Peter Kilander peterk at
Sun Jun 21 10:53:15 PDT 1998

Henwood wrote, in the Asia and hormones thread:

>But, these quibbles aside, recall this tidbit from Eric Alterman's Nation
>article the other week:
> "But here's the twist. [Reformist Social-Democratic
> Leftist Nelson] Lichtenstein is part of a perfectly
> Rortyite reformist Campaign for a Living Wage at
> the University of Virginia. This campaign is not
> about ending sexism, racism, or homophobia, but
> about getting janitorial staff a few extra bucks
> an hour. Who are its volunteers? Primarily, says
> Lichtenstein, faculty and graduate students from
> the pomo literature and theory crowd.

Am I alone in being a bit dismayed at Alterman's growing prominence at The Nation? Sure, he's a fine writer and I admired his performance on CSPAN's Washington Journal about a month or so ago, but I don't agree with his politics. Ellen Willis's piece in the June 29th Nation did a good job of attacking his position. Alterman's a good reporter, but then he'll write a piece cheerleading the Clinton administration. His analyses of the left's internecine conflicts leave something to be desired. For instance, in the above quote, the pomo literature and theory crowd is not, as he suggests, homogeneous, but rather divided into two factions - the postmodernists and the critical theorists. I was a little shocked to read in Alterman's column a complaint about the lack of availability of Paul Robeson CDs. Anyone else?

Speaking of golden throated leftists, I saw Billy Bragg perform yesterday at the Chicago stop of the Fleadh festival. He talked a lot of politics, performed a number of Woody Guthrie songs, and talked about Guthrie a lot. The band Wilco, most of whose members used to be in Uncle Tupelo, came on stage to perform with him. There was a strong reaction from the enormous crowd all through Bragg's set. Any Bragg fans out there? That was the first time I've seen him live, but then again I'm only 27.

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