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2012 Digest December 30, 2012

Posted by Oireachtas Retort in Uncategorized.

Just in case you don’t have enough piling up. Here’s a few bits that stood out over the year.

Short Al Jazeera documentary on the collapse of the Celtic Tiger with contributions from Occupy Dame Street, Fintan O’Toole and others. Found Margaret E Ward’s particularly interesting on the ‘subtle control of thought’. When dubious degrees of separation are pointed out we’re often told ‘how small Ireland is’ but this really highlights just how small the circle with access to influence often is.  Paul Mason was doing the rounds plugging the book that followed the blogpost on why it’s kicking off everywhere. 2012 might have cooled down compared to the previous year but his thoughts on some movements & a tendency towards horizontalism are interesting to follow beyond the immediate legacy of Occupy, Syntagma and the Arab Spring. Similarly, Mason was also talking to Castells on Spain and the rise of alternative economic cultures

Coercion and Comic Sans: How “Positive Thinking” Became Capital’s Latest Weapon, Fiona de Londras on ten years since the US began to hold suspects at Guantánamo Bay, why is it still open?  Monbiot on the increasing influence of think-tanks, crucial pieces from Mark Fisher on austerity and mental health and Rosaleen McDonagh on portrayal of Traveller women.

Nina Power’s essay on the pessimism of time and paradoxes facing the left. She also started a show on ResonanceFM (see #4 on animals in particular). Other talks from Gavan Titley and Michael D at the LSE on Alternatives and the Democratic Crisis respectively.  Wendy Brown, Costas Douzinas, Stephen Frosh & Slavoj Zizek at Birkbeck on the cusp of the Greek Elections. Brown & Frosh fascinating.

Caitriona Clear on Irish womens’ social & economic position between 1890 -1922. Paula Geraghty has collected another valuable year of footage outside the narrow mainstream. Talks from this summer’s Countess Markievicz school are worth a watch with contributions from Kathleen Lynch, Camille Loftus and others. Two on Health, Sara Burke on policy at years end and an earlier – far seeing – piece from Priscilla Lynch on the power struggle within a Department that went on to lose a Junior Minister, Chief Executive and almost a Minister in 2012.

Stiglitz & Krugman talk debt and economy  ahead of the US Elections. Inside the mind of Merkel, The Live Register on DCTV and a very awkward Lucinda Creighton in Europe.

RTÉ History show from May on Robert Mallet, public records & genealogy and the tension between Nationalist & Suffragette women. And a 1965 interview with Nora Connolly O’Brien on life in the Connolly household and the last moments before the execution in 1916.

Suggestions welcome. Lots of good stuff floating around this year.


1. James Cussen - December 30, 2012

Imagine my surprise when I clicked through to see what mess Creighton had made this time and it turns out to be mine, and others’, encounter with her!

She had inauspicious company at that conference. We were treated to Michael Chertoff, Second Secretary of Homeland Security to George W. Bush, relating to us how the U.S. probably wasn’t going to intervene in Syria because it had ‘no coastline’.

Otherwise, the verdict on Creighton from the two Americans, an Israeli, two Greeks, three Scots and a Montenegrin I met afterwards was pretty unanimous but unrepeatable. #greenjersey


WorldbyStorm - December 30, 2012

That sounds both a fascinating and disturbing encounter James. The Chertoff quote is very telling. Never let the facts get in the way of the reality for that crew.


ejh - December 30, 2012

Among your research interests, you list:

“The Roman Catholic Church (AD33-2012).”

Curious way to put it…..


James Cussen - December 30, 2012

Unintentional. I may be wishing for too much with an obituary!


ejh - December 30, 2012

Funnily enough I hadn’t thought of that aspect. I was thinking more of:

(a) dating it from AD33 ;
(b) why you gave dates at all (on the grounds tht if you said, for instance, the GDR 1949-1990, the dates would be superfluous).

But it’s not important, I just have a pedantic streak. Or a passion for exactitude, if you prefer.


James Cussen - December 31, 2012

Fair cop. Back to AD33 for the petrine succession myth, really, I study these things on their own terms 🙂


2. sonofstan - December 30, 2012

Nina Power’s essay on the pessimism of time

Here’s the TJ Clark piece that Power is talking about for most of that:


Best thing I read this year.


WorldbyStorm - December 30, 2012

Yeah, I like that piece too.


ejh - December 30, 2012

I’ve read the first two paragraphs, and the author appears unable to write a coherent sentence. Does it get any better?


sonofstan - December 30, 2012


Surprised you’re not familiar with Tim Clark actually: I’d further recommend ‘The Painting of Modern Life’ as one of the best pieces of politically engaged art crit of the past few decades.


ejh - December 30, 2012

I think I’ve seen his stuff in the LRB, but I may not have read through it. (Up to a few years ago I used to read almost every word of the LRB, but my work-pattern these days makes this really hard, especially with convoluted prose!)


EamonnCork - December 30, 2012

The problem with the LRB is all those long single columns, as if there’s some inherent virtue in a dull lay-out.


rotpeterderaffe - December 30, 2012

There’s enough meat in the TJ Clark article to justify printing it out and sparing my old eyeballs.

Thanks SoS.


3. rotpeterderaffe - December 30, 2012

The Merkel piece is reasonably good, as far as it goes.

It will be interesting to watch Merkel – and her prospective suitors in the SDP and the Green Party – try to ensure that the current infantalising picture of the crisis in Europe remains hegemonic.

I groan inwardly and outwardly at the prospect, but I will try to keep you posted. For example, as one Austrian writer put it “the ruling German delusion is that as soon as a non-German gets their hands on the machinery to print money, out of one slot comes hyperinflation and out of the other comes Hitler.” Both myths are historically counterfactual, as I’m sure readers of this blog know.

Meanwhile the proposals of Habermas and Bofinger (translated here) run perpendicular the the Popperian ‘muddling-along’ of Merkel.


4. CL - December 30, 2012

Capital’s resort to Norman Vincent Peale’s ‘Positive Thinking’ detailed in the New Left Project article cited above shows the intellectual bankruptcy of its defenders. Barbara Ehrenreich cited in the article shows how this has been a constant theme in American pro status quo propaganda. Its an attempt to place the blame for capitalism’s many failures on individual deficiencies rather on broader political, social and economic forces. And the solution is to be be found in pop psychology altering individual outlooks rather than on radical political economic change. This pseudo-scientific reactionary infestation has now arrived in Ireland; Maureen Gaffney’s book ‘Flourishing’ is a prime example.


CMK - December 30, 2012

A good example of that dynamic at work is the ‘Marian Finucane’ show on RTE Radio1. Gaffney is a regular guest alongside the ranks of six figure to high net worth individuals discussing how best to cut social welfare or child benefit.


doctorfive - December 30, 2012

IBEC & other morons complaining about all the negativity on the radio etc (ie. the news)


5. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - December 30, 2012

Is this the left-wing version of positive thinking?


maddurdu - December 31, 2012


Though I suppose ‘Lets build the physical and ideological foundations that would make a general strike a feasible option’ has less of a ring to it…


6. Tomboktu - December 31, 2012

Cedar Lounge’s annual report

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 730,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 13 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

In 2012, there were 1,291 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 5,599 posts. There were 374 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 509 MB. That’s about a picture per day.

The busiest day of the year was September 1st with 3,741 views. The most popular post that day was Clare Daly resigns from the Socialist Party.

These are the posts that got the most views in 2012.
1 ‘‘The Top 400 Secondary Schools in Ireland’… March 2010
2 The Wood for the Trees. Another Massive Leap for Progress. Or, More Ignoring of Imperialism. January 2012
3 Clare Daly resigns from the Socialist Party September 2012
4 The Socialist Party “ULA – Not measuring up to political challenges” November 2012
5 WUAG withdraw from ULA October 2012

These were the 5 most active commenters:
1 Mark P 854 comments
2 LeftAtTheCross 591 comments
3 CL 437 comments
4 CMK 432 comments
5 RosencrantzisDead 426 comments

(In 2011, the ranking was:
1 Mark P 904 comments
2 LeftAtTheCross 660 comments
3 sonofstan 502 comments
4 Jim Monaghan 413 comments
5 EamonnCork 412 comments)


doctorfive - December 31, 2012

Cedar Lounge is not Liechtenstein


Tomboktu - December 31, 2012

In 2011, WordPress compared the number of times the site was viewed with the number of visitors to the Louvre!


doctorfive - December 31, 2012

See how many The Gatherings we can clock up for 2013 lol


Tomboktu - December 31, 2012



RosencrantzisDead - December 31, 2012

426 posts!? Can I use my points to get the mug and multi-tool?

Or a life, perhaps? I hear one of those would be useful.


EamonnCork - December 31, 2012

And what fun it’s been. Wishing you all the best of luck in 2013.


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