Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Economist v. The Economist

At the FPA Africa Blog I show how The Economist loses a debate against itself (and rather badly) on the issue of South African politics and the ANC. It's a thing to behold.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

On African Football

Over at the FPA's Africa Blog I address Jonathan Wilson's take on the state of African football. If Wilson is not the greatest living football (soccer, whatever -- the "football" versus "soccer" terminology debate is one of the dumbest, most pernicious, and most jingoistic in all of sport) writer in the world today he's in the conversation, but I think he has this one wrong.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Stuff to Read

I'm on my way to the American Historical Association annual meeting in Chicago (I'm going to be pretty scarce, but if you want to connect, track me down via email, my cell number if you have it, or in the comments and we can get a drink) but one of my resolutions for the next year is to post more frequently here at dcat. In that spirit, here are a few things you should read:

One of the most celebrated books of recent months is John Lewis Gaddis' long-awaited biography of George Kennan, which came out at the end of the year and will stand as a landmark work for the next generation. Of the many reviews of the book that you will want to read (reviews being vital to larger conversation that books should inspire) put Lon Hamby's Wall Street Journal review at the top of your list.

And since you're in a reading mood, go read Tom Bruscino's excellent Claremont Review of Books essay on Vietnam War historiography. You'll find much to agree with and possibly as much to dispute, the sign of a provocative argument. (Hint: He's not a fan of the baby boomers.)

The end of the year produces more than enough best-of lists to fill up your time. I thought Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums of 2011 would have a little something for everyone -- loads of pretentious rock-crit scribbling for those of you not inclined toward quite so much obscurantism, and a pretty good list of stuff to track down for those on the other side. I feel as if I buy loads of music and try to keep up on as much new stuff as possible and I only own 6 of the top 50. I'm sure I'll catch up (I'm sometimes a somewhat late adopter) but I like lists like this because I get sick of hearing those regular pronouncements about the death of music.

Finally, when does a writer become a writer? It's a good question, especially for those of us who consider ourselves writers and who don't fully earn money from our publications. Seek solace in the fact that the majority of us have to bring in dirty cash money through more than the power of our words.

South Africa: Year in Review

I have just posted my Year in Review post over at the Foreign Policy Association. Because we have a nice roster of bloggers covering the continent under my watch, I was able to focus this year's post on South Africa's 2011 with some looking forward to 2012.

Happy New Year everyone.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

I Want You Back/Tonight

A musical interlude.

Yeay Me!! Kind Of! Not Really. (Just Buy My Book Already)

Woo Hoo! The documentary in which I was the functional equivalent of "Waiter #2" was named one of The New York Times' Top 10 tv programs for 2011.

By the way, my credentials for that documentary are this. In paperback. Or your various Kindle-y, Nook-y (heh, nookie) things.

Explosives at MAF?

Oh, this is not good news.