- Anthony Bourdain creates animated web series
- Scaling the Berlin Wall
While visiting Berlin a few years ago, I came across an English-language bookstore in Charlottenburg. I asked the man running the store “Are there any books that you think really capture the essence of the fall of both the wall and of the Eastern Bloc itself?” He recommended Anna Funder’s excellent book Stasiland and Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire by David Remnick — both subsequently purchased and thoroughly enjoyed upon my return home.
And so as November 9th, 2009 approaches, journalists are beginning to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall — as well as to debunk the mythology surrounding its demise. The Daily Beast has an interesting excerpt from Michael Meyer’s new book The Year that Changed the World: The Untold Story Behind the Fall of the Berlin Wall and I saw Nicholas Thomson promoting The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War last night on the Colbert Report.
While this moment of reflection is still here, be sure to also check out a couple of films about life before and after the Wall: The sleeper Ostalgie comedy Good Bye, Lenin!, as well as the powerful, critically-acclaimed The Lives of Others. Both are enjoyable movies in their own right, but I think watching them this week will really underscore that, in a world of over-hyped “events” and exaggerated self-importance, this was truly a pivotal moment in history.
(Via www.thedailybeast.com )
- John le Carré: A man of great intelligence
Speaking of the bad old days of Cold War intrigue, the Guardian has a profile on John le Carré, the author and former spy who recently decided to switch publishing houses. Journallist Andrew Anthony discusses le Carré’s enduring appeal and speculates that the publisher swap could cement an enduring legacy for the author.
(Via www.guardian.co.uk )
- “Claude Levi-Strauss Dead: French Anthropologist Dies At 100
Claude Levi-Strauss, the towering French intellectual and a father to structuralism died over the weekend. As he summed up his own work, “I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men’s minds without their being aware of the fact.””
(Via www.huffingtonpost.com )