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The eXiled Inquisition Team

Today’s Topic: In semi-praise of Down by the River.

Statement of the Grand Inquisitor: As we have ruled earlier, there are few good books. Down by the River by Charles Bowden, a meandering and disorganized collection of facts, soundbites and stories about the opaque world of Mexican drug cartels, barely makes that list. It does so not by virtue of its poetic style and profound obliqueness that reads like something out of McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, but by offering up a steady stream of fun Mexican drug trade trivia. Books about drug cartels generally don’t need a master stylist to make them interesting–they need a patient stenographer to put the stories and facts in one place. And Down by the River manages to do exactly that. If you’re into the drug violence erupting in Mexico but are hard up for answers, this book is for you.


Posted: January 21st, 2009

Thanks, Manny!

Statement of the Grand Inquisitor: De La Hoya’s been an affront to boxing for years, which is hard to do given the easygoing attitude toward human sin that characterizes the sport, but still he’s managed it by being the ultimate slick sellout.


Posted: December 8th, 2008

Honorable Mention: Blessed are the wind-blown embers.

Statement of the Grand Inquisitor: Let us start with a fitting quote from yesterday’s LA Times article:

A wind-blown ember can be opportunistic, slipping through tiny breaches in the homes.

Opportunistic indeed! These little sparks of red hot justice were busy at work last weekend, crawling into vents, falling between cracks and carrying the mission from house to house, palm tree to palm tree. In a matter of days, 1,000 homes burned down in half a dozen different fires spread around Southern California. All weekend long, ash fell out of the sky and a cloud of smoke blocked out the sun, casting the whole of Southern California in the crimson red hues of Armageddon.


Posted: November 19th, 2008

The Accused: Raymond “Chuck” Foster, Imperial Wizard of the KKK

Statement of the Grand Inquisitor: Normally a sad nitwit like Raymond “Chuck” Foster wouldn’t even be worthy of the attention of the eXiled Inquisition Team, but now that he’s managed to put the tattered remnants of the Ku Klux Klan back in the news, we thought we’d give him a look. He’s the fellow who killed Cynthia Lynch, an even sadder nitwit he’d recruited, because she tried to bail on the Klan initiation rites halfway through. The theory is, she felt a sudden wave of homesickness for Tulsa, Oklahoma. If this seems impossible, keep in mind that she was in backwoods Louisiana at the time. When you’re in backwoods Louisiana, Tulsa must seem like the center of civilization, practically the shining city on the hill politicians are always going on about.


Posted: November 14th, 2008

Mormon Baptismal Font: plenty of room for everybody.

Statement of the Grand Inquisitor: We have to admire the sheer chutzpah of the Mormons. Whereas we struggle with faulty humankind, inquisiting people, torturing them, trying to shove them toward the true faith, the Mormons have worked out a way to avoid so much heavy lifting. They take care of things after death. Dead people, y’see, are so agreeable. No backtalk. If you tell a dead guy he’s now a by-god upstanding member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you won’t get any argument.

Of course, such a bold approach to gathering souls is bound to involve a lot of blowback from the older religions. Especially the Jews—you know how they are. For decades now Jewish leaders have been trying to get the Mormons to stop baptizing their dead relatives, especially the victims of the Holocaust. As Ernest Michel, honorary chairman of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, points out in The New York Times, “They suffered enough.”

Posted: November 12th, 2008

Today’s Defendant: Mike Williams, resident of Douglas, Arizona

Statement from the Grand Inquisitor: Hard-working people all across Mexico are busting their asses for American consumers. No, we are not talking about the migrant workers cleaning your dishes, picking your grapes or washing your cars. We’re talking about the indefatigable workers that are out there everyday, risking jail, death and torture to ensure the smooth delivery of the goods that make life bearable — yes, even briefly enjoyable — for millions of Americans just like you. And it’s not an easy job, folks. (more…)

Posted: November 4th, 2008

Statement of the Grand Inquisitor: With one day left before the election, CNN chose as its microcosm of America-at-da-crossroads one Kevin Sheen, a whey-faced Irish-American idiot from the Midwest, who coyly offers his quandriness as an “undecided” voter.

Posted: November 3rd, 2008