|THE McNEIL VARIATIONS
Surrealism . Art . Time . Space . Assassination Porn . Sherry
16.11.03 Earlier this week, I debated the forthcoming visit by George Bush to the UK. Some of my anti Bush friends felt that the demonstrations might achieve something. I sadly had to disagree. Here's part of my response...
Unfortunately, I fear that the demonstrations will achieve nothing. Bush will ignore them. It's easy to mock him as a moron (and one should never confuse being brain damaged with being stupid), but I sense he's actually a very smart and cunning person, albeit supremely atavistic. His visit has one purpose only - to get re-elected. So the UK media will not spare the UK populace some nasty images. So what. Such images will by and large remain unseen by the vast majority of the US populace. Such images will, at best, be sanitised by the US media, controlled as they are by Bush supporters.
In my earlier life, I was constantly exhorted to never underestimate the enemy, and I certainly do not underestimate Bush. Even if he was stupid - which he isn't - he'd still have his family, his oil friends, his business friends and all the others on his side. They are well organised, well motivated and have massive resources, including these of the legal apparatus. Can these of us who are anti this person say the same? At present, I very much doubt it.
Meanwhile, a compliant western media digs its collective head deeper into the gathering sands, while global temperatures rise; only this week on TV, I saw a gigantic iceberg (the largest in the world) the size of Mexico split into two in Antarctica, clear evidence - say respected scientists - of the inexorable rise in sea temperatures. Yet, not only do Bush and company ignore the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol (itself a futile attempt to turn back a clock that has long since initiated a meltdown), they want to drill for oil in this region. posted by Dan | 20:29
I've had some generous feedback (in a sardonically amused kind of way) to a review I did of Michael Crichton's latest novel Prey, so I thought I'd post it here on the main page.
A review of Prey, by Michael Crichton.
I read Prey in one sitting, as the blurb promised I would. Unfortunately, this was simply because I wanted to get the turgid experience over as quickly as possible. Like vomiting, I just have to see the experience of reading a crappy book through to the end - I’m incapable of stopping halfway, ever fearful of a sour taste lodging in my throat or mind.
You see, if there’s one thing I expect from a writer whose work I’ve read before, it’s their ability to demonstrate to you that they’ve evolved; you know, written a better story than the last one. This of course makes you desire them in all sorts of ways, which in turn is good for them in all sorts of ways. Crichton’s first book was The Andromeda Strain - an original and gripping read. Twelve books later, Prey is a throwback to this first story, right down to the boffins trapped in the building routine, except that the boffins in Prey are dull, dull, dull - even the homicidal ones.
Oh - you really want to know what it’s about? OK then. Capitalistic cost cutting combines with stupidity, causing the release of killer nanomachines which go on the rampage. There. Thrilling suff. Not. Not as unthrilling as a “story” by the liar and convicted criminal known as Jeffrey Archer (yes, I’ve “read” one of his “books”, and I had to be restarted after the awful experience with a course of ECT).
Anyway, when I was almost halfway through Prey, and congratulating myself on that clever vomiting analogy - I suddenly got it! Prey isn’t a novel at all, it’s a Hollywood screenplay. How embarrassing that I - a sincere and qualified cynic - had failed to pick up on this fact. Yes, the film will star Ben Affleck and various other anodyne and vacuous nobodies. The special effects will be competent, the acting abysmal, and it will be at a Blockbuster near you two weeks after its cinema release.
So, in plot and character, Prey is a deeply lazy book. It’s just about saved from complete Archerness by Crichton’s writing style, which is spare, terse and flowing. Very similar in fact to the owners manuel of my Citroen C5. I wonder if Michael wrote that too?
posted by Dan | 18:17
Sorry about that, been away for awhile - again. Writing and chilling. First novel coming along OK again, after a rather lengthy block. Still on target for a spring-ish 2004 completion. Still loosely following the concept of Car(n)age: A Psychopathic Love Story.
So, I come back to...grey skies, dark evenings and the news that the brain damaged leader of the the "free world" is visiting his rictus-grinning chum next week. It's enough to make me want to vote for Michael Howard.
Unfortunately, a lot of "peeeepil" (as Mikey boy would say) will probably do just that. posted by Dan | 17:32