April 5, 2008
Glenn Greenwald, who established himself as one of the leading leftie bloggers in the blink of an eye, is building a body of substantial published work almost as quickly. Crown is about to publish his new book, Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics, and big-time bloggers like Firedoglake and the Great Orange Satan are giving it a big push. The great thing is that this is an opportunity to get behind quality, not just ideology. As anyone who read his blog or reads his Salon column already knows, Greenwald’s writing is the ideal combination of passionate anger and clinical precision; instead of flailing away at his targets, he applies himself to laying out the facts with nearly surgical exactitude. In a world where the New York Times lets Jonah Goldberg off with an aw-ain’t-he-cute whiffleball review, and Publishers Weekly has the temerity to liken Greenwald to Ann Coulter, the idea of a blogospheric push to get Great American Hypocrites onto the bestseller list is something we can all get behind.
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The year is still young, but there is already a strong contender for this year’s Golden Stilleto Award for Best Takedown of an Asinine WInger Book. That contender is Ari Melber of The Stranger, who expertly fillets Lee Siegel and his anti-blogging screed Against the Machine: Yes, the same Lee Siegel who posed as another blogger in order to praise himself and then was publicly embarrassed for it. Though “embarrassed” isn’t the right word, since in a remarkable display of failing-upward media savvy, Siegel has managed to wrangle a book deal out of being exposed as a fraud. Go figure.
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Since this is not only National Poetry Month but also the fifth anniversary season of King George II’s filthy little venture in Iraq, take some time to appreciate Brian Turner, whose book Here, Bullet is a collection of poems drawn from his harrowing experiences in Iraq. Here is the title poem:
If a body is what you want,
then here is bone and gristle and flesh.
Here is the clavicle-snapped wish,
the aorta’s opened valves, the leap
thought makes at the synaptic gap.
Here is the adrenaline rush you crave,
that inexorable flight, that insane puncture
into heat and blood. And I dare you to finish
what you’ve started. Because here, Bullet,
here is where I complete the word you bring
hissing through the air, here is where I moan
the barrel’s cold esophagus, triggering
my tongue’s explosives for the rifling I have
inside of me, each twist of the round
spun deeper, because here, Bullet,
here is where the world ends, every time.
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You think Anton Chigurh was a great literary villain? Then say hello to Mr. Watson. Hans Blix was right about there being no WMD in Iraq — now read what he has to say about nuclear disarmament. Having given us A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn now gives us A People’s History of American Empire.