Vissi d’arte…

The same edition of The Economist in which Keith found the fascinating article about judges’ lunches (reminds me of the classic Brecht line, in Blitzstein’s translation, “first feed the face, and then talk right and wrong“) has a truly heartbreaking story from the West Bank.  Just read it.

[Update 17/IV: Here’s the original. In this case Blitzstein is pretty close, as he is not always: Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral.”]

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

6 thoughts on “Vissi d’arte…”

  1. Since my wife is in the West Bank right now this story makes me nervous, as well as sad.

  2. I am still eagerly awaiting a story from the Israel/Palestine area which offers some hope. How can peace come about in a place where heroes are reviled by both sides and eventually killed by the very people they are trying to help? Why are Palestinians so insistent on being the agents of their own destruction? How could one live in peace with a neighbor who would actually try to kill someone for allowing girls to act on the stage? It seems completely hopeless.

  3. I’m with Eb. The Blitzstein, to me, at least, carries some of the contemptuous overtones of the line about the officer explaining to one of his enlisted men: “Der General speist. Ich esse. Und du, du Hund, du frisst.” The original also carries contempt, but in the other direction.

  4. Eb’s right. Fressen is IMHO coarse and ironic rather than necessarily insulting. See eg the Edelfresswelle, the mode for high-class gluttony. Cf. “pig oneself”, “pig out”.

  5. “First the feed trough, then the scruples.”

    Brecht’s hard, though, because so often in his work there’s neither one word too many nor one too few.

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