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Pipe-Dreams

Rob Nixon, 4 April 1996

A Month and a Day: A Detention Diary 
by Ken Saro-Wiwa.
Penguin, 256 pp., £6.99, December 1995, 9780140258684
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... Ken Saro-Wiwa squints at us from the cover of his detention diary, the posthumous A Month and a Day. His moustache looks precise and trim; his eyes are alight; the distinctive gash scrawls across his temple. But the picture is governed by his pipe. It’s an intellectual’s accessory, a good pipe to suck and clench, to spew from and lecture with. He had hoped tobacco would kill him: ‘I know that I am a mortuary candidate, but I intend to head for the mortuary with my pipe smoking ...

A Dingy Start to the Day

Frank Kermode, 10 September 1992

Kingsley Amis: Modern Novelist 
by Dale Salwak.
Harvester, 302 pp., £24.99, April 1992, 0 7450 1096 2
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London Calling: V.S. Naipaul, Postcolonial Mandarin 
by Rob Nixon.
Oxford, 229 pp., £27.50, May 1992, 0 19 506717 7
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... well about living authors if they annoy you than if you worship the very paper they write on. Rob Nixon is censorious and lively; Dale Salwak is reverent and laboured. His is the second book in recent memory expressly to demand recognition for Kingsley Amis as a moralist; the other, John McDermott’s, is actually called Kingsley Amis: An English ...

Let Them Drown

Naomi Klein, 2 June 2016

... like air and water pollution appear to have inhabited another planet. Speaking to his colleague Rob Nixon, he once described environmentalism as ‘the indulgence of spoiled tree-huggers who lack a proper cause’. But the environmental challenges of the Middle East are impossible to ignore for anyone immersed, as Said was, in its geopolitics. This is ...

Touch of Evil

Christopher Hitchens, 22 October 1992

Kissinger: A Biography 
by Walter Isaacson.
Faber, 893 pp., £25, September 1992, 0 571 16858 2
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... wickedness were felt in lands where the name of Prussia was unknown; and in order that he might rob a neighbour whom he had promised to defend, black men fought on the coast of Coromandel, and red men scalped each other by the Great Lakes of North America.’ ‘Evil’? ‘Wickedness’? The ability to employ these terms without awkwardness or ...

Audrey and Her Sisters

Wayne Koestenbaum, 18 September 1997

Audrey Hepburn 
by Barry Paris.
Weidenfeld, 454 pp., £20, February 1997, 0 297 81728 0
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... Head, Deborah Kerr, Leslie Caron, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly, Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor, Marni Nixon, Julie Andrews, Mia Farrow, Jeanne Moreau, Merle Oberon, Capucine and Cher. I could advance a lesbian interpretation of Audrey Hepburn’s oeuvre, though that is not my present aim: instead, I wish to inquire into reverberations between Audrey’s ...

That’s America

Stephen Greenblatt, 29 September 1988

‘Ronald Reagan’, the Movie, and Other Episodes in Political Demonology 
by Michael Rogin.
California, 366 pp., £19.95, April 1987, 0 520 05937 9
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... a convenient gloss on the word ‘glamour’. Witches, the Dominican inquisitors tell us, can rob a man of his penis or at least make him think that he has been robbed. The victim wakes up in the morning, looks down and sees nothing there – or rather he sees, where his penis should be, what is called a ‘glamour’. Under Nancy’s adoring gaze, Ronald ...

Burbocentrism

Tom Shippey, 23 May 1996

Beyond Uhura: ‘Star Trek’ and Other Memories 
by Nichelle Nichols.
Boxtree, 320 pp., £9.99, December 1995, 0 7522 0787 3
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I Am Spock 
by Leonard Nimoy.
Century, 342 pp., £16.99, November 1995, 0 7126 7691 0
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Science Fiction Audiences: Watching ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Star Trek’ 
by Henry Jenkins and John Tulloch.
Routledge, 294 pp., £40, April 1995, 0 415 06140 7
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‘Star Trek’: Deep Space Nine 
by Mark Altman, Rob Davis and Tony Pallot.
Boxtree, 64 pp., £8.99, May 1995, 0 7522 0898 5
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... period of the Vietnam War and Watergate, of ‘drug abuse and sexual revolution’, inflation and Nixon, the Star Trek crew were paragons of virtue – ‘utterly trustworthy, predictable, incorruptible – people who could be counted on to tell the truth and behave ethically’. They gave America its feel-good shot. If Nimoy’s theory is ...

I figured what the heck

Jackson Lears: Seymour Hersh, 27 September 2018

Reporter 
by Seymour M. Hersh.
Allen Lane, 355 pp., £20, June 2018, 978 0 241 35952 5
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... New Republic and the New York Times Magazine. Public worry intensified until November 1969, when Nixon finally responded by renouncing first use of CBW. Despite the prevalence of systematically faked news and media subservience to the government line, the 32-year-old Hersh felt that he had discovered enough honest and courageous people in government to ...

Squealing to Survive

John Lahr: Clancy was here, 19 July 2018

Black Sunset: Hollywood Sex, Lies, Glamour, Betrayal and Raging Egos 
by Clancy Sigal.
Icon, 352 pp., £12.99, May 2018, 978 1 78578 439 2
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The London Lover: My Weekend that Lasted Thirty Years 
by Clancy Sigal.
Bloomsbury, 274 pp., £20, May 2018, 978 1 4088 8580 2
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... positively fire breathes Brut aftershave’ – and tore him off a strip. ‘Next time you rob me put a mask on your fucking face and do it with a gun!’ Warner growls. It’s a powerful two-shot. But Clancy can’t resist his close-up. Warner puts a manicured hand on Clancy’s shoulder. ‘But kluge,’ he says admiringly. (‘Clever’.) ‘Tsair ...

‘It was everything’

Eliot Weinberger: The Republican Convention, 10 August 2016

... primaries; the two most prominent Republicans in the host state (Governor John Kasich and Senator Rob Portman); and scores of Senate and Congress members, governors and mayors nervously up for re-election, facing the prospect of having to defend or refute whatever would be Trump’s latest wacky pronouncement and losing voters either way. Instead we were ...

The Nominee

Andrew O’Hagan: With the Democrats, 19 August 2004

... A priest stood up in the Cathedral Church of St Paul’s in Tremont Street. ‘Don’t let people rob us of a legacy,’ he said. ‘That religion and progressiveness can be something not just for right-wing agendas.’ He was followed by a woman who read a Howl-style poem about the injustices of Wal-Mart. The speakers mentioned Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Gloria ...

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