A Question of Identity (Review)

A Question of Identity is my first of Susan Hill’s acclaimed Simon Serrailler series, and it’s an interesting one to start with so soon after Donis Casey’s Hell with the Lid Blown Off because it suffers from a lot of the same problems, but is much less offputting for it. The basic story is this:…

John Quiggen Has Some Homework to Do

I’m frequently amused by how weak attempts to dismiss Libertarianism have become. The latest example I’ve seen showed up yesterday on Crooked Timber. It’s a column by John Quiggin titled What’s Left of Libertarianiam?, and it asserts that "The Libertarian Moment" has already passed because … wait for it … gay marriage is already legal…

Hell with the Lid Blown Off (Review)

Donis Casey’s Hell with the Lid Blown Off is a mystery the same way that a lot of John LeCarre’s books are spy novels. Yes, there’s a murder, but no one notices it until about two thirds of the way through the book, and although they do more or less solve it, the book’s schtick…

Retaliate When?

So it seems like most of what I do on Facebook now is argue about Israel. No apologies – I find this controversy fascinating. Today’s theme was another tiresome thing Israel supporters do, which is assume that the only true motive Palestinian terrorists have for attacking Israel is anti-semitism. This one’s subtle, because it’s undeniable…

When Forrest Gump Doesn’t Even Try

Recently I’ve been venting some frustrations with Israel supporters on this blog – in a nutshell, that they have a tendency to want to abstract away any context and just focus on something egregious their enemies have done as a way of fostering a false moral clarity. They typically argue as though whatever this egregious…

When Forest Gump is Wrong

Awesome Facebook comment of the day: I only know two factual things about this because nearly all information on it is being manipulated for one side or the other’s purpose. 1. Fighting anyone because of a belief, religion or any other, is ludicrous. 2. Neutral U.N. sources have confirmed Palestinian housing of weapons of war…

Grind Joint (review)

About a year ago I read Dana King’s novel Worst Enemies and really enjoyed it. It was a howcatchem police procedural riffing on Strangers on a Train that was interesting for its humanity: we got a glimpse of life in a real town inhabited by real people, and the best part of the book was…