In 1918, after four years of slaughter, deprivation and hardship, the Central Powers of Austro-Hungary and Germany were rocked by strikes and mutinies. In February, a naval mutiny broke out at Kotor and sailors shot their officers; by October, the Austro-Hungarian army had collapsed from mass desertions and political upheaval. Soon afterwards a mutiny by German sailors at Kiel merged with other uprisings and quickly escalated into a full-scale rebellion against the imperial state, sparking the abdication of the German Kaiser and the proclamation of a workers’ republic on 9 November 1918.
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Australian writer Frederic Manning wrote what many considered to be the best narrative of the Great War. For Ernest Hemingway, The Middle Parts of Fortune was the ‘finest and noblest book of men in war’, period. It’s a bold and arresting claim that calls for a quick look, if not a deeper dive, into Manning’s enigmatic life and work. This is particularly pertinent in light of the centenary of the Armistice this month.
Readers may be familiar with the ‘Sokal squared’ hoax that was revealed a few weeks back. It basically involved a trio of US researchers publishing articles on deliberately outlandish topics – ‘rape culture and queer performativity at urban dog parks’, for example – in prestigious journals. The hoaxers claimed their actions were motivated by a desire to expose what they regard as an unhealthy fixation on ‘academic grievance studies.’
Because there’s a lawlessness online, and because there are cowboys, the idea of a digital frontier seems to be the one down-to-earth internet metaphor that just about functions.