Richard O'Keeffe

St. Augustine & the Cyclists, or, Critical Mass

Somehow all Union Square's sloganeering feels aimed at a far-off corner of the world, like American prayers in the 1950's for the conversion of Russia. Sure it expresses fervent hopes, but nobody's holding their breath.

Metallica Loves You

07.30.2004 | Richard O'Keeffe | Film, Music | 3 Comments
How could any thinking person endure such a barrage of feel-good do-goodery and psychobabble without killing? Luckily, Metallica's members lack inner lives.

The Death Of Fun

07.17.2004 | Richard O'Keeffe | Urban Affairs | 2 Comments
Only when the barkeep threatened to jab him in the eye with the stem of a broken wine glass did the malcontent put out his smoke, as required by Mayor Mike.

"We are starving." O'Keeffe On The NYC Smoking Ban

07.9.2004 | Richard O'Keeffe | Urban Affairs | 17 Comments
So far falling profits have led her to let go of two employees and cut back shifts. Often times her husband Max works the door to eliminate costs. When unemployment hits "health insurance is the first thing to go," she said.

O'Keeffe on Spider-Man, Fathers and Power

06.29.2004 | Richard O'Keeffe | Film | 3 Comments
Disappointing a parent as a young man is a slightly killing experience.

Gay Rights on Joralemon St.

I couldn't stifle a degree of bemusement as the bugbear of "states rights" stalked the room without ever being explicitly mentioned. The battle cry of segregationists was being used, finally, for good instead of evil.

Rich O'Keeffe on Immigration

Fear of this unlikely scenario leads Huntington to what can most charitably be described as a permissive attitude toward the possibility of white nationalism; one suspects that were it not for his famous name he would have mimeographed this essay and ended up handing it out in Greyhound stations.

Sowing Dragon Teeth

05.18.2004 | Richard O'Keeffe | International Affairs | 1 Comment
"The Armenian is no longer imploring. He now demands, with gun in hand." ... In Turkey, a century-old pattern has reasserted itself, as a secular leftist-nationalist resistance has been replaced by its more violent radical Islamist counterpart.

Our Man on Marx, Zinn and Socialism

05.11.2004 | Richard O'Keeffe | Theater | 11 Comments
Marx on the Jews: "What is the worldly cult of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly god? Money? ... Money is the jealous god of Israel, besides which no other god may exist."

Cyprus Divided, Europe Endangered

Having failed to seize the moment for unification, the political, legal and economic problems posed by the island nation are legion. The French, long hostile to Turkey's membership aspirations, are hoping that the Greek-Cypriots do their dirty work for them.

Our Man on Cuomo's Radical Lincoln

The book, originally due out some months ago, has presumably been delayed to allow the governor time to draw a comparison between Abraham Lincoln and his GOP contemporary, George W. Bush, a comparison distinctly unflattering to our present, tongue-tied Commander-In-Chief.

A Brief History of the Gulag

Nearly two-thirds of the Siberian inmates starved; the survivors were only able to sustain themselves by eating the flesh of the deceased. Later all were arrested and charged with cannibalism.

New York's Homegrown Hobbes

Having spent much of his career writing military histories, Headley's solutions were more martial than social-scientific. He proposed a permanent force of "five hundred men [who] would scatter five thousand rioters like chaff before them. It would be more efficient than two entire regiments." He goes on to note that "clubs are better than guns... Their volleys are incessant and perpetual, given as long and fast as strong arms can strike."

Blair and Gaddafi, Carrots and Sticks

Unnerving as it is to realize, talk of humane governance in Libya is going to be a casualty of diplomacy both venal and pragmatic. Mr. Blair's visit brought with it the unveiling of a deal for Shell to develop Libyan liquefied natural gas for export forecasted to be worth $1 billion. As further agreements to exploit Libya's oil resources are formulated and Britain's economic stake grows, the U.K. will presumably become still more reticent to criticize Gaddafi's human rights record. But while such concerns have certainly helped fast track Libya's rehabilitation process, they don't in themselves invalidate it.

The Proud Tradition of American Hegemony

03.31.2004 | Richard O'Keeffe | National Affairs | 2 Comments
The model of classic isolationism was to last until the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, after which Roosevelt realized, like his nineteenth-century predecessors, that furthering the cause of a secure United States required the expansion of responsibilities, not the contraction of national interests. Roosevelt, though, threw out the old script of strict unilateralism, replacing it with a pursuit of near-global hegemony.

Why The EU Must Embrace "the general enemy Ottoman"

The army, in compromising democratic legitimacy, is part and parcel of a distinctly Turkish condition in which an authoritarian ruling class, acting at once as watchdog and pressure valve, imposes secular modernity by fiat. But this arrangement has both diluted Turkey's republican credentials and infantilized the electorate. Reliance on the armed forces to come to the rescue whenever voters suffer for their irresponsibility at the ballot box has rendered them susceptible to demagoguery, most famously former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbaken's absurd Pan-Islamist rhetoric. In Turkey, all is fair game until the army confiscates the punch bowl.

"Choke on 'em! Choke... on... 'em!"

03.17.2004 | Richard O'Keeffe | Film
1978's "Dawn of the Dead," set in a mall, is an anti-consumerist screed, as even in death the zombies continue to shop in as unconscious a manner as when they were alive. The New York Times critic assigned to the flick walked out after a few minutes and filed a two graf review noting "I have a pet peeve about flesh eating zombies who never stop snacking." The Italian Communist Party, more hip to the joke, gave the flick a rave review.

Behind Russian Glass

The chaos wrought by Yeltsin's inept handling of the transition to a free market inspired an apathy in the electorate that is manifesting itself as a desire for decisive leadership and steady paychecks above all else. But thus far this slow regress to authoritarianism has yielded little beside an economic mirage; illusory growth indicators resulting from a devalued currency and unusually high oil and natural gas prices. Russia's underdeveloped civil society, habitual dependence on central planning and need for hard currency have encouraged the development of resource-oriented exports, which in turn solidify an oligarchic nucleus.

Our Man Watches "The Passion of the Cypher"

03.3.2004 | Richard O'Keeffe | Film
Bible literalists have quite a bit of explaining to do in order to justify the depiction of Herod as a frivolous queer with a court of male concubines at his lascivious disposal. Frankly, I went to Catholic school for over twelve years and never once did they mention that little detail (though in Luke, Herod does gift the Christ with a "gorgeous robe" before sending him back to Pilate). Nor did they teach me that the crucified thief who mocks Jesus immediately has a crow peck at his eye in an apparent instance of divine retribution, Hollywood style.

Our Man Asks Mort and Brenner If the Kibbutz Has Become a Vestige

"The kibbutzim made a decision not to pursue settlement beyond the internationally recognized borders of Israel. Today, the Israeli public consistently supports shutting down settlements and moving to a two-state solution. Even Sharon has calling for an end to specific settlements. The Israeli public understands that the price to be paid for continuing the occupation is something that severely threatens the Zionist dream."

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