Highlights from New Left Review 44
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But then gentle readers may want to spend some money and start receiving “the most intelligent political journal in the world”, the New Left Review, whose 160 punch-packed pages arrive neatly every two months. From this issue 44:
Sven LÃ¼tticken, Idolatry and its discontents:
[T]he veil has been hijacked by right-wing mouthpieces who routinely invoke the Enlightenment in a way that reduces critique to neatly packaged dogma for the age of the soundbite. One such Enlightenment fundamentalist is Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who during her years in Hollandâ€”she has since moved on to the US, to work at the neoconservative American Enterprise Instituteâ€”wrote the script for a short film on the role of women in Islam. […] Turning women wearing veils into the faceless face of otherness allows Hirsi Ali and her allies to ignore the questions raised by the rise of the veil in Europeâ€”questions that can be uncomfortable for the heroic defenders of western liberal values. […] Is the veil not effectively being used to unmask and lay bare the limits of Western liberalismâ€”to reveal it as a sham, an ideology in the service of capitalist powers?
Stephen Graham, War and the city:
A hidden archipelago of mini-cities is now being constructed across the US sunbelt, presenting a jarring contrast to the surrounding strip-mall suburbia; other Third World cityscapes are rising out of the deserts of Kuwait and Israel, the downs of Southern England, the plains of Germany and the islands of Singapore. […] In a mirror-image reversal of the more familiar global marketing contests in which cities parade their gentrification, cultural planning and boosterism, here the marks of success are decay and an architecture of collapse. Col. James Cashwell, a US squadron commander, reported after an exercise in an urban-warfare training city at George Air Force base in California that â€˜the advantage of the base is that it is ugly, torn up, all the windows are broken [and trees] have fallen down in the street. Itâ€™s perfect for the replication of a war-torn city.â€™ […] The â€˜militaryâ€“industrialâ€“entertainmentâ€“media complexâ€™ has played a central role in naturalizing the idea that American and allied forces should be pitched in battle against the inhabitants of Arab and Third World cities. The two most popular video game franchises in 2005 were Full Spectrum Warrior and Americaâ€™s Army, developed respectively by the US Marines and the Army. Both games centre overwhelmingly on the task of occupying stylized Arab cities. Their immersive simulations work powerfully to equate these environments with â€˜terrorismâ€™ and to stress that they need â€˜pacificationâ€™ or â€˜cleansingâ€™ by military means.
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