Unabomber weighs in on ancient Egyptian dwarf-worship

Letter to the Editor, New York Review of Books, Vol. 52, No. 12, July 2005

In “Survival of the Smallest” {NYR, March 10], István Deák writes on page 22: “In ancient Egypt, dwarfs were often venerated like gods.” Deák here is discussing pathological dwarfs. However, Paul Schebesta, Die Bambuti-Pygmäen vom Ituri (Brussels: Institut Royal Colonial Belge, 1938, Vol. 1, pp. 5–11), argues persuasively that the “god-dancers” venerated by the ancient Egyptians were not pathological dwarfs at all, but pygmies from the African rain forest. Schebesta cites, inter alia, a letter of the pharaoh Pepi II or Phiops II (Sixth Dynasty) which seems clearly to support this view.

Theodore John Kaczynski
Florence, Colorado

To LibraryThing widget users:

Librarything.com went down, leading to issues for users of my LibraryThing widget.

LibraryThing.com is currently down. This may be causing your pages with the LibraryThing Recently Reviewed widget to hang. If so, just disable the plugin from the admin interface. I’ll be introducing a caching system in the future that should prevent this sort of disturbance.

Update: LibraryThing is back online.

Greenspan’s mea culpa

Alan Greenspan reflects on how his ideological belief in the ability of markets to self-regulate has been shaken. Henry Waxman, Chairman of the Oversight [pun?] and Government Reform Committee is on a bit of a self-righteous crusade and is obviously looking for a sound bite from Greenspan (which he gets). But it’s an effective approach, and they’re questions that need to be strenuously pursued. And then followed by formal censure.


A first step towards “justice after Bush”?

In a surprising and almost (but not quite) faith-restoring move, Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzalez, and others have been indicted by Texas DA on charges related to prisoner abuse in a privately run prison in which Cheney had personal investments.

For actual justice to be done, of course, much more is demanded. In “Justice after Bush: Prosecuting an outlaw administration,” in the December 2008 issue of Harper’s, Scott Horton argues persuasively for an official, commission-led inquest into the Bush administration’s role in sanctioning and promoting torture, in contravention of both international and domestic statutes.

It will take the world a long time to recover from the damage done by Bush et al., confirming in a sad sort of way Margaret Mead’s words:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.