Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Interviews: me, Langewiesche

Over at his blog, Steve Augustine has posted an email exchange we had about my novel, The Only News I Know, which he read in manuscript a few months ago. At first I hesitated at the hubris of discussing an unpublished book, but Steve's enthusiasm won me over, as did the opportunity to share this photo of myself in my hard-rocking prime. (No, wait, I'm still in my prime, but you know what I mean.)

Meanwhile, I wanted to post a link to my NewsQuake interview with William Langewiesche. Unfortunately the author of The Atomic Bazaar wasn't able to furnish a photo of himself playing a cherry-red Epiphone electric, but he did talk extensively and provocatively about nuclear proliferation, A.Q. Khan, and the need for a foreign policy based on dried-eyed pragmatism. Here's a sample exchange:
Langewiesche: Look, most governments today tend to look at the world in purely governmental terms. Fifty years ago, when much of the world was purely governmental, that made sense. But now you see a world in which the nation-state means less and less, and is increasingly a formality. We have a very difficult time acknowledging that.

Netscape: Certainly your last two books have described a borderless and (in some sense) lawless world.

Langwiesche: Oh, we don't have a difficult time acknowledging the lawlessness of the world--we're much concerned by it. What we're really conducting, in fact, is a global War On Disorder. But here's the confusing part: many of these disorderly places are not actually disorderly. They're just non-governmental. With the exception of a few weeks here and there, during periods of acute revolution and turmoil, there is some sort of organic power structure in place. It can be nominally criminal, or ideological, but it's always there. There's always something. And we do have the ability to tap into these power structures and work with them, even if we don't like them.

James...Re: "hubris": if you're afraid of a backlash from the Gods, I'll take the heat for you (though, considering the fact that my divorce is still weeks or months from going through, maybe now is not the time to tease harpies...). TONIK deserves broader, loftier praise than I can provide but I'm honored to be one of the first...
Steve, I wouldn't dream of asking you to take the thunderbolt or divine shiv in the back. But I really do appreciate your kind words about the book, and (of course) the interview itself.
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