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June 23, 2010



i don't know why you're being so tough on poor old ellroy.

in ellroy novels the good guys usually turn out doing bad and the bad guys good. So McChyrystal's our guy!


Janice Karpinski and Alden Pyle's love-child.

Also, if you're worried about how to "keep up the fiction, in essence, that we actually have allies", perhaps not whining like a little bitch about meeting their defence minister, not carrying on like a 15 year old on a school trip in their capital, and certainly not letting your staff indulge in a burst of homophobic abuse at his expense IN FRONT OF A REPORTER, the week after one of their guys gets killed, might be a startypoos?

Just a suggestion!


"Though with Ellroy, this kind of stuff is at least partly meant as parody."

I'd go further than that; in Ellroy the characters who act like this are portrayed as unlikable pillocks. Who usually meet a sticky end.


Actually, now that I think about this, Elmore Leonard may a be a more apt comparison.


I was thinking Carl Hiassen, myself. McChrystal is a very Hiassen-ish name, and the involvement of Rolling Stone a very Hiassen-ish touch.

The two most influential and informative news outlets in the US are now Rolling Stone and the Daily Show. Hmm. (When was the last time the NY Times toppled a theatre commander?)


You missed Colbert, the Onion, and WorldNetDaily.


Also, an advanced version of the Ellroy game: rewrite chunks of it in the style of other writers. First up - Jaroslav Hasek, or perhaps Norman Lewis.

Richard J

And don't forget the Exiled...

(ISTR that the articles behind Generation Kill had detrimental effects on the careers of most of the soldiers feature in it.)


Didn't have a detrimental effect on Nate Fick's career. He wrote a bestseller and ended up at CNAS.

I picked Rolling Stone because of the effect its Goldman Sachs coverage had, as well as the McChrystal incident, and the Daily Show because of the study showing that Daily Show audiences were much better informed about current events than anyone in the US who just watched "serious" news like CNN, etc. Colbert and the Onion are splendid, but maybe not so influential. WND, home of goldbugs, birthers etc, is more reflecting the madness than birthing it...

Richard J

Didn't have a detrimental effect on Nate Fick's career. He wrote a bestseller and ended up at CNAS.

It's important to note that this was outside of the USMC...


And yet Rolling Stone's music coverage is completely anodyne and corporate. But their political journalism (not just Taibbi) can be really good. I wonder if people will be saying the same about Pitchfork in 30 years time.

WND isn't really a news outlet is it...


Daily Show audiences are such arses though. Whoop, whoop, whoop. Like Ben Elton all over again.


Charlie Brooker could have gone the Jon Stewart route, but he seems to have been diverted into panel shows. And Chris Morris is scrapping around for film funding, though the result's on the "to watch" list.

You know who should have written that RollingStone article? The Stiftung, in full psychedelic schopenhauer mode.


Meh, I'm increasingly convinced that too much of the Stiftung's shtick is just "set the Cynicism and Pessimism environment variables to MAX". And I come here for that.

(Regarding Chris Morris, I repeat that Four Lions is absolutely essential, and will in future be seen as a classic document of the times.)


I can't believe I haven't got round to watching Four Lions yet - particularly as I am a massive fan of Nigel Lindsay, whose performance as Ron Baker in the Nick Leeson biopic was as spot on a portrayal of a particular kind of banking executive as you are ever going to see.

Dan Hardie

Time, I fear, to say that six months ago I argued on Blood and Treasure that Obama was clearly sceptical about some of the Generals' proposals for Afghanistan and was hesitant to accede to their every request, and that there was a certain tension between McChrystal and the White House. The result was a bit of a flamewar. We can now accept this argument as correct.

There is, as the saying has it, No Need To Be A Cunt About It, and so I shan't be. I shouldn't have opened my post with lengthy and frankly churlish sarcasm at Jamie K's expense- a fairly plain example of BACAI- which had a lot to do with kicking off the resulting flamewar. I could also have hesitated just a little before diagnosing complete moral turpitude on the part of anyone who disagreed with me in any particulars. Furthermore, getting it right once on a particular subject doesn't mean one becomes infallible on the same topic in the future, although no doubt I'll be tempted to believe it does.

I'd add that there is also NNTBACAI if you happen to get things wrong once or twice. I rather hope the 'making hilarious jokes about Afghans being bombed' isn't repeated - perhaps we can all concede that there was something rather wrong with this form of rhetoric, particularly when used against those of us who have actually had to treat the civilian victims of NATO or Taliban bombs. Hopefully the same goes for the 'I can say what I want about Afghanistan because it doesn't really matter' mode of argument, as well as the temptation to hit the comment threads with fifteen-thousand word essays on the theme of 'I wasn't wrong because, because, BECAUSE...'

Shorter: there's plenty of tension between Obama and the Generals, it wasn't impossible to see that a few months ago if you'd read enough on Afghanistan, but we could have had a better discussion if I hadn't been quite so keen to address Jamie in the tones Torquemada reserved for the wickeder heretics.

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