On the brink of working class and student insurgency, Guy Debord published The Society of the Spectacle (1967), his best-known text, a work that would become the radical book of the decade, perhaps the most radical radical book ever written. Utterly original in composition, its 221 strange theses give us stirring crescendos of literary power, compelling evocations of an epoch in which unity spelt division, essence appearance, truth falsity.
The pool at the Grand Hyatt Downtown Denver burns with chlorine. Three businessmen are playing at being big shots. They lean back in their lounge chairs, make sweeping arm motions, and laugh too loud. I can feel them checking me out. Theyve got energy invested in this way of life. They puked on each other to join a frat. And here I am swimming laps.
I’ve worn flip-flops in all sorts of filthy, far-flung places, from Jakarta, Indonesia, to Shenyang, China, from Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, to Vladivostok, Russia. I’ve even worn them for years here in dirty downtown Seoul and never had any major problems doing so, save for a few trampled toes on crowded subway trains (certainly, a simple “Sorry, Whitey” or “Excuse me, Mr. Big Nose” on occasion would be nice).
So goes the dedication at the beginning of The Great Shark Hunt, Hunter S. Thompsons collected early writings. And its true, Nixon never let us down. If there was a low to sink to or a cynical gesture to be made, you would find Tricky Dick there in the crevasse.
Its not a breaking story that conservatives and their media dominate the changing landscape of news in America. Whether its the Fox-like shift of cable news, or the blogging that seems to have forced high-level resignations at PBS, CNN, and CBS, or the saturation of blustery talk radio, the right has helped create the essential crisis of traditional news.
At 4:00 p.m. the phone rang. It was the Army recruiter, Sergeant Preto. “We’re a block away. We looked at a map and found your apartment, so we’ll just come by.”