Conversations with history: Robert Fisk is the Middle East correspondent for The Independent newspaper of Great Britain. He has lived in the Middle East for almost three decades and holds more British and international journalism awards than any other foreign correspondent.
He is the author of Pity the Nation: A History of the Lebanon War, and most recently The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East.
Links to transcript here.
Thanks Fanonite for the following:
Art, Truth & Politics: Harold Pinter Nobel Lecture, video and script
Pinter on Semantics of Terror and the US-Israel relationship
Harold Pinter on Charlie Roose
I didn’t know Molly Ivins.
I saw her name at 99 and now at PPGG‘s. I found a few links, an interesting bio/tribute at the Guardian and I read about “America‘s funniest political columnist … the irreverent voice of the American left.”
Ivins was born in Monterey, California, she was raised in Houston. Her background was one of oil privilege; her father, Jim Ivins, was an executive with the Tenneco Corporation. He instilled in his daughter a love of the outdoors, but they clashed over his conservative politics. Molly once attributed her strength to learning to stand up to her father…
She received a master’s degree at Columbia University’s Journalism school … she was hired by the NYT, she did not fit in with the paper’s hierarchical corporate atmosphere. “I was miserable for five times my previous salary” …
In 1982 she became a columnist on the Dallas Times-Herald. When she opined of one Texas legislator that, “If his IQ were any lower, they’d have to water him twice a day,” a reader complained, “Molly Ivins can’t say that, can she?” – which became the paper’s catchphrase for marketing her, and the title of a collection of her journalism … She became one of “the world’s Leading Authorities on George W. Bush” entirely by accident! She has known him since they were in high school. Ivins became a syndicated columnist and her work appeared in 300 newspapers.
Ivins fought her cancer publicly… “First, they mutilate you, then they poison you, then they burn you, I have been on blind dates better than that.”
Her final column, dictated from her sick bed, ran two weeks ago. It poked fun at Bush calling himself “the decider” and ended urging people to do what she had always done:
“We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous.”
The first rule of holes: when you’re in one, stop digging.
What you need is sustained outrage…there’s far too much unthinking respect given to authority.
The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion.
Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful.
There are two kinds of humor: One kind that makes us chuckle about our foibles and our shared humanity — like what Garrison Keillor does. The other kind holds people up to public contempt and ridicule — that’s what I do. Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful. I only aim at the powerful. When satire is aimed at the powerless, it is not only cruel — it’s vulgar.
I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth.
You can’t ignore politics, no matter how much you’d like to.
Politics is not a picture on a wall or a television sitcom that you can decide you don’t much care for.
What stuns me most about contemporary politics is not even that the system has been so badly corrupted by money. It is that so few people get the connection between their lives and what the bozos do in Washington and our state capitols.
I believe in practicing prudence at least once every two or three years.
It’s hard to argue against cynics — they always sound smarter than optimists because they have so much evidence on their side.
Being slightly paranoid is like being slightly pregnant – it tends to get worse.
One function of the income gap is that the people at the top of the heap have a hard time even seeing those at the bottom. They practically need a telescope. The pharaohs of ancient Egypt probably didn’t waste a lot of time thinking about the people who built their pyramids, either. OK, so it’s not that bad yet — but it’s getting that bad.
I still believe in Hope – mostly because there’s no such place as Fingers Crossed, Arkansas.
The United States of America is still run by its citizens. The government works for us. Rank imperialism and warmongering are not American traditions or values. We do not need to dominate the world. We want and need to work with other nations. We want to find solutions other than killing people. Not in our name, not with our money, not with our children’s blood.
I already miss her.