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2008-10-29 20:18

Smrgsdoom

1. "Gier frisst gehirn"

Apparently this is a Cherman proverb (meaning "Greed [like zombies] eats [spicy] brains") and we intend to use it often from now on.

Also nice to see the Beeboids in Oldenburg, which besides being "a town of just under 160,000 people, about 430km (270 miles) west of Berlin" is also just up the road and somewhere we occasionally go to shop.

2. IJsland: still doomed

Say other Beeboids:

At the moment, the Icelandic economy has come to a standstill, it is almost impossible to transfer foreign currency between Iceland and abroad, which is a calamity for a country that is almost entirely dependent on imports and exports.

3. The dreaded IMF

Not only has plucky, if over-leveraged, IJsland fallen into their clutches but we now discover they've got Hungaria too. As far as we understand it, this seldom ends other than in tears. (We are too begloomed even to seek out a coroborrative Beeboid, it is that bad.)

4. We don't even know what Aegon did but apparently we've just handed them 3 milliards to go on doing it with the excellence they are no doubt known for among persons who've actually heard of them in the first place

Says the krant by our elboog on the table. (We love our krant deeply, but we rarely blog bits of it since it is made out of dead trees. To say nothing of its website, which is frankly plenty.)

2008-10-29 20:02

Moondag review of stuff

It is Jacques le Goff's A la recherche du Moyen Age, fruits of our trip to Bologna's finest foreign-langwidge bookshop.

It is in fact based on a collection of interviews, revised by le Goff after the event, and the tone throughout is correspondingly engaging. And le Goff - a famous mediaevaliste and inheritor of the Annals school's anthropologically-oriented focus on histoire des mentalits - succeeds throughout in making his subject fascinating.

If there's one thing we think he would think you most need to know about the middle ages, it would be that it disapproved of novelty (reading change as decline from a more perfect past), and thus presented desirable changes to itself in the form of a sequence of renaissances. With the corrolary of scrapping the culturally entrenched idea that the middle ages were basically bad and that the Big Renaissance in Italy was a sharp break from it. (This idea can allegedly be largely be attributed to Jacob Buckhardt, not that there is anything wrong with that.)

We're keen to read more, for sure, but not especially keen to know of his musings on the extent to which "Europe" in assorted modern senses is an heir to the medieval conception of Christendom. (Le Goff's arguments that only the Western church's domain can usefully be called mediaeval are persuasive, although we would also like to know more than we do of the fortunes of the Byzantines, even if we have to have another name for their contemporaneous periods.)

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