Skip to main content

Through A Prism Darkly

I was finishing reading John Le Carre's latest literary spy thriller, A Delicate Truth, when the news broke about the US government's secret Prism project, whereby almost all our online activities are received, recorded and analysed, at least potentially, by national security snoops.  The last pages of the novel, which I feel is a masterpiece, and worthy of comparison to Greene's The Ministry of Fear and Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, find Emily and Toby confronting a very compromised world, where digital activity automatically triggers massive response.  I recommend the book highly - and am astonished by some of the lukewarm reviews.  Its style, hard to relate to at first, grows on one, with its arch, italicised speech, and the passive-aggressive behaviour of its Establishment characters; after half the book was complete, I recognised it as a satire as well as a thriller, and perhaps the most moving and eloquent indictment of the privatisation of intelligence and warfare written by an Englishman.

Meanwhile, what are we do to with this world of megacompanies, who not only don't pay taxes it seems, but use our use of them and their waterlike ubiquity to turn us all into snitches, on ourselves.  I am tempted to leave the online world behind, and leave no trace, but then, must ask a few difficult questions - what do I have to hide, and am I not glad the US/UK is trying to stop the detonation of a nuclear weapon in London or Manhattan?  For, despite my love of freedom, I have a fear of extremists as well, and know that, though it pains my little ego to say so, the powers that be aren't after poets and editors (yet), but terrorists.  True, they can also use their information to blackmail, and control anyone who they might see as a threat, and we have seen how the police in this country have tried to break activist groups that were not major public threats - but it seems a wider more shocking truth is available: we are all enmeshed and compromised by a sordid series of compromises with Western "democracy" and capitalism, and the way out of the digital moral maze is very hard to locate, even with the latest technology.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…


According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…


Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:

HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!