June 7, 2004

Why Didn't I Ask Why Didn't I Ask

* Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan, a 1970 essay by J.G. Ballard.

* Top 10 Conservative Idiots. excerpt:

1. George W. Bush
Remember Ken Lay? George Bush doesn't. When Enron imploded back in 2002 (more on that later in this issue), Our Great Leader pretended that he had no idea who this so-called "Ken Lay" was (see Idiots 50) despite the fact that Ken Lay was one of his best buddies. And now he's at it again - since it was announced that the Pentagon's top man in Iraq Ahmed Chalabi was reportedly spying for the Iranians, Bush has done his level best to "distance himself" from his former pal. At a news conference last week he said, "My meetings with him were very brief. I think I met with him at the State of the Union and just, kind of, working through the rope line, and he might have come with a group of leaders." Oh really? I guess you must have been shitfaced every time he exercised his Oval Office privileges then. Or perhaps you didn't notice him sitting behind your wife at the State of the Union Address this year. Or perhaps it slipped your mind that you've been paying his group hundreds of thousands of dollars a month for the last several years (see Idiots 145). In fact, it kinda makes you wonder whether Bush will be denying the existence of Donald Rumsfeld before long. "Hmm, yeah, the name rings a bell. I think I may have spoken with him once or twice..."

2. The White House Mystery Drunk
CIA chief George Tenet quit last week, and the question on everyone's lips is "Did he fall or was he pushed?" Why the CIA director would resign "for personal reasons" five months before a general election is a conundrum to most people, and obviously we shall see how this plays out politically in the coming weeks. But Tenet's resignation wasn't the biggest conundrum of the week. Since it was revealed that Ahmed Chalabi passed secrets to the Iranians, a fascinating guessing game has gripped Washington: who was the mystery drunk that told Chalabi that the CIA had broken the Iranian spy service's secret communications code? The New York Times reported last week that in a cable to Tehran, an Iranian official "recounted how Mr. Chalabi had said that one of 'them' - a reference to an American - had revealed the code-breaking operation, the officials said. The Iranian reported that Mr. Chalabi said the American was drunk."

* Robert Quine has passed away. No additional details available at this time. RIP. Quine is best known for his work with Richard Hell, as well as for playing with Lou Reed and Matthew Sweet. [via chromewaves]

A 1997 interview of Quine. excerpt:

Q: What led you out to the New York scene?

A: I started seeing the stirring of things happening here. I saw Suicide in '74 and it was pretty horrifying. I saw one of Television's first gigs. They were really ragged and sloppy. They were all playing cheap instruments, which I liked. You could hear there was a Velvet Underground thing there. I quit the tax job then and decided that I was going to play in a band. I answered ads in the Village Voice and went through two days of auditioning for bands. It was the most devastating thing. They were bad, terrible. They hated me because I didn't have long hair. By then I was in Brooklyn and drank my way through that summer. I stopped when I got sick of that and got a job at the Strand bookstore, which was a little better than the tax job.

I got sick of the Strand and applied for a job at a place called Cinemabilia- movie posters and books- around '75. Just by chance, the people working there were Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell. Within a year, I got to be good friends with Hell. We'd talk about music. His biggest influences were Rolling Stones Now, Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home and Basement Tapes, the Stooges, the Velvet Underground. I would bring in tapes to work with old '50s stuff- I know some really surreal things that are wilder than anything that happened in the '60s. He really appreciated that, seeing where my roots were.

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