Jul 1, 2007

There was a map of Vietnam on the wall of my apartment in Saigon and some nights, coming back late to the city, I'd lie out on my bed and look at it, too tired to do anything more than just get my boots off. That map was a marvel, especially now that it wasn't real anymore. For one thing, it was very old. It had been left there years before by another tenant, probably a Frenchman, since the map had been made in Paris. The paper had buckled in its frame after years in the wet Saigon heat, laying a kind of veil over the countries it depicted. Vietnam was divided into its older territories of Tonkin, Annam and Cochin China, and to the west past Laos and Cambodge sat Siam, a kingdom. That's old, I'd tell visitors, that's a really old map.
        If dead ground could come back and haunt you the way dead people do, they'd have been able to mark my map current and burn the ones they'd been using since '64, but count on it, nothing like that was going to happen. It was late '67 now, even the most detailed maps didn't reveal much anymore; reading them was like trying to read the faces of the Vietnamese, and that was like trying to read the wind. We knew that the uses of most information were flexible, different pieces of ground told different stories to different people. We also knew that for years now there had been no country here but the war.
        -- Michael Herr


Profile of Michael Herr.
Grotesque Neo-Realism: The art of Scorsese.
One liners the punchline after the violence.
Officers noted that Pike’s blue, bullet-proof vest matched her purse.
CIA releases the so-called family jewels.
Germany's love and use of American Westerns.
Profiles in a Presidential campaign.
Bloodshed among the black bourgeoisie.
New, new left and the possibility of another America.
Clive James would have been a happier man as a painter, or a gravedigger.
Sushi economics and globalization.
Atheists' Bible, a beach book.
Amatures and their internet culture is killing our culture.
Solving problems with money and the problem with solving problems with money.
Terrorists are idiots.
America, a worried, battered superpower.
Measure of a city.
Numbers of the movies.
Literary rejection letters.
Question for Steve Jobs.
Logos which didn't get used.
Typography of automobiles.
Swap meat.
NPR's anti-independant bookstore decision.
Lanugage anxiety.
First zoo for artificial life.
Explaining away American fundamentalists.
Jamestown's unapologetic "celebration" as the beachead.
Orthodox readings of Augustine 1, and 2.