Saturday, December 4, 2010

Chapter 35: In Which I Give Thanks For the Whistleblowers

The European Union recently bailed out the banks of Ireland. Ireland is in debt to the EU. Maybe I've already touched on this before, but its worth mentioning again. The United States operates under an outmoded form of imperialism. These are the new superpowers: the EU, the IMF, the World Bank. They spread influence through their moneylending. We bombed our way into a recession. Almost ten years in Iraq with absolutely nothing to show for it, not even lower gas prices. Just another outmoded colonialist venture where we occupy a land, then have to spend our money rebuilding their bridges and educating their children. Watching the United States get outclassed by entities like the EU seriously makes me wonder if this whole America thing will last another hundred years. China is poised to overtake us as the world superpower, bolstered by money we gave them buying their sweatshop products. What kind of half-assed empire funds its own usurper? The Nazis brought the British Empire down, but at least you didn't see Churchill paying for Hitler's panzer tanks.
*sigh* In such a world, its good to see those who stand up for freedom. Those would include the good people at Wikileaks. The corporate media under-reported the biggest leak of classified military info in history, having long ago decided that anything which challenges the governemnt's Iraq mandate or honors the lives of Iraqis we've killed does not make for good news. Now the information is out there, about undocumented murder, lies, torture, and coercing other governments to go along with torture. I am so thankful there are people out there who think the uncomfortable truth should be readily available to all. The US government has declared jihad on them, and megacorporation Amazon cut their server, so now they're operating like folk heroes, broadcasting the truth from an underground bunker while founder Julian Assange dodges Interpol like some modern-day Lupin III. They say Assange is wanted on rape charges. This makes me skeptical, due to my knowledge of the Roman Polanski case.

1. European authorities think of rape and the prosecution of rape as a pretty subjective thing. It's just not a big deal to them.

2. If you piss off the United States, as Assange has done, you will be given free reign to travel within Europe's continental borders, just so they can say "Na-na!" to us from across the ocean.

Interpol wants this guy, which means he pissed off somebody big. I don't have high hopes for him. All I know is I want someone to keep Wikileaks up and running. I find the Obama administration's histrionic reaction to be pretty funny. They say Assange is a threat to national security, thus making a hero out of someone nobody knew about, turning a back page story into front page news, all so Obama can kiss up to the neocons who will never accept his black ass anyway, and I start to wonder if he might just be a one term president in the Any Idiot Can Get Two Terms Era, and I wonder if he cares, at this point. What really pisses me off is how this whole idea of killing the messenger has permeated our culture. Assange did not send the troops to Iraq, yet somehow he's putting them in danger by pointing out stuff that they did. It makes me yearn for the post-Watergate America of the '90s when people hated and feared their government.

We live in a strange age of loyalty to party and ideological leaders over country. It's also a manufactured age, devised, thought out and broadcast on Fox News by some of the brightest folks on the planet, in order to ensure that every indignity they commit on the people of the world is justified by commoners. This post-9/11 ideology was invented by Karl Rove. Anybody who talks about how we should not know everything the government is up to is putting up a smokescreen, dancing around the real issue. Those who talk about Wikileaks "endangering troops" have no loyalty to the troops. Their loyalty is to justifying everything George Bush did, and this is really scary.

They say history is written by the victors. That's true. Its also written by facts. Fact: these documents are out there. Fact: they were made by the U.S. military, which means they are true. Fact: when all is over, this will shape our dialogue on this whole weird Middle Eastern colonial adventure we've been on. The Pentagon
Papers insured that Vietnam would forever be known as what it really was. The same will go for the War of Terror and these docs. I feel so lucky to live in a world where people fight to tell the truth.

Location, location, location

I am writing a story that I will make into a Christmas card. I will mail this card to select friends. It takes place in early 20th century NYC, and will be filled with odes to old children's lit. I know it will be a lot of fun. Last week, I sat in the San Francisco Public Library, perusing old books about New York in one of their nooks. Now, the SF Library is not quiet. It has more straight-up yelling than most institutional buildings, let alone libraries. They also have the most overworked security staff I've seen. The last time I was there, I was reading on the third floor and, from what I could gather was an argument over place in line, the voices of an angry homeless person, a shrieking librarian, a pissed-off patron and an excitable child all combined in a swirling crescendo of noise that, from the third floor, sounded like a kung fu battle, complete with striking weapon sound effects.

It is not a quiet library. It is beautiful, though. Sometimes the best thing for writing is to find a new location. Lately I've been frustrated staring at screens in the Mills College computer labs. I'm thinking of going to the library, picking out some books, and finding a corner where I will write the story out longhand.

Jack Daniels Sessions

The cover for my book has been fixed. I did a last round of edits. I think Joe Abercrombie pointed it out in a recent blog post, how anti-climactic editing is. You go over and over the book, each time finding less mistakes. There was actually a point when making these edits was exciting, now it is tedious. The excitement will pick up only once I have a book out in the world again. Thanks to a technology malfunction, my publisher can't get to the document until next week. I want this up on Amazon in time for the holidays. We'll see.

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