All posts filed under: The New Inquiry

The New Inquiry: European Pie

European Pie The New Inquiry by Amanda Rivkin May 26, 2012 Eurovision began in Switzerland in 1956. The European Broadcasting Union hoped that bringing the countries of the continent together for a night in song might pave the way for a more harmonious future, free of the wars and genocide that comprised Europe’s darker past. At the time, “Europe” meant a handful of West European countries. Today, the contest has turned into a bright, shiny, sequined alternative to the present afflictions of a Europe adrift, one that helps Europeans imagine a new and different continent. Much of Eastern Europe participates and Eurovision has proved itself to be more than a flamboyant bonanza of continental gay tourism, but a sort of imaginary revolution. The spirit of Eurovision is exemplified by past winner Dana International, a beautiful Israeli transvestite, who won in 1998 with her pop anthem, “Diva,” earning her, among other high level honors, a place on the shortlist of global millennium icons. Viva la vida! Viva victoria! Dana International belts out before her finale pose, …

The Year in Pictures 2011: Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Czech Republic, Azerbaijan and Turkey

The Year in Pictures 2011 The annus horribilis of 2011 is coming to a close – a year that will go down as one of dramatic upheaval and revolution alongside 1789, 1848, 1917, 1989, and now, this year. In Egypt, young revolutionaries overthrew the government of Hosni Mubarak after 31 years of subservience to a one-party state bolstered by an omnipresent muhabarata, or secret service, further bolstered by an overreaching military, after Egyptians witnessed similar events in Tunisia lead to the removal of that country’s former leader Ben Ali. Consequently, the domino theory made a surprise return as events in Egypt triggered revolts elsewhere in Bahrain, Libya, Syria and Yemen. Of these, only Libya’s leader fell after rebels received aerial support from NATO war planes; Qaddafi was found hiding in a drainage canal near his hometown of Sirte (or Surt, depending on your news source and spelling) and subsequently dragged through the streets, sodomized with a knife and otherwise tormented before being shot in the head. In the Libyan conflict three photographers lost their lives, …

The New Inquiry: Vaclav Havel, 1936-2011

Vaclav Havel, 1936-2011 The New Inquiry December 18, 2011, 5:44PM by Amanda Rivkin Where are the great men? Are we beyond the point of elevating the individual over the group, or are there simply no more individuals? Marc Sageman, a former CIA officer, has warned for more than a decade of the emergence of “leaderless jihad” as terrorist movements spawn violent individuals. But lately his idea has been turned on its head, as the movement for freedom attempts to override the putsch for security. It seems there are no more barriers between the secure, the secured, and the guardians of their security; it is all the same anarchy, brutality, violence, and havoc. There is the elite and then there is everyone else. Enter Vaclav Havel. The words of a Czech man were forwarded to me this afternoon, and they hit me like a cold sheet: “Yep, the last great man.” Every obituary printed today mentions Havel’s achievements: playwright and poet, artist, intellectual, and dissident — but these are titles. More important, he was an inmate …