October 23, 2007

Good News All Around

Just a quick post to spread some good news.

Last week my wife, Jessica Mesman, found out that her essay "It's a Wonderful Life" received an "notable essay" distinction in the 2008 edition of Best American Essays, edited this year by one of my heroes, David Foster Wallace.

The essay orginally appeared in Image, which is a fantastic journal and worth subscribing to.

I also got word that my book was reviewed in the American Book Review, which is available on-line if your academic institution or library has a subscription to Lexis/Nexis or the like. It was a very positive review/essay by Christopher Robbins, Assistant Professor of Social Foundations at Eastern Michigan U. I'll try to put excerpts up here, but I haven't figured how to turn a pdf into html. I am computer illiterate.

October 10, 2007

Colgate University

I'm on a little break before I give a reading here at Colgate University--what a beautiful place!--and while checking my email ran across this article in the San Francisco Catholic, a diocesan newspaper in SF, covering a recent talk by retired Army General Taguba at the University of San Francisco. Taguba is, of course, the author of the Taguba Report, the official report commissioned by the US Military to investigate what happened at Abu Ghraib prison.

His talk reveals much of what we already know, but it is well-worth repeating: Defense Sec. Rumsfeld was antagonistic toward Taguba after learning of the unfavorable nature of the investigation and, it seems, either lied under oath in the Senate hearings looking into the prison scandal, or was intentionally not fully briefed by his aids on the investigation's findings in order to shield him from being complicit in the scandal.

The most poignant aspect of his talk was his statement that though he was not responsible for leaking the now-infamous Abu Ghraib images to CBS, which ended up on 60 Minutes in 2004, he believes that whoever did were within their First Amendment rights and, furthermore, that if it weren't for CBS the world would still be in the dark about what happened there. In fact, he said at his talk, the American public and the world still doesn't know the half of it. There are images, according to Taguba, that make the ones leaked seem tame--a video of a female detainee being sodomized by a soldier, for one. A video, it should be mentioned, that shows another soldier in the background with a video camera taping the assault.

I'm off to the reading. More on Colgate later.

Here's the link: