8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 18, 2002
Eley 'forging' ahead in new
book about the European left
By Maureen McKinney
Daily Arts Writer
In present-day circumstances, the political and social
viability of the Left is often challenged or overlooked.
This is especially true when evaluating popular opinions
about roots of widespread democracy in Europe. In order
to respond to these misconceptions, Pro-
fessor Geoff Eley, the Sylvia Thrupp Col-
legiate Professor of Comparative History
here at the University, has provided an GEOF
impressive and comprehensive explanation
of the role of the Left in his new book At Sham
"Forging Democracy: The History of the
Left in Europe 1850-2000." I was fortunate Tomorrow
enough to be able to ask him a few ques-
tions about the book, his motivations for writing it, and
what he saw for the future of the Left in Europe.
The Michigan Daily: What were your motivations
for producing an account of the Left in Europe and do
they include dispelling any popular opinions about the
roots of European democracy?
Professor Eley: I wanted to reassert the importance
F ilii$ DI M OLRA|-Y
of the Left in the complicated process of producing dem-
ocratic gains during the 19th and 20th centuries, particu-
larly because, in most people's minds, the Left is
identified more with communist and socialist move-
ments. Since all of the changes in the 1980s, there is not
much of a legitimate hearing for these kinds of political
ideas. In this unfavorable political climate, I wanted to
reaffirm the importance of the Left for
those political struggles and processes that
resulted in the most significant democratic
ELEY gains of the 20th century.
MD: What are your personal experiences
n Drum with the Left and how do you feel that this
impacted your understanding?
at 4 p.m. PE: I grew up in the 1950s and 60s,
extremely conscious of the ways in which
democratic rights, civil rights, and social benefits had
really been the result of broadly-based popular desires
and mobilizations, particularly politics that came out of
the 19 0s and 40s. The good things about the society in
which I grew up in came from both the strong desire to
never let the Great Depression be repeated, and on the
other hand, to never let the strength of democratic insti-
tutions be threatened again as they were by the rise of
Fascism. Becoming an adult in the 1960s and acquiring
my political identity as a student, I already had a strong
sense of this history.
MD: One of your primary focuses is the history of
Germany? Did you place special emphasis on German
movements in your book?
PE: My major field is German history but it was very
important to me in writing this book that it would be a
general European history. I really wanted to build an
argument about Europe as a whole while drawing on dif-
ferent parts of the continent for different stages of the
book. Having said that, the histories of some countries
do have a particular centrality.
MD: What do you think about the European Left in
PE: Well, these are not socialist parties in the old
sense at all. In one way, they couldn't be because the
political agenda has been so profoundly reshaped. Now
those parties are de-radicalized and very centrist in a
way that's extraordinarily moderate and unambitious.
They operate with reduced public sectors, extensive pri-
vatization, and economic deregulation. It seems to me
that if they are to live up to their claims to remain social-
ist parties, they have to develop more creative ways of
ensuring public goods and services become attractive
I think it's cool the way we totally ripped off "Twin Peaks," don't you?
'Push, Nevada' could be a badly
needed rookie hit for ABC
By Christian Smith
Daily Arts Writer
Twelve years ago, David Lynch dazzled
critics and television viewers (the few that
watched) alike with his trippy neo-noir
murder mystery, "Twin Peaks," earning a
staggering 14 Emmy nominations before
being dropped after two seasons. Stylisti- PUSH, Is
cally picking up where "Peaks" left off,
ABC's new mystery series "Push, Nevada" Thurs
plays like "The X-Files" injected with a 8$00
In last night's special preview episode, AP
titled "The Amount," we meet Jim
Prufrock, a mild-mannered IRS agent who travels to a
small desert town in search of missing money after
receiving a mysterious fax suggesting a possible
accounting scandal at the Versailles Casino in Push,
Nevada. How interesting.
Don't worry, if you missed it, ABC is offering up an
encore of the premiere followed by a new episode on
Thursday night as it settles into its intensely competitive
timeslot opposite "CSI" and "Will & Grace."
But if those shows don't float your cruiseship, pro-
ducers Ben Affleck (yes, that Ben Affleck) and Sean
Bailey, who also wrote the pilot episode, have crafted
one of the most original and innovative ideas on televi-
sion in years. Saturated with secrets, clues and peculiar
characters "Push, Nevada" shows telltale signs of a
But introducing only two main characters, Derek
Cecil as Jim, and Scarlett Chorvat as a sultry and mysti-
fying lady of the night, the premiere is entertaining at
best, only teasing at what's to come. It's clear that the
whole will be greater than the sum of the parts, but it
still provides for engaging television.
And if that isn't enough, accompanying the series is
an intefactive game. By following all of the clues and
solving the mystery, the winner will take home a sub-
stantial cash prize. Every word, every sign, every ges-
ture could hold a clue to solving the riddle of this tiny
Nevada town, and thus the show's ultimate
secret. But the question remains, will peo-
ple really want to watch a dark mystery
drama with a complex and twisted story and
no real star power?
With "Will & Grace" approaching ques-
EVADA tionable territory in only its fifth season in
y t the form of a gimmicky baby plotline, and
. .a CBS allowing audiences to skip "CSI" on
'Thursdays and just watch "CSI: The Exact
Same Show in Miami" on Mondays, view-
ers might just take a chance and watch the
risky "Push" instead.
Courtesy of ABC
Pat Bateman. I work on Wall Street.
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