Iris Robinson is, at the time of writing, under acute psychiatric care in a Belfast hospital, after a BBC Northern Ireland documentary revealed that she had, at the age of 59, solicited £50,000 from two property developers to help fund a business run by her 19-year-old lover, Kirk McCambley. […]
Being mad in Northern Ireland is different from being mad in any other place. The Robinsons come from a community in which people talk to God and He talks right back to them. ‘I have forgiven her,’ said Peter Robinson. ‘More important, I know that she has sought and received God’s forgiveness.’ These communications from God can be fairly abstract, they can be politically convenient, they seldom involve what the rest of the world call auditory hallucinations, but there is no doubt that the sense of conviction they carry can be overwhelming.
”—Long piece in the London Review of Books about Iris Robinson, former politician and wife of the (now stepped-down, temporarily) First Minister of Northern Ireland. This story was all over the news here last week, but from the perspective of her husband’s political career. Anne Enright’s essay presents some interesting background regarding Robinson’s mental state and the effect her religion and Irish politics in general may have had on the situation.
“Identity is funny being yourself is funny as you are never yourself to yourself except as you remember yourself and then of course you do not believe yourself. That is really the trouble with an autobiography you do not of course really believe yourself why should you, you know so well so very well that it is not yourself, it could not be yourself because you cannot remember right and if you do remember right it does not sound right and of course it does not sound right because it is not right. You are of course never yourself.”—Gertrude Stein, from her autobiography, via Snarkmarket
“The widespread faith in universal creativity is part of why Richard Florida’s idea of the “creative class” can seem so repellent. Everyone can relate to wanting to be creative, but who wants to be a member of the creative class? The so-called creatives are the ones who reify creativity, subordinate it to capital, discipline it so that it pays and helps in the reproduction of the power structure as it stands. The creative class facilitates the transformation of spontaneous creation into managed innovation, assimilating various potentially revolutionary gestures to the culture and communications industries and neutralizing them, turning them into new signifiers in the game of identity projection. They produce the blandishments, the amelioratives, the apologies for consumer society. They help ensure that the incentives for creation stay the same: self-promotion, personal fame, money — not a new society.”
A Reminder To Myself: Read This Later, When You’re Not Gorging Yourself on Internet After Many Days Away
Twenty-five years ago, Norwegians were also losing their lives to [staph infection]. But Norway’s public health system fought back with an aggressive program that made it the most infection-free country in the world. A key part of that program was cutting back severely on the use of antibiotics.
Now a spate of new studies from around the world prove that Norway’s model can be replicated with extraordinary success, and public health experts are saying these deaths - 19,000 in the U.S. each year alone, more than from AIDS - are unnecessary.