It’s a shame, I suppose, about Jesse Helms. I really wanted him to live to see January 20, 2009.
Would he even have known it would happened?
I HATE air travel (and these days, I’m not sure DHS would let me fly), but in the back of my mind I held out the possibility of a trip east to piss on a few graves after Obama is in office (and refuse to contemplate that not happening). Falwell, maybe Pat Robertson by then, and now finally Helms. Who knows, maybe Darth C. might even not make it beyond 1/20/09, but that would likely require a side-trip when they finally drive a stake through his ‘heart’ to keep him interred?
fyi – when I was last 8 months pregnant, I volunteered to escort women in and out of a targeted clinic – always wore my too small Jesse Helms Love Child t shirt
oh yeah, it kept the horrified fundies back the requisite 150 yards
Just read your book(s) review/article in The Nation. The points you make and the information you present is very clear (and it probably doesn’t matter), but it is hard to tell what bits came from the books and what parts came from other sources or are presentations of your own conclusions.
I’m not questioning the veracity of the piece. Much of the information is widely known (among liberals – not so much in the general public – thanks to our corporate media). I am simply curious about the format. Would you call it a quasi-book-review in the form of an original article? How long did you take to read those four books?
It was an excellent read and it covered a lot of bases. It is unfortunate that the public is so clueless.
@Hackworth, good questions all. It occurs to me that the beast called “a review-essay” (as is the term in the biz) is unfamiliar to most people who don’t write them. Any opportunity to demystify is a good one.
Nearly all the factual information about CIA’s history came from the books themselves. The opening scene — when I go through Tom Fingar’s Commonwealth Club address — was something I was emailed in February by DNI while I was reading Weiner’s book. I scanned through it and found that it would be a good contemporary example of the pathologies of the intelligence community. Which was a relief: one of the things that any editor will ask you to do in writing these things will be to demonstrate current relevance. But while the facts on display are from the individual books, the argument of the essay is my own. I try to say in the essay that Weiner’s reformist perspective is insufficient to address the problems he documents; but gutting the CIA will lead to a worse outcome because it removes a restraint on the right wing; and so the problems won’t be solved until America forsakes imperialism.
So you have to a) demonstrate contemporary relevance, b) read all these enormous motherfucking books, c) find a clear argument to make that walks a reader through all the material, d) if all possible, find some alternative explanations for the history you’re dealing with and refute/incorporate those into your argument, e) if the books/authors are in some sense problematic, address the relevant problems in some satisfactory way, and f) say what you think about each individual book.
How long did it take me to read the books? For-fucking-ever. I got the assignment in mid-December and, if memory serves, finished the essay in April.
Does that help?
Thanks. I learned something. Nice work.