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This article was first published in The eXile on June 8, 2000, issue 92.

How can we best promote world peace? As always, Thomas Friedman has a stunningly original answer: by building more McDonald’s. Here’s Friedman’s “Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention” from his new book The Lexus and the Olive Tree: (more…)

Posted: October 25th, 2009


This article was first published in The eXile on June 22, 2000.

Reading Bobos in Paradise, I realized that it’s not so hard to make money by writing: all you have to do is suck and swallow several million people at once. It’s certainly worked for David Brooks, who sucks like a Black Hole, and could give Linda Lovelace swallowing lessons. He’s making a fortune from this book, which is nothing more than fellatio in print. (more…)

Posted: October 19th, 2009


I came to extreme poverty late in life, and did very badly at it. I should have done some kind of crime. But what kind? That’s what I couldn’t figure out. What kind of crime can you actually do, if you aren’t a lawyer and don’t understand computers?

There were certainly plenty of people who could have offered me some advice on the matter. We were living on a boat, moored in a skuzzy little harbor full of small-time criminals. The one guy who went off to a job every day was a figure of awe and mockery, a freak. Everybody else scavenged or stole to buy their booze and weed. (more…)

Posted: August 18th, 2009


I’ve been reading anthologies again, God help me. It’s all about money, as in we ain’t got none. So it’s back to teaching, and that means reading the anthologies that attempt to take a bunch of innocent kids through the dismal art of the twentieth century in one semester.  Today’s culprit is The Norton Anthology of World Literature: The Twentieth Century. It’s not bad. I guess. No worse than the others. The problem is the century itself, anyway, not the anthology.


Posted: July 18th, 2009


In a world without miracles, death is a miracle.

A bad one. It makes no sense at all. This creature, your relative—Hell, your dog—was a constellation, a huge Venn diagram of metonymies, with a middle name and opinions and allergies and anecdotes. Doesn’t much matter if they were bad anecdotes, annoying opinions, a stupid middle name; there was the same density of little fiber-optic cables spreading out from them that mattered.


Posted: July 13th, 2009


He may be dead now, I don’t know. He should have been dead long ago, but these early boomers, born in California, have many lives. From some angles, Alex’s life was clear proof of what spoiled, invincible brats they were, the ungrateful beneficiaries of hippie primogeniture.

I remember him sitting in the little room his wife had assigned him in their hilltop mansion, his “study.” What Alex studied, mainly, was how to get more crack and get more blowjobs from prostitutes on his nightly forays into West Oakland. (more…)

Posted: June 9th, 2009


There are three animals to welcome me home to California: the ants, the grasshoppers and the mockingbirds. To meet them, you walk past the traffic walls to the trash desert. There’s a shortcut to RiteAid across the army-colored dirt, trails scuffed out between the Australian-colored scrub with the Safeway bags snagged on it.

Way off there, over the Fort Apache fences protecting the houses, you can see the real mountains, with a few dirty scraps of leftover snow. There ought to be nothing sadder than those few gullies of snow, but in the interim I’ve been cold and I don’t, can’t love the snow the way I did growing up here. I appreciate the warmth of the ground, could all but lie down in the warm khaki gravel where the ants have their many bloodthirsty Mayan cities.


Posted: May 26th, 2009

The Case for Nuclear Winter

Courtney Love: another gloating vampire.

(Lately we’ve been hearing a lot of crazy talk about a “nuclear-free world.” So what better time than now to rerun an eXile classic by Dr. Dolan–an elegy penned before its time, to the nuclear winter which never arrived, and now is gone forever. Amen.) 

There are no nihilists — but suppose there were. What would they say?

Once you dare to consider this question, the answer seems obvious: if there were any real nihilists, they would praise nuclear weapons as the means to bring an end to the world via nuclear winter. They would sing hymns to the warheads, seeing in them the first weapon we have ever obtained against the universe which has brought us into being to suffer and die. Even if these imaginary nihilists were too squeamish to advocate nuclear winter outright, they would be compelled to praise nuclear winter as the first real CHOICE any organism has ever had about whether to continue in the fated cycle of birth, pain, and death. (more…)

Posted: April 13th, 2009

“If you’re going to talk truthfully about the world, you might as well start with the bottom line: killing people in your way.” Listen to the first episode of our new eXiled Radio hosted by John Dolan. In this premiere, Dolan strolls around the 20th century’s great killing fields with Philip Short, author of Mao: A Life and Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare.

Produced and mixed by Matt Payne.


Posted: April 10th, 2009

Nicholas Hughes' Most Recent Photograph (bottom right)

Most Recent Photograph of That Guy That Plath Popped Out
(bottom right; circa 1962)

Sylvia Plath’s son died yesterday. That’s how it was reported, even by the BBC. The dead man’s name was Nicholas Hughes, not Plath, but in death we learn which parent really mattered. For the record, he was also the son of a poet far greater than Plath, a man named Ted Hughes.

Hughes has been snubbed and despised for most of my lifetime, on both sides of the Atlantic. The American response is typically simple-minded and moralistic: “He killed poor Sylvia!” The British scorn for Hughes is (also typically) bitchy and disingenuous. But the result has been a boycott of serious appreciation of his work throughout the English-speaking world, and so powerful in England that they’re willing to lose the services of the best man on their team rather than give Hughes his due, while cheering their cheesiest and most worthless literary lights, like the pitifully untalented W. H. Auden. (more…)

Posted: March 24th, 2009


I got out of bed this morning and told Katherine, “Hey, I think my foot is bet-” At which point my gouty big toe slammed into the table leg. When I finished howling and bouncing around on the other leg, I amended my earlier statement: “Well, OK, not so much better now-ow-ow-ow.”

Hobbling out to the computer, I checked my email and found a forwarded article from the Irish Times, a gushing interview with James Frey.

Frey the Irrepressible is back with a new book, Bright Shiny Morning. I knew that; I even read his book, because Frey and I go way back. But BSM, BS for short, was so silly it wasn’t even funny, so I thought I’d beg off reviewing it. I’ve kicked Frey with my gouty foot over and over again; what’s the use? He’ll always be famous; he’s too stupid to absorb criticism. Hell, he withstood a scolding from Oprah herself and came back hamming it up worse than ever–what could I do to him? I’m old, dead broke, sick and unknown. Any pretense of superiority I ever felt toward Frey is looking very wobbly right now. (more…)

Posted: March 19th, 2009

Robert Creeley: Great Poet or One-Eyed Interspecies Plagiarist?

Robert Creeley: Great Poet or One-Eyed Interspecies Plagiarist?

Here are two pieces of twentieth-century verse. One has been called “…the most often quoted, even the most widely known, short poem” of the 1960s; the other is from a long-forgotten collection of comic newspaper verse. One was written in 1954, the other almost four decades earlier. (more…)

Posted: March 17th, 2009


“It is not their love for us but their lack of faith that prevents today’s Christians from burning us.”

For sheer gloating pleasure, you can’t beat the lunkheads on Free Republic trying to deal with the news that Palin’s daughter not only isn’t going to marry Levi, but is breaking up with him.

It’s what they call the whole spectrum of human emotion, or primate anyway. They’re so stunned they wander for a while through digressions like whether the sperm donor in question was named after a pair of pants or not.

One loyalist with the wonderful moniker “Solid Wood” insists it can’t be true, must be a liberal media lie, until someone sends the two-word death sentence: “Fox confirms.” Then he settles for calling everyone who mentions the story a leftwing troll. (more…)

Posted: March 12th, 2009


That was how he died, Professor Robert Beloof, my first mentor: crushed by a hippie van.

In Portland, yet. It was a ridiculous way to die, and Beloof was, let’s face it, a ridiculous man. But it was also a very uncanny, fey manner of death for a Berkeley professor made and broken by the hippie era. You almost want to say something pompous, like “We were all run over by that VW van,” carve that on the headstone of the whole place. (more…)

Posted: March 4th, 2009

Reviewed: “A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity” by Bill O’ Reilly (Broadway, 2008).

In this slight, self-indulgent memoir, Bill O’Reilly tells us how he got so “bold” and “fresh.” A humble man, he attributes his success to his own innate greatness, with honorable mention going to his solidly rock-headed upbringing in Levittown, N.Y. For all his generous praise of Levittown, O’Reilly is very clear that most of the credit should go to himself: “Looking back, the reason I have succeeded in life is that I relied on myself.”


Posted: December 31st, 2008

Now that services have ended at the First National Church of Crawford, Texas, it’s clear America needs a new religion. Not to nitpick, but it could be argued that rule by the most loudly born-again or, as scholars call it, Screechocracy, was not a success.

That’s not to say we can hope for an improvement by veering leftward, into one or another version of softcore Buddhism, as recovering Christians tend to do. Let’s face it: Buddhism has some nice statues and incense, but it’s no fun at all. Indeed, adopting that most dismally mature of religions means giving up forever on the idea of getting any fun out of existence. That’s the whole message of Buddhism.


Posted: December 17th, 2008

Send in your own questions, concerns and worries to Team eXiled is here to help.


Dear eXiled: Why do birds sing?




Posted: December 11th, 2008

How do you cope with defeat when your whole creed is “You can’t argue with success”? In the wake of Obama’s victory, American conservatives have some of the best minds to come out of Regent University working on this problem. Little wires are sparking in those Yugo-primate crania, tiny tendrils of smoke are pouring from their hairy ears.

In our new feature, Obama Crawl, The eXiled will introduce you to some of America’s Funniest Lame Rationalizations, featuring yesterday’s apex predators squeaking like confused Scandinavian lemmings as they try to bluff, lie, flirt and betray their way to survival. (more…)

Posted: November 21st, 2008

Little did I know that when I lost everything last year, I was doing research. At the time I thought it was just stupidity or bad luck or both. But now that the economy’s crashing, it turns out I’ve been out there gathering valuable tips for millions of new paupers.

And let me clarify, I’m talking real poverty.


Posted: October 15th, 2008

Most people had never heard of Sarah Palin when she was named Republican VP nominee. But I’d been hearing her name all too often, because I belong to a group called Defenders of Wildlife–and in her time as governor of Alaska, Palin has used her position as governor of Alaska to ruin the Alaskan wilderness in every way she could.

Her most recent “victory” came on August 26 when Alaska’s voters defeated Measure 2, an initiative that would have banned hunting wolves from airplanes for sport.


Posted: September 5th, 2008