Tag Archives | Books

Russ Kick’s ‘Death Poems’

9781938875045

[disinfo ed.'s note: this is an exclusive excerpt from the new disinformation® book by Russ Kick, Death Poems: Classic, Contemporary, Witty, Serious, Tear-Jerking, Wise, Profound, Angry, Funny, Spiritual, Atheistic, Uncertain, Personal, Political, Mythic, Earthy, and Only Occasionally Morbid]

Introduction

Every poem [is] an epitaph. – T.S. Eliot

Name any well-known poet from any age, any country. He or she wrote at least one poem about death, most likely several poems. I can basically guarantee it. Death is one of the most common themes in the entirety of poetry. Whether it’s a lamentation for a loved one or a public figure, a reflection on their own upcoming appointment with the grave, a meditation on the nature of death, or perhaps what happens afterward, every poet has found inspiration—sometimes welcome, often not—in the fate we all have in common. It provides a lens through which to examine life, changing everything else by its looming, inevitable presence.… Read the rest

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Banned Books Week 2013

The team at Disinformation has long supported Banned Books Week. The 2013 week is nearly upon us (September 22-28) and once again you can participate in the Banned Books Virtual Read-out:

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs—a continuous reading of banned/challenged books—as part of their activities. For the third year in a row, readers from around the world can participate in the Banned Books Virtual Read-Out by creating videos proclaiming the virtues of the freedom to read that will be featured on a dedicated YouTube channel.

The criteria has been updated since 2012. Submit your video by filling out this form.

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A Children’s Illustrated History of Presidential Assassination

Longtime disinformation collaborator Bryan Young (producer of the classic obesity film Killer At Large) has a new book in the works and he’s looking for funding via Kickstarter. He has our backing and we endorse the project should you care to lend yours.

Here’s their project description:

A Children’s Illustrated History of Presidential Assassination is a beautifully illustrated book born of a child’s desire to learn and a father’s belief that gaining knowledge should be fun and uplifting. It is designed to educate, entertain, and enlighten children from ages 1 to 100.

A couple of years ago, while visiting Washington D.C. for a writer’s workshop, author Bryan Young visited Ford’s Theatre, the site of John Wilkes Booth’s assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. When he returned home, he showed his children the many pictures he had taken from his trip. To his delight and surprise, his daughter Scout was incredibly interested in the subject of Lincoln’s assassination, and Presidential assassinations in general.

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How The U.S. Air Force Nearly Nuked North Carolina

Long-serving disinfonauts may remember Disinfo Dave recounting the tale of the USAF B-52 that dropped two nuclear bombs on North Carolina for Canadian TV host Strombo (for those who never saw it, here’s Dave…).

Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser picks up the thread in his new book on nuclear weapons, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, reviewed here by Mother Jones:

On January 23, 1961, a B-52 packing a pair of Mark 39 hydrogen bombs suffered a refueling snafu and went into an uncontrolled spin over North Carolina. In the cockpit of the rapidly disintegrating bomber (only one crew member bailed out safely) was a lanyard attached to the bomb-release mechanism. Intense G-forces tugged hard at it and unleashed the nukes, which, at four megatons, were 250 times more powerful than the weapon that leveled Hiroshima. One of them “failed safe” and plummeted to the ground unarmed.

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Robert Anton Wilson & Operation Mindfuck

Picture: Richard Adams (CC)

Picture: Richard Adams (CC)

[Disinfo ed.'s note: The following is an excerpt from Jesse Walker's new book, The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory. The excerpt is part of the chapter "Operation Mindfuck" and focuses on the role of the Discordian Pope, Robert Anton Wilson.]

[Robert Anton] Wilson laid out the basic instructions for Operation Mindfuck in a memo sent to several friends (including [Paul] Krassner). Participants were “to circulate all rumors contributed by other members,” and they were “to attribute all national calamities, assassinations or conspiracies to the other member-groups.” The one great risk, he cautioned, was that “the Establishment might be paranoid enough to believe some wild legend started by one of us and thereupon round up all of us for killing Abraham Lincoln.”

So they sent a letter on Bavarian Illuminati stationery to the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade, just to confirm that “we’ve taken over the Rock Music business.… Read the rest

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The Most Popular Book At Guantanamo Bay

Fifty-Shades-of-GreyIf you guessed it was the Koran, you’re way off; it is in fact, wait for it, “Fifty Shades Of Grey“! From Reuters:

The “Fifty Shades of Grey” series of erotic novels are the favorite reading material among former CIA captives held at the Guantanamo detention camp, the Huffington Post quoted a U.S. congressman as saying.

Democratic Representative Jim Moran of Virginia was among congressional delegates who last week toured Camp 7, the top-security facility that holds more than a dozen “high-value” prisoners, including five men charged with plotting the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001.

“Rather than the Koran, the book that is requested most by the (detainees) is ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ They’ve read the entire series in English, but we were willing to translate it,” the Huffington Post quoted Moran as saying on Monday.

“I guess there’s not much going on, these guys are going nowhere, so what the hell.”

Moran, who favors shutting down the detention camp on the Guantanamo Bay U.S.

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Are We Living In A Secular Age?

Sacred and secularAn interesting piece by David Brooks in the New York Times highlights the 2007 book by Charles Taylor, A Secular Age:

I might as well tell you upfront that this column is a book report. Since 2007, when it was published, academics have been raving to me about Charles Taylor’s “A Secular Age.” Courses, conferences and symposia have been organized around it, but it is almost invisible outside the academic world because the text is nearly 800 pages of dense, jargon-filled prose.

As someone who tries to report on the world of ideas, I’m going to try to summarize Taylor’s description of what it feels like to live in an age like ours, without, I hope, totally butchering it.

Taylor’s investigation begins with this question: “Why was it virtually impossible not to believe in God in, say 1500, in our Western society, while in 2000 many of us find this not only easy but even inescapable?” That is, how did we move from the all encompassing sacred cosmos, to our current world in which faith is a choice, in which some people believe, others don’t and a lot are in the middle?

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Did Dan Brown Kill Michael Baigent?

Da Vinci The last supper detail Da Vinci codeNo one’s suggesting that Dan Brown literally murdered Michael Baigent, but the author of The Da Vinci Code and his publisher, Random House, pushed back so hard against the co-author of Holy Blood, Holy Grail‘s copyright infringement lawsuit that it killed him, says Baigent’s friend Graham Hancock, in The Independent:

Dan Brown and his publisher Random House have been sensationally accused of sending a rival author to an early grave.

Michael Baigent was left destitute after losing the case he brought against Random House for copyright infringement in 2006. Writer Graham Hancock says the protracted legal battle “cost Michael Baigent his life” – the 65-year-old author died earlier this month of a brain haemorrhage. Baigent was the co-author of a 1982 non-fiction book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, which investigated the same conspiracy theories upon which Brown’s later novel, The Da Vinci Code, is based. With Richard Leigh, Baigent’s book explored the theory that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had had a child together.

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Second Century Science Fiction Describes Trip to the Moon

science fiction

Also, it was illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley!

Continuing Disinfo’s love affair with The Public Domain Review, this piece by Aaron Parrett on a 2nd century work of science fiction describing a surreal voyage to the moon:

With his Vera Historia, the 2nd century satirist Lucian of Samosata wrote the first detailed account of a trip to the moon in the Western tradition and, some argue, also one of the earliest science fiction narratives. Aaron Parrett explores how Lucian used this lunar vantage point to take a satirical look back at the philosophers of Earth and their ideas of “truth”.

The Greek-speaking rhetorician and writer Lucian of Samosata, born around 125 CE in what is now known as Syria, has had a somewhat mixed reception through the ages. Scholars agree that his contemporaries and successors viewed him with a great deal of respect. Early Christians were less admiring of Lucian and his pagan and vitriolic pen, though by the time of the renaissance, he had regained favor among learned people.… Read the rest

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