December 16, 2004

and if the devil is six, then god is seven

* An interview with New York Times war reporter Chris Hedges. excerpt:

Q: "In your book, you say, “Lurking beneath the surface of every society, including ours, is the passionate yearning for a nationalist cause that exalts us... the kind that war alone is able to deliver.” That yearning suggest that we’re always going to be either at war or on the brink of war. Do you see any forces can temper that tendency?"

Hedges: "The only force that is powerful enough to subvert the force of war is love. Love is never organized. Love is always individual love. Love is a force that is built between two human beings. In wartime, everything is done to subvert that force.

"I don’t know that there’s an organized force that can stand up to the allure of war, which gives us a sense of empowerment — allows us to be part of a cause, to ennoble ourselves, to rise above our small stations in life.

"The need to find meaning like that, I think, is an indication of the huge deficit of our emotional life. In conflict after conflict, those who are able to remain sane, who were never able to hate the perfidious enemy (who, in places like the Balkans, were often their neighbors), were those who had good relationships, those who were in love.

"I think particularly, in the war in Bosnia, of a Serb woman and her husband who took in two Muslim children and cared for them during the conflict, although they were ridiculed for it by everyone else in the town.

"In the grand scheme of things, those small acts of resistance end up being more powerful than we suspect at the time, if nothing else, because they remind us what moral behavior is. When you live in the midst of war, when incredibly powerful weapons are being deployed to kill you, these acts often appear futile, even absurd. Ultimately, I think they are not."

* Tracklisting for the yo la tengo retrospective compilation hitting the shops March 22, 2005.

* Best 100 books about sports.

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