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Steven Pinker – Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress — The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined — The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature — Videos

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Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress featuring Steven Pinker

STEVEN PINKER: ENLIGHTENMENT NOW

Stephen Fry & Steven Pinker on the Enlightenment Today

Enlightenment Now | Steven Pinker | RSA Replay

Dr. Steven Pinker, Harvard University – Collective Impact

The Personal Philosophy of Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker & Charlie Rose – “The Better Angels of Our Nature”

Prof. Steven Pinker – The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity

A History of Violence: Steven Pinker at TEDxNewEngland

The Great Debate: ORIGINS OF VIOLENCE (OFFICIAL) – (Part 1/2)

The Great Debate: ORIGINS OF VIOLENCE (OFFICIAL) – (Part 2/2)

Steven Pinker on Human Nature

Understanding Human Nature with Steven Pinker – Conversations with History

Steven Pinker – The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Steven Pinker – The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Steven Pinker: Human nature and the blank slate

Steven Pinker – The Genius of Charles Darwin: The Uncut Interviews

Steven Pinker — On psychology and human nature

 

Steven Pinker Books

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=steve+pinker+books&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=194752538360&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=18360483831547681179&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9060114&hvtargid=kwd-313239828936&ref=pd_sl_oakl91e0m_b

 

My new favorite book of all time

For years, I’ve been saying Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature was the best book I’d read in a decade. If I could recommend just one book for anyone to pick up, that was it. Pinker uses meticulous research to argue that we are living in the most peaceful time in human history. I’d never seen such a clear explanation of progress.

I’m going to stop talking up Better Angels so much, because Pinker has managed to top himself. His new book, Enlightenment Now, is even better.

Enlightenment Now takes the approach he uses in Better Angels to track violence throughout history and applies it to 15 different measures of progress (like quality of life, knowledge, and safety). The result is a holistic picture of how and why the world is getting better. It’s like Better Angels on steroids.

Pinker was generous enough to send me an early copy, even though Enlightenment Now won’t be released until the end of February. I read the book slowly since I loved it so much, but I think most people will find it a quick and accessible read. He manages to share a ton of information in a way that’s compelling, memorable, and easy to digest.

It opens with an argument in favor of returning to the ideals of the Enlightenment—an era when reason, science, and humanism were touted as the highest virtues. (Gates Notes Insiders can get a preview of this section of the book.)

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I’m all for more reason, science, and humanism, but what I found most interesting were the 15 chapters exploring each measure of progress. Pinker is at his best when he analyzes historic trends and uses data to put the past into context. I was already familiar with a lot of the information he shares—especially about health and energy—but he understands each subject so deeply that he’s able to articulate his case in a way that feels fresh and new.

I love how he’s willing to dive deep into primary data sources and pull out unexpected signs of progress. I tend to point to things like dramatic reductions in poverty and childhood deaths, because I think they’re such a good measure of how we’re doing as a society. Pinker covers those areas, but he also looks at more obscure topics.

Here are five of my favorite facts from the book that show how the world is improving:

  1. You’re 37 times less likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning than you were at the turn of the century—and that’s not because there are fewer thunderstorms today. It’s because we have better weather prediction capabilities, improved safety education, and more people living in cities.
  2. Time spent doing laundry fell from 11.5 hours a week in 1920 to an hour and a half in 2014.This might sound trivial in the grand scheme of progress. But the rise of the washing machine has improved quality of life by freeing up time for people—mostly women—to enjoy other pursuits. That time represents nearly half a day every week that could be used for everything from binge-watching Ozark or reading a book to starting a new business.
  3. You’re way less likely to die on the job. Every year, 5,000 people die from occupational accidents in the U.S. But in 1929—when our population was less than two-fifths the size it is today—20,000 people died on the job. People back then viewed deadly workplace accidents as part of the cost of doing business. Today, we know better, and we’ve engineered ways to build things without putting nearly as many lives at risk.
  4. The global average IQ score is rising by about 3 IQ points every decade. Kids’ brains are developing more fully thanks to improved nutrition and a cleaner environment. Pinker also credits more analytical thinking in and out of the classroom. Think about how many symbols you interpret every time you check your phone’s home screen or look at a subway map. Our world today encourages abstract thought from a young age, and it’s making us smarter.
  5. War is illegal. This idea seems obvious. But before the creation of the United Nations in 1945, no institution had the power to stop countries from going to war with each other. Although there have been some exceptions, the threat of international sanctions and intervention has proven to be an effective deterrent to wars between nations.

Pinker also tackles the disconnect between actual progress and the perception of progress—something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. People all over the world are living longer, healthier, and happier lives, so why do so many think things are getting worse? Why do we gloss over positive news stories and fixate on the negative ones? He does a good job explaining why we’re drawn to pessimism and how that instinct influences our approach to the world, although I wish he went more in depth about the psychology (especially since he’s a psychologist by training). The late Hans Rosling explains this more fully in his excellent new book Factfulness, which I plan to review soon.

I agree with Pinker on most areas, but I think he’s a bit too optimistic about artificial intelligence. He’s quick to dismiss the idea of robots overthrowing their human creators. While I don’t think we’re in danger of a Terminator-style scenario, the question underlying that fear—who exactly controls the robots?—is a valid one. We’re not there yet, but at some point, who has AI and who controls it will be an important issue for global institutions to address.

The big questions surrounding automation are proof that progress can be a messy, sticky thing—but that doesn’t mean we’re headed in the wrong direction. At the end of Enlightenment Now, Pinker argues that “we will never have a perfect world, and it would be dangerous to seek one. But there is no limit to the betterments we can attain if we continue to apply knowledge to enhance human flourishing.”

The world is getting better, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. I’m glad we have brilliant thinkers like Steven Pinker to help us see the big picture. Enlightenment Now is not only the best book Pinker’s ever written. It’s my new favorite book of all time.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/Books/Enlightenment-Now

5 books I loved in 2018

If you’re like me, you love giving—or getting!—books during the holidays. A great read is the perfect gift: thoughtful and easy to wrap (with no batteries or assembly required). Plus, I think everyone could use a few more books in their lives. I usually don’t consider whether something would make a good present when I’m putting together my end of year book list—but this year’s selections are highly giftable.

My list is pretty eclectic this year. From a how-to guide about meditation to a deep dive on autonomous weapons to a thriller about the fall of a once-promising company, there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for a fool-proof gift for your friends and family, you can’t go wrong with one of these.

Educated, by Tara Westover. Tara never went to school or visited a doctor until she left home at 17. I never thought I’d relate to a story about growing up in a Mormon survivalist household, but she’s such a good writer that she got me to reflect on my own life while reading about her extreme childhood. Melinda and I loved this memoir of a young woman whose thirst for learning was so strong that she ended up getting a Ph.D. from Cambridge University.

Army of None, by Paul Scharre. Autonomous weapons aren’t exactly top of mind for most around the holidays, but this thought-provoking look at A.I. in warfare is hard to put down. It’s an immensely complicated topic, but Scharre offers clear explanations and presents both the pros and cons of machine-driven warfare. His fluency with the subject should come as no surprise: he’s a veteran who helped draft the U.S. government’s policy on autonomous weapons.

Bad Blood, by John Carreyrou. A bunch of my friends recommended this one to me. Carreyrou gives you the definitive insider’s look at the rise and fall of Theranos. The story is even crazier than I expected, and I found myself unable to put it down once I started. This book has everything: elaborate scams, corporate intrigue, magazine cover stories, ruined family relationships, and the demise of a company once valued at nearly $10 billion.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari. I’m a big fan of everything Harari has written, and his latest is no exception. While Sapiens and Homo Deus covered the past and future respectively, this one is all about the present. If 2018 has left you overwhelmed by the state of the world, 21 Lessonsoffers a helpful framework for processing the news and thinking about the challenges we face.

The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness, by Andy Puddicombe. I’m sure 25-year-old me would scoff at this one, but Melinda and I have gotten really into meditation lately. The book starts with Puddicombe’s personal journey from a university student to a Buddhist monk and then becomes an entertaining explainer on how to meditate. If you’re thinking about trying mindfulness, this is the perfect introduction.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Best-Books-2018

Wrapping up 2018

What I learned at work this year

Every Christmas when I was a kid, my parents would send out a card with an update on what the family was up to. Dad’s law firm is growing, Mom’s volunteer work is going strong, the girls are doing well in school, Bill is a handful.

Some people think it is corny, but I like the tradition. These days, at the end of each year, I still enjoy taking stock of my work and personal life. What was I excited about? What could I have done better?

I thought I would share a few of these thoughts as 2018 concludes.

One thing that occurs to me is that the questions I am asking myself at age 63 are very different from the ones I would have asked when I was in my 20s.

Back then, an end-of-year assessment would amount to just one question: Is Microsoft software making the personal-computing dream come true?

Today of course I still assess the quality of my work. But I also ask myself a whole other set of questions about my life. Did I devote enough time to my family? Did I learn enough new things? Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones? These would have been laughable to me when I was 25, but as I get older, they are much more meaningful.

Melinda has helped broaden my thinking on this point. So has Warren Buffett, who says his measure of success is, “Do the people you care about love you back?” I think that is about as good a metric as you will find.

It may sound grand, but I think the world is slowly going through a similar transition to a broader understanding of well-being. For most of human history, we have been focused on living longer by fighting disease and trying to grow enough food for everyone. As a result, life spans have gone up dramatically. Technology has played a key role in that through vaccines, medicines, and improved sanitation.

We still need a lot of innovation to solve problems like malaria or obesity, but we are also going to be focusing more on improving the quality of life. I think this will be the thrust of many big breakthroughs of the future. For example, software will be able to notice when you’re feeling down, connect you with your friends, give you personalized tips for sleeping and eating better, and help you use your time more efficiently.

There are not the same clear measures of these things as there are for diseases, and there may never be. But there is nascent work in this field and I think it is going to accelerate.

As I look back on the year, I am also thinking about the specific areas I work on. Some of this is done through our foundation but a lot of it (such as my work on energy and Alzheimer’s work) is not. What connects it all is my belief that innovation can save lives and improve everyone’s well-being. A lot of people underestimate just how much innovation will make life better.

Here are a few updates on what’s going well and what isn’t with innovation in some areas where I work.

Alzheimer’s disease

 I saw two positive trends in Alzheimer’s research in 2018.

I saw two positive trends in Alzheimer’s research in 2018.

One is that researchers focused on a new set of ideas about how to stop Alzheimer’s.

The first generation of theories, which dominated the field for years, emphasized two proteins called amyloid and tau. These proteins cause plaques and tangles in the brain, clogging up and killing brain cells. The idea was to stop the plaques and tangles from forming. I hope these approaches pay off, but we have not seen much evidence that they will.

In the past year, researchers have doubled down on a second generation of hypotheses. One theory is that a patient’s brain cells break down because their energy producers (called mitochondria) wear out. Another is that brain cells break down because part of the immune system gets overactivated and attacks them.

This is a great example of how improving our understanding of biology will reduce both medical costs and human suffering.

The other trend this year is that the Alzheimer’s community focused on getting more and better access to data. We’re working with researchers to make it easier for them to share information from their studies broadly so that we can better understand questions like how the disease progresses.

Over the past few years, the U.S. government has dramatically stepped up funding for Alzheimer’s research, from $400 million a year to over $2 billion a year. There is also a big push to create better diagnostics.

The only problem where I don’t yet see a clear path forward yet is how to develop more efficient ways to recruit patients for clinical trials. Without a simple and reliable diagnostic for Alzheimer’s, it’s hard to find eligible people early enough in the disease’s progression who can participate in trials. It can take years to enroll enough patients. If we could find a way to pre-screen participants, we could start new trials more quickly.

But there is so much momentum in other areas—scientific tools, better diagnostics, improved access to data—that as long as we can solve the recruitment problem, I am confident that we will make substantial progress in the next decade or two.

Polio

 I thought we would be closer to eradicating polio today than we are.

I thought we would be closer to eradicating polio today than we are. Unfortunately, there were more cases in 2018 than in 2017 (29 versus 22).

I underestimated how hard it would be to vaccinate children in places where there’s political violence and war. Families move around to escape fighting, which makes it hard to keep track of children and make sure they get all the doses of the vaccine. Or sewage systems get destroyed, allowing the virus to spread as children come into contact with an infected person’s excrement.

This is a key reason why Afghanistan and Pakistan have never been free of polio—in fact they are the only two countries that have never been free of polio.

I spend a lot of time on polio, part of it talking to the funders to make sure they continue their commitment even though eradication is taking longer than any of us would like. I remind them of the huge benefits of success, and the risk that the disease will return in a big way if we don’t finish the job.

I also remind them what a difference innovation is making. We’re now able to test sewage samples to track the virus and find the source before an outbreak starts. And the global health community is finding creative ways to work in war zones, having stopped outbreaks in Syria and Somalia in recent years.

Finally, I am hopeful about a new oral vaccine being tested in Belgium and Panama. The results should be out in 2019, and if this one proves effective, it would overcome some of the problems with previous oral vaccines when they’re used in places where few children are immunized. The new vaccine could be in use as soon as 2020.

Despite all the challenges, I am still optimistic that we can eradicate polio soon.

Energy

Global emissions of greenhouse gases went up in 2018. For me, that just reinforces the fact that the only way to prevent the worst climate-change scenarios is to get some breakthroughs in clean energy.

Some people think we have all the tools we need, and that driving down the cost of renewables like solar and wind solves the problem. I am glad to see solar and wind getting cheaper and we should be deploying them wherever it makes sense.

But solar and wind are intermittent sources of energy, and we are unlikely to have super-cheap batteries anytime soon that would allow us to store sufficient energy for when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Besides, electricity accounts for only 25% of all emissions. We need to solve the other 75% too.

This year Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the clean-energy investment fund I’m involved with, announced the first companies we’re putting money into. You can see the list at http://www.b-t.energy/ventures/our-investment-portfolio/. We are looking at all the major drivers of climate change. The companies we chose are run by brilliant people and show a lot of promise for taking innovative clean-energy ideas out of the lab and getting them to market.

Next year I will speak out more about how the U.S. needs to regain its leading role in nuclear power research. (This is unrelated to my work with the foundation.)

Nuclear is ideal for dealing with climate change, because it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day. The problems with today’s reactors, such as the risk of accidents, can be solved through innovation.

The United States is uniquely suited to create these advances with its world-class scientists, entrepreneurs, and investment capital.

 Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago.

Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago. To regain this position, it will need to commit new funding, update regulations, and show investors that it’s serious.

There are several promising ideas in advanced nuclear that should be explored if we get over these obstacles. TerraPower, the company I started 10 years ago, uses an approach called a traveling wave reactor that is safe, prevents proliferation, and produces very little waste. We had hoped to build a pilot project in China, but recent policy changes here in the U.S. have made that unlikely. We may be able to build it in the United States if the funding and regulatory changes that I mentioned earlier happen.

The world needs to be working on lots of solutions to stop climate change. Advanced nuclear is one, and I hope to persuade U.S. leaders to get into the game.

The next epidemic

In 1918, the Spanish flu killed 50 million people worldwide. It still ranks as one of the deadliest natural disasters ever.

I had hoped that hitting the 100th anniversary of this epidemic would spark a lot of discussion about whether we’re ready for the next global epidemic. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and we still are not ready.

People rightly worry about dangers like terrorism and climate change (and, more remotely, an asteroid hitting the Earth). But if anything is going to kill tens of millions of people in a short time, it will probably be a global epidemic. And the disease would most likely be a form of the flu, because the flu virus spreads easily through the air. Today a flu as contagious and lethal as the 1918 one would kill nearly 33 million people in just six months.

I have been studying this for several years. To be prepared, we need a plan for national governments to work together. We need to think through how to handle quarantines, make sure supply chains will reach affected areas, decide how to involve the military, and so on. There was not much progress on these questions in 2018.

 There has been progress toward a vaccine that would protect you from every strain of the flu.

The good news is that there has been progress toward a vaccine that would protect you from every strain of the flu. This year I visited the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Maryland and got an update from some of the people leading this work.

The challenges of making a universal flu vaccine are fascinating. All strains of the virus have certain structures in common. If you’ve never been exposed to the flu, it’s possible to make a vaccine that teaches your immune system to look for those structures and attack them. But once you’ve had the flu, your body obsesses over the strain that got you sick. That makes it really hard to get your immune system to look for the common structures.

So it is clear how we could make a universal vaccine that would protect anyone (such as the very young) who has never been exposed to the flu before. But for anyone who has already had the virus, it is a lot harder. The problem is a long way from being solved, but new research money is coming in and more scientists are working on it.

To make the most of these scientific efforts (some of which our foundation is funding), the world needs to develop a global system for monitoring and responding to epidemics. That is a political matter that requires international cooperation among government leaders. This issue deserves a lot more focus.

Gene editing

Gene editing made the news in November when a Chinese scientist announced that he had altered the genes of two baby girls when they were embryos. What is unprecedented about his work is that he edited their germline cells, meaning the changes will be passed down to their children. (The other, less controversial type of gene editing involves somatic cells, which aren’t inherited by future generations.)

I agree with those who say this scientist went too far. But something good can come from his work if it encourages more people to learn and talk about gene editing. This might be the most important public debate we haven’t been having widely enough.

The ethical questions are enormous. Gene editing is generating a ton of optimism for treating and curing diseases, including some that our foundation works on (though we fund work on altering crops and insects, not humans). But the technology could make inequity worse, especially if it is available only for wealthy people.

I am surprised that these issues haven’t generated more attention from the general public. Today, artificial intelligence is the subject of vigorous debate. Gene editing deserves at least as much of the spotlight as AI.

I encourage you to read up on it whenever you have a chance. Keep an eye out for articles in your news feed. If you are willing to read a whole book, The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee is very well done. This story is one to follow, because big breakthroughs—some good, some worrisome—are coming.

Looking ahead

 I am making a resolution for 2019.

Although I have never been one for New Year’s resolutions, I have always been committed to setting clear goals and making plans to achieve them. As I get older, these two things look more and more like the same exercise. So I am making a resolution for 2019. I am committing to learn and think about two key areas where technology has the potential to make an enormous impact on the quality of our lives, but also raises complex ethical and social considerations.

One is the balance between privacy and innovation. How can we use data to gain insights into education (like which schools do the best job of teaching low-income students) or health (like which doctors provide the best care for a reasonable price) while protecting people’s privacy?

The other is the use of technology in education. How much can software improve students’ learning? For years we have been hearing overheated claims about the huge impact that technology would have on education. People have been right to be skeptical. But I think things are finally coming together in a way that will deliver on the promises.

I will be posting updates on these and other issues on the Gates Notes.

In the meantime, Melinda and I are working on our next Annual Letter. The theme is a surprise, though it is safe to say we’ll be sharing some positive trends that make us optimistic about the future. We’ll send the letter out in February.

I hope you have a happy and healthy start to 2019.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Year-in-Review-2018

A Failed Quest for Meaning

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, by Steven Pinker (Viking, 576 pp., $35)Professor Steven Pinker of Harvard has written a 500-plus-page advertising pamphlet for the Enlightenment. He doesn’t quite make the sale, in spite of his having the good fortune to be pitching the best product . . . ever, really.

Good Steven Pinker argues that the Enlightenment represented an escape from dogma, one in which the emerging combination of the scientific method and political liberalism put every claim and creed to the test of reason. Bad Steven Pinker believes — and believes hard — that the Enlightenment is itself a dogma and a tribe and a scripture. Case in point: Countering the argument that Enlightenment ideals fail because people are not perfectly rational actors, Pinker writes, in emphatic italics: “No Enlightenment thinker ever claimed that humans were consistently rational.” Throughout his new book, Enlightenment Now, he offers that same observation repeatedly, as though it were not only dispositive but self-evidently so. From Spinoza to Laplace to Pinker: There is no escaping apostolic succession, after all.

Professor Pinker, like Saint Paul, has a great talent for making the good news sound positively dreadful — unbearable, even. Which is a shame, because there is so much good news in his book. And charts! Goodness, are there charts, charts and charts and charts charting the rise of human flourishing on every axis from educational attainment in India to female literacy in Pakistan to anti-black hate crimes in the United States. Hooray, and well done, humanity. If those are the charts, then bring on the charts!

But this isn’t a book about charts, really. This is a book about the Meaning of Life.

Professor Pinker begins with an anecdote about a student who, after a lecture, asked him, “Why should I live?” After satisfying himself that this was not a case of suicidal ideation or mere smart-assery, he answers:

As a sentient being, you have the potential to flourish. You can refine your faculty of reason itself by learning and debating. You can seek explanations of the natural world through science, and insight into the human condition through the arts and humanities. You can make the most of your capacity for pleasure and satisfaction, which allowed your ancestors to thrive and thereby allowed you to exist. You can appreciate the beauty and richness of the natural and cultural world. As the heir to billions of years of life perpetuating itself, you can perpetuate life in return.

He goes on in that mode for a while, and even the most casual reader will notice that he offers a great deal of “You can” but no “You should.” Which is to say: He does not answer the question. As it turns out, he answers the question neither in short nor at length. “Explaining the meaning of life is not in the usual job description of a professor of cognitive science,” he writes, “and I would not have had the gall to take up her question if the answer depended on my arcane technical knowledge or my dubious personal wisdom.” No, he appeals to a higher power: “But I knew I was channeling a body of beliefs and values that had taken shape more than two centuries before me and that are now more relevant than ever: the ideals of the Enlightenment.”

It was reason that led most of the Enlightenment thinkers to repudiate a belief in an anthropomorphic God who took an interest in human affairs. The application of reason revealed that reports of miracles were dubious, that the authors of holy books were all too human, that natural events unfolded with no regard to human welfare, and that different cultures believed in mutually incompatible deities, none of them less likely than the others to be products of the imagination.

That is fairly sloppy stuff: There is the fallacious appeal to authority (“most of the Enlightenment thinkers”), the failure to understand the claims of the other side (of course reports of miracles are dubious: miracles are unlikely — that is what makes them miracles), the ad hominem (it would hardly come as a shock to any Christian familiar with the biography of Saint Peter that he was “all too human” — accompanying the Prince of Peace in His last days, Peter got into a knife fight), the juvenile (as a matter of logic, it simply is not the case that if not all religious claims can be true simultaneously, then all of them must be false), etc. None of this stuff is very much germane to Professor Pinker’s argument; he simply cannot help himself. If you doubt that this is base, tribal, googly-eyed, us-vs.-them stuff, consider this bit: “Early governments pacified the people they ruled, reducing internecine violence, but imposed a reign of terror that included slavery, harems, human sacrifice, summary executions, and the torture and mutilation of dissidents and deviants. (The Bible has no shortage of examples.)” This appears a few sentences above mentions of the Chinese civil war and Idi Amin. Of course it is the case that accounts of violent episodes can be found in the Bible, but that is not why the Bible appears in that sentence. It appears as a tribal signifier. Us ain’t Them.

Better that Professor Pinker should have taken the advice of A. J. Ayer and eliminated the metaphysics altogether. It isn’t as though the real-world problems of fanaticism and primitivism would have left his volume too slender: The Islamic State exists, and, if it’s explicit anti-intellectualism you’re looking for, consider the etymology of “Boko Haram” — literally, “Books are forbidden.”

In metaphysics as in politics and poker, it is hard to beat something with nothing, and, as ethics go, “The universe is headed for heat death, eventually” isn’t exactly compelling. Marcus Aurelius advised his reader not to worry too much about life, death, or reputation, because, soon enough, we’ll be dead, everybody who knew us will be dead, everybody who might have remembered us will be dead, etc. “‘This man was the last of his house’ is not uncommon upon a monument,” the emperor-philosopher wrote. “How solicitous were the ancestors of these men about an heir! Yet someone must, of necessity, be the last.” Which is sunshine in a glass compared with maximum entropy.

The problem for Professor Pinker is that there isn’t any really good way to get from just the facts to an ethical creed, from the reason and science of his subtitle to the humanism. He tries to get around this with rarity: Humans and human institutions (along with sentient beings and life in general) are examples of low-entropy situations, which are very rare in the universe. Professor Pinker in fact follows the rhetoric of the creationists and intelligent-design cranks (he must shudder to do so) when he explains the Law of Entropy: “If you walk away from a sandcastle, it won’t be there tomorrow, because as the wind, waves, seagulls, and small children push the grains of sand around, they’re more likely to arrange them into one of the vast number of configurations that don’t look like a castle than into one of the tiny few that do.”

The echo of the Reverend William Paley’s Divine Watchmaker is unmistakable. Professor Pinker uses his story for a different purpose, of course: While those who would seek to discredit evolution argue that the fact of the universe argues for a creator in the same way that the existence of a watch implies the existence of a watchmaker, Professor Pinker argues that the rarity of the orderly bits of the universe makes them special, valuable, interesting. But: To whom? And: Says who? There isn’t anything about the Second Law of Thermodynamics that says, or even implies, that we should prefer thermodynamic disequilibrium over thermodynamic equilibrium. It’s only temporary, anyway. There isn’t any scientific reason to prefer a world with humans in it to one without, or a world with happy humans in it to one with unhappy humans in it. (“And what if God prefers your tears to your studying?” asked Rabbi Mendel, no relation to the Right Reverend Gregor Mendel, who laid the foundations of genetics when he wasn’t running the abbey in Brno.) If you want to get from thermodynamics to politics and ethics, there’s a bit more work involved than Professor Pinker has here done. “We’re the Enlightenment, we’re the good guys, follow us!” won’t do it.

This is unfortunate, because Professor Pinker believes that the ideals of the Enlightenment “are now more relevant than ever”: There are challenges to the Enlightenment, to liberalism, and to material progress. Tribalism is, at the moment, resurgent, no less here in the United States than abroad: President Trump is being joined at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference by Marion Maréchal–Le Pen. The new tribalists of the West are not very much impressed by the low prices at Walmart, the improving quality of life in urban China, or the rising literacy rate among Afghan girls. Neither is Boko Haram. Neither is the Islamic State.

And that is what makes the author’s failure here all the more dismaying. Professor Pinker, and many others like him, understand the Enlightenment as a force of oppositionto the civilization that produced it, the civilization we used to call “Christendom.” Professor Pinker’s account has the new gospel of Enlightenment arising from the muck of Christian civilization, with its witch hunts and inquisitions, protected by a few true believers toward whom we still look today for guidance. But the actual Enlightenment happened in the Christian world. They had gunpowder in ancient China, but the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution happened where they happened, and when they happened, for a reason. To properly defend the Enlightenment and its ideals requires grounding the Enlightenment in the culture that produced it, which offends Professor Pinker’s cosmopolitan instincts, to say nothing of his instinct for sneering at Christianity.

“Cult” is the first syllable in “culture,” and Professor Pinker’s professed humanism is a creed, not a scientific deduction. A creed grounded in what? Being nice? The scientific method? Please. It’s grounded in a tribal identity, a little tribe comprising Professor Pinker, Sam Harris, and the ghost of Christopher Hitchens. That sounds like a fun dinner party, but it’s hardly the basis for a civilization. Pinker is dead-on about much — and much that is important — but he remains limited by what must be described as intellectual pettiness, which isn’t what you want in a book professing to lay out the meaning of life.

https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2018/03/19/steven-pinker-enlightenment-now-review-failed-quest-meaning/

Books by Steven Pinker

https://www.thriftbooks.com/a/steven-pinker/202210/?mkwid=s|dc&pcrid=301999411142&pkw=&pmt=b&plc=&pgrid=34947186125&ptaid=dsa-266516562683&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIh_6j9OXS3wIVy7fACh0oCAC1EAMYASAAEgLbO_D_BwE

 

Steven Pinker

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Steven Pinker
102111 Pinker 344.jpg
Born
Steven Arthur Pinker

September 18, 1954 (age 64)

MontrealQuebec, Canada
Nationality Canadian
American
Notable work
Spouse(s)
  • Nancy Etcoff
    (m. 1980; div. 1992)
  • Ilavenil Subbiah
    (m. 1995; div. 2006)
  • Rebecca Goldstein (m. 2007)
Alma mater
Awards Troland Award (1993, National Academy of Sciences),
Henry Dale Prize (2004, Royal Institution),
Walter P. Kistler Book Award (2005),
Humanist of the Year award (2006, issued by the AHA),
George Miller Prize (2010, Cognitive Neuroscience Society), Richard Dawkins Award (2013)
Scientific career
Fields Evolutionary psychologyexperimental psychologycognitive sciencepsycholinguisticsvisual cognition
Thesis The Representation of Three-dimensional Space in Mental Images (1979)
Doctoral advisor Stephen Kosslyn
Influences Noam Chomsky[1]
Website www.stevenpinker.com

Steven Arthur Pinker (born September 18, 1954) is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologistlinguist, and popular science author. He is Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, and is known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind.

Pinker’s academic specializations are visual cognition and psycholinguistics. His experimental subjects include mental imagery, shape recognition, visual attention, children’s language development, regular and irregular phenomena in language, the neural bases of words and grammar, and the psychology of cooperation and communication, including euphemisminnuendo, emotional expression, and common knowledge. He has written two technical books that proposed a general theory of language acquisition and applied it to children’s learning of verbs. In particular, his work with Alan Prince published in 1989 critiqued the connectionist model of how children acquire the past tense of English verbs, arguing instead that children use default rules such as adding “-ed” to make regular forms, sometimes in error, but are obliged to learn irregular forms one by one.

In his popular books, he has argued that the human faculty for language is an instinct, an innate behavior shaped by natural selection and adapted to our communication needs. He is the author of eight books for a general audience. Five of these, The Language Instinct (1994), How the Mind Works (1997), Words and Rules (2000), The Blank Slate (2002), and The Stuff of Thought (2007), describe aspects of the field of psycholinguistics and cognitive science, and include accounts of his own research. In the sixth book, The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011), Pinker makes the case that violence in human societies has, in general, steadily declined with time, and identifies six major causes of this decline.

His seventh book, The Sense of Style (2014), is intended as a general style guide that is informed by modern science and psychology, offering advice on how to produce more comprehensible and unambiguous writing in nonfiction contexts and explaining why so much of today’s academic and popular writing is difficult for readers to understand. His eighth book, Enlightenment Now (2018), continues the optimistic thesis of The Better Angels of Our Nature by using social science data from various sources to argue for a general improvement of the human condition over recent history.

Pinker has been named as one of the world’s most influential intellectuals by various magazines. He has won awards from the American Psychological Association, the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society and the American Humanist Association. He delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 2013. He has served on the editorial boards of a variety of journals, and on the advisory boards of several institutions. He has frequently participated in public debates on science and society.

Biography[edit]

Pinker was born in MontrealQuebec, in 1954, to a middle-class Jewish family. His parents were Roslyn (Wiesenfeld) and Harry Pinker.[3][4] His grandparents emigrated to Canada from Poland and Romania in 1926,[5][6] and owned a small necktie factory in Montreal.[7] His father, a lawyer, first worked as a manufacturer’s representative, while his mother was first a home-maker then a guidance counselor and high-school vice-principal. He has two younger siblings. His brother Robert is a policy analyst for the Canadian government, while his sister, Susan Pinker, is a psychologist and writer who authored The Sexual Paradox and The Village Effect.[8][9]

Pinker married Nancy Etcoff in 1980 and they divorced in 1992; he married Ilavenil Subbiah in 1995 and they too divorced.[10] His third wife, whom he married in 2007, is the novelist and philosopher Rebecca Goldstein.[11] He has two stepdaughters: the novelist Yael Goldstein Love and the poet Danielle Blau.

Pinker graduated from Dawson College in 1973. He received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from McGill University in 1976, and earned his Doctorate of Philosophy in experimental psychology at Harvard University in 1979 under Stephen Kosslyn. He did research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a year, after which he became an assistant professor at Harvard and then Stanford University.

From 1982 until 2003, Pinker taught at the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, was the co-director of the Center for Cognitive science (1985–1994), and eventually became the director of the Center for Cognitive neuroscience (1994–1999),[12] taking a one-year sabbatical at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1995–96. As of 2003, he is the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard; from 2008 to 2013 he also held the title of Harvard College Professor in recognition of his dedication to teaching.[13] He currently gives lectures as a visiting professor at the New College of the Humanities, a private college in London.[14][15]

About his Jewish background Pinker has said, “I was never religious in the theological sense … I never outgrew my conversion to atheism at 13, but at various times was a serious cultural Jew.”[16] As a teenager, he says he considered himself an anarchist until he witnessed civil unrest following a police strike in 1969, when:

As a young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin’s anarchism. I laughed off my parents’ argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose. Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 A.M. on October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike … This decisive empirical test left my politics in tatters (and offered a foretaste of life as a scientist).[17]

Pinker identifies himself as an equity feminist, which he defines as “a moral doctrine about equal treatment that makes no commitments regarding open empirical issues in psychology or biology”.[18] He reported the result of a test of his political orientation that characterized him as “neither leftist nor rightist, more libertarian than authoritarian.”[19] He describes himself as having “experienced a primitive tribal stirring” after his genes were shown to trace back to the Middle East, noting that he “found it just as thrilling to zoom outward in the diagrams of my genetic lineage and see my place in a family tree that embraces all of humanity”.[20]

Pinker also identifies himself as an atheist. In the 2007 interview with the Point of Inquiry podcast, Pinker states that he would “defend atheism as an empirically supported view.” He sees theism and atheism as competing empirical hypotheses, and states that “we’re learning more and more about what makes us tick, including our moral sense, without needing the assumption of a deity or a soul. It’s naturally getting crowded out by the successive naturalistic explanations.”[21]

Research and theory[edit]

Pinker in 2007.

Pinker’s research on visual cognition, begun in collaboration with his thesis adviser, Stephen Kosslyn, showed that mental images represent scenes and objects as they appear from a specific vantage point (rather than capturing their intrinsic three-dimensional structure), and thus correspond to the neuroscientist David Marr‘s theory of a “two-and-a-half-dimensional sketch.”[22] He also showed that this level of representation is used in visual attention, and in object recognition (at least for asymmetrical shapes), contrary to Marr’s theory that recognition uses viewpoint-independent representations.

In psycholinguistics, Pinker became known early in his career for promoting computational learning theory as a way to understand language acquisition in children. He wrote a tutorial review of the field followed by two books that advanced his own theory of language acquisition, and a series of experiments on how children acquire the passive, dative, and locative constructions. These books were Language Learnability and Language Development (1984), in Pinker’s words “outlin[ing] a theory of how children acquire the words and grammatical structures of their mother tongue”,[23] and Learnability and Cognition: The Acquisition of Argument Structure (1989), in Pinker’s words “focus[ing] on one aspect of this process, the ability to use different kinds of verbs in appropriate sentences, such as intransitive verbs, transitive verbs, and verbs taking different combinations of complements and indirect objects”.[23] He then focused on verbs of two kinds that illustrate what he considers to be the processes required for human language: retrieving whole words from memory, like the past form of the irregular verb[24] “bring”, namely “brought”; and using rules to combine (parts of) words, like the past form of the regular verb “walk”, namely “walked”.[23]

In 1988 Pinker and Alan Prince published an influential critique of a connectionist model of the acquisition of the past tense (a textbook problem in language acquisition), followed by a series of studies of how people use and acquire the past tense. This included a monograph on children’s regularization of irregular forms and his popular 1999 book, Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language. Pinker argued that language depends on two things, the associative remembering of sounds and their meanings in words, and the use of rules to manipulate symbols for grammar. He presented evidence against connectionism, where a child would have to learn all forms of all words and would simply retrieve each needed form from memory, in favour of the older alternative theory, the use of words and rules combined by generative phonology. He showed that mistakes made by children indicate the use of default rules to add suffixes such as “-ed”: for instance ‘breaked’ and ‘comed’ for ‘broke’ and ‘came’. He argued that this shows that irregular verb-forms in English have to be learnt and retrieved from memory individually, and that the children making these errors were predicting the regular “-ed” ending in an open-ended way by applying a mental rule. This rule for combining verb stems and the usual suffix can be expressed as[25]

Vpast → Vstem + d

where V is a verb and d is the regular ending. Pinker further argued that since the ten most frequently occurring English verbs (be, have, do, say, make … ) are all irregular, while 98.2% of the thousand least common verbs are regular, there is a “massive correlation” of frequency and irregularity. He explains this by arguing that every irregular form, such as ‘took’, ‘came’ and ‘got’, has to be committed to memory by the children in each generation, or else lost, and that the common forms are the most easily memorized. Any irregular verb that falls in popularity past a certain point is lost, and all future generations will treat it as a regular verb instead.[25]

In 1990, Pinker, with Paul Bloom, published the paper “Natural Language and Natural Selection”, arguing that the human language faculty must have evolved through natural selection.[26] The article provided arguments for a continuity based view of language evolution, contrary to then current discontinuity based theories that see language as suddenly appearing with the advent of Homo sapiens as a kind of evolutionary accident. This discontinuity based view was prominently argued by two of the main authorities, linguist Noam Chomsky and Stephen Jay Gould.[27] The paper became widely cited and created renewed interest in the evolutionary prehistory of language, and has been credited with shifting the central question of the debate from “did language evolve?” to “how did language evolve”.[27][28] The article also presaged Pinker’s argument in The Language Instinct.

Pinker’s research includes delving into human nature and what science says about it. In his interview on the Point of Inquiry podcast in 2007, he provides the following examples of what he considers defensible conclusions of what science says human nature is:

  • The sexes are not statistically identical; “their interests and talents form two overlapping distributions”. Any policy that wants to provide equal outcomes for both men and women will have to discriminate against one or the other.
  • “Individuals differ in personality and intelligence.”
  • “People favor themselves and their families over an abstraction called society.”
  • Humans are “systematically self deceived. Each one of us thinks of ourselves as more competent and benevolent than we are.”
  • “People crave status and power”

He informs the listeners that one can read more about human nature in his book, Blank Slate.

Pinker also speaks about evolutionary psychology in the podcast and believes that this area of science is going to pay off. He cites the fact that there are many areas of study, such as beauty, religion, play, and sexuality, that were not studied 15 years ago. It is thanks to evolutionary psychology that these areas are being studied.[21]

Popularization of science[edit]

Pinker in 2011.

Human cognition and natural language[edit]

Pinker’s 1994 The Language Instinct was the first of several books to combine cognitive science with behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology. It introduces the science of language and popularizes Noam Chomsky‘s theory that language is an innate faculty of mind, with the controversial twist that the faculty for language evolved by natural selection as an adaptation for communication. Pinker criticizes several widely held ideas about language – that it needs to be taught, that people’s grammar is poor and getting worse with new ways of speaking, the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis that language limits the kinds of thoughts a person can have, and that other great apes can learn languages. Pinker sees language as unique to humans, evolved to solve the specific problem of communication among social hunter-gatherers. He argues that it is as much an instinct as specialized adaptative behavior in other species, such as a spider‘s web-weaving or a beaver‘s dam-building.

Pinker states in his introduction that his ideas are “deeply influenced”[29] by Chomsky; he also lists scientists whom Chomsky influenced to “open up whole new areas of language study, from child development and speech perception to neurology and genetics”[29] — Eric LennebergGeorge MillerRoger BrownMorris Halle and Alvin Liberman.[29] Brown mentored Pinker through his thesis; Pinker stated that Brown’s “funny and instructive”[30] book Words and Things (1958) was one of the inspirations for The Language Instinct.[30][31]

The reality of Pinker’s proposed language instinct, and the related claim that grammar is innate and genetically based, has been contested by many linguists. One prominent opponent of Pinker’s view is Geoffrey Sampson whose 1997 book, Educating Eve: The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate has been described as the “definitive response” to Pinker’s book.[32][33] Sampson argues that while it may seem attractive to argue the nature side of the ‘nature versus nurture’ debate, the nurture side may better support the creativity and nobility of the human mind. Sampson denies there is a language instinct, and argues that children can learn language because people can learn anything.[33] Others have sought a middle ground between Pinker’s nativism and Sampson’s culturalism.[34]

The assumptions underlying the nativist view have also been criticised in Jeffrey Elman‘s Rethinking Innateness: A Connectionist Perspective on Development, which defends the connectionist approach that Pinker attacked. In his 1996 book Impossible Minds, the machine intelligence researcher Igor Aleksander calls The Language Instinct excellent, and argues that Pinker presents a relatively soft claim for innatism, accompanied by a strong dislike of the ‘Standard Social Sciences Model’ or SSSM (Pinker’s term), which supposes that development is purely dependent on culture. Further, Aleksander writes that while Pinker criticises some attempts to explain language processing with neural nets, Pinker later makes use of a neural net to create past tense verb forms correctly. Aleksander concludes that while he doesn’t support the SSSM, “a cultural repository of language just seems the easy trick for an efficient evolutionary system armed with an iconic state machine to play.”[35]

Two other books, How the Mind Works (1997) and The Blank Slate (2002), broadly surveyed the mind and defended the idea of a complex human nature with many mental faculties that are adaptive (Pinker is an ally of Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins in many disputes surrounding adaptationism). Another major theme in Pinker’s theories is that human cognition works, in part, by combinatorial symbol-manipulation, not just associations among sensory features, as in many connectionist models. On the debate around The Blank Slate, Pinker called Thomas Sowell‘s book A Conflict of Visions “wonderful”,[36] and explained that “The Tragic Vision” and the “Utopian Vision” are the views of human nature behind right- and left-wing ideologies.[36]

In Words and Rules: the Ingredients of Language (1999), Pinker argues from his own research that regular and irregular phenomena are products of computation and memory lookup, respectively, and that language can be understood as an interaction between the two.[37] “Words and Rules” is also the title of an essay by Pinker outlining many of the topics discussed in the book.[25] Critiqueing the book from the perspective of generative linguistics Charles Yang, in the London Review of Books, writes that “this book never runs low on hubris or hyperbole“.[38] The book’s topic, the English past tense, is in Yang’s view unglamorous, and Pinker’s attempts at compromise risk being in no man’s land between rival theories. Giving the example of German, Yang argues that irregular nouns in that language at least all belong to classes, governed by rules, and that things get even worse in languages that attach prefixes and suffixes to make up long ‘words’: they can’t be learnt individually, as there are untold numbers of combinations. “All Pinker (and the connectionists) are doing is turning over the rocks at the base of the intellectual landslide caused by the Chomskian revolution.”[38]

In The Stuff of Thought (2007), Pinker looks at a wide range of issues around the way words related to thoughts on the one hand, and to the world outside ourselves on the other. Given his evolutionary perspective, a central question is how an intelligent mind capable of abstract thought evolved: how a mind adapted to Stone Age life could work in the modern world. Many quirks of language are the result.[39]

Pinker is critical of theories about the evolutionary origins of language that argue that linguistic cognition might have evolved from earlier musical cognition. He sees language as being tied primarily to the capacity for logical reasoning, and speculates that human proclivity for music may be a spandrel — a feature not adaptive in its own right, but that has persisted through other traits that are more broadly practical, and thus selected for. In How the Mind Works, Pinker reiterates Immanuel Kant‘s view that music is not in itself an important cognitive phenomenon, but that it happens to stimulate important auditory and spatio-motor cognitive functions. Pinker compares music to “auditory cheesecake”, stating that “As far as biological cause and effect is concerned, music is useless”. This argument has been rejected by Daniel Levitin and Joseph Carroll, experts in music cognition, who argue that music has had an important role in the evolution of human cognition.[40][41][42][43][44][45] In his book This Is Your Brain On Music, Levitin argues that music could provide adaptive advantage through sexual selectionsocial bonding, and cognitive development; he questions the assumption that music is the antecedent to language, as opposed to its progenitor, noting that many species display music-like habits that could be seen as precursors to human music.[46]

Pinker has also been critical of “whole language” reading instruction techniques, stating in How the Mind Works, “… the dominant technique, called ‘whole language,’ the insight that [spoken] language is a naturally developing human instinct has been garbled into the evolutionarily improbable claim that reading is a naturally developing human instinct.”[47] In the appendix to the 2007 reprinted edition of The Language Instinct, Pinker cited Why Our Children Can’t Read by cognitive psychologist Diane McGuinness as his favorite book on the subject and noted:

One raging public debate involving language went unmentioned in The Language Instinct: the “reading wars,” or dispute over whether children should be explicitly taught to read by decoding the sounds of words from their spelling (loosely known as “phonics“) or whether they can develop it instinctively by being immersed in a text-rich environment (often called “whole language”). I tipped my hand in the paragraph in [the sixth chapter of the book] which said that language is an instinct but reading is not.[48] Like most psycholinguists (but apparently unlike many school boards), I think it’s essential for children to be taught to become aware of speech sounds and how they are coded in strings of letters.[49]

The Better Angels of Our Nature[edit]

Violence in the middle ages: detail from “Mars” in Das Mittelalterliche Hausbuch, c. 1475 – 1480. The image is used by Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature, with the comment “as the Housebook illustrations suggest, [the knights] did not restrict their killing to other knights”.[50]

In The Better Angels of Our Nature, published in 2011, Pinker argues that violence, including tribal warfare, homicide, cruel punishments, child abuse, animal cruelty, domestic violence, lynching, pogroms, and international and civil wars, has decreased over multiple scales of time and magnitude. Pinker considers it unlikely that human nature has changed. In his view, it is more likely that human nature comprises inclinations toward violence and those that counteract them, the “better angels of our nature”. He outlines six ‘major historical declines of violence’ that all have their own socio/cultural/economic causes:[51]

  1. “The Pacification Process” – The rise of organized systems of government has a correlative relationship with the decline in violent deaths. As states expand they prevent tribal feuding, reducing losses.
  2. “The Civilizing Process” – Consolidation of centralized states and kingdoms throughout Europe results in the rise of criminal justice and commercial infrastructure, organizing previously chaotic systems that could lead to raiding and mass violence.
  3. “The Humanitarian Revolution” – The 18th – 20th century abandonment of institutionalized violence by the state (breaking on the wheel, burning at the stake). Suggests this is likely due to the spike in literacy after the invention of the printing press thereby allowing the proletariat to question conventional wisdom.
  4. “The Long Peace” – The powers of 20th Century believed that period of time to be the bloodiest in history. This to a largely peaceful 65-year period post World War I and World War II. Developed countries have stopped warring (against each other and colonially), adopted democracy, and this has led a massive decline (on average) of deaths.
  5. “The New Peace” – The decline in organized conflicts of all kinds since the end of the Cold War.
  6. “The Rights Revolutions” – The reduction of systemic violence at smaller scales against vulnerable populations (racial minorities, women, children, homosexuals, animals).

The book was welcomed by many critics and reviewers, who found its arguments convincing and its synthesis of a large volume of historical evidence compelling.[52][53][54][55][56] It also aroused criticism on a variety of grounds, such as whether deaths per capita was an appropriate metric, Pinker’s atheism, lack of moral leadership, excessive focus on Europe (though the book covers other areas), the interpretation of historical data, and its image of indigenous people.[57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66][67]

English writing style in the 21st century[edit]

In his seventh popular book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century (2014), Pinker attempts to provide a writing style guide that is informed by modern science and psychology, offering advice on how to produce more comprehensible and unambiguous writing in nonfiction contexts and explaining why so much of today’s academic and popular writing is difficult for readers to understand.

In a November 2014 episode of the Point of Inquiry podcast, host Lindsay Beyerstein, asked Pinker how his style guide was different from the many guides that already exist. His answer,

The Thinking Person’s Guide because I don’t issue dictates from on high as most manuals do but explain why the various guidelines will improve writing, what they do for language, what they do for the reader’s experience, in the hope that the users will apply the rules judiciously knowing what they are designed to accomplish, rather than robotically.[68]

He also indicated that the 21st century was applicable because language and usage change over time and it has been a long time since William Strunk wrote Elements of Style.[68]

Public debate[edit]

Pinker is a frequent participant in public debates surrounding the contributions of science to contemporary society. Social commentators such as Ed West, author of The Diversity Illusion, consider Pinker important and daring in his willingness to confront taboos, as in The Blank Slate. This doctrine (the tabula rasa), writes West, remained accepted “as fact, rather than fantasy”[69] a decade after the book’s publication. West describes Pinker as “no polemicist, and he leaves readers to draw their own conclusions”.[69]

In January 2005, Pinker defended Lawrence Summers, president of Harvard University, whose comments about a gender gap in mathematics and science angered much of the faculty. Pinker noted that Summers’s remarks, properly understood, were hypotheses about overlapping statistical distributions of men’s and women’s talents and tastes, and that in a university such hypotheses ought to be the subject of empirical testing rather than dogma and outrage.[70] Edge.org ran a debate between Pinker and Elizabeth Spelke on gender and science.[71]

In 2009, Pinker wrote a mixed review of Malcolm Gladwell‘s essays in The New York Times criticizing his analytical methods.[72] Gladwell replied, disputing Pinker’s comments about the importance of IQ on teaching performance and by analogy, the effect, if any, of draft order on quarterback performance in the National Football League.[73] Advanced NFL Stats addressed the issue statistically, siding with Pinker and showing that differences in methodology could explain the two men’s differing opinions.[74]

In 2009, David Shenk criticized Pinker for siding with the “nature” argument and for “never once acknowledg[ing] gene-environment interaction or epigenetics” in an article on nature versus nurture in The New York Times.[75] Pinker responded to a question about epigenetics as a possibility for the decline in violence in a lecture for the BBC World Service. Pinker said it was unlikely since the decline in violence happened too rapidly to be explained by genetic changes.[76] Helga Vierich and Cathryn Townsend wrote a critical review of Pinker’s sweeping “Civilizational” explanations for patterns of human violence and warfare in response to a lecture he gave at Cambridge University in September 2015.[77]

Steven Pinker is also noted for having identified the rename of Phillip Morris to Altria as an “egregious example” of phonesthesia, with the company attempting to “switch its image from bad people who sell addictive carcinogens to a place or state marked by altruism and other lofty values”.[78]

Pinker continued to court controversy through his 2018 book Enlightenment Now, in which he argues that enlightenment rationality has driven tremendous progress and should be defended against attacks from both the left and right. The Guardian criticized the book as a “triumphalist” work that has a “curious relationship to intellectual history” and overestimates the role of campus activists in mainstream discourse.[79] While promoting the book on the NPR show 1A, Pinker caused a minor social media backlash when he said that “I don’t think Malcolm X did the world much good.”[80][81][82]

In a debate with Pinker, post-colonial theorist Homi Bhabha argued that Enlightenment Now sees the perils of the modern age such as slavery, imperialism, world wars, genocide, inequality etc as glitches rather than costs for enlightenment’s gifts. But Pinker responded that the natural state of humanity has been poverty and disease, and knowledge has improved human welfare.[83]

Awards and distinctions[edit]

Pinker in Göttingen, 2010

Pinker was named one of Time‘s 100 most influential people in the world in 2004[84] and one of Prospect and Foreign Policy100 top public intellectuals in both years the poll was carried out, 2005[85] and 2008;[86] in 2010 and 2011 he was named by Foreign Policy to its list of top global thinkers.[87][88] In 2016, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.[89]

His research in cognitive psychology has won the Early Career Award (1984) and Boyd McCandless Award (1986) from the American Psychological Association, the Troland Research Award (1993) from the National Academy of Sciences, the Henry Dale Prize (2004) from the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and the George Miller Prize (2010) from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. He has also received honorary doctorates from the universities of NewcastleSurreyTel AvivMcGillSimon Fraser University and the University of Tromsø. He was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, in 1998 and in 2003. On May 13, 2006, he received the American Humanist Association‘s Humanist of the Year award for his contributions to public understanding of human evolution.[90]

Pinker has served on the editorial boards of journals such as Cognition, Daedalus, and PLOS One, and on the advisory boards of institutions for scientific research (e.g., the Allen Institute for Brain Science), free speech (e.g., the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), the popularization of science (e.g., the World Science Festival and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry), peace (e.g., the Peace Research Endowment), and secular humanism (e.g., the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the Secular Coalition for America).

Since 2008, he has chaired the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and wrote the essay on usage for the fifth edition of the Dictionary, which was published in 2011.

In February 2001 Steven Pinker, “whose hair has long been the object of admiration, and envy, and intense study”,[91] was nominated by acclamation as the first member of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS) organized by the Annals of Improbable Research.

Bibliography[edit]

Books[edit]

Articles and essays[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ C-SPAN | BookTV “In Depth with Steven Pinker” November 2nd 2008
  2. ^ “Steven Pinker”Desert Island Discs. 30 June 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  3. ^ Pinker, S. (2009). Language Learnability and Language Development, With New Commentary by the Author. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674042179. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  4. ^ https://mobile.twitter.com/sapinker/status/990944371578109952
  5. ^ Annie Maccoby Berglof «At home: Steven Pinker»
  6. ^ Curious Minds: How a Child Becomes a Scientist
  7. ^ Pinker, Steven (June 26, 2006). “Groups and Genes”The New Republic. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  8. ^ Shermer, Michael (2001-03-01). The Pinker Instinct. Altadena, CA: Skeptics Society & Skeptic Magazine. Retrieved 11 September 2007.
  9. ^ Steven Pinker: the mind reader The Guardian Accessed 25 November 2006.
  10. ^ Biography for Steven Pinker at imdb. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
  11. ^ “How Steven Pinker Works” by Kristin E. Blagg Archived 2014-10-17 at the Wayback MachineThe Harvard Crimson Accessed 3 February 2006.
  12. ^ Curriculum Vitae (PDF)Harvard University, retrieved June 23, 2017
  13. ^ Pinker, Steven. “Official Biography. Harvard University”. Pinker.wjh.harvard.edu. Archived from the original on 29 December 2005. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  14. ^ “The professoriate” Archived June 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., New College of the Humanities. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  15. ^ “Professor Stephen Pinker”, New College of the Humanities. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  16. ^ “Steven Pinker: the mind reader” by Ed Douglas The Guardian Accessed 3 February 2006.
  17. ^ Pinker, Steven (2002), The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human NaturePenguin PutnamISBN 0-670-03151-8.
  18. ^ Pinker, Steven, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (Viking, 2002), p. 341
  19. ^ “My Genome, My Self” by Steven Pinker The New York Times Sunday MagazineAccessed 10 April 2010.
  20. ^ “DNA and You – Personalized Genomics Goes Jewish”The Forward. 12 August 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  21. Jump up to:a b Grothe, D.J. (23 February 2007). “Podcast:Steven Pinker – Evolutionary Psychology and Human Nature”. Point of Inquiry with D.J. Grothe. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  22. ^ The nature of the language faculty and its implications for evolution of language
  23. Jump up to:a b c Pinker, Steven. “Steven Pinker: Long Biography”. Harvard University. Archived from the original on 29 December 2005. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  24. ^ Pinker has written a piece on The Irregular Verbs Archived 2014-06-06 at the Wayback Machine., stating that “I like the Irregular verbs of English, all 180 of them, because of what they tell us about the history of the language and the human minds that have perpetuated it.
  25. Jump up to:a b c Pinker, Steven. “Words and rules (essay)” (PDF). Harvard University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 August 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  26. ^ Pinker, S. & Bloom, P. (1990). Natural language and natural selection. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (4): 707‐784
  27. Jump up to:a b Christine Kenneally“Language Development:The First Word. The Search for the Origins of Language”. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14.
  28. ^ “The 20th Anniversary of Steven Pinker & Paul Bloom: Natural Language and Natural Selection (1990)”. Replicatedtypo.com.
  29. Jump up to:a b c Pinker, Steven (1994). The Language Instinct. Penguin. pp. 23–24.
  30. Jump up to:a b Pinker, Steven (1998). “Obituary: Roger Brown” (PDF)Cognition66: 199–213 (see page 205). doi:10.1016/s0010-0277(98)00027-4. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2015-05-18.
  31. ^ Kagan, Jerome (1999). “Roger William Brown 1925-1997” (PDF)Biographical Memoirs77: 7.
  32. ^ “The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate”. University of Sussex.
  33. Jump up to:a b “Empiricism v. Nativism: Nature or Nurture?”. GRSampson.net. Retrieved 8 June2014.. More at The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate
  34. ^ Cowley, S. J. (2001). The baby, the bathwater and the “language instinct” debate. Language Sciences, 23(1), 69-91.
  35. ^ Aleksander, Igor (1996). Impossible Minds. pp. 228–234. ISBN 1-86094-030-7.
  36. Jump up to:a b Sailer, Steve (30 October 2002). “Q&A: Steven Pinker of ‘Blank Slate. United Press International. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  37. ^ Pinker, Steven. “Words and Rules (book)”. Harvard University. Archived from the original on March 30, 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  38. Jump up to:a b Yang, Charles (24 August 2000). “Dig-dug, think-thunk (review of Words and Rules by Steven Pinker)”London Review of Books22 (6): 33.
  39. ^ Pinker, Steven. “The Stuff of Thought”. Harvard University. Archived from the originalon 9 May 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  40. ^ Levitin, D. J.; Tirovolas, A. K. (2009). “Current Advances in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Music”. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences1156: 211–231. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04417.xPMID 19338510.
  41. ^ Perlovsky L. Music. Cognitive Function, Origin, And Evolution Of Musical Emotions. WebmedCentral PSYCHOLOGY 2011;2(2):WMC001494
  42. ^ Abbott, Alison (2002). “Neurobiology: Music, maestro, please!”. Nature416: 12–14. doi:10.1038/416012a.
  43. ^ Cross, I. (1999). Is music the most important thing we ever did? Music, development and evolution. [preprint (html)] [preprint (pdf)] In Suk Won Yi (Ed.), Music, mind and science (pp 10–39), Seoul: Seoul National University Press.
  44. ^ “Interview with Daniel Levitin”. Pbs.org. May 20, 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  45. ^ Carroll, Joseph (1998). “Steven Pinker’s Cheesecake For The Mind”. Cogweb.ucla.edu. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  46. ^ Levitin, Daniel. 2006. This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, New York: Dutton/Penguin.
  47. ^ Pinker, Steven (1997), How the Mind Works, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, p. 342
  48. ^ Pinker, Steven (2007), The Language Instinct (3rd ed.), New York: Harper Perennial, p. 186
  49. ^ Pinker, Steven (2007), The Language Instinct (3rd ed.), New York: Harper Perennial, pp. PS14
  50. ^ Pinker, Steven (2011). The Better Angels of Our Nature. Allen Lane. p66
  51. ^ Pinker, Steven. “The Decline of Violence”. IAI. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  52. ^ Horgan, John (October 3, 2011). “Will War Ever End? Steven Pinker’s new book reveals an ever more peaceable species: humankind”Slate.
  53. ^ Boyd, Neil (January 4, 2012). “The Empirical Evidence for Declining Violence”HuffPost.
  54. ^ Brittan, Samuel (22 October 2011). “The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and its Causes by Stephen Pinker”The Spectator.
  55. ^ Coffman, Scott (28 September 2012). “Book Review: ‘The Better Angels of Our NatureCourier Journal. Archived from the original on 19 January 2013.
  56. ^ Kohn, Marek (7 October 2011). “Book Review: ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and its Causes’, By Steven Pinker”The Independent. UK.
  57. ^ Epstein, R. (October 2011). “Book Review”Scientific American.
  58. ^ Boyd, Neil (January 4, 2012). “The Empirical Evidence for Declining Violence”HuffPost.
  59. ^ Gray, John (21 September 2011). “Delusions of peace”Prospect Magazine. UK.
  60. ^ “Correspondence”. Claremont Review of Books. 2012-05-02. Archived from the original on 20 December 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  61. ^ Herman, Edward S.; Peterson, David. “Steven Pinker on the alleged decline of violence”International Socialist Review.
  62. ^ Edward S. Herman and David Peterson (2012-09-13). “Reality Denial: Steven Pinker’s Apologetics for Western-Imperial Volence”. Retrieved 2014-12-30.
  63. ^ Kolbert, Elizabeth (3 October 2011). “Peace In Our Time: Steven Pinker’s History of Violence in Decline”The New Yorker.
  64. ^ Pinker, Steven (November 2011). “Frequently Asked Questions about The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined”.
  65. ^ Laws, Ben (21 March 2012). “Against Pinker’s Violence”Ctheory.
  66. ^ “The Big Kill – By John Arquilla”Foreign Policy. 2012-12-03. Retrieved 22 January2013.
  67. ^ Corry, Stephen. “The case of the ‘Brutal Savage’: Poirot or Clouseau?: Why Steven Pinker, like Jared Diamond, is wrong” (PDF). Survival International. Retrieved 30 May2014. (Summary at The myth of the ‘Brutal Savage’)
  68. Jump up to:a b “Steven Pinker: Using Grammar as a Tool, Not as a Weapon”Point of InquiryCenter for Inquiry. 10 November 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  69. Jump up to:a b West, Ed (17 August 2012). “A decade after Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate, why is human nature still taboo?”The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  70. ^ “PSYCHOANALYSIS Q-and-A: Steven Pinker” The Harvard Crimson Accessed 8 February 2006.
  71. ^ “The Science of Gender and Science: Pinker Vs. Spelke, A Debate”. Edge.org. 16 May 2005. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  72. ^ Pinker, Steven (2009-11-15). “Malcolm Gladwell, Eclectic Detective”The New York Times.
  73. ^ “Let’s Go to the Tape”The New York Times. 2009-11-29.
  74. ^ Burke, Brian (2010-04-22). “Steven Pinker vs. Malcolm Gladwell and Drafting QBs”. Advanced NFL Stats. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  75. ^ Steven Pinker’s “probabilistic” genes, David Shenk
  76. ^ Exchanges At The Frontier 2011“, BBC.
  77. ^ Human violence and morality http://online.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/doi/pdf/10.3828/hgr.2015.7
  78. ^ Pinker, Steven (2007). The Stuff of Thought. Penguin Books. p. 304.
  79. ^ Davies, William (2018-02-14). “Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker review – life is getting better”The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  80. ^ “Steven Pinker Looks At The Bright Side”1A. Feb 14, 2018. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  81. ^ “Paloma Saenz on Twitter”Twitter. Retrieved 2018-05-12.[non-primary source needed]
  82. ^ “David on Twitter”Twitter. Retrieved 2018-05-12.[non-primary source needed]
  83. ^ “Does the Enlightenment Need Defending?”IAI TV – Philosophy for our times: cutting edge debates and talks from the world’s leading thinkers. 2018-09-13. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  84. ^ “Steven Pinker: How Our Minds Evolved” by Robert Wright Archived 2005-12-30 at the Wayback MachineTime Accessed 8 February 2006.
  85. ^ “The Prospect/FP Top 100 Public Intellectuals” Archived 2009-12-01 at the Wayback MachineForeign Policy (free registration required) Accessed 2006-082-08
  86. ^ “Intellectuals”Prospect. 2009. Archived from the original on September 30, 2009.
  87. ^ “The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers (2010)”Foreign Policy. Foreignpolicy.com. 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-12-03. 69. Steven Pinker
  88. ^ “The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers (2011)”Foreign Policy. Foreignpolicy.com. 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-01-30. 48. Steven Pinker: For Looking on Bright Side
  89. ^ National Academy of Sciences Members and Foreign Associates Elected, News from the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, May 3, 2016, retrieved 2016-05-14.
  90. ^ “Steven Pinker Receives Humanist of the Year Award”American Humanist Association. May 12, 2006. Archived from the original on June 15, 2006.
  91. ^ “The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists”Annals of Improbable Research. Retrieved 2018-01-14.

External links[edit]

Interviews[edit]

Filmed talks[edit]

Debates[edit]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Pinker

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Richard Condon — The Whisper of The Axe– The Manchurian Candidate — Prizzi’s Honor — Videos

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The Manchurian Candidate – opening scene

The Manchurian Candidate Interviews(1962 film)

The Manchurian Candidate (1962) – Assassination Scene (12/12) | Movieclips

The Remaker: The Manchurian Candidate 1962 vs. 2004

The Manchurian Candidate (1962): Classical Film Review

The Manchurian Candidate – Film, Literature and the New World Order

Anjelica Huston-Prizzi’s Honor-“You wanna do it Charlie” scene

Prizzis Honor 1985

Prizzi’s Honor

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Prizzis Honor 1985

AVE MARIA

Anjelica Huston – Prizzi’s Honor – last scene

About the Archive

This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.

Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems. Please send reports of such problems to archive_feedback@nytimes.com.

Richard Condon, the fiendishly inventive novelist and political satirist who wrote “The Manchurian Candidate,” “Winter Kills” and “Prizzi’s Honor,” among other books, died yesterday at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. He was 81.

Novelist is too limited a word to encompass the world of Mr. Condon. He was also a visionary, a darkly comic conjurer, a student of American mythology and a master of conspiracy theories, as vividly demonstrated in “The Manchurian Candidate.” That novel, published in 1959, subsequently became a cult film classic, directed by John Frankenheimer. In this spellbinding story, Raymond Shaw, an American prisoner of war (played in the film by Laurence Harvey), is brainwashed and becomes a Communist agent and assassin.

When the 1962 film was re-released in 1988, Janet Maslin wrote in The New York Times that it was “arguably the most chilling piece of cold war paranoia ever committed to film, yet by now it has developed a kind of innocence.”

Mr. Condon was a popular novelist who earned serious critical attention, although he did not always win favorable reviews. His response: “I’m a man of the marketplace as well as an artist.” And he added, “I’m a pawnbroker of myth.” Though others made claims that his novels were prophetic, he admitted only that they were “sometimes about five and a half minutes ahead of their time.”

In “Winter Kills,” a President, evidently modeled on John F. Kennedy, is assassinated in a conspiracy involving the Central Intelligence Agency and the underworld. Obsessed by politics, Mr. Condon once said: “Every book I’ve ever written has been about the abuse of power. I feel very strongly about that. I’d like people to know how deeply their politicians are wronging them.” That abuse could be in contemporary life or as long ago as the 15th century, as in his novel “A Trembling Upon Rome.”

Continue reading the main story

Politicians like Senator Joseph R. McCarthy and President Richard M. Nixon appeared in various guises in his work, Nixon as Walter Slurrie in “Death of a Politician.” Speaking about politics and political thrillers, Mr. Condon once said, “It’s the villains that make good literature, because they’re the only ones in the story who know what they want.”

He did not write his first novel until he was 42, but, once started, he never stopped. The first, “The Oldest Confession” (1958), was filmed as “The Happy Thieves,” starring Rex Harrison and Rita Hayworth. The novel was a success, but the film was a failure, whereas the second, “The Manchurian Candidate,” was popular in both forms. Eventually he wrote 26 novels and two works of nonfiction, “And Then We Moved to Rossenarra,” a memoir of the years he lived in Ireland, and “The Mexican Stove,” a cookbook he wrote with his daughter Wendy Jackson.

When asked how he knew so much about crime families, he said he first learned about the subject as a boy on the streets of Washington Heights. He was born in Manhattan and graduated from De Witt Clinton High School. Because his grades were so poor, he never went to college. He worked as an elevator operator, a hotel clerk and a waiter, then sold an article to Esquire magazine. While working as a copywriter for an advertising agency, he met a model named Evelyn Hunt, whom he married in 1938. Copywriting led him into movie publicity, with his first stop the Disney organization.

For 22 years, he was a movie publicist, working for almost every major Hollywood studio. With characteristic panache, he later described himself as “a drummer boy for the gnomes and elves of the silver screen.” During this period, he saturated himself with movies, watching eight a week. They were, he said, mostly bad films, but they taught him the art of storytelling and the need for the novelist to be entertaining.

In the late 1950’s, he left Hollywood and returned to New York to become a novelist. The idea for “The Oldest Confession” came while he was on location with “The Pride and the Passion” at El Escorial, outside Madrid. Fascinated by Old Master paintings, he wrote his book about art thievery. The consecutive success of “The Oldest Confession” and “The Manchurian Candidate” enabled him to devote himself to fiction.

In 1959, he began a series of migrations, first to Mexico, then to Switzerland, finally to Ireland. His travels added to his backlog of knowledge, but he continued to set most of his novels in the United States. Through the 1960’s and into the 70’s, his books received mixed reviews, with some of the more admiring notices going to “An Infinity of Mirrors” in 1964. “Winter Kills,” in 1974, drew favorable attention, with Christopher Lehmann-Haupt saying in his review in The Times that it was “a grand entertainment” and “the best book Mr. Condon has written since ‘The Manchurian Candidate.’ “

After writing a series of novels in Ireland, Mr. Condon moved back to the United States, settling in Dallas in 1980. In Texas, he had his next comeback, with “Prizzi’s Honor,” about the Prizzi family of mobsters in Brooklyn. John Huston turned the novel into a hit film, starring Jack Nicholson, Kathleen Turner and Anjelica Huston. The screenplay, by Mr. Condon and Janet Roach, was nominated for an Academy Award. Several years later, Mr. Condon completed the fictional cycle with “Prizzi’s Family,” “Prizzi’s Glory” and “Prizzi’s Money,” published in 1994.

Among his other novels are “Some Angry Angel,” “A Talent for Loving,” “Arigato” and “Emperor of America.”

Throughout his life, Mr. Condon displayed a wry, even diabolical streak. He often named his characters after real people. For example, the characters in Raymond Shaw’s infantry squad in “The Manchurian Candidate” were named for people associated with the Phil Silvers television show, “You’ll Never Get Rich.” His longest-running character, Dr. Weiler, was named after A. H. Weiler, a former film critic for The Times. In various Condon novels, Dr. Weiler turns up as an obstetrician, a cardiologist, a psychiatrist and the royal physician.

Mr. Condon is survived by his wife; two daughters, Ms. Jackson, of Dallas, and Deborah Condon, who lives near Salisbury in England, and three grandchildren.

Brainwashed

Where the “Manchurian Candidate” came from.

Most people know John Frankenheimer’s movie “The Manchurian Candidate,” which stars Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, and Angela Lansbury in the story of an American soldier who is captured in Korea and programmed by Chinese Communists to kill on command. And most people probably think of the movie as a classic of Cold War culture, like “On the Beach” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”—a popular work articulating the anxieties of an era. In fact, “The Manchurian Candidate” was a flop. It was released in the fall of 1962, failed to recover its costs, and was pulled from distribution two years later, after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It turned up a few times on television, but it was not shown in a movie theatre again until 1987, which—nearly the end of the Cold War—is the year its popularity dates from. The true artifact of Cold War culture is the novel, by Richard Condon, that the movie was based on.

Condon’s book came out in 1959 and was a best-seller. It was praised in the Times (“a wild, vigorous, curiously readable melange”) and The New Yorker (“a wild and exhilarating satire”); Time named it one of the Ten Best Bad Novels—which, from a publisher’s point of view, is far from the worst thing that might be said about a book. The novel’s success made Condon rich; he spent most of the rest of his life abroad, producing many more works in the genre that Timehad identified, including “Winter Kills,” in 1974, and, in 1982, “Prizzi’s Honor.” His adaptation of that novel for the John Huston movie received an Academy Award nomination in 1986. He died in 1996.

Condon was a cynic of the upbeat type, not unlike Tom Wolfe: his belief that everything is basically shit did not get in the way of his pleasure in making fun of it. He learned that attitude in the finest school for it on earth, Hollywood. Before he was a novelist, Condon was a movie publicist. He began, in 1936, at Walt Disney Productions, where he promoted “Fantasia” and “Dumbo,” among other animated masterpieces, and moved on to a succession of studios, finishing up at United Artists, which he left in 1957. He didn’t know what he wanted to do next; he just wanted out. “The only thing I knew how to do was spell,” he later explained, so he did the logical thing and became a writer. Condon claimed that his work in Hollywood had given him three ulcers. He also claimed that he had seen, during his years there, ten thousand movies, an experience that he believed gave him (his words) “an unconscious grounding in storytelling.”

Frankenheimer called “The Manchurian Candidate” “one of the best books I ever read,” but admirers of Frankenheimer’s movie have not been so gracious. Greil Marcus, in a characteristically overheated appreciation of the movie in the British Film Institute’s Film Classics series, calls the novel a “cheaply paranoid fantasy,” and he goes on, “That the story would lodge in the nation’s psyche and stay there was the work of other hands.” The film historian David Thomson describes it as “a book written so that an idiot could film it.” No doubt Condon wrote “The Manchurian Candidate” with a movie deal in mind. It was his second novel; his first, called “The Oldest Confession,” was also made into a movie—“The Happy Thieves,” starring Rex Harrison (a flop that stayed a flop). But the claim that Condon’s “Manchurian Candidate” is not much more than a draft for the screenplay (which was written by George Axelrod, the author of “The Seven Year Itch”) is peculiar. Michael Crichton writes books that any idiot can film; he practically supplies camera angles. But Condon’s is not an easy book to film, in part because its tone is not readily imitated cinematically, and in part because much of it is, or was in 1962, virtually unfilmable. Strange as the movie is—a thriller teetering on the edge of camp—the book is stranger.

Time, a magazine whose editors, after all, have daily experience with overcooked prose, was not wrong in seeing something splendid in the badness of Condon’s book. “The Manchurian Candidate” may be pulp, but it is very tony pulp. It is a man in a tartan tuxedo, chicken à la king with shaved truffles, a signed LeRoy Neiman. It’s Mickey Spillane with an M.F.A., and a kind of summa of the styles of paperback fiction circa 1959. The writing is sometimes hardboiled:

The slightest touchy thing he said to her could knock the old cat over sideways with an off-key moan. But what could he do? He had elected himself Head Chump when he stepped down from Valhalla and telephoned this sweaty little advantage-taker.

Sometimes it adopts a police-blotter, “degree-zero” mode:

“Thank you, Major. Dismiss,” the general said. Marco left the office at four twenty-one in the afternoon. General Jorgenson shot himself to death at four fifty-five.

Occasionally, and usually in an inconvenient place, it drops a mot recherché:

Raymond’s mother came out of her chair, spitting langrel. [“Langrel”: irregular pieces of iron loaded into shell casings for the purpose of ripping the enemy’s sails in naval battles; obsolete.]

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A Hundred Years of American Protest, Then and Now

He clutched the telephone like an osculatorium and did not allow himself to think about what lay beyond that instant. [“Osculatorium”: medieval Latin, for a tablet that is kissed during the Mass. There appears to be no connotation involving clutching.]

It signals feeling by waxing poetic:

Such an instant ago he had paddled their wide canoe across that lake of purple wine toward a pin of light high in the sky which would widen and widen and widen while she slept until it had blanched the blackness.

It signals wisdom by waxing incomprehensible:

There is an immutable phrase at large in the languages of the world that places fabulous ransom on every word in it: The love of a good woman. It means what it says and no matter what the perspective or stains of the person who speaks it, the phrase defies devaluing. The bitter and the kind can chase each other around it, this mulberry bush of truth and consequence, and the kind may convert the bitter and the bitter may emasculate the kind but neither can change its meaning because the love of a good woman does not give way to arbitrage.

And, when appropriate, it salivates:

Her lithe, solid figure seemed even more superb because of her flawless carriage. She wore a Chinese dressing gown of a shade so light that it complemented the contrasting color of her eyes. Her long and extremely beautiful legs were stretched out before her on the chaise longue, and any man but her son or her husband, seeing what she had and yet knowing that this magnificent forty-nine-year-old body was only a wasted uniform covering blunted neural energy, might have wept over such a waste.

Some people like their bananas ripe to the point of blackness. “The Manchurian Candidate” is a very ripe banana, and, for those who have the taste for it, delectable.

The magnificent forty-nine-yearold body in the last passage belongs to the mother of Raymond, the assassin, who in Frankenheimer’s movie is played by Angela Lansbury as a proper and steely middle-aged matron. For Condon, though, Raymond’s mother is no matron. She is a sexually predatory heroin addict who commits double incest. She is the serpent in the suburban garden of Cold War domesticity, and, in imagining her and her history, Condon almost certainly had in the back of his mind the book that, three years earlier, had become the first blockbuster in American publishing, Grace Metalious’s “Peyton Place”—a story that also had to be sanitized for the movies. The plot of “Peyton Place” turns on incest (as, for that matter, does the plot of “Lolita,” a sensation when the American edition came out, in 1958). But the luridness of Condon’s novel did not make it to the screen. There is no equivalent in the movie, for example, of the proto-Pynchonesque sequence in which Raymond’s stepfather, Johnny Iselin, attempts to have sex with an Eskimo. Frankenheimer’s idea of satire was a lot more conventional than Condon’s. He was also a Hollywood filmmaker, of course, and obliged to observe a different decorum.

Counterintuitive as it sounds, the secret to making a successful thriller, as Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy have demonstrated, is to slow down the action occasionally with disquisitions on Stuff It Is Interesting to Know—how airplanes are made, how nuclear submarines work, how to build an atomic bomb. Ideally, this information is also topical, food for the national appetite of the day. In “The Manchurian Candidate,” the topic is brainwashing.

Fear of Communist brainwashing seems an example of Cold War hysteria, but in the nineteen-fifties the fear was not without basis. United Nations ground forces began military action in Korea on July 5, 1950. On July 9th, an American soldier who had been captured just two days earlier delivered a radio speech consisting of North Korean propaganda. Similar broadcasts by captured soldiers continued throughout the war. At the end of the war, the Army estimated that one out of every seven American prisoners of war had collaborated with the enemy. (The final, generally accepted estimate is one out of ten.) Twenty-one Americans refused to return to the United States; forty announced that they had become Communists; and fourteen were court-martialled, and eleven of those were convicted.

The term “brainwashing” was coined by a journalist named Edward Hunter, who had served in the Morale Operations section of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services during the Second World War, which he spent mostly in Asia, and who became an outspoken anti-Communist. Hunter’s book “Brainwashing in Red China: The Calculated Destruction of Men’s Minds” appeared in 1951. In it, he explained that “brainwashing” was his translation of the Chinese term hsi-nao, which means “cleansing of the mind,” and which he said he had heard frequently when speaking with Europeans who had been caught inside China in 1949, the year of Mao’s revolution.

In 1955, two years after the armistice ending the Korean War, the Army issued a huge report on the treatment of American prisoners called “POW: The Fight Continues After the Battle.” The Army had interviewed all surviving prisoners of war on the ships that brought them back across the Pacific—more than four thousand soldiers—and had learned that many of them underwent intensive indoctrination by Chinese Communists. The Chinese had carefully segregated the prisoners they had identified as incorrigibles, sometimes housing them in separate camps, and had subjected the prisoners they judged to be potential converts to five hours of indoctrination a day, in classes that combined propaganda by the instructors with “confessions” by the prisoners. In some cases, physical torture accompanied the indoctrination, but in general the Chinese used the traditional methods of psychological coercion: repetition and humiliation. The Army discovered that a shocking number of prisoners had, to one degree or another, succumbed. Some were persuaded to accuse the United States, in signed statements, of engaging in germ warfare—a charge that was untrue but was widely believed in many countries.

The Army report instigated a popular obsession with brainwashing that lasted well into 1957. Stories about the experiences of American prisoners appeared in The Saturday Evening PostLife, the Times Magazine, and The New Yorker. The term itself became a synonym for any sort of effective persuasion, and writers struggled with the question of whether aspects of contemporary American life, such as advertising and psychiatric therapy, might really be forms of brainwashing. Condon must have read much of this material; he did know Andrew Salter’s “Conditioned Reflex Therapy” (1949), a book he has the Chinese psychiatrist in his novel, Yen Lo, cite in the speech in which he announces his successful brainwashing of the American prisoners. Yen Lo names a number of other studies of hypnosis and conditioning, including “The Seduction of the Innocent,” by Frederic Wertham, an alarmist account of the way comic books corrupt the minds of American youth. (Yen Lo evidently has, in addition to his other exceptional powers, a crystal ball, since “Seduction of the Innocent” was not published until 1954, after the Korean War was over.) These books and articles apparently persuaded Condon that brainwashing, or psychological conditioning using a combination of hypnosis and Pavlovian methods, was a real possibility—as the recent experience of the Korean P.O.W.s had persuaded many other Americans that it was.

Condon’s book played on the fear that brainwashing could be permanent, that minds could be altered forever. By the time Frankenheimer’s movie came out, though, it had become clear that most conditioning is temporary. In 1961, in “Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of ‘Brainwashing’ in China,” the psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, who had conducted some of the shipboard interviews with returning P.O.W.s, concluded that the indoctrination of prisoners was a long-term failure. All of the “converts” eventually returned to the United States, and the former prisoners who had come home praising the good life to be had in North Korea soon reverted to American views.

Still, conditioning is the theme (if “theme” is not too grand a term) of Condon’s novel. Even before Raymond falls into the hands of Yen Lo, he is psychologically conditioned, by his mother’s behavior, to despise everyone. His mother is conditioned, by her early incest, to betray everyone. And the American people are conditioned, by political propaganda, to believe her McCarthy-like husband’s baseless charges about Communists in the government. It is not, in Condon’s vision, the Communist world on one side and the free world on the other. It is just the manipulators and the manipulated, the conditioners and the conditioned, the publicists and the public. In such a world, it’s probably better to be the publicist, if you can deal with the ulcers.

Frank Sinatra, who plays Marco, the only friend Raymond has, is supposed to have asked his friend Jack Kennedy for his approval before Frankenheimer’s movie was released. United Artists was apparently afraid that the assassination scene might give some nut an idea. Kennedy, as it happened, loved the movie; he was, after all, the world’s most famous Ian Fleming fan. He was killed a year after “The Manchurian Candidate” came out. Did Lee Harvey Oswald see it? The problem has been examined in depth by John Loken, in a book called “Oswald’s Trigger Films” (2000). Loken concludes that although the evidence is not definitive, Oswald almost certainly did see it. “The Manchurian Candidate” opened in Dallas in November, 1962, and played there for several months; Oswald, who was living in Dallas at the time, had a habit of going to the movies by himself (he was in a movie theatre when he was arrested on November 22, 1963); and Loken has determined that the bus Oswald probably took to work passed within ten yards of a theatre where the movie was playing. (Loken is much struck by the fact that references to “The Manchurian Candidate” are almost nonexistent in the literature, official and otherwise, on the Kennedy assassination. He concludes, in the spirit of all scholars of that assassination, that “the probable Oswald connection, so utterly obvious if one but thinks about it, has been suppressed for decades by a powerful conglomerate that might aptly be called the ‘media-entertainment complex.’ ”)

Immediately after Kennedy was shot, Condon got a call from a newspaper reporter asking if he felt responsible. Condon couldn’t see the relevance, and he was not being defensive. He had not introduced political assassination to popular American culture. Robert Penn Warren’s “All the King’s Men” was published in 1946 and was made into a movie in 1949; a version for television, directed by Sidney Lumet, was broadcast in 1958. Assassination is the subject of John Huston’s “We Were Strangers” (1949) and Lewis Allen’s “Suddenly” (1954), also starring Frank Sinatra. Oswald might easily have seen those movies as well. More to the point: “The Manchurian Candidate” is the story of a man programmed to kill at the command of other people. What self-respecting assassin would take such a character for his role model? Either Oswald acted according to his own wishes, in which case he wasn’t imitating Condon’s killer, or he really was programmed by the Communists, in which case the question isn’t whether Oswald saw Frankenheimer’s movie but whether his Communist masters did.

United Artists withdrew “The Manchurian Candidate” from theatres in 1964, although the movie could occasionally be seen on television and in art houses. In 1972, Sinatra bought the rights and, in 1975, removed it from circulation entirely. Whether or not he was motivated by guilt over Kennedy’s death is unclear. He did, however, give his daughter Tina permission to produce a remake, and it is being shot, this fall, by Jonathan Demme. (Demme’s previous movie, “The Truth About Charlie,” was also a remake, of Stanley Donen’s “Charade,” of 1963. His method, judging from that effort, is to update the story and then salt it with allusions to the period of the original. “Charade” was filmed in Paris at the time of the French New Wave, and so in Demme’s version there are appearances by Charles Aznavour, Agnès Varda, and the grave of François Truffaut—none of which have anything to do with the story. Demme has reportedly set “The Manchurian Candidate” in the time of the Gulf War; Liev Schreiber plays Raymond, Meryl Streep is his dragon mother, and Marco is played by Denzel Washington. We can be fairly confident that at some point Denzel Washington will be seen listening to a Frank Sinatra song.)

The Kennedy assassination does not fulfill Condon and Frankenheimer’s prophecy. On the contrary, it buries it. If any assassin might plausibly have been a Communist puppet, it was Oswald, a man who had lived in the Soviet Union for three years, who had a Russian wife, and who once handed out leaflets for an outfit called the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. These facts were widely known within hours of Oswald’s arrest, and yet the theory that he was an agent who was directed, wittingly or not, by Communist handlers has never been an important part of the folklore of the Kennedy assassination. Until the late nineteen-seventies, the official line (endorsed, incidentally, by Condon at the time) was that Oswald acted alone. Dissenters from that view have been drawn mainly to theories involving the Mafia and the Central Intelligence Agency, even though hooking Oswald up with those entities requires a far greater imaginative stretch than associating him with the Soviets. Almost no one thinks of Kennedy (except in some convoluted way) as a casualty of the Cold War, and his death does not represent the culmination of the national anxiety about Communist infiltration. It represents the end of that obsession, and of the panic that Condon’s novel and Frankenheimer’s movie both so happily exploit. ♦

  • Louis Menand, a staff writer since 2001, was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2016.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2003/09/15/brainwashed

RICHARD CONDON BOOKS IN ORDER

Publication Order of Prizzi Books

Prizzi’s Honor (1982) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Prizzi’s Family (1986) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Prizzi’s Glory (1988) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Prizzi’s Money (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Oldest Confession (1958) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Manchurian Cadidate (1959) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Some Angry Angel (1960) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Talent for Loving aka The Great Cowboy Race (1961) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
An Infinity of Mirrors (1964) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Any God Will Do (1966) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Ecstasy Business (1967) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Mile High (1969) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Vertical Smile (1971) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Arigato (1972) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Winter Kills (1974) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Star-spangled Crunch (1975) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Money is Love (1975) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Whisper of the Axe (1976) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Abandoned Woman (1977) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Bandicoot (1978) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death of A Politician (1978) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Entwining (1980) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Trembling Upon Rome (1983) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Emperor of America (1990) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Final Addiction (1991) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Venerable Bead (1992) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

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Before he began writing fiction stories, Richard Thomas Condon worked for Walt Disney productions as a press agent in the movie business for 20 years where he spent most of his time in the major studios. Prior his moderate success in Hollywood, Condon also worked in the US Merchant Marine. He actually started writing in 1957 in his forties. He often complained of wasting a lot of time in Hollywood when he was employed as an ad writer by United Artists. His boss, Max Youngstein later fired him after deducting amounts from Condon’s salary without his knowledge. Youngstein also offered him a house overlooking a Mexican ocean and told him to write his book, The Manchurian Candidate (1959) which was his second novel. The book was used to make a movie in 1962, making Richard Condon famous. His other book, Prizzi’s Honor (1982) was also made into a successful movie.

Richard Condon was a thriller and satirical novelist, born and raised in New York City and best known for his conspiratorial books like The Oldest Confession (1958), Some Angry Angel (1960), A Talent of Loving (1961), An Infinity of Mirrors (1964) and many more novels. Condon’s writing was famous for its fascination with trivia, complex plotting, and hatred for those in power. For instance, his most popular novel The Manchurian Candidate was highly criticized because it seemed to disturbingly overshadow the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Furthermore, several books feature a thinly disguised version of Richard Nixon. His characters were driven by family loyalty, and with obsession, usually political and sexual. His plots had elements of a typical tragedy involving protagonists who are led by their pride to places where they destroy what they love. One of his most notable books, Mile High (1969) was best defined as secret history. In the novel, And Then We Moved to Rossenara, Richard Condon gives a humorous autobiography that recounts the various places he has lived in the world and his family’s move to Rossenarra, Ireland in the 1970s.

Apart from writing novels, Richard Condon also wrote some popular book series and bestsellers including; Prizzi’s Honor (1986), Prizzi’s Family (1986), Prizzi’s Glory (1988) and Prizzi’s Money (1994). He died in 1996.

Prizzi’s Honor was Richard Condon’s first book in the Prizzi’s series. This is not an ordinary story of a boy-meets-girl. Prizzis is the most influential Mafia family in New York. Their faithful lieutenant, Charley Partanna has affections for Irene Walker who works as a tax consultant in Los Angeles. She also does freelancing which pays her more. She is also a Mob’s hit woman. She cons the Prizzis an unforgivably huge amount of money. Indeed, this is a very dangerous moonlighting which eventually conflicts Charley’s oldest loyalties with his latest one. This book mixes character and caricature easily, making it one of his best books since The Manchurian Candidate.

The second book in the Prizzi’s series is the Prizzi’s Family. Here, Charley Partanna works for the Prizzi family as a hitman by day and studies for his high school exam by night. When he is not studying, he is juggling two beautiful women, probably more than he can handle. One, Maerose, is the granddaughter of Charley’s boss and is hungry for honor, power and Charley of course. The other, Mardell, is a sensational, one-third fantasy, two-thirds legs. This is a problem to Charley, but hormones seem to keep obstructing him. This book is funny and cheerful, and foams with perversity, obsessional religious mania, rascality, greed and lust, and assault and battery, making it a good read.

The next book in the series is Prizzi’s Glory. In this successful last volume in Prizzi trilogy series, the Prizzi family cleans up the environment, immersing huge benefits. They finally appear as a cruel, vivid and comic portrait of the America’s best-run Mafia institution. For the change, a tired, bored and depressed Charley Fontana weds Maerose, but this does not help because Don Corrado has thought of a bigger change, Prizzi’s respectability. Money flows to the Prizzi’s family through dubious activities like gambling, extortion, prostitution, loan-sharking, and narcotics. Don Corrado uses the money to control a new scam, a national political power which Charley heads. This book offers an accomplished and entertaining satire for a feat of joyful reading.

The last book in the Prizzi’s series is Prizzi’s Money. Richard Condon showcases the Prizzi family’s saga of organized crime. Here, Julia Asbury outwits the Prizzis, walking away with a huge amount of their money (a billion & a quarter) to start a new life. She does this after discovering that the Prizzis and her husband had double-crossed her.

Another noticeable writing style by Richard Condon was the use of real-life names in his books. Condon used names of real people as characters in his writings, but generally minor/peripheral ones. One of the most common names used in all of his novels includes F.M. Heller, Franz Heller, F. Marx Heller, and Frank Heller which are variations of Franklin M. Heller. In real life, Heller was, in fact, a television director based in New York City from the 1950s to 1970s and first lived on Long Island before moving to a house along Rockrimmon Road, Stamford, Connecticut. Starting with Mile High, Rockrimmon House and Rockrimmon Road have been frequently mentioned in the novels. All the fictional Hellers also shared a devotion for needlework and grew a thick-white beard similar to the real-life Heller who made a needlework depiction in Condon’s manor house in Ireland. Condon also had a great actor friend, Allan Melvin, who he wrote a nightclub act. Melvin also played Cpl. Henshaw in The Phil Servers Show which Condon was publicizing. Several Condon books particularly Prizzi’s Honor showcases Melvini as a prominent hit man.

Richard Condon’s legend is not only showcased in his wonderful writings but also some popular films that were adapted from his novels. The films include; The Manchurian Candidate (1962 and 2004), The Talent of Loving (1969), Winter Kills (1979), Prizzi’s Honor (1985), and The Happy Thieves from the novel The Oldest Confession (1962). The Manchurian Candidate is recognized as one of the best films of all time. The book combined several elements including; satire, nefarious conspiracies, black humor, outrage at financial and political corruption in America, as well as breath-taking elements from spy fiction and thrillers, and grotesque and horrific violence.

https://www.bookseriesinorder.com/richard-condon/

Condon, Richard 1915-1996 (Richard Thomas Condon)

Condon, Richard 1915-1996 (Richard Thomas Condon)
PERSONAL:
Born March 18, 1915, in New York, NY; died April 9, 1996, in Dallas, TX; son of Richard Aloysius and Martha Irene Condon; married Evelyn Rose Hunt, January 14, 1938; children: Deborah Weldon, Wendy Jackson. Education: Graduated from high school in New York, NY.

CAREER:
Writer. Publicist in New York, NY, and Hollywood, CA, for Walt Disney Productions, 1936-41, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp., 1941-45, Richard Condon, Inc., 1945-48, and Paramount Pictures Corp., 1948-53, and in Europe and Great Britain for United Artists Corp., 1953-57; novelist. Producer, with Jose Ferrer, of Broadway shows Twentieth Century and Stalag 17, 1951-52.

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MEMBER:
International Confederation of Book Actors (honorary life president), Dramatists Guild, Authors Guild, Authors League of America.

AWARDS, HONORS:
Writers Guild of America award, Bafta Award from British Academy of Film and Television Sciences, and Academy Award nomination, all 1986 for screen adaptation of Prizzi’s Honor,.

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WRITINGS:
And Then We Moved to Rossenarra; or, The Art of Emigrating, Dial (New York, NY), 1973.

(With daughter, Wendy Jackson) The Mexican Stove: What to Put on It and in It, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1973, reprinted, Taylor Publishing, 1988.

NOVELS
The Oldest Confession (Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection), Appleton-Century-Crofts (New York, NY), 1958.

The Manchurian Candidate, McGraw (New York, NY), 1959, reprinted, Four Walls Eight Windows (New York, NY), 2003.

Some Angry Angel: A Mid-Century Faerie Tale, McGraw (New York, NY), 1960.

A Talent for Loving; or, The Great Cowboy Race, McGraw (New York, NY), 1961.

An Infinity of Mirrors, Random House (New York, NY), 1964.

Any God Will Do, Random House (New York, NY), 1965.

The Ecstasy Business, Dial (New York, NY), 1967.

Mile High (Literary Guild alternate selection), Dial (New York, NY), 1968.

The Vertical Smile (Literary Guild selection), Dial (New York, NY), 1971.

Arigato, Dial (New York, NY), 1972.

Winter Kills, Dial (New York, NY), 1974.

The Star Spangled Crunch, Bantam (New York, NY), 1974.

Money Is Love, Dial (New York, NY), 1975.

The Whisper of the Axe, Dial (New York, NY), 1976.

The Abandoned Woman: A Tragedy of Manners, Dial (New York, NY), 1977.

Bandicoot, Dial (New York, NY), 1978.

Death of a Politician, Richard Marek (New York, NY), 1978.

The Entwining, Richard Marek (New York, NY), 1980.

Prizzi’s Honor (second novel in trilogy; Book-of-the-Month Club joint main selection; also see below), Coward, McCann & Geoghegan (New York, NY), 1982.

A Trembling upon Rome, Putnam (New York, NY), 1983.

Prizzi’s Family (first novel in trilogy; Literary Guild joint main selection), Putnam, 1986.

Prizzi’s Glory (third novel in trilogy), Dutton (New York, NY), 1988.

The Final Addiction, Saint Martin’s Press (New York, NY), 1991.

Prizzi’s Money, Crown Publishing (New York, NY), 1994.

SCREENPLAYS
(With Janet Roach) Prizzi’s Honor (adaptation; see above), Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp., 1985.

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Also author screenplay for A Talent for Loving, 1969, and The Summer Music; author of the play Men of Distinction, produced on Broadway, 1953. Contributor to periodicals, including Holiday, Nation, Vogue, Harper’s, Gourmet, Esquire, Travel and Leisure, and Sunday Times magazine. Novels have been published in twenty-two languages and in braille.

ADAPTATIONS:
Books have been adapted for film, including The Oldest Confession released as the film The Happy Thieves, 1962; Winter Kill, 1979; and The Manchurian Candidate, 1962, and adapted remake, Paramount Pictures, 2004.

SIDELIGHTS:
Novelist Richard Condon began writing at age forty-two following a successful career as a movie publicist. Condon’s reputation as a writer of political thrillers was secured with his first two novels, The Oldest Confession and The Manchurian Candidate. Condon’s body of work included over twenty novels, two nonfiction books, a handful of plays and screenplays, and numerous articles on his twin passions, food and travel. This output netted him an income of about two and a half million dollars.

Condon took full advantage of his freedom as a writer. Although he resided in the United States later in life, for nineteen years Condon and his family lived in countries such as France, Spain, Switzerland, and Ireland. Condon’s focus in his novels, however, usually reflected his concerns about American society, particularly the United States government. Condon’s preoccupation with examining abuses of power made him into a cult figure of sorts to readers who shared his convictions. Condon’s novels are entertaining, despite their underlying seriousness. This assessment is compatible with Condon’s personal goals as a writer, which he discussed in a People magazine interview with Anne Maier. “I have never written for any other reason than to earn a living. This is certainly true of other writers, but some poor souls get mightily confused with art. I am a public entertainer who sees his first duty as the need to entertain himself.”

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Most of the material for Condon’s blend of reality and bizarre invention came from “the dirty linen closets of politics and money,” according to a New York Review of Books contributor Thomas R. Edwards. “His view—it might be called Condon’s Law—is that when you don’t know the whole truth, the worst you can imagine is bound to be close.” Edwards added: “[He] isn’t an analyst but an exploiter of our need to believe the worst. He does it skillfully, but his books would be less fun than they are if one didn’t suspect that he believes the worst too, that his pictures of a world of fools eternally at the mercy of knaves are also pictures of what, with anger and disgust, he takes to be the case.”

Condon’s second novel, The Manchurian Candidate, was published in 1959 and remains Condon’s most highly acclaimed novel, one that critics frequently cite as a standard of comparison for his later works. The title of the book refers to the main character, Raymond Shaw, a soldier who becomes a prisoner of war in Korea and is unknowingly brainwashed into committing crimes for his former captors after he returns to the United States. Commenting on this novel, reviewers distinguished carefully between Condon’s writing and literature. Most reviewers noted the novel’s many appeals. Michael Rogers, writing a Library Journal review of a 2003 reprint of the novel, commented that “any fan of political thrillers will enjoy this one.”

Condon followed The Manchurian Candidate with several relatively successful novels. Nevertheless, several of Condon’s subsequent novels generally fell out of favor with critics. In 1974, however, his novel Winter Kills was enthusiastically received. Winter Kills closely parallels the lives of members of the Kennedy family. The main character, Nick Thirkield, is the half-brother of John F. Kennedy analogue Tim Kegan, a young, liberal Irish president who is assassinated by a lone maniac. The assassin is caught and charged with the murder, but when Thirkield learns that another man may also have been involved, he has the case reopened.

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Several reviewers found themselves pleasantly surprised by Winter Kills. New York Times Book Review contributor Leo Braudy, for example, commented that Winter Kills is “a triumph of satire and knowledge, with a delicacy of style and a command of tone that puts Condon once again into the first rank of American novelists.” Braudy explained: “Winter Kills succeeds so brilliantly because the Kennedy assassination furnished Condon with a familiar mythic landscape through which his Gulliver-like hero can wander, simultaneously prey to Lilliputian politics, Brobdingnagian physicality, Laputan science, and Houyhnhnm moralism.” Christopher Lehmann-Haupt expressed a like opinion in the New York Times: “By the time I reached the end of the novel’s incredibly complex plot and had followed Nick Thirkield through the many blind alleys and trapdoors that eventually bring him face to face with the person behind his brother’s assassination, I was a Richard Condon fan once more.”

Extrapolation contributor Joe Sanders observed: “In Condon’s novels, politics determines the shape of society, but politics is not a voluntary, cooperative activity, entered into for some common end; it is a device by which a few clever people manipulate many others to gain their selfish ends.” Lehmann-Haupt expressed disappointment with the ending because he “caught on too early what the ultimate outcome would be,” but he found the novel’s conclusion satisfying. He wrote: “It may not be true that America is run by a small, conspiring oligarchy. It may not be true that things happen in the White House at the whim of movie stars and labor leaders, of courtesans and generals. But the possibilities are no longer inconceivable.”

Winter Kills was made into a critically acclaimed but briefly run film of the same title. Although Condon was not directly involved in the making of Winter Kills, the film’s quality drew his attention and support. After two years of filming for which most of the cast and crew were never paid, Winter Kills opened in New York in 1979 to favorable reviews. The film’s three-week run in showcase theaters was followed by disappearance from theatres, raising Condon’s conspiracy suspicions. Condon’s paranoia was further incited by the murder of one of the producers shortly after the film’s opening; two years later the second producer was sentenced to forty years in prison on a drug charge. The movie was briefly re-released in 1982 and 1983.

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Condon’s novel Prizzi’s Honor dealt with a similarly sensitive milieu: organized crime. Although this setting has been exploited by several other authors, notably Mario Puzo, reviewers believed that Condon’s novel offered a fresh outlook. Charles Champlin observed in the Los Angeles Times Book Review: “Condon, once again accepting the perceived reality as police leaks, newspaper exposes and Puzo have given it to us—complete with Sicilian litany of consiglieri, caporegimes, sottocapos, soldati, and a godfather with a lethal wheeze and a mind Machiavelli might envy—steps over it to present an outrageous and original love story.” New York Times Book Review contributor Robert Asahina noted: “Richard Condon is not Mario Puzo; suspense, not the family saga, is his forte. And he winds the mainspring of the plot so tight that the surprise ending will knock your reading glasses off. Yet Prizzi’s Honor is also a sendup of the prevailing sentimental picture of the underworld. To Mr. Condon, there is honor among these thieves—but it is precisely in the name of omerta that the fratellanza has been willing to ‘cheat, corrupt, scam, and murder anybody who stands between them and a buck.’”

The novel’s love interest involves Charley Partanna, a gourmet cook, compulsive house cleaner, and hit man for the Prizzi family; and Irene Walker, a tax consultant and freelance killer for hire. “It is something of a challenge to a novelist to create a love interest in a story that pairs two ruthless murderers,” observed Times Literary Supplement contributor Alan Bold. “Irene is presented as a colder fish than Charley—she has risen to the top of her profession on account of her ability to murder without remorse. She is as sound a psychopath as Charley. Condon suggests, however, that such creatures are capable of a great passion and Charley, for one, is sure that his love is the real thing.” New York Times contributor Susan Bolotin likewise commented on the originality of this pairing: “If boy-meets-girl/boy-gets-girl love stories seem poisonously tiresome to you, Richard Condon’s boisterous new novel may prove the perfect antidote. It’s true that Prizzi’s Honor starts off with a familiar melody, … but the book soon turns into a fugue with variations so intricate that the genre may never recover.”

Despite opposition from Charley’s father, Charley and Irene are wed. Condon takes the couple through a convoluted plot that includes “a kidnapping, international financial intrigue, a gangland war, police on the take, the power struggle within the family, contract killings, [and] lots of jolly sex,” wrote Bolotin. According to several reviewers, Condon’s exploration of the seamier side of organized crime is distressing. Best Sellers contributor Tony Bednarczyk wrote: “There is solid storytelling, but the subject raises disturbing questions about morals, and/or the lack thereof. It is a fast-paced, very readable story, but one feels a bit guilty for being interested in what comes next.” While Time critic Michael Demarest also believed that Prizzi’s Honor, “like most of [Condon’s] books, comes sometimes too close to the truth for comfort,” he nevertheless concluded: “Condon’s stylish prose and rich comedic gift once again spice a moral sensibility that has animated sixteen novels since The Manchurian Candidate appeared in 1962. If wit and irony could somehow neutralize villainy, the novelist would make a fine FBI director.” Other reviewers expressed similarly laudatory views. Champlin wrote: “Condon is once again the storytelling satirist with a sharp eye and a high velocity typewriter. Prizzi’s Honor may not be his best work but it ranks well up in the canon.” Concluded Asahina: “Twenty years after The Manchurian Candidate, it’s nice to know that Mr. Condon is still up to his sly tricks. In his case, at least, it’s a pleasure that—as he tells us an old Sicilian proverb has it—‘The less things change, the more they remain the same.’”

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Prizzi’s Honor was also made into a successful film of the same title, with Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner playing the roles of Charley Partanna and Irene Walker. The film was nominated for several Academy Awards, and the screenplay, adapted by Condon and coauthor Janet Roach, received awards from the Writers Guild of America and the British Academy of Film and Television Sciences. The project was initiated and eventually directed by John Huston.

Huston and movie critics alike believed that Prizzi’s Honor was faithful to the novel, a feat they attribute to Condon and Roach’s skillfully adapted screenplay. Chi-cago Tribune contributor Gene Siskel described Prizzi’s Honor as “a classic piece of moviemaking,” and Los Angeles Times film critic Sheila Benson noted: “To say the film is the treasure of the year would be to badmouth it in this disastrous season. Prizzi’s Honor would be the vastly original centerpiece of a great year.” Benson also wrote: “In its dangerous mix of love and murder, Huston is traversing terrain that he (and certainly The Manchurian Candidate author Condon) blazed decades ago. This ’80s-version denouement may distress the squeamish, but it’s right in keeping with Prizzi honor.”

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
BOOKS
Bestsellers 90, Issue 3, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1990.

Condon, Richard, Death of a Politician, Richard Marek (New York, NY), 1978.

Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series, Volume I, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1984.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume IV, 1975, Volume VI, 1976, Volume VIII, 1978, Volume X, 1979, Volume XLIV, 1987.

Newquist, Roy, Conversations, Volume I, Rand McNally (Chicago, IL), 1967.

PERIODICALS
Best Sellers, June, 1982, Tony Bednarczyk, review of Prizzi’s Honor; December, 1986.

Chicago Tribune, June 14, 1985, Gene Siskel, review of Prizzi’s Honor (film adaptation).

Daily Variety, March 8, 2002, Dana Harris and Sharon Swart, “‘Candidate’ for Redo: Paramount Plans Remake of 1962 Classic,” p. 1.

Extrapolation, summer, 1984, Joe Sanders, article about author.

Library Journal, November 1, 2003, Michael Rogers, review of The Manchurian Candidate, p. 129.

Los Angeles Times, June 14, 1985, Sheila Benson, review of Prizzi’s Honor (film adaptation).

Los Angeles Times Book Review, April 25, 1982, Charles Champlin, review of Prizzi’s Honor.

Modern Language Quarterly, September, 2006, Micahel Szalay, review of The Manchurian Candidate, p. 363.

New Statesman, September 5, 1975, review of Money is Love, p. 285; August 13, 1976, review of The Whisper of the Axe, p. 216.

Newsweek, September 14, 1964, review of Manchurian Candidate; June 9, 1975, review of Money Is Love, p. 81.

New Yorker August 25, 1975, review of Money Is Love, p. 87; December 11, 1978, review of Death of a Politician, p. 206; October 28, 1991, review of The Final Addiction, p. 119.

New York Review of Books, February 8, 1979, Thomas R. Edwards, review of Death of a Politician, p. 35.

New York Times, May 24, 1974, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of Winter Kills; May 21, 1976; April 20, 1982, Susan Bolotin, review of Prizzi’s Honor, p. 25.

New York Times Book Review, May 26, 1974, Leo Braudy, review of Winter Kills; May 25, 1975, review of Money Is Love, p. 12; May 23, 1976, review of The Whisper of the Axe, p. 4; April 18, 1982, Robert Asahina, review of Prizzi’s Honor, p. 12; September 4, 1983, John Jay Osborn, Jr., review of A Trembling upon Rome, p. 4; September 28, 1986, Jimmy Breslin, review of Prizzi’s Family, p. 13; October 9, 1988, Vincent Patrick, review of Prizzi’s Glory, p. 24; February 11, 1990, Roy Blount, Jr., review of Emperor of America, p. 14; November 17, 1991, Bill Kent, review of The Final Addiction, p. 20; December 13, 1992, Donald E. Westlake, review of The Venerable Bead, p. 9; February 6, 1994, Joe Queenan, review of Prizzi’s Money, p. 9.

People, December 8, 1986, Anne Maier, interview with author.

Spectator, September 21, 1974, review of Winter Kills, p. 372.

Texas Monthly, August, 1994, William Cobb, “The Don of Dallas,” interview with author, p. 42.

Time, June 2, 1975, review of Money Is Love, p. 72; May 17, 1982, Michael Demarest, review of Prizzi’s Honor, p. 82; September 22, 1986, John Skow, review of Prizzi’s Family, p. 95; September 19, 1988, review of Prizzi’s Glory, p. 95.

Times Literary Supplement, June 11, 1982, Alan Bold, review of Prizzi’s Honor.

ONLINE
Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (December 4, 2006), information on author’s film work.

OBITUARIES
PERIODICALS
New York Times, April 10, 1996, Mel Gussow.

Time, April 22, 1996, p. 33.

U.S. News & World Report, April 22, 1996, p. 26.

https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/condon-richard-1915-1996-richard-thomas-condon

Books by Richard Condon
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Richard Condon

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Richard Condon
Born Richard Thomas Condon
March 18, 1915
New York CityNew York, U.S.
Died April 9, 1996 (aged 81)
DallasTexas, U.S.
Occupation Novelist
Genre Fiction

Richard Thomas Condon (March 18, 1915 in New York City – April 9, 1996 in Dallas, Texas) was a prolific and popular American political novelist. Though his works were satire, they were generally transformed into thrillers or semi-thrillers in other mediums, such as cinema. All 26 books were written in distinctive Condon style, which combined fast-pace, outrage, and frequent humor while focusing almost obsessively at monetary greed and political corruption. Condon himself once said: “Every book I’ve ever written has been about abuse of power. I feel very strongly about that. I’d like people to know how deeply their politicians wrong them.”[1] Condon’s books were occasionally bestsellers, and many of his books were made into films; he is primarily remembered for his 1959 The Manchurian Candidate and, many years later, a series of four novels about a family of New York gangsters named Prizzi.

Condon’s writing was known for its complex plotting, fascination with trivia, and loathing for those in power; at least two of his books featured thinly disguised versions of Richard Nixon.[citation needed] His characters tend to be driven by obsession, usually sexual or political, and family loyalty. His plots often have elements of classical tragedy, with protagonists whose pride leads them to destroy what they love. Some of his books, most notably Mile High (1969), are perhaps best described as secret history.[citation needed] And Then We Moved to Rossenarra is a humorous autobiographical recounting of various places in the world where he had lived and his family’s 1970s move to Rossenarra, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland.

Contents

Early life[edit]

Born in New York City, Condon attended DeWitt Clinton High School.[2]

After service in the United States Merchant Marine, Condon achieved moderate success as a Hollywood publicist, ad writer and Hollywood agent. Condon turned to writing in 1957. Employed by United Artists as an ad writer, he complained that he was wasting time in Hollywood and wanted to write a novel. Without Condon’s knowledge, his boss, Max E. Youngstein, deducted money from his salary, then fired him after a year, returning the amount of money he had deducted in the form of a Mexican bank account and the key to a house overlooking the ocean in Mexico. Youngstein told him to write his book.[3] His second novel, The Manchurian Candidate (1959), featured a dedication to Youngstein and was made into a successful film.

Basic theme throughout Condon’s books[edit]

In Mile High, his eighth novel, one primarily about how a single spectacularly ruthless gangster named Eddie West imposes Prohibition upon an unwary populace, Condon sums up the theme of all his books in a single angry cri de coeur:

“Prohibition fused the amateurism and catch-as-catch-can national tendencies of the early days of the republic with a more modern, highly organized lust for violence and the quick buck. It fused the need to massacre twelve hundred thousand American Indians and ten million American buffalo, the lynching bees, the draft riots, bread riots, gold riots and race riots, the constant wars, the largest rats in the biggest slums, boxing and football, the loudest music, the most strident and exploitative press with the entire wonderful promise of tomorrow and tomorrow, always dragging the great nation downward into greater violence and more unnecessary deaths, into newer and more positive celebration of nonlife, all so that the savage, simple-minded people might be educated into greater frenzies of understanding that power and money are the only desirable objects for this life.”[4]

“Manchurian Candidate”[edit]

Although not perhaps actually originated by Condon himself, his use of “the Manchurian Candidate” made that phrase a part of the English language. Frank Rich, for example, in his column in the “Sunday Opinion” of The New York Times of August 17, 2008, writes about Barack Obama with a reference to both a well-known actress and a well-known plot element in the first movie version of Condon’s 1959 book:

“[Obama’s] been done in by that ad with Britney [Spears] and Paris [Hilton] and a new international crisis that allows [John] McCain to again flex his Manchurian Candidate military cred. Let the neocons identify a new battleground for igniting World War III… and McCain gets with the program as if Angela Lansbury has just dealt him the Queen of Hearts“.[5]

“The fiction of information”[edit]

Condon’s works are difficult to categorize precisely: A 1971 Time magazine review declared that, “Condon was never a satirist: he was a riot in a satire factory. He raged at Western civilization and every last one of its works. He decorticated the Third Reich, cheese fanciers, gossip columnists and the Hollywood star system with equal and total frenzy.” [6] The headline of his obituary in The New York Times called him a “political novelist”,[7] but went on to say that, “Novelist is too limited a word to encompass the world of Mr. Condon. He was also a visionary, a darkly comic conjurer, a student of American mythology and a master of conspiracy theories, as vividly demonstrated in ‘The Manchurian Candidate.'”[7] Although his books combined many different elements, including occasional outright fantasy and science fiction, they were, above all, written to entertain the general public. He had, however, a genuine disdain, outrage, and even hatred for many of the mainstream political corruptions that he found so prevalent in American life. In a 1977 quotation, he said that:[8]

“…people are being manipulated, exploited, murdered by their servants, who have convinced these savage, simple-minded populations that they are their masters, and that it hurts the head, if one thinks. People accept servants as masters. My novels are merely entertaining persuasions to get the people to think in other categories.”

With his long lists of absurd trivia and “mania for absolute details”, Condon was, along with Ian Fleming, one of the early exemplars of those called by Pete Hamill in a New York Times review, “the practitioners of what might be called the New Novelism… Condon applies a dense web of facts to fiction…. There might really be two kinds of fiction: the fiction of sensibility and the fiction of information… As a practitioner of the fiction of information, no one else comes close to him.”[9]

Quirks and characteristics[edit]

Condon attacked his targets wholeheartedly but with a uniquely original style and wit that made almost any paragraph from one of his books instantly recognizable. Reviewing one of his works in the International Herald Tribune, playwright George Axelrod (The Seven Year ItchWill Success Spoil Rock Hunter), who had collaborated with Condon on the screenplay for the film adaptation of The Manchurian Candidate, wrote:

“The arrival of a new novel by Richard Condon is like an invitation to a party…. the sheer gusto of the prose, the madness of his similes, the lunacy of his metaphors, his infectious, almost child-like joy in composing complex sentences that go bang at the end in the manner of exploding cigars is both exhilarating and as exhausting as any good party ought to be.”

Metaphors and similes[edit]

From his 1975 novel, Money Is Love, comes a fine example of the “lunacy of his metaphors”: “Mason took in enough cannabis smoke to allow a Lipan Apache manipulating a blanket over it to transmit the complete works of Tennyson.” [10]

The Manchurian Candidate offers:

“The effects of the narcotics, techniques, and suggestions… achieved a result that approximated the impact an entire twenty-five-cent jar of F. W. Woolworth vanishing cream might have on vanishing an aircraft carrier of the Forrestal class when rubbed into the armor plate.”[11]

Lists and trivia[edit]

Condon was also enamored of long lists of detailed trivia that, while at least marginally pertinent to the subject at hand, are almost always an exercise in gleeful exaggeration and joyful spirits. In An Infinity of Mirrors, for instance, those in attendance of the funeral of a famous French actor and notable lover are delineated as:

Seven ballerinas of an amazing spectrum of ages were at graveside. Actresses of films, opera, music halls, the theatre, radio, carnivals, circuses, pantomimes, and lewd exhibitions mourned in the front line. There were also society leaders, lady scientists, women politicians, mannequins, couturières, Salvation Army lassies, all but one of his wives, a lady wrestler, a lady matador, twenty-three lady painters, four lady sculptors, a car-wash attendant, shopgirls, shoplifters, shoppers, and the shopped; a zoo assistant, two choir girls, a Métro attendant from the terminal at the Bois de Vincennes, four beauty-contest winners, a chambermaid; the mothers of children, the mothers of men, the grandmothers of children and the grandmothers of men; and the general less specialized, female public-at-large which had come from eleven European countries, women perhaps whom he had only pinched or kissed absent-mindedly while passing through his busy life. They attended twenty-eight hundred and seventy strong, plus eleven male friends of the deceased.[12]

Writing about The Whisper of the Axe in the daily book review column of Friday, May 21, 1976, in the New York Times, Richard R. Lingeman praised the book in particular and Condon in general for his “extravagance of invention unique with him.” [13]

Not everyone was as exhilarated by Condon’s antics, however. In a long Times Sunday review just two days after Lingeman’s, Roger Sale excoriated Condon as a writer of “how-to books” in general, this book in particular, and Condon’s habit of using lists: “A lot of it is done with numbers arbitrarily chosen to falsely simulate precision.” [14]

Real-life names in his books[edit]

All of Condon’s books have, to an unknown degree, the names of real people in them as characters, generally very minor or peripheral. The most common, which appears in all of his books, is some variation of Franklin M. Heller. Among them are F.M. Heller, Frank Heller, Franz Heller, and F. Marx Heller. The real-life Heller was apparently a television director in New York City in the 1950s, ’60s, and 70s, who initially lived on Long Island and then moved to a house on Rockrimmon Road in Stamford, Connecticut.[15] Beginning with Mile High in 1969, mentions of a Rockrimmon Road or Rockrimmon House also began to appear regularly in the novels. Late in life Heller grew a thick white beard and became a devotee of needlework—both traits that the fictional Hellers shared, sometimes to ludicrous effect, as when a battle-hardened Admiral Heller is depicted issuing orders while absorbed in needlework. The real-life Heller made one needlework depiction of the manor house in Ireland in which Condon was living at the time.

Condon was a great friend of actor Allan Melvin, having written a nightclub act for him. Condon later became a publicist for The Phil Silvers Show (“Sgt. Bilko”), on which Melvin played Cpl. Henshaw. Melvin’s name shows up in several Condon books, most prominently as hitman Al (the Plumber) Melvini in “Prizzi’s Honor” (a play on Melvin’s “Al the Plumber” character in Liquid-Plumr commercials.) In The Manchurian Candidate, with the exception of Marco, Shaw and Mavole, all of Marco’s platoon members are named for the cast/crew of “Bilko”: (Nat) Hiken, (Maurice) Gosfield, (Jimmy) Little, (Phil) Silvers, (Allan) Melvin, (Mickey) Freeman and (Harvey) Lembeck.

Career in films[edit]

For many years a Hollywood publicity man for Walt Disney and other studios, Condon took up writing relatively late in life and his first novel, The Oldest Confession, was not published until he was 43. The demands of his career with United Artists—promoting dreadful movies such as The Pride and the Passion and A King and Four Queens—led to a series of bleeding ulcers and a determination to do something else.

His next book, The Manchurian Candidate, combined all the elements that defined his works for the next 30 years: nefarious conspiracies, satire, black humor, outrage at political and financial corruption in the American scene, breath-taking elements from thrillers and spy fiction, horrific and grotesque violence, and an obsession with the minutiae of food, drink, and fast living. It quickly made him, for a few years at least, the center of a cult devoted to his works. As he rapidly produced more and more books with the same central themes, however, this following fell away and his critical reputation diminished. Still, over the next three decades Condon produced works that returned him to favor, both with the critics and the book-buying public, such as Mile HighWinter Kills, and the first of the Prizzi books, Prizzi’s Honor.

Of his numerous books that were turned into Hollywood movies, The Manchurian Candidate was filmed twice. The first version, in 1962, which starred Frank SinatraLaurence HarveyJanet Leigh, and Angela Lansbury, followed the book with great fidelity, and is now highly regarded as a glimpse into the mindset of its era. Janet Maslin, writing already over two decades ago, said in The New York Times In 1996 that it was “arguably the most chilling piece of cold war paranoia ever committed to film, yet by now it has developed a kind of innocence.”[7]

The Keener’s Manual[edit]

Beginning with his first book, The Oldest Confession, Condon frequently prefaced his novels with excerpts of verse from a so-called Keener’s Manual; these epigraphs foreshadowed the theme of the book or, in several instances, gave the book its title. The Keener’s Manual, however, was a fictional invention by Condon and does not actually exist. A “keen” is a “lamentation for the dead uttered in a loud wailing voice or sometimes in a wordless cry” [16] and a “keener” is a professional mourner, usually a woman in Ireland, who “utters the keen… at a wake or funeral.” [17]

Five of Condon’s first six books derived their titles from the fictional manual, the only exception being his most famous book, The Manchurian Candidate. The epigraph in The Manchurian Candidate, however, “I am you and you are me /and what have we done to each other?” is a recurring theme in earlier Condon’s books: in various forms it also appears as dialog in both The Oldest Confession and Some Angry Angel. Among other epigraphs, the last line of “The riches I bring you /Crowding and shoving, /Are the envy of princes: /A talent for loving.” is the title of Condon’s fourth novel. His fifth and sixth novels, An Infinity of Mirrors and Any God Will Do, also derive their titles from excerpts of the manual.

Plagiarism charge[edit]

In 1998 a California software engineer noticed several paragraphs in The Manchurian Candidate that appeared nearly identical to portions of the celebrated 1934 novel I, Claudius by the English writer Robert Graves. She wrote about the apparent plagiarism on her website but her discovery went unnoticed by most of the world until Adair Lara, a longtime San Francisco Chronicle staff writer, wrote a lengthy article about the accusation in 2003.[18] Reprinting the paragraphs in question, she also solicited the opinion of a British forensic linguist, who concluded that Condon had unquestionably plagiarized at least two paragraphs of Graves’s work. By this time, however, more than seven years had passed since Condon’s death and Lara’s article also failed to generate any literary interest outside the Chronicle.

In Some Angry Angel, the book that followed The Manchurian Candidate, Condon makes a direct reference to Graves. In a long, convoluted passage on page 25 Condon reflects on “mistresses” and their relationship—a peripheral one, to the reader—to Graves’s writings about “Major Male” Deities and “Major Female” Deities. As Angel was published only a year after Candidate, there is no question, therefore, about Condon’s familiarity with the works of Robert Graves.[19]

Condon’s familiarity with Graves is also in evidence on p. 127 of his first novel, The Oldest Confession. One of the characters in the book purchases a copy of Graves’ Antigua, Penny, Puce!

Works[edit]

All novels except as noted:

Films adapted from Condon novels[edit]

Articles[edit]

  • “‘Manchurian Candidate’ in Dallas”. The Nation, December 28, 1963.

References[edit]

This article incorporates material from the Citizendium article “Richard Condon“, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License but not under the GFDL.

  1. ^ Locus, The Magazine of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Field, from their May, 1996, issue #424, obituary of Condon, exact page unknown
  2. ^ Buckley, Tom. “THE LITERARY CONSPIRACIES OF RICHARD CONDON”The New York Times, September 2, 1979. Accessed September 14, 2009.
  3. ^ Max E. Youngstein – Biography
  4. ^ Mile High, The Dial Press, New York, 1969, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 77-80497, page 156
  5. ^ The New York Times, Sunday, August 17, 2008, Sunday Opinion, “The Candidate We Still Don’t Know” at [1]
  6. ^ Time magazine, “Cheese”, March 4, 1971, at
  7. Jump up to:a b c The New York Times, Wednesday, April 10, 1996, Obituaries, “Richard Condon, Political Novelist, Dies at 81; Wrote ‘Manchurian Candidate’ and ‘Prizzi'” at [2]
  8. ^ Who’s Who in Spy Fiction, Donald McCormick, Sphere Books Ltd., London, 1977, page 64
  9. ^ “For Eddie West, power was all that mattered,” by Pete Hamill, The New York Times, August 31, 1969, at
  10. ^ Time Magazine, “Liederkranz”, a book review by John Skow, June 2, 1975
  11. ^ The Manchurian Candidate, by Richard Condon, paperback edition, Signet, New York, November, 1962, fifth printing, page 261
  12. ^ An Infinity of Mirrors, by Richard Condon, paperback edition, Fawcett Crest, New York, September, 1965, page 36
  13. ^ “A Thriller of the Condon Class”, by Richard R. Lingeman, The New York Times, May 21, 1976, at [3]
  14. ^ Roger Sale, May 23, 1976, in The New York Times, at
  15. ^ Remembrance of Frank Heller,” by Ira Skutch, at
  16. ^ Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, Merriam-Webster, Inc., Springfield, Massachusetts, 2004, ISBN 0-87779-807-9
  17. ^ Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, Unabridged, G. & C. Merriam Co., Publishers, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1943
  18. ^ “Has a local software engineer unmasked ‘The Manchurian Candidate’? Menlo Park woman says author Richard Condon plagiarized”, by Adair Lara, in the San Francisco Chronicle,October 4, 2003; the entire article can be read at [4]
  19. ^ Some Angry Angel: A Mid-Century Faerie Tale, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1960, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 60-8826, page 25

 

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Ann Coulter — Adios, America — Videos

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Jesse Watters & Ann Coulter On The Insane MSM & Trumps Second Try At Repealing & Replacing Obamacare

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Ben Shapiro interviews Ann Coulter; Adios America; 7/13/2015; C-Span

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Ann Coulter DESTROYS Bill Maher in Immigration Debate

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Ann Coulter documentary (2004)

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How Trump Betrayed Ann Coulter on Immigration

The political commentator may be more committed to the Republican nominee’s platform than he is.

Donald Trump has just betrayed Ann Coulter. Which is a dangerous thing to do.This week, Coulter released her new book, In Trump We Trust. As the title suggests, it’s a defense of Trump. But more than that, it’s a defense of Trumpism. Most Trump surrogates contort themselves to defend whatever The Donald says, no matter its ideological content. They’re like communist party functionaries. They get word from the ideologists on high, and regurgitate it as best they can.

Since then, they’ve been allies. But unlike many Trump defenders, Coulter makes clear that her primary allegiance is not to Trump the man. It’s to the nostalgic “Make America White Again” brand of conservatism that she began peddling even before he did. In In Trump We Trust, Coulter calls Trump a “tasteless, publicity-seeking, coarse billionaire” and argues that, “the one thing voters weren’t wild about was his personality.”

The secret of Trump’s success, she argues, has been ideological. He recognized that “Americans,” by which she mostly means Republicans, “are homesick.” They don’t just oppose immigration because they believe it depresses wages and strains government services. They’re homesick for a whiter America, an America that was once truly free because “it’s not in the Anglo-Saxon character either to take orders or to give them.” (Never mind about slavery.) Since 1965, however, when Lyndon Johnson signed legislation allowing more immigration from Latin America, Asia, and Africa, the United States has been, according to Coulter in In Trump We Trust, overrun by “illiterate peasants … who can be instructed to learn certain symbols and bloc-vote for the Democrats.” In response, Democrats, along with rich Republicans, keep the doors open to non-European immigration, and thus America has grown “browner” and “shorter.” (That’s Coulter’s description from Adios America). Corruption rises. So does terrorism and rape.Coulter’s ideological interpretation of Trump’s appeal is plausible. It explains, for instance, why support for Trump correlates more strongly to racial resentment than economic misfortune.

Trump may win votes by moderating his stance on immigration. But that’s not how Coulter sells books.

Coulter’s problem is that on the very week she’s unveiled her immigration-themed defense of Trumpism, Trump himself has begun jettisoning it. On Wednesday night, he admitted that it’s “very, very hard” to deport all the undocumented immigrants in the country and implied that he would be open to some people being allowed to stay legally without becoming citizens, provided they pay back taxes. Suddenly, Trump is flirting with an immigration policy that resembles that of every other Republican who ran for president. Which makes Coulter look like a dupe. On Thursday on his show, Rush Limbaugh had a hearty laugh at her expense.

So far, Coulter has responded in contradictory ways. She’s fired off tweets attacking Trump’s immigration shift. But she’s also downplayed it.

Maybe Coulter, like the other high-profile supporters Trump has burned, will accept her humiliation and resort to defending Trump no matter what he says. Her incentives, however, are different. Unlike most of the folks who appear on television supporting Trump, she has an independent brand. And it’s built on white nationalism. Trump may win votes by moderating his stance on immigration. But that’s not how Coulter sells books.

Coulter also needs an explanation for Trump’s likely defeat, an explanation that will preserve her ability to claim that America’s silent majority believes the things she does. By emphasizing Trump’s immigration flip-flop, Coulter could argue that this issue cost him the white votes he needed to win.

Trumpism—a brand of conservatism defined above all by white racial nostalgia—will survive November’s election. Less clear is whether Trump will remain its champion or become its fall guy. Like many people Trump has done business with, Coulter has learned that trusting Trump is not the wisest of investments.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/08/how-trump-betrayed-ann-coulter-on-immigration/497618/

Ann Coulter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter smiling, with a blue wallpaper behind her.

Born Ann Hart Coulter
December 8, 1961 (age 55)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater Cornell University(BA)
University of Michigan(JD)
Occupation Author, columnist, political commentator
Political party Republican[1]
Website anncoulter.com
Signature
Ann Coulter Signature.png

Ann Hart Coulter (/ˈkltər/; born December 8, 1961) is an American conservativesocial and politicalcommentator, writer, syndicated columnist, and lawyer. She frequently appears on television, radio, and as a speaker at public and private events.

Born in New York City to a conservative family, Coulter was raised in New Canaan, Connecticut. She deepened her conservative interests while studying history at Cornell University, where she helped found The Cornell Review. She subsequently embarked on a career as a law clerk before rising to prominence in the 1990s as an outspoken critic of the Clinton administration. Her first book concerned the Bill Clinton impeachment, and sprang from her experience writing legal briefs for Paula Jones‘s attorneys, as well as columns she wrote about the cases.[2][3]

Coulter has described herself as a polemicist who likes to “stir up the pot,” and does not “pretend to be impartial or balanced, as broadcasters do,”[4] drawing criticism from the left, and sometimes from the right.[5] Coulter’s syndicated column for Universal Press Syndicate appears in newspapers, and is featured on major conservative websites. As of 2016, Coulter has 12 best-selling books, including most recently Adios, America! and In Trump We Trust.

Early life

Coulter as a senior in high school, 1980.

Ann Hart Coulter was born on December 8, 1961, in New York City, to John Vincent Coulter (1926–2008), an FBI agent of Irish–German heritage,[6] who was a native of Albany, New York; and Nell Husbands Coulter (née Martin; 1928–2009), a native of Paducah, Kentucky.[7][8] All eight of her paternal great-great-grandparents were immigrants.[6] Her family later moved to New Canaan, Connecticut, where Coulter and her two older brothers, James and John, were raised.[9] She was raised in a conservative household in Connecticut by Republican parents, with a father who loved Joseph McCarthy. Coulter says she has identified as a conservative since kindergarten. To prep for arguments, she read books like Barry Goldwater‘s Conscience of a Conservative.[10]

At age 14, Coulter visited her older brother in New York City where he attended law school. While he was in class, he had his little sister read books by Milton Friedman and William E. Simon. When he got home from class, he quizzed Coulter. As a reward, he and his friends took her out to bars on the Upper East Side. Reading Republican books made Coulter dream about working as a writer.[10] She graduated from New Canaan High School in 1980. Coulter’s age was disputed in 2002 while she was arguing that she was not yet 40, yet Washington Post columnist Lloyd Grove cited that she provided a birthdate of December 8, 1961, when registering to vote in New Canaan, Connecticut, prior to the 1980 Presidential election. Meanwhile, a driver’s license issued several years later allegedly listed her birthdate as December 8, 1963. Coulter will not confirm either date, citing privacy concerns.[11]

While attending Cornell University, Coulter helped found The Cornell Review,[12][13] and was a member of the Delta Gamma national sorority.[14] She graduated cum laude from Cornell in 1984 with a B.A. in history, and received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1988, where she was an editor of the Michigan Law Review.[15] At Michigan, Coulter was president of the local chapter of the Federalist Society and was trained at the National Journalism Center.[16]

Career

After law school, Coulter served as a law clerk, in Kansas City, for Pasco Bowman II of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.[17] After a short time working in New York City in private practice, where she specialized in corporate law, Coulter left to work for the United States Senate Judiciary Committee after the Republican Partytook control of Congress in 1994. She handled crime and immigration issues for Senator Spencer Abraham of Michigan and helped craft legislation designed to expedite the deportation of aliens convicted of felonies.[18] She later became a litigator with the Center for Individual Rights.[19]

In 2000, Coulter considered running for Congress in Connecticut on the Libertarian Party ticket[20] to serve as a spoiler in order to throw the seat to the Democratic candidate and see that Republican Congressman Christopher Shays failed to gain re-election, as a punishment for Shays’ vote against Clinton’s impeachment. The leadership of the Libertarian Party of Connecticut, after meeting with Coulter, declined to endorse her. As a result, her self-described “total sham, media-intensive, third-party Jesse Ventura campaign” did not take place.[21][22] Shays subsequently won the election, and held the seat until 2008.[23]

Coulter’s career is highlighted by the publication of twelve books, as well as the weekly syndicated newspaper column that she publishes. She is particularly known for her polemical style,[24] and describes herself as someone who likes to “stir up the pot. I don’t pretend to be impartial or balanced, as broadcasters do”.[25] She has been compared to Clare Boothe Luce, one of her idols, for her satirical style.[26] She also makes numerous public appearances, speaking on television and radio talk shows, as well as on collegecampuses, receiving both praise and protest. Coulter typically spends 6–12 weeks of the year on speaking engagement tours, and more when she has a book coming out.[27] In 2010, she made an estimated $500,000 on the speaking circuit, giving speeches on topics of modern conservatism, gay marriage, and what she describes as the hypocrisy of modern American liberalism.[28] During one appearance at the University of Arizona, a pie was thrown at her.[29][30][31] Coulter has, on occasion, in defense of her ideas, responded with inflammatory remarks toward hecklers and protestors who attend her speeches.[32][33]

Books

Coulter is the author of twelve books, many of which have appeared on The New York Times Best Seller list, with a combined 3 million copies sold as of May 2009.[34]

Coulter’s first book, High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton, was published by Regnery Publishing in 1998 and made the New York Times Bestseller list.[2] It details Coulter’s case for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

Her second book, Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right, published by Crown Forum in 2002, reached the number one spot on The New York Times non-fiction best seller list.[35] In Slander, Coulter argues that President George W. Bush was given unfair negative media coverage. The factual accuracy of Slander was called into question by then-comedian and author, and now Democratic U.S. Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken; he also accused her of citing passages out of context.[36] Others investigated these charges, and also raised questions about the book’s accuracy and presentation of facts.[37][38][39] Coulter responded to criticisms in a column called “Answering My Critics”.[40]

In her third book, Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism, also published by Crown Forum, she reexamines the 60-year history of the Cold War—including the career of Senator Joseph McCarthy, the Whittaker ChambersAlger Hiss affair, and Ronald Reagan’s challenge to Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall“—and argues that liberals were wrong in their Cold War political analyses and policy decisions, and that McCarthy was correct about Soviet agents working for the U.S. government.[41] She also argues that the correct identification of Annie Lee Moss, among others, as communists was misreported by the liberal media.[42]Treason was published in 2003, and spent 13 weeks on the Best Seller list.[43]

Crown Forum published a collection of Coulter’s columns in 2004 as her fourth book, How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter.[44]

Coulter’s fifth book, published by Crown Forum in 2006, is Godless: The Church of Liberalism.[45] In it, she argues, first, that American liberalism rejects the idea of God and reviles people of faith, and second, that it bears all the attributes of a religion itself.[46]Godless debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Seller list.[47] Some passages in the book match portions of others’ writings published at an earlier time (including newspaper articles and a Planned Parenthood document), leading John Barrie of iThenticate to assert that Coulter had engaged in “textbook plagiarism”.[48]

Coulter’s If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans (Crown Forum), published in October 2007, and Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America (Crown Forum), published on January 6, 2009, both also achieved best-seller status.[49][50][51]

On June 7, 2011, Crown Forum published her eighth book Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America. Coulter said she based this book heavily on the work of Frenchsocial psychologistGustave Le Bon, who wrote on mass psychology, and in it she argues that liberals have mob-like characteristics.[52]

Her ninth book, published September 25, 2012, is Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama. It argues that liberals, and Democrats in particular, have taken undue credit for racial civil rights in America.[53]

Coulter’s tenth book, Never Trust a Liberal Over 3 – Especially a Republican, was released October 14, 2013. It is her second collection of columns and her first published by Regnery since her first book, High Crimes and Misdemeanors.[54]

Coulter published her eleventh book, Adios, America: The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country Into a Third World Hellhole on June 1, 2015. The book addresses illegal immigration, amnesty programs, and border security in the United States. [55]

Columns

In the late 1990s, Coulter’s weekly (biweekly from 1999–2000) syndicated column for Universal Press Syndicate began appearing. Her column is featured on six conservative websites: Human Events Online, WorldNetDaily, Townhall.com, VDARE, FrontPageMag, Jewish World Review and her own web site. Her syndicator says, “Ann’s client newspapers stick with her because she has a loyal fan base of conservative readers who look forward to reading her columns in their local newspapers”.[56]

In 1999 Coulter worked as a regular columnist for George magazine.[21][57] Coulter also wrote exclusive weekly columns between 1998 and 2003 and with occasional columns thereafter for the conservative magazine Human Events. In her columns for the magazine, she discusses judicial rulings, Constitutional issues, and legal matters affecting Congress and the executive branch.[58]

In 2001 as a contributing editor and syndicated columnist for National Review Online (NRO), Coulter was asked by editors to make changes to a piece written after the September 11 attacks. On the national television show Politically Incorrect, Coulter accused NRO of censorship and said that she was paid $5 per article. NRO dropped her column and terminated her editorship. Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large of NRO, said, “We did not ‘fire’ Ann for what she wrote… we ended the relationship because she behaved with a total lack of professionalism, friendship, and loyalty [concerning the editing disagreement].”[59]

Coulter contracted with USA Today to cover the 2004 Democratic National Convention. She wrote one article that began, “Here at the Spawn of Satan convention in Boston…” and referred to some unspecified female attendees as “corn-fed, no make-up, natural fiber, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie chick pie wagons”. The newspaper declined to print the article citing an editing dispute over “basic weaknesses in clarity and readability that we found unacceptable”. An explanatory article by the paper went on to say “Coulter told the online edition of Editor & Publisher magazine that ‘USA Today doesn’t like my “tone”, humor, sarcasm, etc., which raises the intriguing question of why they hired me to write for them.'” USA Today replaced Coulter with Jonah Goldberg, and Coulter published it instead on her website.[60][61][62]

In August 2005, the Arizona Daily Star dropped Coulter’s syndicated column, citing reader complaints that “Many readers find her shrill, bombastic, and mean-spirited. And those are the words used by readers who identified themselves as conservatives”.[63]

In July 2006, some newspapers replaced Coulter’s column with those of other conservative columnists following the publication of her fourth book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism.[64] After The Augusta Chronicle dropped her column, newspaper editor Michael Ryan explained that “it came to the point where she was the issue rather than what she was writing about”.[65] Ryan also stated that “pulling Ann Coulter’s column hurts; she’s one of the clearest thinkers around”.

She has criticized former president George W. Bush‘s immigration proposals, saying they led to “amnesty”. In a 2007 column, she claimed that the current immigration system was set up to deliberately reduce the percentage of whites in the population. In it, she said:[66]

In 1960, whites were 90 percent of the country. The Census Bureau recently estimated that whites already account for less than two-thirds of the population and will be a minority by 2050. Other estimates put that day much sooner.

One may assume the new majority will not be such compassionate overlords as the white majority has been. If this sort of drastic change were legally imposed on any group other than white Americans, it would be called genocide. Yet whites are called racists merely for mentioning the fact that current immigration law is intentionally designed to reduce their percentage in the population.

Overall, Coulter’s columns are highly critical of liberals and Democrats. In 2006, she wrote:[67]

This year’s Democratic plan for the future is another inane sound bite designed to trick American voters into trusting them with national security.

To wit, they’re claiming there is no connection between the war on terror and the war in Iraq, and while they are all for the war against terror—absolutely in favor of that war—they are adamantly opposed to the Iraq war. You know, the war where the U.S. military is killing thousands upon thousands of terrorists (described in the media as “Iraqi civilians”, even if they are from Jordan, like the now-dead leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi). That war.

Television and radio

Ann Coulter at the 2012 Time 100

Coulter made her first national media appearance in 1996 after she was hired by the then-fledgling network MSNBC as a legal correspondent. She later appeared on CNN and Fox News.[68] Coulter went on to make frequent guest appearances on many television and radio talk shows, including American Morning, The Fifth Estate, Glenn Beck Program, The Mike Gallagher Show, The O’Reilly Factor, Real Time with Bill Maher, Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld, The Rush Limbaugh Show, The Sean Hannity Show, The Today Show, Lou Dobbs Tonight, Fox and Friends, The Laura Ingraham Show, The View, The Michael Medved Show, and HARDtalk.

In an interview with Bob McKeown on the edition of January 26, 2005, of The Fifth Estate, Coulter came under criticism for her statement, “Canada used to be… one of our most… most loyal friends, and vice versa. I mean, Canada sent troops to Vietnam. Was Vietnam less containable and more of a threat than Saddam Hussein?” McKeown contradicted her with, “No, actually Canada did not send troops to Vietnam.”[69] On the edition of February 18, 2005 of Washington Journal, Coulter justified her statement by referring to the thousands of Canadians who served in the American armed forces during the Vietnam era, either because they volunteered or because they were living in the United States during the war years and got drafted. She said, “The Canadian Government didn’t send troops … but … they came and fought with the Americans. So I was wrong. It turns out there were 10,000 Americans who happened to be born in Canada.” (There were actually between 5,000 and 20,000 Canadians who fought in Vietnam itself, including approximately 80 who were killed.)[70] John Cloud of Time, writing about the incident a few months later, said, “Canada [sent] noncombat troops to Indochina in the 1950s and again to Vietnam in 1972″.[68]

Films

Coulter appeared in three films released during 2004. The first was Feeding the Beast, a made-for-television documentary on the “24-Hour News Revolution”.[71] The other two films were FahrenHYPE 9/11, a direct-to-video documentary rebuttal of Michael Moore‘s Fahrenheit 911, and Is It True What They Say About Ann?, a documentary on Coulter containing clips of interviews and speeches.[72] In 2015, Coulter had a cameo as the Vice President in the made-for-TV movie Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!.

Personal life

Coulter has been engaged several times, but she has never married and has no children.[32] She has dated Spin founder and publisher Bob Guccione, Jr.,[21] and conservative writer Dinesh D’Souza.[73] In October 2007, she began dating Andrew Stein, the former president of the New York City Council, a liberal Democrat. When asked about the relationship, Stein told the paper, “She’s attacked a lot of my friends, but what can I say, opposites attract!”[74] On January 7, 2008, however, Stein told the New York Post that the relationship was over, citing irreconcilable differences.[75]Kellyanne Conway, who refers to Coulter as a friend, told New York Magazine in 2017 that Coulter “started dating her security guard probably ten years ago because she couldn’t see anybody else.”[76]

Coulter owns a house, bought in 2005, in Palm Beach, Florida, a condominium in Manhattan, and an apartment in Los Angeles. She votes in Palm Beach and is not registered to do so in New York or California.[77][78]She is a fan of several jam bands, such as the Grateful Dead, the Dave Matthews Band, and Phish.[79][80] Some of her favorite books are the Bible, Mere Christianity, Wuthering Heights, Anna Karenina, true crime stories about serial killers, and anything by Dave Barry.[81]

Religious views

Coulter is a Christian and belongs to the Presbyterian denomination.[82][83] Her father was Catholic and her mother was a Protestant.[84] At one public lecture she said, “I don’t care about anything else; Christ died for my sins, and nothing else matters.”[85] She summarized her view of Christianity in a 2004 column, saying, “Jesus’ distinctive message was: People are sinful and need to be redeemed, and this is your lucky day, because I’m here to redeem you even though you don’t deserve it, and I have to get the crap kicked out of me to do it.” She then mocked “the message of Jesus… according to liberals”, summarizing it as “something along the lines of ‘be nice to people,'” which, in turn, she said “is, in fact, one of the incidental tenets of Christianity.”[86]

Confronting some critics’ views that her content and style of writing is un-Christian-like,[87] Coulter stated that “I’m a Christian first and a mean-spirited, bigoted conservative second, and don’t you ever forget it.”[88]She also said, “Christianity fuels everything I write. Being a Christian means that I am called upon to do battle against lies, injustice, cruelty, hypocrisy—you know, all the virtues in the church of liberalism”.[89] In Godless: The Church of Liberalism, Coulter characterized the theory of evolution as bogus science, and contrasted her beliefs to what she called the left’s “obsession with Darwinism and the Darwinian view of the world, which replaces sanctification of life with sanctification of sex and death”.[90] Coulter subscribes to intelligent design, a theory that rejects evolution.[91]

Coulter was accused of anti-semitism in an October 8, 2007, interview with Donny Deutsch on The Big Idea. During the interview, Coulter stated that the United States is a Christian nation, and said that she wants “Jews to be perfected, as they say” (referring to them being converted to Christianity).[92] Deutsch, a practicing Jew, implied that this was an anti-semitic remark, but Coulter said she didn’t consider it to be a hateful comment.[93][94] In response to Coulter’s comments on the show, the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee and Bradley Burston condemned those comments,[95] and the National Jewish Democratic Council asked media outlets to stop inviting Coulter as a guest commentator.[96] Talk show host Dennis Prager, while disagreeing with her comments, said that they were not “anti-semitic”, noting, “There is nothing in what Ann Coulter said to a Jewish interviewer on CNBC that indicates she hates Jews or wishes them ill, or does damage to the Jewish people or the Jewish state. And if none of those criteria is present, how can someone be labeled anti-Semitic?”[97] Conservative activist David Horowitz also defended Coulter against the allegation.[98]

Coulter again sparked outrage in September 2015, when she tweeted in response to multiple Republican candidates’ references to Israel during a Presidential debate, “How many f—ing Jews do these people think there are in the United States?”[99] The Anti-Defamation League referred to the tweets as “ugly, spiteful and anti-Semitic.”[100] In response to accusations of anti-Semitism, she tweeted “I like the Jews, I like fetuses, I like Reagan. Didn’t need to hear applause lines about them all night.”[99]

Political views

Coulter is a conservative columnist. She is a registered Republican and member of the advisory council of GOProud since August 9, 2011.[101]

Coulter supported George W. Bush’s presidency. She endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2008 Republican presidential primary[102] and the 2012 Republican presidential primary and presidential run.[103] In the 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries, she endorsed Donald Trump.[104] However, in the wake of the 2017 Shayrat missile strike, Coulter expressed her dismay by tweeting, “Trump campaigned on not getting involved in Mideast.”[105]

Abortion

Coulter believes Roe v. Wade should be overturned and left to the states. She is anti-abortion, but believes there should be an exception if a woman is raped.[106]

Illegal immigration

She strongly opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants, and at the 2013 CPAC said she has now become “a single-issue voter against amnesty”.[107]

Afghanistan War

Although she originally supported the war in Afghanistan during the Bush administration, beginning in 2009 she expressed concern that the war might have turned into another Vietnam, and opposed sending more troops to Afghanistan.[108]

LGBT rights

Coulter opposes same-sex marriage and once supported a federal U.S. constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman.[109] She insists that her opposition to same-sex marriage “wasn’t an anti-gay thing” and that “It’s genuinely a pro-marriage position to oppose gay marriage”.[110] In an April 1, 2015, column, Coulter declared that liberals had “won the war on gay marriage (by judicial fiat)”.[111]

She also opposes civil unions[112] and privatizing marriage.[113] When addressed with the issue of rights granted by marriage, she said, “Gays already can visit loved ones in hospitals. They can also visit neighbors, random acquaintances, and total strangers in hospitals—just like everyone else. Gays can also pass on property to whomever they would like”.[114] She disagreed with the U.S. Supreme Court‘s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas ruling, stating there was no right to sodomy written in the Constitution and that under federalism each individual state and territory would have to repeal their sodomy laws. She stated she opposed banning same-sex sexual intercourse.[115] She also stated that same-sex sexual intercourse was already protected under the Fourth Amendment, which prevents police from going into your home without a search warrant or court order.[116]

In regard to Romer v. Evans described anti-discrimination laws covering LGBT as “affirmative action benefits.”[117] She also disagreed with repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, stating that it is not an “anti-gay position; it is a pro-military position” because “sexual bonds are disruptive to the military bond”.[118] On April 1, 2015, in a column, Ann Coulter expressed support for Indiana‘s Religious Freedom Restoration Act and said it was an “apocryphal” assertion to claim the Religious Freedom Restoration Act would be used to discriminate against LGBTs.[111] She has also endorsed the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act and opposes transgender individuals to use bathroom usage corresponding to their gender identity.[119]

LGBT conservatism

Since the 1990s, Coulter has had many acquaintances in the LGBT community. She considers herself “the Judy Garland of the Right.” In the last few years, Coulter has attracted many LGBT fans, namely gay men and drag queens.[10][120][121]

At the 2007 CPAC, Coulter said, “I do want to point out one thing that has been driving me crazy with the media—how they keep describing Mitt Romney‘s position as being pro-gays, and that’s going to upset the right wingers,” and “Well, you know, screw you! I’m not anti-gay. We’re against gay marriage. I don’t want gays to be discriminated against.” She added, “I don’t know why all gays aren’t Republican. I think we have the pro-gay positions, which is anti-crime and for tax cuts. Gays make a lot of money and they’re victims of crime. No, they are! They should be with us.”[122]

In Coulter’s 2007 book If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans, in the chapter “Gays: No Gay Left Behind!”, she argued that Republican policies were more pro-gay than Democratic policies. Coulter attended the 2010 HomoCon of GOProud, where she commented that same-sex marriage “is not a civil right.”[123] On February 9, 2011, in a column, Coulter described the national Log Cabin Republicans as “ridiculous” and “not conservative at all.” She did however describe the Texas branch of Log Cabin Republicans, for whom she’s been signing books for years, as “comprised of real conservatives.”[124]

At the 2011 CPAC, during her question-and-answer segment, Coulter was asked about GOProud and the controversy over their exclusion from the 2011 CPAC. She boasted how she talked GOProud into dropping its support for same-sex marriage in the party’s platform, saying, “The left is trying to co-opt gays, and I don’t think we should let them. I think they should be on our side,” and “Gays are natural conservatives.”[125] Later that year, Coulter joined advisory board for GOProud. On LogosThe A-List: Dallas she told gay Republican Taylor Garrett that “The gays have got to be pro-life,” and “As soon as they find the gay gene, guess who the liberal yuppies are gonna start aborting?”[126] Coulter has referred to Democractic politicians Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Edwards as “fag(got).”[127]

War on Drugs

Coulter strongly supports continuing the War on Drugs.[128] However, she has said that, if there were not a welfare state, she “wouldn’t care” if drugs were legal.[129]

Coulter spoke about drugs as a guest on Piers Morgan Live, when she said that marijuana users “can’t perform daily functions.”[130]

Political activities and commentary

Ann Coulter has described herself as a “polemicist” who likes to “stir up the pot” and doesn’t “pretend to be impartial or balanced, as broadcasters do.”[4] While her political activities in the past have included advising a plaintiff suing President Bill Clinton as well as considering a run for Congress, she mostly serves as a political pundit, sometimes creating controversy ranging from rowdy uprisings at some of the colleges where she speaks to protracted discussions in the media. Time magazine’s John Cloud once observed that Coulter “likes to shock reporters by wondering aloud whether America might be better off if women lost the right to vote.”[68] This was in reference to her statement that “it would be a much better country if women did not vote. That is simply a fact. In fact, in every presidential election since 1950—except Goldwater in ’64—the Republican would have won, if only the men had voted.”[131] Similarly, in an October 2007 interview with the New York Observer, Coulter said:[132]

If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president. It’s kind of a pipe dream, it’s a personal fantasy of mine, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women are voting so stupidly, at least single women.

It also makes the point, it is kind of embarrassing, the Democratic Party ought to be hanging its head in shame, that it has so much difficulty getting men to vote for it. I mean, you do see it’s the party of women and ‘We’ll pay for health care and tuition and day care—and here, what else can we give you, soccer moms?’

In addition to questioning whether women’s right to vote is a good thing, Coulter has also appeared on Fox News and advocated for a poll tax and a literacy test for voters (this was in 1999, and she reiterated her support of a literacy test in 2015).[133] This is not a viewpoint widely shared by members of the Republican Party.

Paula Jones – Bill Clinton case

Coulter first became a public figure shortly before becoming an unpaid legal adviser for the attorneys representing Paula Jones in her sexual harassment suit against President Bill Clinton. Coulter’s friend George Conway had been asked to assist Jones’ attorneys, and shortly afterward Coulter, who wrote a column about the Paula Jones case for Human Events, was also asked to help, and she began writing legal briefs for the case.

Coulter later stated that she would come to mistrust the motives of Jones’ head lawyer, Joseph Cammaratta, who by August or September 1997 was advising Jones that her case was weak and to settle, if a favorable settlement could be negotiated.[18][134] From the outset, Jones had sought an apology from Clinton at least as eagerly as she sought a settlement.[135] However, in a later interview Coulter recounted that she herself had believed that the case was strong, that Jones was telling the truth, that Clinton should be held publicly accountable for his misconduct, and that a settlement would give the impression that Jones was merely interested in extorting money from the President.[18]

David Daley, who wrote the interview piece for The Hartford Courant recounted what followed:

Coulter played one particularly key role in keeping the Jones case alive. In Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff’s new book Uncovering Clinton: A Reporter’s Story, Coulter is unmasked as the one who leaked word of Clinton’s “distinguishing characteristic”—his reportedly unusually large penis that Jones said she could recognize and describe—to the news media. Her hope was to foster mistrust between the Clinton and Jones camps and forestall a settlement … I thought if I leaked the distinguishing characteristic it would show bad faith in negotiations. [Clinton lawyer] Bob Bennett would think Jones had leaked it. Cammaratta would know he himself hadn’t leaked it and would get mad at Bennett. It might stall negotiations enough for me to get through to [Jones adviser] Susan Carpenter-McMillan to tell her that I thought settling would hurt Paula, that this would ruin her reputation, and that there were other lawyers working for her. Then 36 hours later, she returned my phone call. I just wanted to help Paula. I really think Paula Jones is a hero. I don’t think I could have taken the abuse she came under. She’s this poor little country girl and she has the most powerful man she’s ever met hitting on her sexually, then denying it and smearing her as president. And she never did anything tacky. It’s not like she was going on TV or trying to make a buck out of it.”[18]

In his book, Isikoff also reported Coulter as saying: “We were terrified that Jones would settle. It was contrary to our purpose of bringing down the President.”[134] After the book came out, Coulter clarified her stated motives, saying:

The only motive for leaking the distinguishing characteristic item that [Isikoff] gives in his book is my self-parodying remark that “it would humiliate the president” and that a settlement would foil our efforts to bring down the president … I suppose you could take the position, as [Isikoff] does, that we were working for Jones because we thought Clinton was a lecherous, lying scumbag, but this argument gets a bit circular. You could also say that Juanita Broaddrick’s secret motive in accusing Clinton of rape is that she hates Clinton because he raped her. The whole reason we didn’t much like Clinton was that we could see he was the sort of man who would haul a low-level government employee like Paula to his hotel room, drop his pants, and say, “Kiss it.” You know: Everything his defense said about him at the impeachment trial. It’s not like we secretly disliked Clinton because of his administration’s position on California’s citrus cartels or something, and then set to work on some crazy scheme to destroy him using a pathological intern as our Mata Hari.[136]

The case went to court after Jones broke with Coulter and her original legal team, and it was dismissed via summary judgment. The judge ruled that even if her allegations proved true, Jones did not show that she had suffered any damages, stating, “… plaintiff has not demonstrated any tangible job detriment or adverse employment action for her refusal to submit to the governor’s alleged advances. The president is therefore entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff’s claim of quid pro quo sexual harassment.” The ruling was appealed by Jones’ lawyers. During the pendency of the appeal, Clinton settled with Jones for $850,000 ($151,000 after legal fees) in November 1998, in exchange for Jones’ dismissal of the appeal. By then, the Jones lawsuit had given way to the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal.

In October 2000, Jones revealed that she would pose for nude pictures in an adult magazine, saying she wanted to use the money to pay taxes and support her grade-school-aged children, in particular saying, “I’m wanting to put them through college and maybe set up a college fund.”[137] Coulter publicly denounced Jones, calling her “the trailer-park trash they said she was” (Coulter had earlier chastened Clinton supporters for calling Jones this name),[138] after Clinton’s former campaign strategist James Carville had made the widely reported remark, “Drag a $100 bill through a trailer park, and you’ll never know what you’ll find,” and called Jones a “fraud, at least to the extent of pretending to be an honorable and moral person.”[137]

Coulter wrote:

Paula surely was given more than a million dollars in free legal assistance from an array of legal talent she will never again encounter in her life, much less have busily working on her behalf. Some of those lawyers never asked for or received a dime for hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal work performed at great professional, financial and personal cost to themselves. Others got partial payments out of the settlement. But at least they got her reputation back. And now she’s thrown it away.[139]

Jones claimed not to have been offered any help with a book deal of her own or any other additional financial help after the lawsuit.[137]

2008 presidential election

As the 2008 presidential campaign was getting under way, Coulter drew criticism for statements she made at the 2007 Conservative Political Action Conference about presidential candidate John Edwards:[140][141]

I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I’m… so, kind of at an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards, so I think I’ll just conclude here and take your questions.

The comment was in reference to Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington‘s use of the epithet and his subsequent mandatory “psychological assessment” imposed by ABC executives.[142] It was widely interpreted as meaning that Coulter had called Edwards a “faggot,” but Coulter argued that she did not actually do so, while simultaneously indicating she would not have been wrong to say it.[143] Edwards responded on his web site by characterizing Coulter’s words as “un-American and indefensible,” and asking readers to help him “raise $100,000 in ‘Coulter Cash’ this week to keep this campaign charging ahead and fight back against the politics of bigotry.”[144] He also called her a “she-devil,” adding, “I should not have name-called. But the truth is—forget the names—people like Ann Coulter, they engage in hateful language.”[145] Coulter’s words also drew condemnation from many prominent Republicans and Democrats, as well as groups such as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).[144][146][147] Three advertisers (Verizon, Sallie Mae and Netbank) also pulled their advertisements from Coulter’s web site,[148] and several newspapers dropped her column.[149][150] Coulter responded in an e-mail to the New York Times, “C’mon, it was a joke. I would never insult gays by suggesting that they are like John Edwards. That would be mean.”[147] On March 5, 2007, she appeared on Hannity and Colmes and said, “Faggot isn’t offensive to gays; it has nothing to do with gays. It’s a schoolyard taunt meaning ‘wuss.'”[151] Gay rights advocates were not convinced. “Ann Coulter’s use of this anti-gay slur is vile and unacceptable,” said Neil G. Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, “and the applause from her audience is an important reminder that Coulter’s ugly brand of bigotry is at the root of the discriminatory policies being promoted at this gathering.”[141] A spokesman for Sen. John McCain, a Republican presidential candidate, called Coulter’s comments “wildly inappropriate.”[141]

As the campaign waged on, she continued to insert her commentary regarding the candidates, both Democrats and Republicans. In a June 2007 interview, Coulter named Duncan Hunter as her choice for the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination, highlighting his views on immigration and specifically his anti-abortion credentials, saying “[t]his is a winning issue for us, protecting little babies.”[152] On January 16, 2008, Coulter began endorsing Governor Mitt Romney as her choice for the 2008 Republican nomination, saying he is “manifestly the best candidate” (contrasting Romney with Republican candidates John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and Rudy Giuliani).[153] By contrast, Coulter was critical of eventual Republican nominee John McCain. On the January 31, 2008, broadcast of Hannity and Colmes, Coulter claimed that if McCain won the Republican nomination for president, she would support and campaign for Hillary Clinton, stating, “[Clinton] is more conservative than McCain.”[154]

Regarding then-presidential-candidate Barack Obama in an April 2, 2008, column, she characterized his book Dreams from My Father as a “dimestore Mein Kampf.” Coulter writes, “He says the reason black people keep to themselves is that it’s ‘easier than spending all your time mad or trying to guess whatever it was that white folks were thinking about you.’ Here’s a little inside scoop about white people: We’re not thinking about you. Especially WASPs. We think everybody is inferior, and we are perfectly charming about it.”[155]

2010 Canadian university tour

Ann Coulter at CPAC in February 2012

In March 2010, Coulter announced that she would be embarking on a speaking tour of three Canadian universities, The University of Western Ontario, the University of Ottawa and the University of Calgary. The tour was organized by the International Free Press Society.[156]

On the eve of Coulter’s first speech at the University of Western Ontario, an e-mail to Coulter from François Houle, provost of the University of Ottawa, was leaked to the media. The e-mail warned that “promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges.” Coulter released a public statement alleging that by sending her the e-mail, Houle was promoting hatred against conservatives.[157] During her speech at the University of Western Ontario, she told a Muslim student to “take a camel,” in response to the student’s question about previous comments by Coulter that Muslims should not be allowed on airplanes.[158]

On March 22, the University of Ottawa made international news when liberal protesters conspired to prevent Coulter from speaking. The event was canceled in spite of a massive security presence; Alain Boucher of the Ottawa Police Service said there were ten officers visible at the scene, “plus other resources” nearby.[159] Boucher alleged that Coulter’s security team decided to call off the event, saying, “We gave her options,” including, he said, to “find a bigger venue.” But “they opted to cancel … It’s not up to the Ottawa police to make that decision.”[160] Boucher claimed there were no arrests.[161] CTV News reported, “It was a disaster in terms of just organization, which is probably one of the reasons why it was cancelled,” citing the small number of students tasked with confirming who had signed up to attend Coulter’s talk.[162]

Event organizer and conservative activist Ezra Levant blamed the protest on the letter sent to Coulter by Houle.[163] After the cancellation, Coulter called the University of Ottawa “bush league,” stating:[164]

I go to the best schools, Harvard, the Ivy League, and those kids are too intellectually proud to threaten speakers … I would like to know when this sort of violence, this sort of protest, has been inflicted upon a Muslim—who appear to be, from what I’ve read of the human rights complaints, the only protected group in Canada. I think I’ll give my speech tomorrow night in a burka. That will protect me.

Comments on Islam, Arabs, and terrorism

On September 14, 2001, three days after the September 11 attacks (in which her friend Barbara Olson had been killed), Coulter wrote in her column:

Airports scrupulously apply the same laughably ineffective airport harassment to Suzy Chapstick as to Muslim hijackers. It is preposterous to assume every passenger is a potential crazed homicidal maniac. We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war.[165]

This comment resulted in Coulter’s being fired as a columnist by the National Review, which she subsequently referred to as “squeamish girly-boys.”[166] Responding to this comment, Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations remarked in The Chicago Sun Times that before September 11, Coulter “would have faced swift repudiation from her colleagues,” but “now it’s accepted as legitimate commentary.”[167]

David Horowitz, however, saw Coulter’s words as irony:

I began running Coulter columns on Frontpagemag.com shortly after she came up with her most infamous line, which urged America to put jihadists to the sword and convert them to Christianity. Liberals were horrified; I was not. I thought to myself, this is a perfect send-up of what our Islamo-fascist enemies believe—that as infidels we should be put to the sword and converted to Islam. I regarded Coulter’s phillipic (sic) as a Swiftian commentary on liberal illusions of multi-cultural outreach to people who want to rip out our hearts.[168]

One day after the attacks (when death toll estimates were higher than later), Coulter asserted that only Muslims could have been behind the attacks:

Not all Muslims may be terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims—at least all terrorists capable of assembling a murderous plot against America that leaves 7,000 people dead in under two hours.[169]

Coulter has been highly critical of the U.S. Department of Transportation and especially its then-secretary Norman Mineta. Her many criticisms include their refusal to use racial profiling as a component of airport screening.[170] After a group of Muslims was expelled from a US Airways flight when other passengers expressed concern, sparking a call for Muslims to boycott the airline because of the ejection from a flight of six imams, Coulter wrote:

If only we could get Muslims to boycott all airlines, we could dispense with airport security altogether.[171]

Coulter also cited the 2002 Senate testimony of FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley, who was acclaimed for condemning her superiors for refusing to authorize a search warrant for 9-11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui when he refused to consent to a search of his computer. They knew that he was a Muslim in flight school who had overstayed his visa, and the French Intelligence Service had confirmed his affiliations with radical fundamentalist Islamic groups. Coulter said she agreed that probable cause existed in the case, but that refusing consent, being in flight school and overstaying a visa should not constitute grounds for a search. Citing a poll which found that 98 percent of Muslims between the ages of 20 and 45 said they would not fight for Britain in the war in Afghanistan, and that 48 percent said they would fight for Osama bin Laden she asserted “any Muslim who has attended a mosque in Europe—certainly in England, where Moussaoui lived—has had ‘affiliations with radical fundamentalist Islamic groups,'” so that she parsed Rowley’s position as meaning that “‘probable cause’ existed to search Moussaoui’s computer because he was a Muslim who had lived in England.” Coulter says the poll was “by the “Daily Telegraph“, actually it was by Sunrise, an “Asian” (i.e., Indian subcontinent-oriented) radio station, canvassing the opinions of 500 Muslims in Greater London (not Britain as a whole), mainly of Pakistani origin and aged between 20 and 45. Because “FBI headquarters … refused to engage in racial profiling,” they failed to uncover the 9-11 plot, Coulter asserted. “The FBI allowed thousands of Americans to be slaughtered on the altar of political correctness. What more do liberals want?”[172][173]

Coulter wrote in another column that she had reviewed the civil rights lawsuits against certain airlines to determine which of them had subjected Arabs to the most “egregious discrimination” so that she could fly only that airline. She also said that the airline should be bragging instead of denying any of the charges of discrimination brought against them.[174] In an interview with The Guardian she said, “I think airlines ought to start advertising: ‘We have the most civil rights lawsuits brought against us by Arabs.'” When the interviewer replied by asking what Muslims would do for travel, she responded, “They could use flying carpets.”[131]

One comment that drew criticism from the blogosphere, as well as fellow conservatives,[175] was made during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2006, where she said, referring to the prospect of a nuclear-equipped Iran, “What if they start having one of these bipolar episodes with nuclear weapons? I think our motto should be, post-9-11: Raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.”[176] Coulter had previously written a nearly identical passage in her syndicated column: “… I believe our motto should be, after 9/11: Jihad monkey talks tough; jihad monkey takes the consequences. Sorry, I realize that’s offensive. How about ‘camel jockey‘? What? Now what’d I say? Boy, you tent merchants sure are touchy. Grow up, would you?”[177]

In October 2007, Coulter made further controversial remarks regarding Arabs—in this case Iraqis—when she stated in an interview with The New York Observer:

We’ve killed about 20,000 of them, of terrorists, of militants, of Al Qaeda members, and they’ve gotten a little over 3,000 of ours. That is where the war is being fought, in Iraq. That is where we are fighting Al Qaeda. Sorry we have to use your country, Iraqis, but you let Saddam come to power, and we are going to instill democracy in your country.[178]

In a May 2007 article looking back at the life of recently deceased evangelical Reverend Jerry Falwell, Coulter commented on his (later retracted) statement after the 9/11 attacks that “the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America … helped this happen.” In her article, Coulter stated that she disagreed with Falwell’s statement, “because Falwell neglected to specifically include Teddy Kennedy and ‘the Reverend’ Barry Lynn.”[179]

In October 2007, Coulter participated in David Horowitz‘ “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week,” remarking in a speech at the University of Southern California, “The fact of Islamo-Fascism is indisputable. I find it tedious to detail the savagery of the enemy … I want to kill them. Why don’t Democrats?”[180]

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Coulter told Hannity host Sean Hannity that the wife of bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev should be jailed for wearing a hijab. Coulter continued by saying “Assimilating immigrants into our culture isn’t really working. They’re assimilating us into their culture.”[181]

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris, Coulter said France “needs to move to the next step” in dealing with terror. Coulter said of some immigrants:

They don’t want to live in Muslim countries, and yet they want to change the non-Muslim countries they move to [into] Muslim countries. It may be a small minority of Muslims “and still it’s enough of them that maybe you take a little pause in Muslim immigration for a while.”[182]

Coulter has attributed American gun violence in America to black and Muslim American men, stating that the epidemic of gun-related deaths is “not a gun problem, it’s a demographic problem.”[183]

When asked about the financial crisis in the 2000s, Coulter claimed one reason for it was that “they gave your mortgage to a less qualified minority.”[184]

Ionizing radiation as “cancer vaccine”

On March 16, 2011, discussing the Fukushima I nuclear accidents, Coulter, citing research into radiation hormesis, wrote that there was “burgeoning evidence that excess radiation operates as a sort of cancer vaccine.”[185] Her comments were criticized by figures across the political spectrum, from Fox NewsBill O’Reilly (who told Coulter, “You have to be responsible … in something like this, you gotta get the folks out of there, and you have to report worst-case scenarios”)[186] to MSNBC‘s Ed Schulz (who stated that “You would laugh at her if she wasn’t making light of a terrible tragedy.”)[187]

2012 presidential election

During the Republican Party presidential primaries, she supported Mitt Romney over former Speaker of the HouseNewt Gingrich. On an interview during The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News, she compared Newt Gingrich’s attacks on the media to Jesse Jackson “accusing people of racism.”[188] On her website, she posted a column titled, “Re-elect Obama: Vote Newt!” arguing that if Newt Gingrich won the Republican nomination, Barack Obama would win re-election.[189] When asked to respond about her criticism, Newt Gingrich dismissed them as “the old order” and cited recent polls showing him ahead of Mitt Romney.[190]

On October 22, 2012, following a presidential debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, Coulter published the following tweet from her official Twitter account: “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard,” drawing stiff criticism for her use of a word which some find offensive to describe the president of the United States. The Special Olympics condemned Coulter in a tweet shortly after Coulter’s.[191] On The Alan Colmes Show, Coulter stated that she does not regret her use of the word, saying, “‘Retard’ had been used colloquially to just mean ‘loser’ for 30 years. But no, these aggressive victims have to come out and tell you what words to use.”[192]

After the election, in which Barack Obama won, Ann Coulter wrote a column titled “Romney Was Not the Problem”. In it she argued against the idea that Mitt Romney lost because he failed to get his message across. She also said that Mitt Romney lost because he was running against an incumbent.[193]

2013 CPAC Conference

In March 2013, Coulter was one of the keynote speakers at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where she made references to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie‘s weight (“CPAC had to cut back on its speakers this year about 300 pounds”) and progressive activist Sandra Fluke‘s hairdo. (Coulter quipped that Fluke didn’t need birth control pills because “that haircut is birth control enough.”) Coulter advocated against a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants because such new citizens would never vote for Republican candidates: “If amnesty goes through, America becomes California and no Republican will ever win another election.”[194][195]

2016 presidential election

In the summer of 2015, Coulter appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher and predicted of all of the Republicans that have announced their candidacy for the presidency, that Donald Trump had the best chance of winning the general election, she was laughed at by the studio audience.[196] Coulter later endorsed Donald Trump in the general election.[197]

VDARE

Coulter has been a contributor to VDARE since 2006.[198]

VDARE is a right wing website and blog founded by anti-immigration activist and paleo-conservativePeter Brimelow.[199] VDARE is considered controversial because of its alleged ties to white supremacist rhetoric and support of scientific racism and white nationalism.[200][201][202][203][204]

Berkeley cancellation

In April 2017, The New York Times reported that the University of California, Berkeley had cancelled Ann Coulter’s speech scheduled for April 27.[205] A university spokesman said they had not discussed a specific date with her and only learned about it by reading news reports.[206] The university administrators cited threats of violence and offered to accommodate her on a later date. Coulter said she saw no way forward, telling The New York Times, “It’s a sad day for free speech.”[207] Both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren publicly called for the university to defend her right to free speech.[207]

Plagiarism accusations

In October 2001, Coulter was accused of plagiarism in her 1998 book High Crimes and Misdemeanors by Michael Chapman, a columnist for the journal Human Events who claims that passages were taken from a supplement he wrote for the journal in 1997 titled “A Case for Impeachment.”[166]

On the July 5, 2016, episode of Countdown with Keith Olbermann, guest John Barrie, the CEO of iParadigms, offers his professional opinion that Coulter plagiarized in her book Godless as well as in many columns over the past year.[208] Barrie ran “Godless” through iThenticate, his company’s machine which is able to scan works and compare them to existing texts. He points to a 25 word section of the text that exactly matches a Planned Parenthood pamphlet and a 33 word section almost duplicating a 1999 article from the Portland Press as some examples of evidence.

Media Matters for America has appealed to Random House publishing to further investigate Coulter’s work.[209] The syndicator of her columns cleared her of the plagiarism charges.[210] Universal Press Syndicate and Crown Books also defended Coulter against the charges.[211]

Columnist Bill Nemitz from the Portland Press Herald accused Coulter of plagiarizing a very specific sentence from his newspaper in her book Godless, but he also acknowledged that one sentence is insufficient grounds for filing suit.[212]

Public perception

General

Sometimes referred to as an “internet queen,”[213] Coulter’s has a high public profile. [214]

Gendered criticism

Known for rejecting “the academic convention of euphemism and circumlocution,”[215] Coulter has been subject to a fair amount of criticism from scholars. Feminist critics have criticized the way that Coulter functions as a thin, blonde, heterosexual woman in the Republican party who prefers mini skirts and heels over a business suit. The argument here is that Coulter plays to misogyny in order to further her goals; she “dominates without threatening (at least not straight men).”[216] These critics also reject Coulter’s opinion that the gains made by women have as far as to create an anti-male society[217] and her call for women to be rejected from the military because they are more vicious than men.[218] Like the famous anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly, Coulter uses traditionally masculine rhetoric as reasoning for the need for traditional gender roles, and she carries this idea of feminized dependency into her governmental policies, according to feminist critics.[219]

2016 Comedy Central Roast

In September 2016, Coulter was invited to participate in a roast of Rob Lowe on Comedy Central, as Coulter is often considered a successful satirist.[220] There is speculation that Coulter attended with the primary goal of promoting her newest book at the time, In Trump We Trust, but she ended up becoming the main target of the vitriol, and the roast subsequently went viral. Coulter herself refers to the roast as the “Ann Coulter Roast with Rob Lowe.”[221]

Bibliography

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David Ignatius — The Sun King — Videos

Posted on January 7, 2017. Filed under: American History, Art, Art, Blogroll, Book, Books, Business, Crisis, Employment, Entertainment, Faith, Family, Fiction, Freedom, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Religious, Speech | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Sun King

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David Ignatius, (The Washington Post)

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David Ignatius interviewed about his book “BloodMoney”

THE SUN KING

“A thoroughly involving narrative with a sharp, satiric edge, Ignatius’s contemporary take on the tragic confluence of love, power and ambition is a sophisticated look at the media mystique and the movers and shakers in our nation’s capitol.” Publishers Weekly

The Sun KingWashington Post columnist David Ignatius is one of the most highly regarded writers in the capital, an influential journalist and acclaimed novelist with a keen eye for the subtleties of power and politics. In The Sun King, Ignatius has written a love story for our time, a spellbinding portrait of the collision of ambition and sexual desire.

Sandy Galvin is a billionaire with a rare talent for taking risks and making people happy. Galvin arrives in a Washington suffering under a cloud of righteous misery and proceeds to turn the place upside down. He buys the city’s most powerful newspaper, The Washington Sun and Tribune, and wields it like a sword, but in his path stands his old Harvard flame, Candace Ridgway, a beautiful and icy journalist known to her colleagues as the Mistress of Fact. Their fateful encounter, tangled in the mysteries of their past, is narrated by David Cantor, an acid-tongued reporter and Jerry Springer devotee who is drawn inexorably into the Sun King’s orbit and is transformed by this unpredictable man.

In this wise and poignant novel, love is the final frontier for a generation of baby boomers at midlife–still young enough to reach for their dreams but old enough to glimpse the prospect of loss. The Sun King can light up a room, but can he melt the worldly bonds that constrain the Mistress of Fact? In The Sun King, David Ignatius proves with perceptive wit and haunting power that the phrase “Washington love story” isn’t an oxymoron.


Reviews

“A splendid, star-crossed Gatsby update that roasts on the same skewer Washington’s power elite and the journalists they so easily seduce… Fitzgerald’s boozy gloom brightened with social satire, bittersweet romance, and a comic send-up of all that newspapers hold dear, from a man who’s been there.” Kirkus

“The emotional integrity at the heart of this novel is searingly honest and makes for a wise and satisfying work.” — Library Journal

http://davidignatius.com/the-sun-king/

 

David Ignatius

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
David Ignatius
David ignatius.jpg
Born May 26, 1950 (age 66)
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Occupation Novelist, Journalist, Analyst
Language English
Nationality American-Armenian
Education St. Albans School
Harvard University
King’s College, Cambridge
Genre Suspense, Espionage fiction, Thriller
Notable works Body of Lies, Agents of Innocence, The Increment
Spouse Dr. Eve Thornberg Ignatius

David R. Ignatius (May 26, 1950), is an American journalist and novelist. He is an associate editor and columnist for The Washington Post. He also co-hosts PostGlobal, an online discussion of international issues at Washingtonpost.com, with Fareed Zakaria. He has written nine novels, including Body of Lies, which director Ridley Scott adapted into a film. He is a former Adjunct Lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and currently Senior Fellow to the Future of Diplomacy Program. He has received numerous honors, including the Legion of Honor from the French Republic, the Urbino World Press Award from the Italian Republic, and a lifetime achievement award from the International Committee for Foreign Journalism.

Personal life

Ignatius was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[1] His parents are Nancy Sharpless (née Weiser) and Paul Robert Ignatius, a former Secretary of the Navy (1967–69), president of The Washington Post, and former president of the Air Transport Association.[2][3] He is of Armenian descent on his father’s side, with ancestors from Harput, Elazığ, Turkey;[4][5] his mother, a descendant of Puritan minister Cotton Mather, is of German and English descent.[6]

Ignatius was raised in Washington, D.C., where he attended St. Albans School. He then attended Harvard College, from which he graduated magna cum laude in 1973. Ignatius was awarded a Frank Knox Fellowship from Harvard University and studied at King’s College, Cambridge, where he received a diploma in economics.[7]

He is married to Dr. Eve Thornberg Ignatius, with whom he has three daughters.[7]

Career

Journalism

After completing his education, Ignatius was an editor at the Washington Monthly before moving to the Wall Street Journal, where he spent ten years as a reporter. At the Journal, Ignatius first covered the steel industry in Pittsburgh. He then moved to Washington where he covered the Justice Department, the CIA, and the Senate. Ignatius was the Journal’s Middle East correspondent between 1980 and 1983, during which time he covered the wars in Lebanon and Iraq. He returned to Washington in 1984, becoming chief diplomatic correspondent. In 1985 he received the Edward Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting.

In 1986, Ignatius left the Journal for the Washington Post. From 1986 to 1990, he was the editor of the “Outlook” section. From 1990 to 1992 he was foreign editor, and oversaw the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. From 1993 to 1999, he served as assistant managing editor in charge of business news. In 1999, he began writing a twice-weekly column on global politics, economics and international affairs.

In 2000, he became the executive editor of the International Herald Tribune in Paris. He returned to the Post in 2002 when the Post sold its interest in the Herald Tribune. Ignatius continued to write his column once a week during his tenure at the Herald Tribune, resuming twice-weekly columns after his return to the Post. His column is syndicated worldwide by The Washington Post Writers Group. The column won the 2000 Gerald Loeb Award for Commentary and a 2004 Edward Weintal Prize. In writing his column, Ignatius frequently travels to the Middle East and interviews leaders such as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the Lebanese military organization Hezbollah.

Ignatius’s writing has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Foreign Affairs, The New Republic, Talk Magazine, and The Washington Monthly.

Ignatius’s coverage of the CIA has been criticized as being defensive and overly positive. Melvin A. Goodman, a 42-year CIA veteran, Johns Hopkins professor, and senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, has called Ignatius “the mainstream media’s apologist for the Central Intelligence Agency,” citing as examples Ignatius’s criticism of the Obama administration for investigating the CIA’s role in the use of torture in interrogations during the Iraq War, and his charitable defense of the agency’s motivations for outsourcing such activities to private contractors.[8][9][10][10] Columnist Glenn Greenwald has leveled similar criticism against Ignatius.[11]

On a number of occasions, however, Ignatius criticized the CIA and the U.S. government’s approach on intelligence.[12] He was also critical of the Bush administration’s torture policies.[13]

On March 12, 2014, he wrote a two-page descriptive opinion on Putin’s strengths and weaknesses which was published in the Journal and Courier soon after.[14]

On March 26, 2014, Ignatius wrote a piece in the Washington Post on the crisis in Ukraine and how the world will deal with Putin‘s actions. Ignatius’ theory of history is that it is a chaos and that “good” things are not pre-ordained, “decisive turns in history can result from ruthless political leaders, from weak or confused adversaries, or sometimes just from historical accident. Might doesn’t make right, but it does create ‘facts on the ground’ that are hard to reverse.” His piece mentioned 4-star USAF General Philip M. Breedlove, the current NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya. Putin, says Ignatius, “leads what by most political and economic indicators is a weak nation—a declining power, not a rising one.” He places great hope in Angela Merkel.[15]

Novels

In addition to being a journalist, Ignatius is also a successful novelist. He has written seven novels in the suspense/espionage fiction genre, which draw on his experience and interest in foreign affairs and his knowledge of intelligence operations. Reviewers have compared Ignatius’ work to classic spy novels like those by Graham Greene. Ignatius’s novels have also been praised for their realism; his first novel, Agents of Innocence, was at one point described by the CIA on its website as “a novel but not fiction”.[16] His 1999 novel The Sun King, a re-working of The Great Gatsby set in late-20th-century Washington, is his only departure from the espionage genre.[citation needed]

His 2007 novel Body of Lies was adapted into a film by director Ridley Scott. It starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has acquired the rights to Ignatius’s seventh novel, The Increment.[citation needed]

The Director, a spy thriller about a new CIA director and cyber-espionage, is his latest novel.

Opera

In May 2015, MSNBC‘s Morning Joe announced that Ignatius would be teaming up with noted composer Mohammed Fairouz to create a political opera called ‘The New Prince’ based on the teachings of Niccolo Machiavelli. The opera was commissioned by the Dutch National Opera.[17] Speaking with The Washington Post, Ignatius described the broad themes of the opera in terms of three chapters: “The first chapter is about revolution and disorder. Revolutions, like children, are lovable when young, and they become much less lovable as they age. The second lesson Machiavelli tells us is about sexual obsession, among leaders. And then the final chapter is basically is the story of Dick Cheney [and] bin Laden, the way in which those two ideas of what we’re obliged to do as leaders converged in such a destructive way.” [18]

Other

In 2006, he wrote a foreword to the American edition of Moazzam Begg’s Enemy Combatant, a book about the author’s experiences as a detainee at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. In 2008, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft, and Ignatius published America and the World: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy, a book that collected conversations, moderated by Ignatius, between Brzezinski and Scowcroft. Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times named it one of the ten best books of 2008.[19]

Ignatius has been trustee of the German Marshall Fund since 2000. He is a member of the Council of the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London and has been a director of its U.S. affiliate since 2006. He has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations since 1984. From 1984 to 1990, he was a member of the Governing Board of St. Albans School.[citation needed]

In 2011, Ignatius held a contest for Washington Post readers to write a spy novel. Ignatius wrote the first chapter and challenged fans to continue the story. Over eight weeks, readers sent in their versions of what befalls CIA agents Alex Kassem and Sarah Mancini and voted for their favorite entries. Ignatius chose the winning entry for each round, resulting in a six-chapter Web serial. Winners of the subsequent chapters included: Chapter 2 “Sweets for the Sweet” by Colin Flaherty; Chapter 3: “Abu Talib” by Jill Borak; Chapter 4. “Go Hard or Go Home” by Vineet Daga; Chapter 5: “Inside Out” by Colin Flaherty; and Chapter 6: “Onward!” by Gina ‘Miel’ Ard.[20]

In early 2012, Ignatius served as an Adjunct Lecturer at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University teaching an international affairs course titled: “Understanding the Arab Spring from the Ground Up: Events in the Middle East, their Roots and Consequences for the United States”. He is currently serving as a Senior Fellow at the Future of Diplomacy Program at Harvard University.[21]

Controversy

2009 Davos incident

At the 2009 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Ignatius moderated a discussion including then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Israeli President Shimon Peres, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa. As the December 2008–January 2009 conflict in Gaza was still fresh in memory, the tone of the discussion was lively.[22] Ignatius gave Erdoğan 12 minutes to speak, and gave the Israeli President 25 minutes to respond.[22] Erdoğan objected to Peres’ tone and raised voice during the Israeli President’s impassioned defense of his nation’s actions. Ignatius gave Erdoğan a minute to respond (who repeatedly insisted “One minute”, in English), and when Erdoğan went over his allocated minute, Ignatius repeatedly cut the Turkish PM off, telling him and the audience that they were out of time and that they had to adjourn to a dinner.[23] Erdoğan seemed visibly frustrated as he said confrontationally to the Israeli President, “When it comes to killing, you know well how to kill”.[22] Ignatius put his arm on Erdoğan’s shoulder and continued to tell him that his time was up. Erdoğan then gathered his papers and walked out, saying, “I do not think I will be coming back to Davos after this because you do not let me speak.”[23]

Writing about the incident later, Ignatius said that he found himself “in the middle of a fight where there was no longer a middle”. “Because the Israel–Palestinian conflict provokes such heated emotions on both sides of the debate,” Ignatius concluded, “it was impossible for anyone to be seen as an impartial mediator”. Ignatius wrote that his experience elucidated a larger truth about failure of the United States’ attempt to serve as an impartial mediator in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. “American leaders must give up the notion that they can transform the Middle East and its culture through military force”, Ignatius wrote, and instead “get out of the elusive middle, step across the threshold of anger, and sit down and talk” with the Middle Eastern leaders.[24]

Confounding Allende and Castro

On December 17, 2016, Ignatius drew negative attention when he appeared on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday

http://www.npr.org/2016/12/17/505965392/obama-suggests-putin-had-role-as-u-s-recasts-antagonistic-relationship-with-russ

and was asked by host Scott Simon “Is this a new Cold War? You covered the last one.” As part of his response, Ignatius said:

“This is the kind of thing United States used to do to other countries. We were famous for our covert actions, destabilizing their political systems. … I saw a little piece from a Cuban who lived during the time when the CIA destabilized the Cuban president, Allende.” Simon intervened to correct Ignatius, saying: “Chilean president – Allende – I think.” Ignatius responded “Yes. Forgive me. Yes, the Chilean president.” Ignatius then continued as if there had been no confusion, leaving listeners to wonder when he meant to refer to Cuba and Castro, or to Chile and Allende.

Works

Novels

Non-fiction

  • America and the World: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy. Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition. 2009. ISBN 0-465-01801-7.
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United States To Modernize Nuclear Weapons — Bombers, Missiles, Submarines — The U.S. Nuclear Triad — Better Late Than Never — A New Nuclear Arms Race To Modernize Weapon Systems — Trump Is Right — The Nuclear Weapons Are 40-60 Years Old! — The Lying Lunatic Left and Big Lie Media Goes Hysterical — Do Your Homework! — Videos

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Trump doubles down on nuclear weapons

Trump says “let it be an arms race” when it comes to nuclear weapons

“Absolutely Frightening”: Greenpeace on Trump’s Call for a New Nuclear Arms Race

Trump, Putin both seek to boost their nuclear capability

Published on Dec 22, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump signaled Thursday that he will look to “strengthen and expand” the US’s nuclear capability hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to enhance his country’s nuclear forces.
The exchange appeared to raise the prospect of a new arms race between the two nuclear superpowers, which between them boast more than 14,000 nuclear warheads, the still deadly legacy of their four-decades long Cold War standoff.
But the comments by Putin, who is presiding over a project to restore Russia’s lost global power and influence, and Trump, who will shortly become the US commander-in-chief, did not spell out exactly what each side is proposing or whether a major change of nuclear doctrine is in the offing.
Trump weighed in with a tweet just hours after Putin spoke following a meeting with his military advisers to review the activity of the past year.
“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” Trump wrote.
It was not immediately clear if the President-elect is proposing an entire new nuclear policy that he would begin to flesh out once he takes office next year.
Trump could also be referring to plans to modernize the current US nuclear arsenal that are currently underway and will cost hundreds of billions of dollars. The Obama administration has outlined a plan to modernize delivery systems, command and control systems and to refurbish warheads in the US nuclear triad — the US force of sea, airborne and missile delivered nuclear weapons.

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INSIDE VIEW !!! US Air Force Minuteman Strategic Missile Silo Mini Documentary

Published on Mar 10, 2016

The LGM-30 Minuteman is a US land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in service with the Air Force Global Strike Command. As of 2014, the LGM-30G Minuteman III version[a] is the only land-based ICBM in service in the United States.[citation needed]

Development of the Minuteman began in the mid-1950s as the outgrowth of basic research into solid fuel rocket motors which indicated an ICBM based on solids was possible. Such a missile could stand ready for extended periods of time with little maintenance, and then launch on command. In comparison, existing US missile designs using liquid fuels required a lengthy fueling process immediately before launch, which left them open to the possibility of surprise attack. This potential for immediate launch gave the missile its name; like the Revolutionary War’s Minutemen, the Minuteman was designed to be launched on a moment’s notice.[2][3]

Minuteman entered service in 1962 as a weapon tasked primarily with the deterrence role, threatening Soviet cities with a counterattack if the US was attacked. However, with the development of the US Navy’s Polaris which addressed the same role, the Air Force began to modify Minuteman into a weapon with much greater accuracy with the specific intent of allowing it to attack hardened military targets, including Soviet missile silos. The Minuteman-II entered service in 1965 with a host of upgrades to improve its accuracy and survivability in the face of an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system the Soviets were known to be developing. Minuteman-III followed in 1970, using three smaller warheads instead of one large one, which made it very difficult to attack by an anti-ballistic missile system which would have to hit all three widely separated warheads to be effective. Minuteman-III was the first multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) ICBM to be deployed. Each missile can carry up to three nuclear warheads, which have a yield in the range of 300 to 500 kilotons.

Peaking at 1000 missiles in the 1970s, the current US force consists of 450 Minuteman-III missiles[4] in missile silos around Malmstrom AFB, Montana; Minot AFB, North Dakota; and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming.[1] By 2018 this will be reduced to 400 armed missiles, with 50 unarmed missiles in reserve, and four non-deployed test launchers to comply with the New START treaty.[5] The Air Force plans to keep the missile in service until at least 2030.[6][7] It is one component of the US nuclear triad—the other two parts of the triad being the Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), and nuclear weapons carried by long-range strategic bombers.

Type Intercontinental ballistic missile
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1962 (Minuteman-I)
1965 (Minuteman-II)
1970 (Minuteman-III)
Used by United States
Production history
Manufacturer Boeing
Unit cost $7,000,000
Specifications
Weight 78,000 lb (35,300 kg)
Length 59 ft 9.5 in (18.2 m)
Diameter 5 ft 6 in (1.7 m) (1st stage)
Warhead Nuclear: W62, W78, or (2006–) W87
Detonation
mechanism
Air Burst or Contact (Surface)
Engine Three-stage Solid-fuel rocket engines; first stage: Thiokol TU-122 (M-55); second stage: Aerojet-General SR-19-AJ-1; third stage: Aerojet/Thiokol SR73-AJ/TC-1
Operational
range
approx. 8,100 (exact is classified) miles (13,000 km)
Flight altitude 700 miles (1,120 kilometers)
Speed Approximately 17507 mph (Mach 23, or 28176 km/h, or 7 km/s) (terminal phase)
Guidance
system
Inertial
Accuracy 200 m CEP
Launch
platform
Missile Silo (MLCC)

Minuteman-III (LGM-30G): the current model [edit]

Side view of Minuteman-III ICBM

Airmen work on a Minuteman-III’s multiple independently-targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) system. Current missiles carry a single warhead.
The LGM-30G Minuteman-III program started in 1966, and included several improvements over the previous versions. It was first deployed in 1970. Most modifications related to the final stage and reentry system (RS). The final (third) stage was improved with a new fluid-injected motor, giving finer control than the previous four-nozzle system. Performance improvements realized in Minuteman-III include increased flexibility in reentry vehicle (RV) and penetration aids deployment, increased survivability after a nuclear attack, and increased payload capacity.[1] The missile retains a gimballed inertial guidance system.

Minuteman-III originally contained the following distinguishing features:

Armed with W62 warhead, having a yield of only 170 kilotons TNT, instead of previous W56’s yield of 1.2 megatons.[28]
It was the first[29] Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRV) missile. A single missile was then able to target 3 separate locations. This was an improvement from the Minuteman-I and Minuteman-II models, which were only able to carry one large warhead.
An RS capable of deploying, in addition to the warheads, penetration aids such as chaff and decoys.
Minuteman-III introduced in the

Examining the U.S. Nuclear Spending Binge | Arms Control Association

Published on Jul 31, 2016

The Arms Control Association has for years raised warning sirens about the cost and necessity of the modernization plans and have suggested a number of steps that could be taken to put the plans on a more sustainable course. The Pentagon estimates that the proposed modernization effort of the U.S. nuclear triad and its supporting infrastructure over the next 25 years will cost between $350-$450 billion.

The remainder of the Obama administration and that of the next president will likely be faced with a number of increasingly urgent questions about America’s nuclear modernization project, including its affordability, opportunity costs, impacts on global stability and more.

Speakers on this panel addressed the scope of the current nuclear weapons spending plans, challenges and options available to the next president, and the feasibility of the modernization plans given the experience of previous administrations.

• Mark F. Cancian, Senior Advisor with the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
• Hans Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists
• Andrew Weber, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs
• Amy Woolf, Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy at the Congressional Research Service
• Kingston Reif, Arms Control Association, Moderator

LGM-30 Minuteman Launch – ICBM

Published on May 31, 2016

The LGM-30 Minuteman is a U.S. land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in service with the Air Force Global Strike Command.

As of 2014, the LGM-30G Minuteman III version is the only land-based ICBM in service in the United States.

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Trump Said the U.S. Should Expand Nuclear Weapons. He’s Right.

America needs to bolster its deterrence not to start a war, but to prevent one.

December 23, 2016

On Thursday, Donald Trump created controversy when he tweeted, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” In case anyone was confused, he followed up Friday morning with an off-air remark to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that clarified his intentions: “Let it be an arms race,” he said. “We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”

The backlash was swift and unanimous. Critics charged that there is no plausible reason to expand U.S. nuclear weapons, that Trump’s comments contradicted a decades-old bipartisan consensus on the need to reduce nuclear stockpiles, and that such reckless statements risk provoking a new nuclear arms race with Russia and China.

On this matter, however, Trump is right.

U.S. nuclear strategy cannot be static, but must take into account the nuclear strategy and capabilities of its adversaries. For decades, the United States was able to reduce its nuclear arsenal from Cold War highs because it did not face any plausible nuclear challengers. But great power political competition has returned and it has brought nuclear weapons, the ultimate instrument of military force, along for the ride.

In recent years, North Korea has continued to grow its nuclear arsenal and means of delivery and has issued chilling nuclear threats against the United States and its Asian allies. As recently as Thursday — before Trump’s offending tweet — Rodong Sinmum, the Pyongyang regime’s official newspaper, published an opinion article calling for bolstering North Korea’s “nuclear deterrence.”

The potential threats are everywhere. Washington faces an increasing risk of conflict with a newly assertive, nuclear-armed China in the South China Sea. Beijing is expanding its nuclear forces and it is estimated that the number of Chinese warheads capable of reaching the U.S. homeland has more than trebled in the past decade and continues to grow. And Russia has become more aggressive in Europe and the Middle East and has engaged in explicit nuclear saber rattling the likes of which we have not seen since the 1980s. At the height of the crisis over Crimea in 2014, for example, Russian President Vladimir Putin ominously declared, “It’s best not to mess with us … I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers.” And on Tuesday, he vowed to “enhance the combat capability of strategic nuclear forces, primarily by strengthening missile complexes that will be guaranteed to penetrate existing and future missile defense systems.” As former Defense Secretary William Perry correctly notes, “Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War.”

The United States needs a robust nuclear force, therefore, not because anyone wants to fight a nuclear war, but rather, the opposite: to deter potential adversaries from attacking or coercing the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons of their own.

Under President Barack Obama, the United States mindlessly reduced its nuclear arsenal even as other nuclear powers went in the opposite direction, expanding and modernizing their nuclear forces. Such a path was unsustainable and Trump is correct to recognize that America’s aging nuclear arsenal is in need of some long overdue upgrades.

So, what would expanding and strengthening the nuclear arsenal look like?

First, the United States must modernize all three legs of the nuclear triad (submarines; long-range bombers, including a new cruise missile; and intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs). The Obama administration announced plans to modernize the triad under Republican pressure, but critics are already trying to kill off the ICBM and the cruise missile, and production timelines for these weapon systems keep slipping into the future. The Trump administration must make the timely modernization of all three legs of the triad a top priority.

Second, the United States should increase its deployment of nuclear warheads, consistent with its international obligations. According to New START, the treaty signed with Russia in 2011, each state will deploy no more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads, but those restrictions don’t kick in until February 2018. At present, according to the State Department, the United States is roughly 200 warheads below the limit while Russia is almost 250 warheads above it. Accordingly, Russia currently possesses a nuclear superiority of more than 400 warheads, which is worrisome in and of itself and also raises serious questions about whether Moscow intends to comply with this treaty at all. The United States, therefore, should expand its deployed arsenal up to the treaty limits and be fully prepared for further expansion should Russia break out — as Moscow has done with several other legacy arms control agreements.

Third, and finally, the United States and NATO need more flexible nuclear options in Europe. In the event of a losing war with NATO, Russian strategy calls for limited nuclear “de-escalation” strikes against European civilian and military targets. At present, NATO lacks an adequate response to this threat. As I explain in a new report, the United States must develop enhanced nuclear capabilities, including a tactical, air-to-surface cruise missile, in order to disabuse Putin of the notion that he can use nuclear weapons in Europe and get away with it.

These stubborn facts lay bare the ignorance or naivety of those fretting that Trump’s tweets risk starting a new nuclear arms race. It is U.S. adversaries, not Trump, who are moving first. It is a failure to respond that would be most reckless, signaling continued American weakness and only incentivizing further nuclear aggression.

The past eight years have been demoralizing for many in the defense policy community as Obama has consistently placed ideology over reality in the setting of U.S. nuclear policy. The results, an increasingly disordered world filled with intensifying nuclear dangers, speak for themselves.

Rather than express outrage over Trump’s tweet, therefore, we should take heart that we once again have a president who may be willing to do what it takes to defend the country against real, growing and truly existential threats.

Matthew Kroenig is associate professor in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and senior fellow in the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at The Atlantic Council. He is a former strategist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and is currently writing a book on U.S. nuclear strategy.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/12/trump-said-the-us-should-expand-nuclear-weapons-hes-right-214546

How the Pentagon Plans to Modernize the US Nuclear Arsenal

PHOTO: View of a Boeing LGM-30G Minuteman III ICBM missile as it was launched in the 1970s.

President-elect Donald Trump’s tweets this week about strengthening and expanding America’s nuclear weapons capability are raising eyebrows, but they also highlight the Pentagon’s existing programs to update and modernize its nuclear arsenal.

The components of America’s nuclear triad of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM’s), strategic bombers, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles are decades old. While the Pentagon has undergone a modernization process to keep these systems intact over that time, the Pentagon has plans to replace each leg of the triad in the coming decades.

But the Pentagon’s plans to update and modernize the nuclear triad will be a lengthy and costly enterprise. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told Congress earlier this year that it will cost $350 billion to $450 billion to update and modernize beginning in 2021. But there are some estimates that a 30-year modernization program could cost as much as $1 trillion.

And that process has gotten underway since the lifespan of the existing delivery systems ends in the next 15 to 20 years. Replacement systems are currently in the phase of research, development, testing and evaluation.

The U.S. Air Force maintains a fleet of 450 Minuteman III ICBM missiles located in underground silos across the plains states, each carrying multiple nuclear warheads. A key leg of the nuclear triad, the Minuteman III missiles went into service in the 1970’s and have been upgraded ever since to keep them mission ready. No new ICBM missiles have gone into service since the MX missile was deployed in the 1980’s, but those missiles were retired a decade ago.

This summer, the Air Force began the process of soliciting designs for a new ICBM to replace the Minuteman III, with the first new missile scheduled to enter service by 2029.

The Air Force has already begun the process of replacing the 76 B-52 strategic bombers that have been flying since the 1960’s with the new B-21 “Raider” that will begin flying in 2025. Upgrades to the B-52, designed in the 1950’s, have allowed the aircraft to continue serving as a nuclear-capable aircraft and also allowed it to conduct airstrikes against ISIS.

PHOTO: Senior Airmen Mark Pacis, left, and Christopher Carver mount a refurbished nuclear warhead on to the top of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile inside an underground silo in Scottsbluff, Neb., April 15, 1997.Eric Draper/AP Photo
Senior Airmen Mark Pacis, left, and Christopher Carver mount a refurbished nuclear warhead on to the top of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile inside an underground silo in Scottsbluff, Neb., April 15, 1997.more +

The Navy has also begun the process to find a replacement for its 14 Ohio Class ballistic missile submarine fleet that first went into service in the 1980’s. But the first Columbia Class submarine is not slated to enter service until 2031.

But it is important to point out that a replacement of these systems, while incredibly expensive, does not equate to an overall growth of the nuclear arsenal.

In other words, the U.S. is looking to become more efficient — it’s not looking for more nuclear weapons. As one defense official put it, with the cost of the new systems, the Pentagon is simply not able to do a one-to-one replacement.

As of September 2015, the United States has a total of 4,571 warheads in its nuclear weapons stockpile, according to a State Department official. The United States has retired thousands of nuclear warheads that are removed from their delivery platform that are not included in this total, the official said, noting those warheads are not functional and are in a queue for dismantlement.

The 2011 New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) nuclear weapons agreement limits to 1,550 the number of nuclear warheads that can be deployed on ICBMs, submarines or heavy bombers by the U.S. and Russia. Both countries have until February 2018 to meet the New START’s reduction target levels for deployed warheads.

The United States currently has 1,361 deployed nuclear weapons while Russia has 1,796. The larger Russian number is seen as a temporary increase as Russia replaces older warheads with new ones.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/pentagon-plans-modernize-us-nuclear-arsenal/story?id=44372054

Donald Trump says he wants to ‘greatly strengthen and expand’ U.S. nuclear capability, a radical break from U.S. foreign policy

Putin praises Russian military’s show of strength in Syria

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Russian President Vladimir Putin praised his country’s military on Dec. 22, saying its armed forces had performed well in the fight against “international terrorists” in Syria. (Reuters)

December 22 at 1:05 PM

President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday called for the United States to expand its nuclear arsenal, after Russian President Vladi­mir Putin said his country’s nuclear potential needs fortifying, raising the specter of a new arms race that would reverse decades of efforts to reduce the number and size of the two countries’ nuclear weapons.In a tweet that offered no details, Trump said, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”During the campaign, Trump talked in one debate about the need to modernize the country’s infrastructure of nuclear weaponry, saying the United States is falling behind. But it is not clear whether Trump is thinking of increasing the number of nuclear weapons the United States possesses, or updating the existing supply.

Trump’s tweet came shortly after Putin, during a defense ministry meeting, talked tough on Russia’s stockpile of nuclear weapons.

“We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defense systems,” Putin said.

Russia and the United States have worked for decades at first limiting, and then reducing, the number and strength of nuclear arms they produced and maintained under a Cold War strategy of deterrence known as “mutually assured destruction.” Both Republican and Democratic presidents have pursued a policy of nuclear arms reduction, said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

Currently, the United States has just under 5,000 warheads in its active arsenal, and more than 1,550 deployed strategic warheads, a number that fluctuates, according to Kimball. In an October assessment by the State Department Bureau of Arms Control Verification and Compliance, Russia has about 400 more nuclear warheads than the United States does. But the United States has about 170 more delivery systems than Russia.

Under the New START Treaty, the main strategic arms treaty in place, both the U.S. and Russia must deploy no more than 1,550 strategic weapons by February of 2018. Kimball said both countries appear to be on track to meet that limit, which will remain in force until 2021, when they could decide to extend the agreement for another five years.

Since President George H.W. Bush’s administration, it has been U.S. policy not to build new nuclear warheads. Under President Obama, the policy has been not to pursue warheads with new military capabilities.

The U.S. military is in the beginning stages of updating its nuclear triad, which covers the delivery systems — bombers, submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles. Last year, the Pentagon estimated it must spend an average of $18 billion a year over 15 years starting in 2021, to replace weapons that already have been refurbished and upgraded beyond their original shelf life.

Trump’s history of discussing nuclear weapons

President-elect Donald Trump has called nuclear weapons “the single greatest problem the world has” – but he’s also made some controversial statements about them. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

But independent experts have estimated the total cost of modernizing the aging nuclear arsenal could reach $1 trillion over 30 years, according to the Arms Control Association.

“If Donald Trump is concerned about the rising costs of the F-35, he will be shocked by the skyrocketing costs of the current plan to modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal,” Kimball said. “Trump and his people need to explain the basis of his cryptic tweet. What does he mean by expand, and at what cost?”

But others argue that nuclear weapons and the principle of deterrence are essential components of national security, and the Obama administration’s efforts to further reduce its nuclear weapons have been just wishful thinking.

Michaela Dodge, a Heritage Foundation policy analyst specializing in nuclear weapons and missile defense policy, said that the White House in its 2010 Nuclear Posture Review made the erroneous assessment that there was little likelihood of conflict with Russia. Yet Moscow is in the midst of a large-scale nuclear weapons modernization program, and has violated many arms control treaties that it signed, she said.

“There is already an ongoing nuclear arms race, except now the United States isn’t racing,” she said in a telephone interview. “It’s mostly Russia and China.”

Dodge has called for the incoming Trump administration to request funding for nuclear warheads, delivery platforms and nuclear infrastructure. She also said the United States should withdraw from treaties that have eroded defense capabilities.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/donald-trump-says-he-wants-to-greatly-strengthen-and-expand-us-nuclear-capabilitiy-a-radical-break-from-us-foreign-policy/2016/12/22/52745c22-c86e-11e6-85b5-76616a33048d_story.html?utm_term=.1db715df6977

Nuclear triad

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A nuclear triad refers to the nuclear weapons delivery of a strategic nuclear arsenal which consists of three basic components: land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), strategic bombers, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). The purpose of having a three-branched nuclear capability is to significantly reduce the possibility that an enemy could destroy all of a nation’s nuclear forces in a first-strike attack; this, in turn, ensures a credible threat of a second strike, and thus increases a nation’s nuclear deterrence.[1][2][3]

Other methods of nuclear attacks are nuclear torpedos and the use of hypersonic glide vehicles.

Traditional components of a strategic nuclear triad

While traditional nuclear strategy holds that a nuclear triad provides the best level of deterrence from attack, in reality, most nuclear powers do not have the military budget to sustain a full triad. Only the United States and Russia have maintained nuclear triads for most of the nuclear age.[3] Both the US and the Soviet Union composed their triads along the same lines, including the following components:

  1. Bomber aircraft capable of delivering nuclear bombs (carrier-based or land-based; usually armed with long-range missiles).[1]
  2. Land-based missiles (MRBMs or ICBMs).[1][3]
  3. Ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). Nuclear missiles launched from ships or submarines.[1][3] Although in early years the US Navy sea leg was carrier aircraft based with a very short period using sub launched cruise missiles such as the Regulus before SLBMs were ready to be deployed.

The triad also gives the commander in chief the flexibility to use different types of weapons for the appropriate strike while also preserving a reserve of nuclear armaments theoretically safe from a counter-force strike:

  • ICBMs allow for a long-range strike launched from a controlled or friendly environment at a lower cost per delivered warhead and easiest targeting from a surveyed geographic location.[4] If launched from a fixed position, such as a missile silo, they are vulnerable to a first strike, though their interception once aloft is substantially difficult,[1][3] Some ICBMs are either rail or road mobile. Medium-range ballistic missiles and ground-launched cruise missiles were also assigned for strategic targets based in nations closer to the potential confrontation, but were eventually forbidden by arms control treaty to the US and Russia.
  • SLBMs, launched from submarines, allow for a greater chance of survival from a first strike, giving the commander a second-strike capability.[1][3] Some long-range submarine-launched cruise missiles are counted towards triad status; this was the first type of submarine-launched strategic second-strike nuclear weapon before ballistic missile submarines became available. A SLBM is the most difficult to get accurate targeting for as it requires obtaining an accurate geographical fix to program targeting data to the missile, the total cost of a SLBM is increased by the cost of the submarine force, large crews and deterrence patrols.[4]
  • Strategic bombers have greater flexibility in their deployment and weaponry. They can serve as both a first- and second-strike weapon. A bomber armed with AGM-129 ACM missiles, for example, could be classified as a first-strike weapon. A number of bombers often with aerial refueling aircraft kept at safe points would constitute a second-strike weapon.[1][3] In some strategic contexts either with nearby potential enemies or with forward basing lighter aircraft can be used on the strategic level as either a first-strike weapon or if dispersed at small airfields or aboard an aircraft carrier can reasonably avoid a counterstrike giving them regional second-strike capacity, aircraft such as the Mirage 2000, F-15E, A-5 Vigilante, Sea Harrier, or FB-111 are or were tasked part or full-time with land or sea-based strategic nuclear attack missions. An aerial refueling fleet supports intercontinental strategic operations both for heavy bombers and smaller aircraft; it also makes possible around the clock airborne standby of bombers and command aircraft making these airborne assets nearly impossible to eliminate in a first strike. Bomber airborne alert patrols are very expensive in terms of fuel and aircraft maintenance, even non-airborne alert basing requires both crew training hours and aircraft upkeep.[4]

Tactical nuclear weapons are used in air, land and sea warfare. Air-to-air missiles and rockets, surface-to-air missiles, and small air-to-ground rockets, bombs, and precision munitions have been developed and deployed with nuclear warheads. Ground forces have included tactical nuclear artillery shells, surface-to-surface rockets, land mines, medium and small man-packable nuclear engineering demolition charges, even man-carried or vehicle-mounted recoilless rifles. Naval forces have carried nuclear-armed naval rocket-assisted and standard depth charges and torpedoes, and naval gunnery shells. Tactical nuclear weapons and the doctrine for their use is primarily for use in a non-strategic warfighting role destroying military forces in the battle area; they are not counted toward triad status despite the possibility of many of these systems being usable as strategic weapons depending on the target.

Triad powers

The following nations are considered fully established triad nuclear powers, they have robust capability to launch a worldwide second strike in all three legs and can disperse their air forces and their sea forces on deterrent patrols. They possess nuclear forces consisting of land-based missiles, ballistic or long-range cruise missile submarines, and strategic bombers or long-range tactical aircraft.

China

Unlike the United States and Russia where strategic nuclear forces are enumerated by treaty limits and subject to verification, China, a nuclear power since 1964, is not subject to these requirements but currently has a triad structure smaller in size compared to Russia and the United States. China’s nuclear force is much smaller than the US or Russia and is closer in number and capability to that of France or the United Kingdom. This force is mainly land-based missiles including ICBMs, IRBMs, and tactical ballistic missiles as well as cruise missiles. Unlike the US and Russia, China stores many of its missiles in huge underground tunnel complexes; U.S. Representative Michael Turner[5] referring to 2009 Chinese media reports said “This network of tunnels could be in excess of 5,000 kilometers (3,110 miles), and is used to transport nuclear weapons and forces,”[6] the Chinese Army newsletter calls this tunnel system an Underground Great Wall of China.[7]

Currently China has one Type 092 submarine that is currently active with JL-1 SLBM according to Office of Naval Intelligence.[8][9] In addition, the PLAN has deployed 4 newer Type 094 submarines and plan to deploy up to 8 of these Jin-class SSBN by the end of 2020.[10][11] The new Type 094 fleet uses the newer JL-2 SLBM. China carried out a series of successful JL-2 launches in 2009,[12] 2012[13][14] and 2015.[15] The United States expect the 094 SSBN to carry out its first deterrent patrol by 2015 with the JL-2 missile active.[10] There is an aged albeit upgraded bomber force consisting of Xian H-6s with an unclear nuclear delivery role. The PLAAF has a limited capability fleet of H-6 bombers modified for aerial refuelling as well as forthcoming Russian Ilyushin Il-78 aerial refuelling tankers.[16] China also introduced a newer and modernized H-6 variant the H-6K with enhanced capabilities such as launching long ranged cruise missile the CJ-10. In addition to the H-6 bomber, there are numerous tactical fighter and fighter bombers such as the: J-16, J-10, JH-7A and Su-30 which all capable of carrying nuclear weapons. China is also developing hypersonic glide vehicles.

India

India completed its nuclear triad with the commissioning of INS Arihant in August 2016.[17][18][19][20][21][22] INS Arihant is a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine armed with 12 K-15 missiles with a range of 750 km,[23] which will later be upgraded K-4 missiles with an extended range of 3500 km.[24][25][26] India maintains a no first use nuclear policy and has been developing a nuclear triad capability as a part of its credible minimum deterrence doctrine.[27] India’s nuclear-weapons program possesses surface-to-surface missiles such as the Agni III and Agni IV. In addition, the 5,000–8000 km range Agni-V ICBM was also successfully tested for third time on 31 January 2015[28] and is expected to enter service by 2016.[29] India has nuclear-capable fighter aircraft such as the Dassault Mirage 2000H, Dassault Rafale, Sukhoi Su-30 MKI, MIG-29 and SEPECAT Jaguar. Land and air strike capabilities are under the control of Strategic Forces Command which is a part of Nuclear Command Authority.

Russian Federation

Also a nuclear power,[30] Russia inherited the arsenal of all of the former Soviet states; this consists of silo-based as well as rail and road mobile ICBMs, sea-based SLBMs, strategic bombers, strategic aerial refueling aircraft, and long-range tactical aircraft capable of carrying gravity bombs, standoff missiles, and cruise missiles. The Russian Strategic Rocket Forces have ICBMs capable of delivering nuclear warheads,[citation needed] silo-based R-36M2 (SS-18), silo-based UR-100N (SS-19), mobile RT-2PM “Topol” (SS-25), silo-based RT-2UTTH “Topol M” (SS-27), mobile RT-2UTTH “Topol M” (SS-27), mobile RS-24 “Yars” (SS-29) (Future replacement for R-36 & UR-100N missiles). Russian strategic nuclear submarine forces are equipped with the following SLBM’s, R-29R “Vysota”, NATO name SS-N-18 “Stingray”, RSM-54 R-29RMU “Sineva”, NATO name SS-N-23 “Skiff” and the R-29RMU2.1 “Liner” are in use with the Delta-class submarine, but the RSM-56 R-30 “Bulava”, NATO name SS-NX-32 is under development for the Borei-class submarine. The Russian Long Range Aviation operates supersonic Tupolev Tu-22M, and Tupolev Tu-160 bombers and the long range turboprop powered Tupolev Tu-95, they are all mostly armed with strategic stand off missiles or cruise missiles such as the KH-15 and the KH-55/Kh-102. These bombers and nuclear capable strike aircraft such as the Sukhoi Su-24 are supported by Ilyushin Il-78 aerial refuelling aircraft. The USSR was required to destroy its stock of IRBMs in accordance with the INF treaty. In addition to the nuclear triad Russia is also developing nuclear torpedos and hypersonic glide vehicles.

United States

The United States operates Minuteman ICBMs from underground hardened silos, Trident SLBMs carried by Ohio-class submarines, it also operates B-52, B-2 strategic bombers, as well as land-based tactical aircraft, some capable of carrying strategic and tactical B61 and large strategic B83 gravity bombs, and AGM-86 ALCMs. While the US no longer keeps nuclear armed bombers on airborne alert, it has the ability to do so, along with the airborne nuclear command and control aircraft with its fleet of KC-10 and KC-135 aerial refueling planes. Previous to development of submarine-launched ballistic missiles, the US Navy strategic nuclear role was provided by aircraft carrier–based bombers and, for a short time, submarine-launched cruise missiles. With the end of the cold war, the US never deployed the rail-mobile version of the Peacekeeper ICBM or the road mobile Midgetman small ICBM. The US destroyed its stock of road-mobile Pershing II IRBMs and ground-launched cruise missiles in accordance with the INF treaty. The US also has shared strategic nuclear weapons and still deploys shared tactical nuclear weapons to some NATO countries.[1][3][31]

Former triad powers

France

A former triad power, the French Force de frappe possesses sea-based and air-based nuclear forces through the Triomphant-class ballistic missile submarines deployed with M45 intercontinental SLBMs armed with multiple warheads, nuclear capable Dassault Rafale F3 and Dassault Mirage 2000N fighter aircraft (armed with Air-Sol Moyenne Portée) which replaced the long-range Dassault Mirage IV supersonic nuclear bomber and KC-135 aerial refuelling tankers in its inventory. France had S2 and then S3 silo based strategic nuclear IRBMs, the S3 with a 3,500 km range, but these have been phased out of service since the dissolution of the USSR. France operates aircraft with a nuclear strike role from its aircraft carrier.

Non-triad powers

Non-triad powers are nuclear armed nations which have never developed a strategic nuclear delivery triad.

North Korea

North Korea has claimed to have indigenous nuclear weapons technology since a large underground explosion was detected in 2006. The DPRK has both aircraft and missiles which may be tasked to deliver nuclear weapons. The North Korean missile program is largely based on domestically produced variants of the Soviet Scud missile, some of which are sufficiently powerful to attempt satellite launch. The DPRK also has short-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. Western researchers believe the current generation of the DPRK’s suspected nuclear weapons are too large to be fitted to the country’s existing missile stock.[32]

Pakistan

Pakistan does not have an active nuclear triad. Its nuclear weapons are primarily land-based. The Minimum Credible Deterrence (MCD) is a defense and strategic principle on which the atomic weapons program of Pakistan is based.[33] This doctrine is not a part of the nuclear doctrine, which is designed for the use of the atomic weapons in a full-scale declared war if the conditions of the doctrine are surpassed.[34] Instead, the MCD policy falls under minimal deterrence as an inverse to Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).[35] In August 2012, The Economist magazine wrote an article stating that Pakistan was an emerging nuclear triad state. Pakistani plans of responding to any capture or pre-emptive destruction of their nuclear defences seems to be one reason why they are determined to develop a third leg, after air- and land-based delivery systems, to Pakistan’s nuclear triad, consisting of nuclear-armed ships and submarines. As Iskander Rehman of the Carnegie Endowment, a think-tank, observes in a recent paper, Pakistani nuclear expansion and methods of delivery is drifting “from the dusty plains of the Punjab into the world’s most congested shipping lanes… It is only a matter of time before Pakistan formally brings nuclear weapons into its own fleet.”[36]

Pakistan possesses several ballistic missiles such as the Shaheen-1A and the Shaheen-II, missiles having ranges of 900 km and 2000 km respectively. They also contain systems said to be capable of carrying several nuclear warheads as well as being designed to evade missile-defense systems.[37][38] Pakistan also possesses the Babur cruise missile with a range up to 700 km. These land-based missiles are controlled by Army Strategic Forces Command of the Pakistan Army.

The PAF has two dedicated units (the No. 16 Black Panthers and the No. 26 Black Spiders) operating 18 aircraft in each squadron of the JF-17 Thunder, believed to be the preferred vehicle for delivery of nuclear weapons.[39] These units are a major part of the Air Force Strategic Command, a command responsible for nuclear response. The PAF also operates a fleet of F-16 fighters, of which 18 were delivered in 2012 and, as confirmed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, are capable of carrying nuclear weapons.[40] The PAF also possesses the Ra’ad air-launched cruise missile which has a range of 350 km and can carry a nuclear warhead with a yield of between 10 kilotons to 35 kilotons.[41]

In 2004, the Pakistan Navy established the Naval Strategic Forces Command and made it responsible for countering and battling naval-based weapons of mass destruction. It is believed by most experts that Pakistan is developing a sea-based variant of the Hatf VII Babur, which is a nuclear-capable ground-launched cruise missile.[42]

United Kingdom

The UK never rolled out its own land based missile nuclear delivery system. It only possesses sea-based nuclear forces through its Royal Navy Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines, deployed with Trident II intercontinental SLBMs armed with multiple warheads. The Royal Air Force used to operate V bomber strategic bombers throughout the Cold War and continued airborne delivery using Tornado and Jaguar aircraft until the late 1990s. The planned UK silo-based IRBM, the Blue Streak missile, was cancelled as it was not seen as a credible deterrent, considering the population density of areas in the UK geologically suited for missile silos. The tactical Corporal surface-to-surface missile was operated by the British Army. The American made intermediate range Thor missile aimed at Soviet targets was operated briefly by the RAF but before the arrival of the Polaris SLBM. Previously having a nuclear strike mission for carrier-based Buccaneer attack aircraft and later Sea Harriers, the UK no longer deploys nuclear weapons for delivery by carrier-based naval aircraft or any other means other than the Vanguard submarine-launched Trident SLBM.

Suspected triad powers

Main articles: Jericho (missile), Popeye Turbo, and F-15I

Israel has been reported in congressional testimony by the US Department of Defense of having aircraft-delivered nuclear weapons as early as the mid-1960s, a demonstrated missile-based force since the mid-1960s, an IRBM in the mid-1980s, an ICBM in the early 2000s[43] and the suspected second-strike capability arrived with the Dolphin-class submarine and Popeye Turbo submarine-launched cruise missile. Israel is suspected of using their inventory of nuclear-capable fighter aircraft such as the long-range F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 and formerly the F-4 Phantom, Dassault Mirage III, A-4 Skyhawk and Nesher. Israel has appreciable and growing numbers of long-range tanker aircraft and aerial refueling capacity on its long-range fighter-bomber aircraft, this capacity was used in the 1985 long-range conventional strike against the PLO in Tunisia.[44] Jane’s Defence Weekly reports that the Israeli Dolphin-class submarines are widely believed to be nuclear armed, offering Israel a second-strike capability with a demonstrated range of at least 1500 km in a 2002 test.[45][46] According to an official report which was submitted to the American congress in 2004,[43] it may be that with a payload of 1,000 kg the Jericho 3 gives Israel nuclear strike capabilities within the entire Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and almost all parts of North America, as well as within large parts of South America and North Oceania, Israel also has the regional reach of its Jericho 2 IRBM force. The existence of a nuclear force is often hinted at blatantly and evidence of an advanced weapons program including miniaturized and thermonuclear devices has been presented, especially the extensive photographic evidence given by former Israeli nuclear weapons assembler Mordechai Vanunu. There have been incidents where Israel has been suspected of testing, but so far Israel for diplomatic reasons has not openly admitted to having operational nuclear weapons, and so is only a suspect triad state.

Other nuclear delivery systems

Air Mobile ICBM Feasibility Demonstration—24 October 1974

There is nothing in nuclear strategy to mandate only these three delivery systems. For example, orbital weapons or spacecraft for purposes of orbital bombardment using nuclear devices have been developed and silo deployed by the USSR from 1969 to 1983, these would not fit into the categories listed above. However, actual space-based weapon systems used for weapons of mass destruction have been banned under the Outer Space Treaty and launch ready deployment for the US and former USSR by the SALT II treaty. Another example is the US, UK, and France do or have previously included a strategic nuclear strike mission for carrier-based aircraft, which especially in the past were far harder to track and target with ICBMs or strategic nuclear bombers than fixed bomber or missile bases, permitting some second-strike flexibility; this was the first sea-based deterrent before the SLBM. The US and UK jointly explored an air-launched strategic ballistic nuclear missile, the Skybolt, but canceled the program in favor of submarine-based missiles. In 1974 a Lockheed C-5 Galaxy successfully tested an air launch of a Minuteman ICBM; this system was not deployed, but was used as a bargaining point in the SALT treaty negotiations with the USSR.

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_triad

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Tom Wolfe — The Right Stuff — Videos

Posted on December 10, 2016. Filed under: American History, Art, Articles, Blogroll, Book, Books, College, Comedy, Communications, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Fiction, Heroes, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Money, Movies, Movies, Music, People, Philosophy, Photos, Press, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Video, War, Wisdom, World War II, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

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Image result for tom wolf the right stuff

Image result for tom wolf the right stuff

Image result for tom wolf the right stuff

Image result for tom wolf the right stuff

Image result for tom wolf the right stuff

The Right Stuff – The Bell X-1 (with Levon Helm as CPT Jack Ridley)

The Right Stuff (Part 2)

The Right Stuff (Part 3)

The Right Stuff (Part 4)

The Right Stuff (Part 5)

The Right Stuff (Part 6)

The Right Stuff (Part 7)

The Right Stuff (book)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Right Stuff
The Right Stuff (book).jpg

First edition
Author Tom Wolfe
Country United States
Language English
Genre New Journalism
Non-fiction
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date
1979
Media type Print (hardcover & paperback)
Pages 436 pages
ISBN 0-374-25032-4
OCLC 5007334
629.4/0973 19
LC Class TL789.8.U5 W64 1979

The Right Stuff is a 1979 book by Tom Wolfe about the pilots engaged in U.S. postwar research with experimental rocket-powered, high-speed aircraft as well as documenting the stories of the first Project Mercury astronauts selected for the NASA space program. The Right Stuff is based on extensive research by Wolfe, who interviewed test pilots, the astronauts and their wives, among others. The story contrasts the “Mercury Seven[1] and their families with test pilots such as Chuck Yeager, who was considered by many contemporaries as the best of them all, but who was never selected as an astronaut.

Wolfe wrote that the book was inspired by the desire to find out why the astronauts accepted the danger of space flight. He recounts the enormous risks that test pilots were already taking, and the mental and physical characteristics—the titular “right stuff”—required for and reinforced by their jobs. Wolfe likens the astronauts to “single combat warriors” from an earlier era who received the honor and adoration of their people before going forth to fight on their behalf.

The 1983 film The Right Stuff is adapted from the book.

Writing and publication

First-state dust jacket, showing initial design never released in a public edition[2]

In 1972 Jann Wenner, the editor of Rolling Stone assigned Wolfe to cover the launch of NASA’s last moon mission, Apollo 17. Wolfe became fascinated with the astronauts, and his competitive spirit compelled him to try to outdo Norman Mailer‘s nonfiction book about the first moon mission, Of a Fire on the Moon. He published a four-part series for Rolling Stone in 1973 titled “Post-Orbital Remorse”, about the depression that some astronauts experienced after having been in space. After the series, Wolfe began researching the whole of the space program, in what became a seven-year project from which he took time to write The Painted Word, a book on art, and to complete Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine, a collection of shorter pieces.[3]

In 1977 he returned to his astronaut book full-time. Wolfe originally planned to write a complete history of the space program, though after writing through the Mercury program, he felt that his work was complete and that it captured the astronauts’ ethos — the “right stuff” that astronauts and test pilots of the 1940s and 1950s shared — the unspoken code of bravery and machismo that compelled these men to ride on top of dangerous rockets. While conducting research, he consulted with General Chuck Yeager and, after receiving a comprehensive review of his manuscript, was convinced that test pilots like Yeager should form the backdrop of the period. In the end, Yeager becomes a personification of the many postwar test pilots and their “right stuff.”[4] The phrase itself may have originated in the Joseph Conrad story “Youth”, where it was used.

The Right Stuff was published in 1979 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and became Wolfe’s best selling book yet.[citation needed] It was praised by most critics, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and won the National Book Award for Nonfiction.[5][6]

In the foreword to a new edition, published in 1983 when the film adaptation was released, Wolfe wrote that his “book grew out of some ordinary curiosity” about what “makes a man willing to sit up on top of an enormous Roman candle… and wait for someone to light the fuse.”[7]

Book

The story is more about the space race than space exploration in general. The Soviet Union‘s early space efforts are mentioned only as background, focusing entirely on an early portion of the U.S. space program. Only Project Mercury, the first operational manned space-flight program, is covered. The Mercury Seven were Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Deke Slayton. Emphasis is given to the personal stories of the astronauts and their wives rather than the technical aspects of space travel and the flights themselves.

The storyline also involves the political reasons for putting people into space, asserting that the Mercury astronauts were actually a burden to the program and were only sent up for promotional reasons. Reasons for including living beings in spacecraft are barely touched upon, but the first option considered was to use a chimpanzee (and, indeed, chimpanzees were sent up first).

Another option considered were athletes already accustomed to physical stress, such as circus trapeze artists. Wolfe states that President Dwight D. Eisenhower, however, insisted on pilots, even though the first crew members would not actually fly the spacecraft. When Gus Grissom lands at sea and exits his space capsule, saving the capsule seems more important to the recovery team than saving the pilot because of the value of the data.

Wolfe contrasts the Seven with the Edwards AFB test pilots, among whom was Chuck Yeager, who was shut out of the astronaut program after NASA officials decided to use college-degreed pilots, not ones who gained their commissions as enlisted men, such as participants in the USAAF Flying Sergeants Program in World War II. Chuck Yeager spent time with Tom Wolfe explaining accident reports “that Wolfe kept getting all wrong.” Publishing insiders say these sessions between Wolfe and Yeager led Wolfe to highlight Yeager’s character, presence, thoughts, and anecdotes throughout the book. As an example, Yeager prides his speech to the Society of Test Pilots that the first rider in the Mercury development program would be a monkey, not a real test pilot, and Wolfe plays this drama out on the angst felt by the Mercury Astronauts over those remarks. Yeager himself downplayed the theory of “the right stuff,” attributing his survival of potential catastrophes to simply knowing his airplane thoroughly, along with some good luck.

Another test pilot highlighted in the book is Scott Crossfield. Crossfield and Yeager were fierce but friendly rivals for speed and altitude records.

Film adaptation

A 3-hour, 13-minute film stars Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward, Barbara Hershey, Kim Stanley, Levon Helm, Veronica Cartwright, Pamela Reed, Lance Henriksen, and the real Chuck Yeager in a cameo appearance. NFL Hall of Famer Anthony Muñoz also has a small role, playing “Gonzalez”. It features a score by composer Bill Conti.

The screenplay was adapted by Philip Kaufman from the book, with some contributions from screenwriter William Goldman (Goldman dissociated himself with the film after quarrelling with Kaufman about the story). The film was also directed by Kaufman.

While the movie took liberties with certain historical facts as part of “dramatic license”, criticism focused on one: the portrayal of Gus Grissom panicking when his Liberty Bell 7 spacecraft sank following splashdown. Most historians, as well as engineers working for or with NASA and many of the related contractor agencies within the aerospace industry, are now convinced that the premature detonation of the spacecraft hatch’s explosive bolts was caused by failure not associated with direct human error or deliberate detonation at the hands of Grissom.[citation needed]

This determination had, in fact, been made long before the movie was filmed, and even Tom Wolfe‘s book only states that this possibility was considered, not that it was actually judged as being the cause of the accident. In fact, Grissom was assigned to command the first flights of both Gemini and Apollo. Ironically, Grissom died in the Apollo 1 fire because there was no quick-opening hatch on the Block 1 Apollo Command Module – a design choice made because NASA had determined that the explosion in the hatch on Grissom’s Liberty Bell 7 had been most likely self-initiated.[citation needed]

Another fact that had been altered in the film was the statement by Trudy Cooper, who commented that she “wondered how they would’ve felt if every time their husband went in to make a deal, there was a one-in-four chance he wouldn’t come out of that meeting.” According to the book, this actually reflected the 23% chance of dying during a 20-year career as a normal pilot. For a test pilot, these odds were higher, at 53%, but were still considerably less than the movie implied. In addition, the movie merely used the fictional Mrs. Cooper as a vehicle for the statement; the real Mrs. Cooper is not known to have said this.[8]

Wolfe made no secret that he disliked the film, especially because of changes from his original book. William Goldman, involved in early drafts of the script, also disliked the choices made by Kaufman, saying in his book Adventures in the Screen Trade that “Phil [Kaufman]’s heart was with Yeager. And not only that, he felt the astronauts, rather than being heroic, were really minor leaguers, mechanical men of no particular quality, not great pilots at all, simply the product of hype.”[9] Critics, however, generally were favorable toward the film.

References

Citations

  1. Jump up^ Wolfe 2001, p. 143. Note: Wolfe uses this term exactly once.
  2. Jump up^ The Right Stuff.” ABE books. Retrieved: 3 November 2009.
  3. Jump up^ Ragen 2001, pp. 22–26.
  4. Jump up^ Wolfe 1979, p. 368.
  5. Jump up^ Ragen 2001, p. 26–28.
  6. Jump up^ “National Book Awards – 1980”. National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
    This was the award for General Nonfiction (hardcover) during a period in National Book Awards history when there were many nonfiction subcategories.
  7. Jump up^ Wolfe 2001, Foreword.
  8. Jump up^ Wolfe 1979, p. 22.
  9. Jump up^ Goldman 1983

Bibliography

  • Bryan, C.D.B. “The Right Stuff (review).” New York Times, 23 September 1979.
  • Charity, Tom. The Right Stuff (BFI Modern Classics). London: British Film Institute, 1991. ISBN 0-85170-624-X.
  • Goldman, William (1989). Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting (reissue ed.). Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-39117-4.
  • Ragen, Brian Abel, ed. Tom Wolfe: A Critical Companion. West Port, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2001. ISBN 0-313-31383-0.
  • Wolfe, Tom. The Right Stuff. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1979, ISBN 0-374-25032-4.
  • Wolfe, Tom. The Right Stuff. New York: Bantam, 1979, ISBN 0-553-24063-3.
  • Wolfe, Tom. The Right Stuff. New York: Bantam, 2001, 1979, ISBN 0-553-38135-0.

External links

Tom Wolfe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with Thomas Wolfe or Tom Wolf (politician).
Tom Wolfe
Wolfe at White House.jpg

Wolfe at the White House on March 22, 2004
Born Thomas Kennerly Wolfe, Jr.
March 2, 1931 (age 85)
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Occupation Journalist, author
Language English
Nationality American
Period 1959–present
Literary movement New Journalism
Notable works The Painted Word, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, A Man in Full, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, The Bonfire of the Vanities, I Am Charlotte Simmons, Back to Blood
Spouse Sheila Wolfe
Children 2

Thomas KennerlyTomWolfe, Jr. (born March 2, 1931)[1] is an American author and journalist, best known for his association with and influence over the New Journalism literary movement, in which literary techniques are used extensively and traditional values of journalistic objectivity and evenhandedness are rejected. He began his career as a regional newspaper reporter in the 1950s, but achieved national prominence in the 1960s following the publication of such best-selling books as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (a highly experimental account of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters), and two collections of articles and essays, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers and The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. His first novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, published in 1987, was met with critical acclaim, became a commercial success, and was adapted as a major motion picture (directed by Brian De Palma).

Early life and education

Wolfe was born in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Louise (née Agnew), a landscape designer, and Thomas Kennerly Wolfe, Sr., an agronomist.[2][3]

Wolfe grew up on Gloucester Road in the historic Richmond North Side neighborhood of Sherwood Park. He recounts some of his childhood memories of growing up there in a foreword to a book about the nearby historic Ginter Park neighborhood.

Wolfe was student council president, editor of the school newspaper and a star baseball player at St. Christopher’s School, an Episcopalian all-boys school in Richmond, Virginia.

Upon graduation in 1947, he turned down admission to Princeton University to attend Washington and Lee University, both all-male schools at the time; at Washington and Lee, Wolfe was a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity. Wolfe majored in English and practiced his writing outside the classroom as well. He was the sports editor of the college newspaper and helped found a literary magazine, Shenandoah. Of particular influence was his professor Marshall Fishwick, a teacher of American studies educated at Yale. More in the tradition of anthropology than literary scholarship, Fishwick taught his classes to look at the whole of a culture, including those elements considered profane. The very title of Wolfe’s undergraduate thesis, “A Zoo Full of Zebras: Anti-Intellectualism in America,” evinced his fondness for words and aspirations toward cultural criticism. Wolfe graduated cum laude in 1951.

Wolfe had continued playing baseball as a pitcher and had begun to play semi-professionally while still in college. In 1952 he earned a tryout with the New York Giants but was cut after three days, which Wolfe blamed on his inability to throw good fastballs. Wolfe abandoned baseball and instead followed his professor Fishwick’s example, enrolling in Yale University‘s American studies doctoral program. His PhD thesis was titled The League of American Writers: Communist Organizational Activity Among American Writers, 1929–1942.[4] In the course of his research, Wolfe interviewed many writers, including Malcolm Cowley, Archibald MacLeish, and James T. Farrell.[5] A biographer remarked on the thesis: “Reading it, one sees what has been the most baleful influence of graduate education on many who have suffered through it: it deadens all sense of style.”[6] His thesis was originally rejected but he finally passed by rewriting it being objective instead of subjective. Upon leaving Yale he wrote a friend explaining through expletives his personal opinions about his thesis.

Journalism and New Journalism

Though Wolfe was offered teaching jobs in academia, he opted to work as a reporter. In 1956, while still preparing his thesis, Wolfe became a reporter for the Springfield Union in Springfield, Massachusetts. Wolfe finished his thesis in 1957 and in 1959 was hired by The Washington Post. Wolfe has said that part of the reason he was hired by the Post was his lack of interest in politics. The Post’s city editor was “amazed that Wolfe preferred cityside to Capitol Hill, the beat every reporter wanted.” He won an award from The Newspaper Guild for foreign reporting in Cuba in 1961 and also won the Guild’s award for humor. While there, he experimented with fiction-writing techniques in feature stories.[7]

In 1962, Wolfe left Washington for New York City, taking a position with the New York Herald Tribune as a general assignment reporter and feature writer. The editors of the Herald Tribune, including Clay Felker of the Sunday section supplement New York magazine, encouraged their writers to break the conventions of newspaper writing.[8] During the 1962 New York City newspaper strike, Wolfe approached Esquire magazine about an article on the hot rod and custom car culture of Southern California. He struggled with the article until finally a desperate editor, Byron Dobell, suggested that Wolfe send him his notes so they could piece the story together.

Wolfe procrastinated until, on the evening before the article was due, he typed a letter to Dobell explaining what he wanted to say on the subject, ignoring all journalistic conventions. Dobell’s response was to remove the salutation “Dear Byron” from the top of the letter and publish it intact as reportage. The result, published in 1963, was “There Goes (Varoom! Varoom!) That Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby.” The article was widely discussed—loved by some, hated by others—and helped Wolfe publish his first book, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, a collection of his writings in the Herald-Tribune, Esquire, and other publications.[9]

This was what Wolfe called New Journalism, in which some journalists and essayists experimented with a variety of literary techniques, mixing them with the traditional ideal of dispassionate, even-handed reporting. More specifically, Wolfe experimented with four literary devices not normally associated with feature writing—scene-by-scene construction, extensive dialogue, multiple points of view, and detailed description of one’s status-life symbols (the materialistic choices one makes)—to produce this stylized form of journalism, which would later be commonly referred to as literary journalism.[10] Of status symbols, Wolfe has said, “I think every living moment of a human being’s life, unless the person is starving or in immediate danger of death in some other way, is controlled by a concern for status.”[11]

Wolfe also championed what he called “saturation reporting,” a reportorial approach where the journalist “shadows” and observes the subject over an extended period of time. “To pull it off,” says Wolfe, “you casually have to stay with the people you are writing about for long stretches . . . long enough so that you are actually there when revealing scenes take place in their lives.”[12] Saturation reporting differs from “in-depth” and “investigative” reporting, which involve the direct interviewing of numerous sources and/or the extensive analyzing of external documents relating to the story. Saturation reporting, according to communication professor Richard Kallan, “entails a more complex set of relationships wherein the journalist becomes an involved, more fully reactive witness, no longer distanced and detached from the people and events reported.”[13]

One of the most striking examples of New Journalism is Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. The book, an account of the adventures of the Merry Pranksters, a famous sixties counter-culture group, was highly experimental in its use of onomatopoeia, free association, and eccentric punctuation—such as multiple exclamation marks and italics—to convey the manic ideas and personalities of Ken Kesey and his followers.

In addition to his own forays into this new style of journalism, Wolfe edited a collection of New Journalism with E.W. Johnson, published in 1973 and titled The New Journalism. This book brought together pieces from Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson, Norman Mailer, Gay Talese, Joan Didion, and several other well-known writers with the common theme of journalism that incorporated literary techniques and that could be considered literature.[14]

Non-fiction books

In 1965, a collection of his articles in this style was published under the title The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, and Wolfe’s fame grew. A second volume of articles, The Pump House Gang, followed in 1968. Wolfe wrote on popular culture, architecture, politics, and other topics that underscored, among other things, how American life in the 1960s had been transformed by post-WWII economic prosperity. His defining work from this era is The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (published the same day as The Pump House Gang in 1968), which for many epitomized the 1960s. Although a conservative in many ways and certainly not a hippie (in 2008, he claimed never to have used LSD and to have tried marijuana only once[15]) Wolfe became one of the notable figures of the decade.

In 1970, he published two essays in book form as Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers: “Radical Chic,” a biting account of a party given by Leonard Bernstein to raise money for the Black Panther Party, and “Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers,” about the practice of using racial intimidation (“mau-mauing”) to extract funds from government welfare bureaucrats (“flak catchers”). The phrase “radical chic” soon became a popular derogatory term for upper-class leftism. Published in 1977, Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine included one of Wolfe’s more famous essays, “The Me Decade and the Third Great Awakening.”

Back row – Shepard, Grissom, Cooper; Front row – Schirra, Slayton, Glenn, Carpenter.
The astronauts of the Mercury Seven were the subject of The Right Stuff.

In 1979, Wolfe published The Right Stuff, an account of the pilots who became America’s first astronauts. Famously following their training and unofficial, even foolhardy, exploits, he likened these heroes to “single combat champions” of a bygone era, going forth to battle in the space race on behalf of their country. In 1983, the book was adapted as a successful feature film.

In 2016 Wolfe published The Kingdom of Speech, which is a controversial[16] critique of Charles Darwin and Noam Chomsky.[17]

Art critiques

Wolfe also wrote two highly skeptical social histories of modern art and modern architecture, The Painted Word and From Bauhaus to Our House, in 1975 and 1981, respectively. The Painted Word mocked the excessive insularity of the art world and its dependence on what he saw as faddish critical theory, while From Bauhaus to Our House explored the negative effects of the Bauhaus style on the evolution of modern architecture.[18]

Made for TV movie

A fictional television movie appeared on PBS in 1977, “Tom Wolfe’s Los Angeles”, a suitably satirical story set in Los Angeles. Wolfe appears in the movie himself.[19][20]

Novels

Throughout his early career, Wolfe had planned to write a novel that would capture the wide spectrum of American society. Among his models was William Makepeace Thackeray‘s Vanity Fair, which described the society of 19th century England. Wolfe remained occupied writing nonfiction books and contributing to Harper’s until 1981, when he ceased his other work to concentrate on the novel.

Wolfe began researching the novel by observing cases at the Manhattan Criminal Court and shadowing members of the Bronx homicide squad. While the research came easily, the writing did not immediately follow. To overcome his writer’s block, Wolfe wrote to Jann Wenner, editor of Rolling Stone, to propose an idea drawn from Charles Dickens and Thackeray. The Victorian novelists that Wolfe viewed as his models had often written their novels in serial installments. Wenner offered Wolfe around $200,000 to serialize his work.[21] The deadline pressure gave him the motivation he had hoped for, and from July 1984 to August 1985 each biweekly issue of Rolling Stone contained a new installment. Wolfe was later not happy with his “very public first draft”[22] and thoroughly revised his work. Even Sherman McCoy, the novel’s central character, changed: originally a writer, the book version cast McCoy as a bond salesman. Wolfe researched and revised for two years, and his The Bonfire of the Vanities was published in 1987. The book was a commercial and critical success, spending weeks on bestseller lists and earning praise from much of the literary establishment on which Wolfe had long heaped scorn.[23]

Because of the success of Wolfe’s first novel, there was widespread interest in his second. This novel took him more than 11 years to complete; A Man in Full was published in 1998. The book’s reception was not universally favorable, though it received glowing reviews in Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere. An enormous initial printing of 1.2 million copies was announced and the book stayed at number one on the New York Times bestseller list for ten weeks. John Updike wrote a critical review for The New Yorker complaining that the novel “amounts to entertainment, not literature, even literature in a modest aspirant form.” This touched off an intense war of words in the print and broadcast media between Wolfe and Updike, John Irving, and Norman Mailer. In 2001, Wolfe published an essay referring to these three authors as “My Three Stooges.”

After publishing Hooking Up (a collection of short pieces, including the 1997 novella Ambush at Fort Bragg) in 2001, he followed up with his third novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons (2004), which chronicles the decline of a poor, bright scholarship student from Alleghany County, North Carolina, in the context of snobbery, materialism, institutionalised anti-intellectualism and sexual promiscuity she finds at a prestigious contemporary American university. The novel met with a mostly tepid response by critics but won praise from many social conservatives, who saw the book’s account of college sexuality as revealing of a disturbing moral decline. The novel won a Bad Sex in Fiction Award from the London-based Literary Review, a prize established “to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel”. Wolfe later explained that such sexual references were deliberately clinical.

Wolfe has written that his goal in writing fiction is to document contemporary society in the tradition of John Steinbeck, Charles Dickens, and Émile Zola.

In early 2008, it was announced that Wolfe was leaving his longtime publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. His fourth novel, Back to Blood, was published in October 2012 by Little, Brown. According to The New York Times, Wolfe was paid close to US$7 million for the book.[24] According to the publisher, Back to Blood is about “class, family, wealth, race, crime, sex, corruption and ambition in Miami, the city where America’s future has arrived first.”[25]

Recurring themes

Several themes are present in much of Wolfe’s writing, including his novels. One such theme is male power-jockeying, which is a major part of The Bonfire of the Vanities, A Man in Full, and I Am Charlotte Simmons as well as several of his journalistic pieces. Male characters in his fiction often suffer from feelings of extreme inadequacy or hugely inflated egos, sometimes alternating between both. He satirizes racial politics, most commonly between whites and blacks; he also highlights class divisions between characters. Men’s fashions often play a large part in his stories, being used to indicate economic status. Much of his recent work also addresses neuroscience, a subject which he admitted a fascination with in “Sorry, Your Soul Just Died,” one of the essays in Hooking Up, and which played a large role in I Am Charlotte Simmons—the title character being a student of neuroscience, and characters’ thought processes, such as fear, humiliation and lust, frequently being described in the terminology of brain chemistry. Wolfe also frequently gives detailed descriptions of various aspects of his characters’ anatomies.[26]

Two of his novels (A Man in Full and I Am Charlotte Simmons) feature major characters (Conrad Hensley and Jojo Johanssen, respectively) who are set on paths to self-discovery by reading classical Roman and Greek philosophy.

Law and banking firms in Wolfe’s writing often have satirical names formed by the surnames of the partners. “Dunning, Sponget and Leach” and “Curry, Goad and Pesterall” appear in The Bonfire of the Vanities, and “Wringer, Fleasom and Tick” in A Man in Full. Ambush at Fort Bragg contains a law firm called “Crotalus, Adder, Cobran and Krate” (all names or homophones of venomous snakes).

Some characters appear in multiple novels, creating a sense of a “universe” that is continuous throughout Wolfe’s fiction. The character of Freddy Button, a lawyer from Bonfire of the Vanities, is mentioned briefly in I Am Charlotte Simmons. A character named Ronald Vine, an interior decorator who is mentioned in The Bonfire of the Vanities, reappears in A Man in Full as the designer of Charlie Croker’s home.

A fictional sexual practice called “that thing with the cup” appears in several of his writings, including The Bonfire of the Vanities, A Man in Full and a (non-fiction) essay in Hooking Up.

The surname “Bolka” appears in three Wolfe novels—as the name of a rendering plant in A Man in Full, as a partner in an accounting firm in Bonfire of the Vanities, and as a college lacrosse player from the Balkans in I Am Charlotte Simmons.

The white suit

Wolfe adopted the white suit as a trademark in 1962. He bought his first white suit planning to wear it in the summer in the style of Southern gentlemen. However, he found that the suit he purchased was too heavy for summer use, so he wore it in winter, which created a sensation.[27] Wolfe has maintained this uniform ever since, sometimes worn with a matching white tie, white homburg hat, and two-tone shoes. Wolfe has said that the outfit disarms the people he observes, making him, in their eyes, “a man from Mars, the man who didn’t know anything and was eager to know.”[28]

Views

In 1989, Wolfe wrote an essay for Harper’s Magazine titled “Stalking the Billion-Footed Beast“, which criticized modern American novelists for failing to engage fully with their subjects, and suggested that modern literature could be saved by a greater reliance on journalistic technique. This attack on the mainstream literary establishment was interpreted as a boast that Wolfe’s work was superior to more highly regarded authors.[29]

Wolfe was a supporter of George W. Bush and said he voted for him for president in 2004 because of what he called Bush’s “great decisiveness and willingness to fight.” (Bush apparently reciprocates the admiration, having read all of Wolfe’s books, according to friends in 2005.[30]) After this fact emerged in a New York Times interview, Wolfe said that the reaction in the literary world was as if he had said, “I forgot to tell you—I’m a child molester.” Because of this incident, he sometimes wears an American flag pin on his suit, which he compared to “holding up a cross to werewolves.”[31]

Wolfe’s views and choice of subject material, such as mocking left-wing intellectuals in Radical Chic and glorifying astronauts in The Right Stuff, have sometimes led to his being labeled conservative,[32] and his depiction of the Black Panther Party in Radical Chic led to a member of the party calling him a racist.[33] Wolfe rejects such labels; in a 2004 interview, he said that his “idol” in writing about society and culture is Émile Zola, who, in Wolfe’s words, was “a man of the left” but “went out, and found a lot of ambitious, drunk, slothful and mean people out there. Zola simply could not—and was not interested in—telling a lie.”[32]

Asked to comment by the Wall Street Journal on blogs in 2007 to mark the tenth anniversary of their advent, Wolfe wrote that “the universe of blogs is a universe of rumors” and that “blogs are an advance guard to the rear.” He also took the opportunity to criticize Wikipedia, saying that “only a primitive would believe a word of” it. He noted a story about him in his Wikipedia entry at the time, which he said had never happened.[34]

Personal life

Wolfe lives in New York City with his wife Sheila, who designs covers for Harper’s magazine. They have two children, a daughter, Alexandra, and a son, Tommy.[35]

A writer for Examiner Magazine who interviewed Wolfe in 1998 said, “He has no computer and does not surf, or even know how to use, the Internet”, adding, however, that Wolfe’s novel A Man in Full does have a subplot involving “a muckraking cyber-gossip site, à la the Drudge Report or Salon.”[35]

Influence

Wolfe is credited with introducing the terms “statusphere,” “the right stuff,” “radical chic,” “the Me Decade,” “social x-ray,” and “pushing the envelope” into the English lexicon.[36][dubious ] He is sometimes credited with inventing the term “trophy wife” as well, but this is incorrect: he described emaciated wives as “X-rays” in his novel The Bonfire of the Vanities but did not use the term “trophy wife”.[37] According to journalism professor Ben Yagoda, Wolfe is also responsible for the use of the present tense in magazine profile pieces; before he began doing so in the early 1960s, profile articles had always been written in the past tense.[38]

Terms coined by Wolfe

List of awards and nominations

Television appearances

  • Wolfe was featured as an interview subject in the 1987 PBS documentary series Space Flight.
  • In July 1975 Wolfe was interviewed on Firing Line by William F. Buckley, Jr., discussing “The Painted Word”.[44]
  • Wolfe was featured on the February 2006 episode “The White Stuff” of Speed Channel‘s Unique Whips, where his Cadillac‘s interior was customized to match his trademark white suit.[45]
  • Wolfe guest-starred alongside Jonathan Franzen, Gore Vidal and Michael Chabon in The Simpsons episode “Moe’N’a Lisa“, which aired November 19, 2006. He was originally slated to be killed by a giant boulder, but that ending was edited out.[46] Wolfe was also used as a sight gag on The Simpsons episode “Insane Clown Poppy“, which aired on November 12, 2000. Homer spills chocolate on Wolfe’s trademark white suit, and Wolfe rips it off in one swift motion, revealing an identical suit underneath.

Bibliograph

Non-fiction

Novels

Featured in

Notable articles

  • “The Last American Hero Is Junior Johnson. Yes!” Esquire, March 1965.
  • “Tiny Mummies! The True Story of the Ruler of 43rd Street’s Land of the Walking Dead!” New York Herald-Tribune supplement (April 11, 1965).
  • “Lost in the Whichy Thicket,” New York Herald-Tribune supplement (April 18, 1965).
  • “The Birth of the New Journalism: Eyewitness Report by Tom Wolfe.” New York, February 14, 1972.
  • “The New Journalism: A la Recherche des Whichy Thickets.” New York Magazine, February 21, 1972.
  • “Why They Aren’t Writing the Great American Novel Anymore.” Esquire, December 1972.
  • “The Me Decade and the Third Great Awakening” New York, August 23, 1976.
  • Stalking the Billion-Footed Beast“, Harper’s. November 1989.
  • “Sorry, but Your Soul Just Died.” Forbes 1996.
  • “Pell Mell.” The Atlantic Monthly (November 2007).
  • “The Rich Have Feelings, Too.” Vanity Fair (September 2009).

See also

Notes

  1. Jump up^ This was the award for hardcover “General Nonfiction”. From 1980 to 1983 in National Book Award history there were dual awards for hardcover and paperback books in many categories, including several nonfiction subcategories. Most of the paperback award-winners were reprints, including the 1980 General Nonfiction.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Wolfe

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Miloš Forman
Produced by Saul Zaentz
Michael Douglas
Screenplay by Lawrence Hauben
Bo Goldman
Based on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
by Ken Kesey
Starring Jack Nicholson
Louise Fletcher
William Redfield
Music by Jack Nitzsche
Cinematography Haskell Wexler
Bill Butler[1]
Edited by Richard Chew[2]
Sheldon Kahn
Lynzee Klingman
Production
company
Fantasy Films
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • November 19, 1975
Running time
133 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3 million[3]
Box office $109 million[3]

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a 1975 American comedy-drama film directed by Miloš Forman, based on the 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. The film stars Jack Nicholson and features a supporting cast of Louise Fletcher, William Redfield, Will Sampson, and Brad Dourif.

Considered to be one of the greatest films ever made, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is No. 33 on the American Film Institute‘s 100 Years… 100 Movies list. The film was the second to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Actor in Lead Role, Actress in Lead Role, Director, and Screenplay) following It Happened One Nightin 1934, an accomplishment not repeated until 1991 by The Silence of the Lambs. It also won numerous Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards.

In 1993, the film was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Plot

In 1963, Oregon, recidivist criminal Randle McMurphy is moved to a mental institution after serving a short sentence on a prison farm after raping a teenager. Though not actually mentally ill, McMurphy hopes to avoid hard labour and serve the rest of his sentence in a relaxed environment. Upon arriving at the hospital, he finds the ward run by the steely, strict Nurse Ratched, who subtly suppresses the actions of her patients through a passive-aggressive routine, intimidating the patients.

The other patients include anxious, stuttering Billy Bibbit; Charlie Cheswick, who is prone to childish tantrums; delusional Martini; the well-educated, paranoid Dale Harding; belligerent Max Taber; epileptic Jim Sefelt; and “Chief” Bromden, a tall Native American believed to be deaf and mute. Ratched soon sees McMurphy’s lively, rebellious presence to be a threat to her authority, confiscating the patients’ cigarettes and rationing them. During his time in the ward, McMurphy gets into a battle of wits with Ratched. He steals a hospital bus, escaping with several patients to go on a fishing trip, encouraging his friends to become more self-confident.

McMurphy learns his sentence may become indefinite, and he makes plans to escape, exhorting Chief to throw a hydrotherapy cart through a window. He, Chief, and Cheswick get into a fight with the orderlies after the latter becomes agitated over his stolen cigarettes. Ratched sends them to the “shock shop”, and McMurphy discovers Chief can actually speak, feigning illness to avoid engaging with anyone. After being subjected to electroconvulsive therapy, McMurphy returns to the ward pretending to have brain damage, but reveals the treatment has charged him up even more. McMurphy and Chief make plans to escape, but decide to throw a secret Christmas party for their friends after Ratched leaves for the night.

McMurphy sneaks two women, Candy and Rose, into the ward and bribes the night guard. After a night of partying, McMurphy and Chief prepare to escape, inviting Billy to come with them. He refuses, not ready to leave the hospital. McMurphy instead convinces him to have sex with Candy. Ratched arrives in the morning to find the ward in disarray and most of the patients unconscious. She discovers Billy and Candy together, the former now free of his stutter, until Ratched threatens to inform his mother about his escapade. Billy is overwhelmed with fear and locks himself in the doctor’s office and commits suicide. The enraged McMurphy strangles Ratched, before being knocked out by an orderly.

Ratched comes back with a neck brace and a scratchy voice. Rumours spread that McMurphy escaped rather than be taken “upstairs”. Later that night, Chief sees McMurphy being returned to his bed. He discovers McMurphy has lobotomy scars on his forehead, and smothers his friend with a pillow. Chief finally throws the hydrotherapy cart through the window and escapes into the night, cheered on by the men.

Cast

Production

Filming began in January 1975 and concluded approximately three months later,[4] and was shot on location in Salem, Oregon and the surrounding area, as well as on the Oregon coast.[5][6] It was also shot at Oregon State Hospital in Salem, Oregon, which was also the setting of the novel.[7]

Haskell Wexler was fired as cinematographer and replaced by Bill Butler. Wexler believed his dismissal was due to his concurrent work on the documentary Underground, in which the radical terrorist group The Weather Underground were being interviewed while hiding from the law. However, Miloš Forman said he had terminated Wexler over mere artistic differences. Both Wexler and Butler received Academy Awardnominations for Best Cinematography for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, though Wexler said there was “only about a minute or two minutes in that film I didn’t shoot.”[8]

According to Butler, Jack Nicholson refused to speak to Forman: “…[Jack] never talked to Milos at all, he only talked to me.”[1]

Reception

The film was met with overwhelming critical acclaim; Roger Ebert said “Miloš Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a film so good in so many of its parts that there’s a temptation to forgive it when it goes wrong. But it does go wrong, insisting on making larger points than its story really should carry, so that at the end, the human qualities of the characters get lost in the significance of it all. And yet there are those moments of brilliance.”[9] Ebert would later put the film on his “Great Movies” list.[10] A.D. Murphy of Variety wrote a mixed review as well,[11] as did Vincent Canby: writing in The New York Times, Canby called the film “a comedy that can’t quite support its tragic conclusion, which is too schematic to be honestly moving, but it is acted with such a sense of life that one responds to its demonstration of humanity if not to its programmed metaphors.”[12]

The film opens with original music by composer Jack Nitzsche, featuring an eerie bowed saw (performed by Robert Armstrong) and wine glasses. Commenting on the score, reviewer Steven McDonald has said, “The edgy nature of the film extends into the score, giving it a profoundly disturbing feel at times — even when it appears to be relatively normal. The music has a tendency to always be a little off-kilter, and from time to time it tilts completely over into a strange little world of its own …”[13]

The film went on to win the “Big Five” Academy Awards at the 48th Oscar ceremony. These include the Best Actor for Jack Nicholson, Best Actress for Louise Fletcher, Best Direction for Forman, Best Picture, andBest Adapted Screenplay for Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman. The film currently has a 95% “Certified Fresh” rating at Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 8.9/10.[14] Its consensus states “The onscreen battle between Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher serves as a personal microcosm of the culture wars of the 1970s — and testament to the director’s vision that the film retains its power more than three decades later.”

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is considered to be one of the greatest American films. Ken Kesey participated in the early stages of script development, but withdrew after creative differences with the producers over casting and narrative point of view; ultimately he filed suit against the production and won a settlement.[15] Kesey himself claimed never to have seen the movie, but said he disliked what he knew of it,[16] a fact confirmed by Chuck Palahniuk who wrote, “The first time I heard this story, it was through the movie starring Jack Nicholson. A movie that Kesey once told me he disliked.”[17]

In 1993, this film was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.[18]

Awards and honors

Award Category Nominee Result
Academy Award Academy Award for Best Picture Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz Won
Academy Award for Best Director Miloš Forman Won
Academy Award for Best Actor Jack Nicholson Won
Academy Award for Best Actress Louise Fletcher Won
Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman Won
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor Brad Dourif Nominated
Academy Award for Best Cinematography Haskell Wexler and Bill Butler Nominated
Academy Award for Film Editing Richard Chew, Lyzee Klingman and Sheldon Kahn Nominated
Academy Award for Original Music Score Jack Nitzsche Nominated
Golden Globe Award Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz Won
Golden Globe Award for Best Director – Motion Picture Miloš Forman Won
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Jack Nicholson Won
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Louise Fletcher Won
Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman Won
Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor Brad Dourif Won
BAFTA Award BAFTA Award for Best Film Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz Won
BAFTA Award for Best Direction Miloš Forman Won
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role Jack Nicholson Won
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role Louise Fletcher Won
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role Brad Dourif Won
BAFTA Award for Best Editing Richard Chew, Lynzee Klingman and Sheldon Kahn Won
BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography Haskell Wexler and Bill Butler Nominated
BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman Nominated

Others

American Film Institute

See also

References

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b Townsend, Sylvia (19 December 2014). “Haskell Wexler and the Making of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest'”. Retrieved 13 April2015.
  2. Jump up^ Chew was listed as “supervising editor” in the film’s credits, but was included in the nomination for an editing Academy Award.
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Box Office Information”.Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  4. Jump up^ One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at the American Film Institute
  5. Jump up^ Story Notes for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest