Monday, April 20, 2009

Three harrowing must-reads

1. Johann Hari on the dark and deadly side of Dubai:

“In a Burger King, a Filipino girl tells me it is 'terrifying' for her to wander the malls in Dubai because Filipino maids or nannies always sneak away from the family they are with and beg her for help. 'They say--'Please, I am being held prisoner, they don't let me call home, they make me work every waking hour seven days a week.' At first I would say--my God, I will tell the consulate, where are you staying? But they never know their address, and the consulate isn't interested. I avoid them now. I keep thinking about a woman who told me she hadn't eaten any fruit in four years. They think I have power because I can walk around on my own, but I'm powerless.'”

2. Andrew Sullivan on the heinousness of the Bush torture regime:

“Read how they adjusted the waterboarding, for fear it was too much, for fear that they were actually in danger of suffocating their captives, and then read how they found self-described loopholes in the law to tell themselves that what the US had once prosecuted as torture could not possibly be torture because we're doing it, and we're different from the Viet Cong. We're doing torture right and for the right reasons and with the right motive. Many of the people who did this are mild, kind, courteous, family men and women, who somehow were able to defend slamming human beings against walls in the daytime while watching the Charlie Rose show over a glass of wine at night.”

3. The last piece--harrowing only in how it eviscerates a beloved writing companion. Goeffrey K. Pullum on the spurious stature of Strunk and White's Elements of Style:

“I won't be spending the month of April toasting 50 years of the overopinionated and underinformed little book that put so many people in this unhappy state of grammatical angst. I've spent too much of my scholarly life studying English grammar in a serious way. English syntax is a deep and interesting subject. It is much too important to be reduced to a bunch of trivial don't-do-this prescriptions by a pair of idiosyncratic bumblers who can't even tell when they've broken their own misbegotten rules.”


erasmusa said...

thanks for these.

dubai bashing seems to be in vogue, and with good reason.

grammar girl also weighs in on strunk and white:

Dennis N. Marasigan said...


great reads!

i'm glad you're able to keep track of these articles.

gibbs cadiz said...

hey ABBY, thanks for the link. well-argued piece, too. :)

thanks, DENNIS! a way for me to keep sane--make sure am up to date with cutting-edge writing/opinion. offers a great and regularly refreshed round-up of useful reads from all over. :)

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