lake Wobegon"). For those unfamiliar with it, that is the kind of show it is, and my regret is that I don't find time to listen to it regularly.

I bring this up because this morning's New York Times Book Review features (on its front page actually) a wonderfully devastating critique of Bernard-Henri Lévy's American Vertigo -- an anticipated work that hints (in its subtitle, of all places) at significance as following in the "Footsteps of Tocqueville." By the time Keillor is into his second paragraph, you realize that those footsteps are Tocqueville's ghost as it moves quickly to distance itself from this book.

But while the book might not be worthy of attention, certainly Keillor's attack on it -- no punches pulled -- most certainly is. Read with an awareness of Keillor's wonderful voice and style, it is about as entertaining as any review can be.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

The true meaning of globalization....

Google Video (Beta) is now online, and it is tough to resist trying out some of the clips that have been put online. Among the most popular and free is this one of two students in China doing a Karaoke version of an American song. With their NBA Rockets shirts and efforts to lipsync the English, one cannot but wonder if this is what the globalized world is emerging as....

Pretty fascinating, actually....

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