Writers deal with tonnes of ’em. I always have. But they are the only way to publication and payment. I have met so many people who tell me they want to write, and I tell them, “Do so!” But…once they start they are crushed by all the rejection. They have such high expectations. You really need a thick skin for it, and self-confidence (or maybe delusions!). You must also aim high (but not expect to hit the target most of the time). I stumbled upon this wonderful piece about writing and rejection and would recommend it to anyone interested in any type of writing work (though the primary focus of the essay is literary).
Important, in light of Chilcot, to remember the following: Saddam Hussein was the war criminal. Not Tony Blair and not George Bush. And neither Bush nor Blair lied their countries into a war. The Chilcot Report says nothing of the kind. Read it.
I miss Hitchens! A good moment to re-read these words of his:
When Tony Blair took office, Slobodan Milosevic was cleansing and raping the republics of the former Yugoslavia. Mullah Omar was lending Osama bin Laden the hinterland of a failed and rogue state. Charles Taylor of Liberia was leading a hand-lopping militia of enslaved children across the frontier of Sierra Leone, threatening a blood-diamond version of Rwanda in West Africa. And the wealth and people of Iraq were the abused private property of Saddam Hussein and his crime family. Today, all of these Caligula figures are at least out of power, and at the best either dead or on trial. How can anyone with a sense of history not grant Blair some portion of credit for this? And how can anybody with a tincture of moral sense go into a paroxysm and yell that it is he who is the war criminal? It is as if all the civilians murdered by al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Iraq and Afghanistan are to be charged to his account. This is the chaotic mentality of Julian Assange and his groupies.
That is moral clarity, people. My late brother had it, too. Really miss the wisdom of both of those men.
Currently reading Robert Caro’s books about Lyndon Johnson (link here to the first in the series). What a life; what a life force Johnson was. I’m laughing. I’m crying. I’m in awe of the good and the bad and the ugly and the beautiful of the man – the hate, the love, the pain, the whole damn thing.
Most of all, reading these books has confirmed to me something I’ve always thought: hippies are evil.
One hundred years ago.
A million men, moving one against the other and impelled by an invisible moral force into a Hell of fear.
-Ford Madox Ford
I shall miss David Cameron – have always liked him. A shame he felt he had to fall on his sword. Only a few days after Brexit, he had these choice words for Jeremy Corbyn, obviously playing on Leo Amery’s famous words to Chamberlain – in turn borrowed from Cromwell. (FYI, I referred to my mother using this quote in a column from two years ago.)
A shame, as I quite like Boris Johnson. One thing I have hated in the past few days is the leftists and elitists (but I repeat myself) comparing him to Trump. But for the wild hair, there is simply no comparison. Trump in power would be a disaster. Johnson, not so.
(And speaking of Brit politics: my observations regarding Nigel Farage at April’s Munk Debate here.)
There has been a lot of crazed commentary from leftists and elitists (but I repeat myself) and even the occasional sane person (Niall Ferguson comes to mind for that category), since last week’s vote. Yes, it is a big deal. Yes, it was unexpected. But the idea that all “Leave” voters are frightened bigots and the idea that the UK’s economic future is surely at risk as a result are both absurd ideas.
One of the British Tories I most admire is Daniel Hannan (boy, I would love to see him be leader of the UK Conservatives). Of note, he wrote a short book called “Why Vote Leave,” which is most definitely worth a read if you want to understand the issues at hand beyond the unfair media characterizations. I mention him not merely in order to link to his book, but also as a lead-in to this video of him being “interviewed” (i.e., bullied) by leftist and elitist (but I repeat myself) Christiane Amanpour. He does not let her get away with nonsense, and you can tell it makes her apoplectic.
What I find most infuriating about this “interview” is when she shows three obviously carefully-picked sound-bites from bigoted “Leave” voters and tries to suggest that somehow they are representative of every “Leave” voter. Again, he doesn’t fall for it, and she does not like that. (Sadly, I remember when she was a good journalist, over 20 years ago – in particular, her reporting from the former Yugoslavia was compelling. Those days are long gone.)
Behold Daniel Hannan, an extremely smart and decent man dealing very patiently with a nasty fool.
I referred to Reggie Perrin in my Brexit post, and I have managed, through the wonders of the internets, to find what I consider one of the finest moments in the history of television. From season 2 of the Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Reggie has created a business he hoped would fail, and has appointed a bunch of clowns and rubes and looneys to run the business, in order to ensure disaster. Well, of course, the opposite happens: the business booms. Reggie, trying to fire all the people who have made it so, finds that at least one of the buffoons he has hired has seen through him. Go to shortly after the 27 minute mark and listen to Seamus Finnegan as you watch the hilarious body language and facial expressions of Perrin. I believe the moral of the story is…never count out the English.
Many have been posting this wonderful clip from “Yes, Minister” (a show I used to watch with my parents). No reason I shouldn’t post it, as well. It certainly brings to mind that terrific “Reginald Perrin” series, in particular the episodes where Reggie creates what he hopes will be a failing business. Very British.
I was thinking about that banal thing folks often say, that you don’t regret what you did in life, but what you didn’t do. For me, this is not so. There are almost no things that I chose not to do or that fate wouldn’t allow me to do for which I have regret. And the few things I didn’t do for which I have regret are all things I can still do (for e.g., I sometimes regret that after by post-B.A. studies I didn’t continue on to a Ph.D. And I sometimes regret not going to law school. I can still do both of those things).
The things I regret in life are things I did do. And you can’t do much about those, other than try and make amends if you feel the case merits them, or just try to learn from them or, failing being able to learn from them try either to not think about them much , or put them in a book or column.