“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 ofMao: A Lifeand Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare.
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…)
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.”
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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.”
Listen to the Radio War Nerd podcast [subscribe here] with guest Gunnar Hrafn Jonsson of Iceland Public Radio on the massacre in Orlando and how online Islamic State jihadis are dealing with battlefield defeats and the shrinking caliphate. Subscribe to Radio War Nerd through the show’s Patreon page.
The political establishment’s racist, authoritarian reaction to the 1992 LA riots—blaming broken black families, massing cops and troops, and Ron Paul’s advice to his family on how to kill black “animals” and get away with it…
This is what it must be like to go to a stage play and wait around between scenes while they wheel the props off and drag in the new ones. The next act is coming up, and it’s pretty clear what it’s going to be: PR war, tribal deal-making war.
Whoa, things are heating up in a good way around here. First I want to thank everybody who helped with my puzzlement over that shot of an MBT with its turret popped off, lying in the sand 30 yards away…
Who ever imagined Libya…I mean Libya, with a record of O-and-Forever, with a knockout from Chad on its record…would put on a show like this? Some of the pictures I’ve seen are so amazing I’ve been trying to figure them…
Libya’s newest fun park: Find the scorpion in the F-15 wreckage A US F15E Strike Eagle went down over Libya today. Supposedly “equipment malfunction” brought it down. Also supposedly, both pilots are back in US hands. One was picked up…
“I intend to fight it out on this line, if it takes all summer.” U. S. Grant at Spotsylvania Court House *** I’m switching tactics today. No more of those cumbersome massed offensives, meaning columns four or five thousand words…
There’ve been a few interesting assassinations recently. Not around here, unfortunately. Definitely not the one in Tucson. The dork empties a huge magazine into a crowd, kills nine people including a little girl, and doesn’t even kill the congresswoman he…
Want to see how we lose men in Afghanistan? Are you sure? Well, if you really want to, you can, thanks to this clip from French TV (scroll down to view it ). I warn you though, it’s pretty nasty stuff.