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February 20, 2002
[books] Philip Pullman Q&A On Guardian Unlimited … On how booksellers should recommend his books to children: ‘I’d say: “You are forbidden to read these books. They’re too old for you, and they’re full of things you shouldn’t experience yet, like sex and violence and dangerous ideas about religion. I’m putting them up here, on this shelf, and I’m going out for an hour or so. You’re not to touch them.” ‘
February 17, 2002
[books] More, Now, Again — book extract. This time Elizabeth Wurtzel is on Ritalin… ‘Dr Singer suggests that I try cutting the pills in half with a sharp knife. So I get out a steak knife and cut a Ritalin pill in half. This is harder to do than I might have guessed, and it just splits into little pieces, crumbles like a biscuit, with powdery flakes all over the place. Eureka! Why had I not thought of this sooner? I swallow a couple of the chunks with water like I normally would, and the rest I chop up into even finer bits. I press on them with the knife and break them down until they’re a white powder. I snort up the Ritalin. It scratches and burns my nostrils a little bit, but it’s not too bad. And then I feel a tiny rush in my brain.’
February 13, 2002
[comics] The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick — comic strip by Robert Crumb‘It is an interesting graphic interpretation of a series of events which happened to Dick in March of 1974. He spent the remaining years of his life trying to figure out what happened in those fateful months. You will find all 8 pages of this story here.’ [via Bitstream]
[books] The Hard-Boiled Bookshelf – James Ellroy‘His personal story has been relentlessly self exposed. He does 200 interviews a year and has written a quasi-autobiography in which he tells of his journey to “rediscover” his dead mother and to find out who killed her. He has examined, more completely and graphically than anyone (except perhaps himself) ever needed to learn about, his life as a druggie, shoplifter, petty criminal, peeper, B&E man, panty sniffer, white supremacist, and marathon masterbator.’
February 11, 2002
[reading] American Tabloid by James Ellroy … From the introduction: ‘The real trinity of Camelot was Look Good, Kick Ass, Get Laid. Jack Kennedy was the mythological front man for a particularly juicy slice of our history. He talked a slick line and wore a world class haircut. He was Bill Clinton minus pervasive media scrutiny and a few rolls of flab. Jack got whacked at the optimum moment to assure his sainthood. Lies continue to swirl around his eternal flame. Its time to dislodge his urn and cast light on a few men who attended his ascent and facilitated his fall. They were rogue cops and shakedown artists. They were wiretappers and soldiers of fortune and faggot lounge entertainers. Had one second of their lives deviated off course, American history would not exist as we know it.’
February 9, 2002
[books] What Should I Do With My Life? — preview of Po Bronson’s new book … ‘I wasn’t drawn to saints. We can worship saints, but we can’t emulate them. I would rather hear how the weak-of-will end up doing some good. The hesitant, all-too-human.’ [via Metafilter]
February 6, 2002
[books] Newsround kids ask Philip Pullman questions… What would his daemon be: ‘…I think my daemon probably is if I could guess would be one of those birds like a Jackdaw or a Magpie, nothing spectacular to look at but they steal bright things, whether it is a diamond ring or a bit of aluminium foil or whatever it is, an old tin can, if it is bright and shiny they go and pick it up. That is what story tellers do – we look for bright shiny interesting bits of gossip or bits of news or bits of information that reveal a character or something. And we collect them all and take them back to our nest, so that is what I think my daemon probably would be, but I can’t choose and I don’t know.’
February 5, 2002
[books] Machismo isn’t that easy to wear — interview with Norman Mailer … On America: ‘What would we think of someone who was seven-foot tall, weighed 350 pounds, was all muscle, and had to be reassured all the time? We would say that fella’s a mess!’
February 4, 2002
[books] Soap and the serious writer — interview with Philip Pullman … ‘Will and Lyra are a sort of Adam and Eve but, instead of reaffirming the Creation story, CS Lewis-style, they subvert it. Pullman is, actually, all for Eve listening to the serpent and trying the fruit. “I see it as a positive act,” he says. Because it shows curiosity, a willingness to embrace life? “Yes. Absolutely.” He says that if his book has any message, if readers go away feeling anything, he hopes it is that “this physical place, where we live, is a place of great beauty. We forget it as we grow up. We get so overlaid by habit. I want to say, open your eyes. Living is exciting, a source of amazing joy, and with that comes the responsibility to live it fully”. Oh, come on, I say. None of us can go round in a state of marvel all the time. Can you? “No. I do get tired and fed up, especially when I’m doing my VAT returns.”‘
January 28, 2002
[books] Dæmon Geezer — Robert McCrum profiles Philip Pullman … ‘Pullman himself makes an unlikely demon. In person, he is thoughtful, good-natured and passionately interested in what the world has to tell him. Like his admired predecessors, he is only giving back to his audience the stories it has already vouchsafed in a thousand unguarded moments. First and foremost a teller of tales, he acknowledges “the absolute preciousness” of reality in all its chaos and discomfort. “Here is where we are,” he told The Observer, “and now is where we live.”‘
[film] Jack the Rip-Off — Iain Sinclair looks at the From Hell movie … ‘What Moore proposes, and what the film necessarily refutes, is the belief that the past is unknowable. ‘In all our efforts to describe the past, to list the simple facts of history,’ he wrote in his introduction to the From Hell scripts, ‘we are involved in fiction.’ There can be no anachronisms when time is a plural concept. Nobody knows, or will ever know, or should know, who Jack the Ripper was. Jack is. Sustained and incubated by tour guides, crocodiles of sombre or giggling pilgrims processing around the locations where the bodies were found, the Ripper lives on. An invisible earner. A waxwork vampire.’
January 27, 2002
[books] A couple more Philip Pullman articles …

  • A wizard with Worlds — Interview with Pullman … ‘Earlier this year, he gave a remarkable speech called ‘The Republic of Heaven’ in which he succeeded in converting the words ‘God is dead’ into something positive. He refreshingly recruited Jane Eyre to his cause while giving Tolkien and C.S. Lewis the thumbs down for failing to salute the real world. He is not short of faith but it believes in humanity and in goodness, not in God. He believes we need this ‘thing which I’ve called joy’. His is an engaging moral optimism.’
  • Not for children — Robert McCrumb on Pullman … ‘…you can enumerate any number of qualities that separate Pullman from the herd, but at the end of the day, it’s because he grounds his fantasy in well-observed reality and is not afraid to acknowledge the importance of plot in his work. ‘When you are writing for children,’ he told the Bookseller in 1996, ‘the story is more important than you are. You can’t be self-conscious, you just have to get out of the way.’ Because it is easier to write description and dialogue than tell a good story, very many contemporary novelists write bad plots – bad plots that are full of inexplicable lacunae and wonky motivation. Pullman seems to know this. His writing has the hallmark of work that has been held up to the light and minutely inspected from every angle. Look at it where you like – it is seamless.’

January 25, 2002
[books] An honest American Psycho — Fay Weldon reviews American Pyscho in 1991 … ‘Our yuppie hero kills an abandoned dog, slices it with a knife, walks on. No one cares. Women get their kicks from bondage. Yuppie goes too far, the women get to bleed a bit, but they get paid. That’s enough for them. The whole world’s into bondage. Altzheimers or Armani, spermicidal lubricant or Ralph Lauren, everything on the same level. So he goes further. What’s the odds? Not a nice book, no, not at all, this portrait of psychotic America, psychotic us. Just enough to touch a dulled nerve or two, get an article or so written.’ [Related: Bio of Bret Easton Ellis, Geocities Fan Page]
January 24, 2002
[war] Back to hell — Mark Bowden – author of Black Hawk Down – on a possible US return to Somalia … ‘Because it is so wild, and because most of its residents are Muslims, Somalia seems a logical destination for al-Qaida and Taliban leaders fleeing the rout in Afghanistan. With the longest shoreline of any African nation, with its lack of government, navy, army or police, there is nothing to stop international outlaws from coming, provided they can run the international patrols in the Persian Gulf and Indian ocean. But once in Somalia, there is nothing to stop the US and its allies from coming after them. “We’ll go wherever we need to go in Somalia,” said one American general who asked not to be named. “It’s not likely that we’ll be asking permission.”‘
January 23, 2002
[books] Epic children’s book takes Whitbread — Philip Pullman wins the Book of the Year Award … ‘He admitted that the judges fretted about giving the £25,000 top award to a children’s book. “If I am honest, the wind was against Pullman at the very beginning. We did worry about giving such a literary prize to a children’s book, but then we thought of CS Lewis and that was that.” The comparison with Lewis and his Narnia books has been often made of Pullman, who has never shied from tackling the big issues of love, belief and death.’ [Related: Extact from The Amber Spyglass]
January 21, 2002
[books] First Chapter of The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen‘She was looking for a letter that had come by Registered mail some days ago. Alfred had heard the mailman knock on the door and had shouted, “Enid! Enid!” so loudly that he couldn’t hear her shouting back, “Al, I’m getting it!” He’d continued to shout her name, coming closer and closer, and because the sender of the letter was the Axon Corporation, 24 East Industrial Serpentine, Schwenksville, PA, and because there were aspects of the Axon situation that Enid knew about and hoped that Alfred didn’t, she’d quickly stashed the letter somewhere within fifteen feet of the front door. Alfred had emerged from the basement bellowing like a piece of earth-moving equipment, “There’s somebody at the door!” and she’d fairly screamed, “The mailman! The mailman!” and he’d shaken his head at the complexity of it all.’
January 16, 2002
[911] A Blind Spot Called Iraq — review of a book which analyses if Saddam Hussein is behind the attacks on America … ‘Mylroie’s conclusion, reached by relentless forensic analysis of a huge array of human and documentary sources, is that the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing did not, as the Clinton administration claimed at the time, signal the emergence of a ‘new kind of terrorism’ by ‘loose networks’ of Muslim extremists.Instead, it was the first skirmish in ‘a new kind of war’ – sponsored, like old-style wars, by a hostile state, Iraq. Planned as the world’s worst terrorist attack, in which one of the towers would have collapsed into the other amid a cloud of cyanide, the plot’s Iraqi directors simply made use of a little Islamist muscle, stooges who were meant to be caught, in order to conceal its real origin.’
January 9, 2002
[books] The Digested Read covers The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking‘Apparently, a large number of the many millions who bought A Brief History of Time got stuck on page one. Oh dear. I expected more of my readers.’
January 7, 2002
[books] Excellent interview / bio of Philip Pullman. During the interview Pullman is asked if we are missing out on magic in a world dominated by science … ‘Perhaps. I’m pretty skeptical, though. I think we’re far too superstitious on the whole. As for disgraceful betrayals of wisdom such as the pretense that there is something called “creation science” and we ought to give it equal time in schools with proper science — I’m ashamed to belong to a human race that is so sunk in abject ignorance and willful stupidity.’ [Related: Officicial Pullman Website]
January 4, 2002
[books] Choke On This — an interview with Chuck Palahniuk … On his new book Lullaby: ‘It’s about a very burnt-out, jaded newspaper reporter who is assigned to do a five-part series about crib death, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. So, he wants to profile five different crib deaths. So, paramedics take him to, first, one crib-death scene, and he notices a library book that’s there, and it’s a cheap anthology of public domain folk stories and poems and anything that could be slapped together and published, and it’s opened to page 27. And the next crib-death sight is not exactly crib death, it’s a three-year-old, but it’s the same library book. And, it’s not open, but when he sets it on its spine, it falls open to page 27. Then the third, the fourth, the fifth crib-death sight, these people have all checked out this library book, and it looks like the night before these children died, it was read, what turns out to be an ancient African culling song, which was used to decrease population during famine or drought, and to humanely euthanize elderly or diseased or injured people in a painless, almost instant way. And he realizes that this is a spell for killing people.’ [via Feeling Listless]
December 30, 2001
[books] Ellroy’s Kafka Routine — interview with James Ellroy … ‘The essential contention of the Underworld USA trilogy volume one, American Tabloid, volume two, The Cold Six Thousand, is that America was never innocent. Here’s the lineage: America was founded on a bedrock of racism, slaughter of the indigenous people, slavery, religious lunacy …and nations are never innocent. Let alone nations as powerful as our beloved fatherland.’
December 29, 2001
[911 comment] History is back with a capital H — Naomi Klien on the End of History and ObL … ‘It’s an idea we’ve heard from many quarters since September 11, a return of the great narrative: chosen men, evil empires, master plans, and great battles. All are ferociously back in style. The Bible, the Koran, The Clash of Civilizations, Lord of the Rings – all of them suddenly playing out “in these days, in our times.” This grand redemption narrative is our most persistent myth, and it has a dangerous flip side. When a few men decide to live their myths, to be larger than life, it can’t help but have an impact on all the lives that unfold in regular sizes. People suddenly look insignificant by comparison, easy to sacrifice in the name of some greater purpose. When the Berlin Wall fell, it was supposed to have buried this epic narrative in its rubble. This was capitalism’s decisive victory. Ideology is dead, let’s go shopping.’ [via Wood s Lot]
December 23, 2001
[wtc] Only Love and then Oblivion — Ian McEwan on 911 … ‘If the hijackers had been able to imagine themselves into the thoughts and feelings of the passengers, they would have been unable to proceed. It is hard to be cruel once you permit yourself to enter the mind of your victim. Imagining what it is like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essence of compassion, and it is the beginning of morality. The hijackers used fanatical certainty, misplaced religious faith, and dehumanising hatred to purge themselves of the human instinct for empathy. Among their crimes was a failure of the imagination.’
December 22, 2001
[comment] In the ruins of the future — Don DeLillo on 911. ‘Technology is our fate, our truth. It is what we mean when we call ourselves the only superpower on the planet. The materials and methods we devise make it possible for us to claim our future. We don’t have to depend on God or the prophets or other astonishments. We are the astonishment. The miracle is what we ourselves produce, the systems and networks that change the way we live and think. But whatever great skeins of technology lie ahead, ever more complex, connective, precise, micro-fractional, the future has yielded, for now, to medieval expedience, to the old slow furies of cut-throat religion. Kill the enemy and pluck out his heart.’
December 13, 2001
[nyc] Tom Wolfe on the City of Change‘The case could be made that any post-9/11 federal appropriations to prop up business in New York should go first to the places where you can get Chilean sea bass with a Georgia plum marmalade glaze on a bed of mashed Hayman potatoes laced with leeks, broccoli rabe and emulsion of braised Vidalia onions infused with Marsala vinegar.’ [via Robot Wisdom]
December 9, 2001
[comics] The genius of Jimmy — Raymond Briggs on Jimmy Corrigan … ‘Jonathan Cape also publish Rushdie, Amis, McEwan and Barnes, so can this mean that the modest Mr F C Ware has got a foot in the door of this pantheon? After all, his book is thicker and more expensive than theirs. Full colour throughout! And does it mean that we will live to see an ancient Dame Posy Simmonds go tottering by? ‘

Bugpowder posts a transcript of a Late Show Review of Corrigan between Tom Paulin, Dominic Lawson, Craig Brown and Miranda Sawyer. Paulin: ‘…the colours are dreadful, it’s like looking at a bottle of Domestos or Harpic or Ajax. Awful bleak colours, revolting to look at, it’s on it’s way to the Oxfam shop.’
November 29, 2001
[books] The Digested Read — Madonna by Andrew Morton‘Surprise success of first album – some songs weak, shock horror – then effortless meteoric rise to superstardom. Control freak, more failed affairs – “she’s very needy, she never stops ringing you” – abortions, Sean Penn, more albums, loads of celebs, sex. Did I mention she was a control freak? Career nosedives, resurrected by Norman Mailer, desperate to be Evita, desperate to be loved, more failed love – “she wasn’t very adventurous in bed” – more albums. Clunk, clunk, clunk.’
November 25, 2001
[humour] How to DRIVE FAST on DRUGS while getting your WING-WANG SQUEEZED and not SPILL YOUR DRINK by P.J. O’Rourke with illustrations by George Perez (?!) … ‘Name me, if you can, a better feeling than the one you get when you’re half a bottle of Chivas in the bag with a gram of coke up your nose, and a teen-age lovely pulling off her tube top in the next seat over while you’re going a hundred miles an hour down a suburban sidestreet. You’d have to watch the entire Mexican air force crash-land in a liquid petroleum gas storage facility to match this kind of thrill.’ [via Everlasting Blort]
November 24, 2001
[books] The Grip that Death could not Loosen … the mad incestuous attic stories of Virginia Andrews. ‘So, back to the attic children who have just had sex – they are both the spawn of sibling incest and engaged in sibling incest. Oh, and the widow has decided to poison them with arsenic, which makes them very pale, but still extremely attractive to one another. They realise their peril and escape, with one younger sibling (the other has died). They lead a full and unhappy life of mistreatment and suchlike. A rogue doctor has an affair with the girl sibling – it results in a pregnancy, he performs a quick DIY abortion and keeps the foetus in a jar on his desk for a laugh. In the end, the siblings marry at the age of about 50 – they pretend they are unrelated, of course. No good comes of it.’
November 17, 2001
[books] Top 10 literary hoaxes’10. The Hitler diaries — In 1983 a German magazine bought 62 volumes of the ‘lost diaries’ of Adolf Hitler. These had supposedly been discovered by farmers after the plane in which the diaries had been dispatched, shortly before Hitler’s suicide, crashed. They contained such fascinating snippets of Hitler’s domestic life as “on my feet all day long” and “must not forget to get tickets for the Olympic Games for Eva Braun.”‘
November 16, 2001
[books] I Want to Go Ahead and Do It — old NY Times review of The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer‘[Schiller] …watches as Gary Gilmore’s ashes are let loose from a plastic bag to blow over Provo. The bag surprises Schiller. The bag is a bread bag, “with the printing from the bread company clearly on it . . . a 59-cent loaf of bread.”‘
November 13, 2001
[books] The lost children — more on Philip Pullman from the Sunday Times. ‘…he can’t say all the classic children’s books perpetuate unblemished childhood. What about Enid Blyton’s Famous Five who often unearthed adult wrongdoing? Here, Pullman makes a remarkable confession: such realism is taboo today. “You can’t have your heroes and heroines going off by themselves to camp on an island. The publishers wouldn’t let you do it. There are all sorts of health and safety problems, paedophiles and goodness knows what else. The fear is that children are so stupid they’ll copy what they see in books. “So in order to give children adventures now, you either have to set it in the past when that sort of thing was allowed, or in another world where the rules are different. But you can’t do it realistically.”‘ [via Haddock]
November 11, 2001
[furthur] “We are all doomed to spend our lives watching a movie of our lives – we are always acting on what has just finished. It happened at least 1/30th of a second ago. We think we’re in the present, but we aren’t. The present we know is only a movie of the past, and we will really never be able to control the present through ordinary means.” — Tom Wolfe quoting Ken Kesey’s philosophy in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. [Related: Author and hippie icon Kesey dies]
November 10, 2001
[books] Driven by daemons — excellent profile and interview of Philip Pullman‘He is emotionally involved. He sits in the shed and makes it up and he weeps, yes, weeps copiously at the tragedies that unfold. He frightens himself and upsets himself and makes himself laugh. If the story evangelises, it isn’t him that’s doing it. It is merely his nature to admire qualities such as courage, kindness, intellectual curiosity, inclusiveness and open-mindedness, and to deplore cruelty, intolerance and fanatical zealotry, but he wouldn’t dream of writing stories to promote that world-view. If stories teach, that is not his conscious intention. “It’s craftsmanship. Your aim must be to tell a story as well as you can, shaping it and bringing the emotional currents to their… peak of emotional swishing about. You turn the raw materials, and all those loose bits of imagination and experience and memory, into something that stands up like a table with four legs and that doesn’t fall over when you put your elbows on it.”‘
October 31, 2001
[books] First Chapter of Emergence by Steven Johnson… [via kottke.org]

‘…they solve problems by drawing on masses of relatively stupid elements, rather than a single, intelligent “executive branch.” They are bottom-up systems, not top-down. They get their smarts from below. In a more technical language, they are complex adaptive systems that display emergent behavior. In these systems, agents residing on one scale start producing behavior that lies one scale above them: ants create colonies; urbanites create neighborhoods; simple pattern-recognition software learns how to recommend new books. The movement from low-level rules to higher-level sophistication is what we call emergence.’

October 29, 2001
[books] More from Adrian Mole: ‘Glenn has been excluded from school, for calling Tony Blair a twat.’
October 27, 2001
[no logo] Between McWorld and Jihad — Naomi Klein on 9-11 and the anti-corporate movement…

‘Of course, there is little evidence that America’s most wanted Saudi-born millionaire has a grudge against capitalism (if Osama bin Laden’s rather impressive global export network stretching from cash-crop agriculture to oil pipelines is any indication, it seems unlikely). And yet for the movement some people call “anti-globalisation” others call “anti-capitalism” (and I tend to just sloppily call “the movement”), it’s difficult to avoid discussions about symbolism: about all the anti-corporate signs and signifiers – the culture-jammed logos, the guerrilla-warfare stylings, the choices of brand name and political targets – that make up the movement’s dominant metaphors. Many political opponents of anti-corporate activism are using the symbolism of the World Trade Centre and Pentagon attacks to argue that young activists, playing at guerrilla war, have now been caught out by a real war.’

October 26, 2001
[books] Out of the ordinary — Douglas Coupland has been touring England taking photo’s‘Coupland adores objects, and most of his book-tour photography has been of hotel rooms, shop windows, products, promotional displays. But why do it? “I’ve never taken pictures before and I said to myself, ‘Dammit, I’m going to learn how to do this. I don’t remember my dreams. Do you? No one does. But if you wake up and write them down straight away, you can look at it 15 years later and like, ‘I remember that dream perfectly.’ It’s the same with this 36 days, or 46 days, or whatever it has been, I really want to remember them. But your body tends to remember the airport and the train rumble, rumble, so I’m trying to remember the good stuff.”‘
October 24, 2001
[books] Sue Townsend: You ask the questions‘[Q] Where do you see Adrian Mole aged 51? [A] Still trying to flog his abysmal novel, Lo! The Flat Hills of My Homeland, to a London publisher. He’ll almost certainly have early prostate trouble and I think he’ll be really strong on cardigans, in particular the Marks & Spencer zip-up range for men.’
October 21, 2001
[books] All Authors are Pyschotic — interview with Douglas Coupland‘…when you look at the history of the smile in the photo… up until World War II most people in photographs had their normal faces. And then Kodak and other camera people and filmmakers always had their people smile, and then we entered this cult of the smile collectively. If you try not smiling when people are taking your picture they basically tell you to fuck off and start smiling.’ [Related: BBC News on Coupland, via Feeling Listless]
October 19, 2001
[comment] The View From Smalltown, USA — Chuck Palahniuk on 9-11 … [via Barbelith Underground]

‘On television, the towers fall in slow motion. The same crowds of people stand around on the West Side Highway, observing. There’s the same jiggling, chaotic shot taken by some cameraman fleeing the cloud of dust. Watching this, David says: “This is worse than The Blair Witch Project.” Then he asks: “They ever find that intern, Chandra Levy??”‘

October 13, 2001
[books] This is how it feels to me — Zadie Smith on what it’s like to be a writer at the moment…

‘We cannot be all the writers all the time. We can only be who we are. Which leads me to my second point: writers do not write what they want, they write what they can. When I was 21 I wanted to write like Kafka. But, unfortunately for me, I wrote like a script editor for The Simpsons who’d briefly joined a religious cult and then discovered Foucault. Such is life. And now, when I finish a long day of CNN-related fear and loathing mixed with eyeballing my own resolutely white screen, I do not crawl into bed with 500-page comic novels about (God help me, but it’s OK; I’m going to call on the safety of quote marks) “multicultural” London. I read Carver. Julio Cortázar. Amis’s essays. Baldwin. Lorrie Moore. Capote. Saramago. Larkin. Wodehouse. Anything, anything at all, that doesn’t sound like me.’

October 10, 2001
[interview] You Ask The Questions: P. J. O’Rourke‘A title of one of your early books was Give War a Chance. In the light of recent events, do you still hold to this credo? “Credo” is as it may be. But “Give Communications Intercepts, Intelligence Agent Penetration of Terrorist Cells, Limited Special Forces Covert Actions and Suppression of Worldwide Money-Laundering Activities a Chance” will never be a book title.’
October 7, 2001
[ubl] An Ernst Stavro Blofeld for our Times … article comparing Osama bin Laden with the Bond Villian. ‘Of course what the public craves in all this is a real-life James Bond to tackle him. Unfortunately, the secret service has changed since the days of 007. Out have gone the cocktails, the girls and the relentless innuendo, to be replaced by a new politically correct streak. The CIA, for example, has spent 20,000 man-hours in a year on “sensitivity training” and the sewing of quilts to celebrate cultural diversity.’

Kill bin Laden or risk catastrophe, says FBI‘Officials in the Justice Department and intelligence services believe that the bin Laden network, still operative in cells across the globe, would implode if he were beheaded. Investigators laid out two scenarios: “There’s a notion that if you behead the snake, another two crawl out of the swamp,” said one official. “This situation is the opposite: cut off the snake’s head and the body shrivels up. The important thing is to get the man”.’
October 6, 2001
[books] Learning to Fly by Victoria Beckham — The Digested Read … ‘Brooklyn is literally the best baby in the entire universe and David and I just so love him to bits. We are just so at our happiest when it’s just the three of us together out shopping at Versace.’
[comics] To be Precise, Tintin — another look at Michael Farr’s Tintin – The Complete Companion‘In a career of more than 50 years, Hergé produced only 24 Tintin books. Had he been less meticulous, he might well have been a lot more prolific, but I doubt he would have ended up being so widely loved and admired. Picking up a Tintin book the other day for the first time in many years, I found myself torn between a narrative-driven urge to race through the frames as quickly as possible and an impulse to linger and wallow amid the lovingly realised visual detail, the brilliant evocation of time and place. I don’t think there are any other books which made quite such an impact on my childhood imagination as Tintin.’
October 5, 2001
[comment] Robert Anton Wilson on The War Against Some Terrorists‘Just as the War Against Drugs would make some kind of sense if they honestly called it a War Against Some Drugs, I regard Dubya’s current Kampf as a War Against Some Terrorists. I may remain wed to that horrid heresy until he bombs CIA headquarters in Langtry.’ [via Fark]
October 1, 2001
[books] Adrian Mole — Monday, September 24‘I heard with alarm today that, due to the coming “Crusade” or “Infinite Justice” or “The Conflict” or “World War Three”, David Blunkett has warned that my civil liberties may be restricted in the future, and that I may have to carry an identity card with me at all times. Since I am constantly losing my Sainsbury’s Reward Card, the future looks dim for me. ‘
September 18, 2001
[comment] Fear and Loathing — Martin Amis on 9-11 … ‘It was the advent of the second plane, sharking in low over the Statue of Liberty: that was the defining moment. Until then, America thought she was witnessing nothing more serious than the worst aviation disaster in history; now she had a sense of the fantastic vehemence ranged against her. I have never seen a generically familiar object so transformed by effect. That second plane looked eagerly alive, and galvanised with malice, and wholly alien. For those thousands in the south tower, the second plane meant the end of everything. For us, its glint was the worldflash of a coming future.’
[books] Bare Faced Messiah — an excellent out-of-print biography of L. Ron Hubbard complete on-line… ‘The glorification of “Ron”, superman and saviour, required a cavalier disregard for facts: thus it is that every biography of Hubbard published by the church is interwoven with lies, half-truths and ludicrous embellishments. The wondrous irony of this deception is that the true story of L. Ron Hubbard is much more bizarre, much more improbable, than any of the lies.’

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