Their campaigns have in many respects been complementary. Both candidates embrace the slogan “ni droite, ni gauche,” popularized by the interwar fascist leagues. Macron, bauble of the extreme center, seeks to substitute for the traditional right-left divide a vision that opposes globalizing, educated, cosmopolitan professionals to backwards, bigoted, and unenlightened nationalists: Le Pen’s worldview in camera obscura. For both Macron and Le Pen, openness, free movement, and European integration can be counterposed to patriotism, “national preference,” and the defense of entitlements. The prospects for either option depend on a significant recomposition of the electorate.

Landscape of Treason (n+1)

Grey Anderson on the French elections, the demise of the Socialist party, the rise of a rebranded FN, and the societal shifts of the last 5 years.

https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/260347707/stream?client_id=N2eHz8D7GtXSl6fTtcGHdSJiS74xqOUI?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

‘Most People’ is Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s contribution to a upcoming charity compilation Refugee that will benefit the Malta’s Migrant Offshore Aid Station. It’s also Will Oldham’s contribution to the whole refugee debate, in a sense. Refugee, a project by Scottish folk singer Robin Adams, will be released on June 3rd via BRAINFOG RECORDS.

Interviewer: You once said that “those things about which we cannot theorize, we must narrate.”

Umberto Eco: It is a tongue-in-cheek allusion to a sentence by Wittgenstein. […] I simply believe that at the end of the day a story is always richer—it is an idea reshaped into an event, informed by a character, and sparked by crafted language. So naturally, when an idea is transformed into a living organism, it turns into something completely different and, likely, far more expressive.

Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 197, Umberto Eco

A great 2008 interview with Italian author, semiotician and intellectual Umberto Eco, who passed away today at the age of 84.

(via)

If there’s one lesson the war on terror should have taught the West by now, it’s that a powerful country’s fear is a terrorist’s greatest weapon. If a population gives in to this fear, it strangles itself through paranoia and violence. It destroys what is best inside itself.

Molly Crabapple (via kevissimo)

In a way, the economics have almost become secondary. But still, let’s be clear: what we’ve learned these past couple of weeks is that being a member of the eurozone means that the creditors can destroy your economy if you step out of line. This has no bearing at all on the underlying economics of austerity. It’s as true as ever that imposing harsh austerity without debt relief is a doomed policy no matter how willing the country is to accept suffering. And this in turn means that even a complete Greek capitulation would be a dead end.

A generation that had gone to school in horse-drawn streetcars now stood in the open air, amid a landscape in which nothing was the same except the clouds, and at its center, in a forcefield of destructive torrents and explosions, a tiny fragile human body.

Walter Benjamin, on the generation that survived the First World War. (via mattdpearce)
http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/123898592/stream?client_id=N2eHz8D7GtXSl6fTtcGHdSJiS74xqOUI?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

Just discovered this banger from Camilla Sparksss (“the fantasy ego" of Barbara Lehnhoff, Peter Kernel, a Swiss-Canadian art punk band I love.) Her new “album For You The Wild” releases April 7th.

Any commentary to daily events in this region is purely coincidental. Or not. I’ll decide when I enter the real world.

But two things make Mitt’s Grand Gaffe Tour an exception to this rule.
First and most important, talking up the innate superiority of the Israelis over the Palestinians isn’t, by any definition, a gaffe. That’s real, with real geopolitical consequences. He didn’t misspeak (and I’m not sure one can “misspeak” about such things anyway), and his initial claim to have been misinterpreted has been trumped by his decision to reiterate all the same points to the conservative audience at National Review.
Second, it’s hard to imagine Romney’s gaffes, missteps, and flat-out egregious mistakes happening if he had a different, i.e., solid, foreign policy team advising him. (Ignore the silly, DC-centric focus on whether his press team mismanaged the ensuing uproar.) Romney has no core foreign policy team. It’s also a team without a core. No surprise since it serves mostly to check the box of various conservative foreign policy constituencies