March 31, 2007

"Good War" Reviewed in New York Times Book Review!

After many months of teasing and leading us on, the New York Times Book Review has seen fit to publish a review of my book, A Good War is Hard to Find: The Art of Violence in America." (Click on the title of this post to read the review. Also, make sure to check out the link to the first two chapters of my book.) We kept hearing that there was "still a good chance" and that the editors "were waiting for it to be assigned a 'run date'" Frankly, I abandoned hope a couple months back when the Book Review ran a "War" issue, but now here it is, and on April Fool's Day, no less.

Christopher Sorrentino, author of the novels "Sound on Sound" and "Trance" (a finalist for the National Book Award) wrote the review. I'm reading "Trance" right now, and I have to say that the man can write--not that he needs my validation--just for the record.

The review is also accompanied by a very smart graphic (see above image) by Lenny Naar. Good work, Lenny.

Here's a taste of the review:

In the manner of Susan Sontag’s “Regarding the Pain of Others” and Roland Barthes’s “Camera Lucida,” the book is quiet, offbeat, at times intensely personal. Griffith claims that “the Abu Ghraib photos are the very picture of the American soul in conflict with itself,” that the reaction to them “calls attention not to a difference but a similarity in belief between author and audience.” He sees an enormous gap between the viewing of disturbing images and contemplation of the ways in which we are implicated in the acts they portray. It’s a valid observation, as we continue to fight a war whose strategic rationale, in part, is surely to allow us to continue to pay less for a gallon of gasoline than we do for a bag of Chips Ahoy.

Thanks to Soft Skull and Richard Nash and my agent Andrew Blauner for whatever voodoo spells they cast to make this happen.

March 27, 2007

"Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" Screening Snafu (As Told by a "Whistleblower")

Click on the post title for a look at an article by former Army Sgt. Sam Provance an intelligence analyst at Abu Ghraib stationed there when the notorious abuses occured. He describes the "surreal" upper-crust, dog-and-pony show screening of Rory Kennedy's documentary, "The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" in Washington D.C. Provance was the only soldier present, besides former Gen. Janis Karpinski, formerly in charge of 17 military prisons in Iraq. Also in attendance were Sen. Ted Kennedy (D) and Sen. Lindsay Graham (R) who lead a Q and A/discussion following the film. What went down is worth reading about...

March 20, 2007

Billboards for Lionsgate Film, "Captivity," Rankle Parents

This is the movie poster for a new film that is causing a furor in Hollywood. Imagine this on a huge billboard.

This, from an article in the LA Times:

Shanise Laurent and her friends left Palms Middle School one afternoon last week and stopped for a soda at Jack in the Box.

Shanise, a seventh-grader, didn't need me to point out the billboard across the street. She said she had noticed it the day before.

"What a graphic, nasty billboard," said the 13-year-old.

Her sister Rachel, 11, was in agreement, as were their friends.

"There's kids who walk around here," said Taylor Shaw, 13, who didn't think kids should be subjected to such images on their way home from school.

"I think it's scary," said Cameron Olivas, 12.

Across the busy intersection of Overland and Venice was one of 30 billboards in the Los Angeles area promoting the May 18 release of the film "Captivity." The ad consisted of four panels:

Abduction, in which a terrified young blond woman has either a gloved or black hand over her face, as if she's being kidnapped.

Confinement, in which she's behind a chain-link fence and appears to be poking a bloody thumb through the fence.

Torture, in which she is flat on her back, her face in a white cast, with red tubes that resemble jumper cables running into her nostrils.

And Termination, in which her head dangles over the edge of a table, the murder complete.

Hooray for Hollywood.

March 11, 2007

Posthumous Susan Sontag

Check out this review in the New York Times Book Review of Susan Sontag's At the Same Time: Essays and Speeches (FSG).

I have yet to pick this up, but I plan on it. Her 2004 essay in the New York Times Magazine on the Abu Ghraib prison photos, "Regarding the Torture of Others," was one of the reasons why I began writing my book, A Good War is Hard to Find.

March 04, 2007

AP Photos deleted by U.S. Special Forces