The Blog of War

  • Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization
    By Nicholson Baker
    Simon and Schuster, 567 pp.


The ideal Gawker item,” Nick Denton, the owner of Gawker Media, wrote in an instant message, “is something triggered by a quote at a party, or an incident, or a story somewhere else and serves to expose hypocrisy, or turn conventional wisdom on its head.

“And it’s 100 words long.

“200 max. Continue reading “The Blog of War”

A Movie That Matters

  • Katyn
    a film directed by Andrzej Wajda, written by Andrzej Mularczyk and Andrzej Wajda

The ruins of a Russian Orthodox monastery, 1939: paint peels from the walls, light filters in from the cracks in the ceiling, cigarette smoke whirls through the air. Primitive wooden camp beds are stacked up high, one on top of the other, for the monastery has been turned into a prison. The prisoners, soldiers in khaki-brown wool uniforms and black boots, are gathered in a large group. Craning their heads forward, they listen to their commanding officer make a speech. Solemn and tired, he does not ask them to fight. He asks them to survive. “Gentlemen,” says the general, “you must endure. Without you, there will be no free Poland.” Continue reading “A Movie That Matters”

Wir wollen Veränderung

Als ich vergangenen Sommer in Neu Mexiko die Lokalzeitung „Santa Fe New Mexican“ in die Hände bekam, war darin von Hillary Clinton oder Barack Obama keine Rede. Im Fokus der Wahlberichterstattung des „New Mexican“ stand der allseits bewunderte demokratische Gouverneur des Staates, Bill Richardson, der damals noch im Rennen um die Präsidentschaft 2008 war. Continue reading “Wir wollen Veränderung”

The Mystery of Condi Rice: Where did she learn how to play the game?

  • Condoleezza Rice: An American Life
    by Elisabeth Bumiller,
    Published by Random House, 2007, 400 pp.

Way back when George W. Bush was still a candidate and “Condi” was not yet an internationally recognized nickname, someone who had observed the present secretary of state in a previous incarnation told me to watch her carefully. “Everyone underestimates her, because they think she’s a token. Condi’s not a token. Condi plays the game better than anyone else.” Continue reading “The Mystery of Condi Rice: Where did she learn how to play the game?”