August 20th, 2008


South Ossetia

Once again, I want to strongly recommend OpenDemocracy, this time for its series of articles on South Ossetia and its consequences. Today's article is by my good friend Ivan Krastev, arguing inter alia that Russia may be a loser as well. At the start of the war they ran a good piece by Caucasus vetern Tom de Waal, "An Avoidable Tragedy". See also these pictures by the children of South Ossetia, and the various other pieces they have done on the region. And in general, keep an eye on the open_democracy feed, or however you prefer to read it.

August Books 24-25) The Office

24) The Office: The Scripts: Series 1, by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant
25) The Office: The Scripts: Series 2, by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant

I caught most of the first series of The Office (the BBC original, not any subsequent version) on TV, and of course found it cringingly hilarious - appalled moments of recognition combined with surrealism (eg the stapler in the jelly). Rereading the scripts (which are nicely illustrated with screencaps from the series, particularly catching people's expressions at crucial moments) brought back fond memories.

I haven't seen any of the second series, and in fact I think that dramatically it works a bit better - the two parallel love affairs of Tim and Dawn, and David Brent with himself, give itmore of an emotional edge - it is a situation comedy, of course, but the characters, unusually, do change and develop (or regress) by the end of the series.

Highly recommended. But totally and utterly fails the Bechdel test.