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New on "The Trailer Park"

  • The Last Stand  You had to know that Ah-nold wouldn't go down without a fight.  Now that his political career has come to an unceremonious end, he's come back to ...
    Posted Aug 24, 2012, 3:05 AM by Michael McGowan
  • Birdemic 2: The Resurrection  I've never even heard of Birdemic 1, and after watching this, there's a reason for that.  I would argue that the trailer for this self-branded "romantic thriller ...
    Posted Aug 24, 2012, 2:46 AM by Michael McGowan
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New "On the Bookshelf"

  • Wired for Story  Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron     I've never been a huge fan of ...
    Posted Aug 15, 2012, 6:51 PM by Michael McGowan
  • Damned Damned by Chuck Palahniuk   Are you there, Satan?  It's me, Madison.       Madison, the thirteen-year-old protagonist of Chuck Palahniuk's latest attempt at fiction world breaking, awakes to ...
    Posted Dec 23, 2011, 6:54 AM by Michael McGowan
  • Reamde Reamde by Neal StephensonIt's been nearly a decade and almost four-thousand printed pages since Neal Stephenson's fiction has been in the same contemporary realm as Cryptonomicon ...
    Posted Nov 29, 2011, 9:06 PM by Michael McGowan
  • Child 44 Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith   Everything about Child 44 sounds intriguing.  A serial killer story set in Stalinist Russia, when ideological doctrine believed it could determine whether or not ...
    Posted Oct 23, 2011, 5:34 PM by Michael McGowan
  • Drive Drive by James Sallis   All Driver does is drive.  Duh.  James Sallis vodka-shot of a novella, now a soon-to-be-released movie with Ryan Gosling, got lots of ...
    Posted Sep 10, 2011, 8:06 PM by Michael McGowan
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Recent Announcements

  • Undaunted Parade Saturday we had a parade through downtown Norfolk to celebrate the oncoming holiday season.  It was a nominal affair, a bit more on the mediocre side than previous years, but ...
    Posted Nov 21, 2011, 7:50 PM by Michael McGowan
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Retire these Words

 

Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of September 11th. Not knowing what else to do people will treat it like it's a late summer replay of the 4th of July, which means flag bumper stickers, flag streamers, flag t-shirts, and maybe a few, you know, flags. We're going to hear a lot of talk. About how things "changed" after 9/11, how the world is different, and about how this whole disaster was brough on our shoulders because people in other places hate our freedom.

I know it won't do any good, but can we get through this day without talking about freedom? Or liberty? Or patriotism? Not that these aren't important, but the same way a pro sports player's number gets retired at the end of their term, how about we do the same for these words? Put them behind glass where they can be studied, scrutinized, but not mucked around with by late season amateurs.

The last decade since 9/11 has seen these words put to grotesque use. "Freedom fries," as if potatoes deep-fried in vegetable oil has anything to do with freedom. The "Patriot Act" has nothing to do with patriotism. This is just base pavlovian pandering at its worst, and it's destroying the very symbols that truly make this country great.

So do whatever you do tomorrow. Remember. Forget. Grieve. Pray. Just don't say the word "freedom," because that's not what 9/11 was about. Put the word away, someplace safe, for when we really need it.

 
 
 
 
On the Bookshelf

Drive by James Sallis
DriveAll Driver does is drive. Duh. James Sallis vodka-shot of a novella, now a soon-to-be-released movie with Ryan Gosling, got lots of press when it debuted in 2005. A lot of the good feelings are warrented. Sallis' narration is headlong and engaging. The problem is that Drive doesn't possess a whole lot of story nuance. Bad guys try to kill Driver. Driver kills bad guys. The end. Drive may be a fast gear read, but it's stuck in that gear the entire way. B