Readings of the week

Finished (finally) Fiasco by Tom Ricks, and yeah, it’s just as depressing and just as well-done as you’ve heard.  Guess what?  The Iraq war is going badly.  It’s been going badly from Day One!  It’s been going badly since before Day One!  Yippee.  It really does a good job of outlining, chronologically, the good (yes, there was some, but it was largely ignored or trampled) and bad about the build up, the invasion, and the occupation.  Next on my list: Night Draws Near by Anthony Shadid, also of the Washington Post.

For the other read of the day, let me say, first, yes, yes, spare me all the “Hunter S. Thompson is overrated” blah blah: I just read an interview with his artist, Ralph Steadman, from the New York Times Freakonomics blog, and two lines caught me.  First, this, in response to the standard “who are your influences” question:

Q: Who are your favorite artists in any genre, classic or contemporary? Your favorite writers? Where did you get those shoes?

A: It has to be Goya’s Caprichios at the time of the Spanish Inquisition and the Napoleonic Wars. (See Milos Foreman’s Goya’s Ghosts which shows the awesome connections.) I love Picasso’s freedom. Leonardo da Vinci, of course, Max Beckmann, Georg Grosz — especially his immediate post first World War Weimar Republic paintings and etchings, Max Ernst collage, Otto Dix, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac (Desolation Angels), Nietzsche, Oscar Wilde (De Profundis), Mayarkovsky (Art and Poetry), and H.L. Mencken.

I draw my shoes and make them out of paper.

I love that last line, and now I need to use it somewhere.  I also need, somehow, to use the way he described his relationship with Thompson: a “partnership and provocation.

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