I first published this quick overview of the Scottish people on September 22 of last year from a hostel community room in Edinburgh. Just in time for today’s independence referendum (which is actually over by now over in Scotland), I’ve decided to republish it. By way of context – I had only been in Scotland several days when I wrote this. Even today, I have no opinion as to whether or not Scotland should be independent from the U.K. because I do not live there and I do not know nearly enough about the specific issues. My sense, though, is that Scotland “Yes” supporters believe they are drawing the short straw in the U.K.’s brand of Socialism, and would rather be independent so they can build their own, more fair brand of Socialism. Being generally principled against that form of government (at least here in the U.S.), I cannot say I condone or oppose either side of the debate. I realize there needs to be a safety net, there needs to be taxes, and the government must have some role in supporting it’s people. But will a Socialist independent Scotland just become a cold, wet Cuba, as Gavin McInnes satirically predicted?
After spending nearly a week in Scotland (with one more week to go), mostly in Edinburgh but also in Glasgow and in various parts of the Highlands, I am surprised to conclude that most of the Scottish folk I have met are in many ways comparable to the American social conservative; perhaps not in the bible-thumping sort of way, but in just about all other respects.
Modern thrillers have a lot going for them, but there is nothing more refreshing than an old-school, no-holds-barred tale of political intrigue, corruption, and murder. Authors who wrote in previous decades have the luxury of avoiding compliance with our modern sensibilities.
What does that mean for this trio of thrillers?
Uncensored violence, sex, language, and a spicy dash of what we would today call racism. Not to say that racism is good or desirable – but it is refreshing to see deep characters who have biases and who behave like real people, rather than the white-washed cast of cardboard cut outs that fill modern novels for sake of making sure no one is really offended too much (iconoclasts aren’t quite what they used to be.) Here’s a break-neck synopsis of each book, and why you should pick up at least one of them right now. You’ll have finished it by a minute to midnight. Continue reading “Three Old-School Thrillers That I Read Last Week”
“Trust me, I’m not innocent. I’m married now, but I was once a part of this hazy, undefined dating-but-not-dating scene. I never liked it, because nobody does. I never found any happiness in it, because nobody does. But I was a part of the problem. I was a wimpy manchild, afraid of meaningful commitments, afraid of being alone, afraid of rejection, afraid of the future, afraid of being betrayed, afraid of being loved. Just afraid, really. Afraid of everything.
Then, one day, I met Alissa.”
I think Mr. Walsh was understandably lost and confused like so many young men are during bachelorhood. The implication from his article is that once he found Alissa, his wife-to-be who was tired of games and just wanted a man, he was driven into manhood and transformed into a full Adonis like a frog kissed my a princess.
It is wholly unbelievable. It reads like Sleeping Beauty, but in drag. Continue reading “On Marriage and Tattoos”
Carmen Sternwood lay on her back, in my bed, giggling at me. The tawny wave of her hair was spread out on the pillow as if by a careful and artificial hand. Her slaty eyes peered at me and had the effect, as usual, of peering from behind a barrel. She smiled. Her small sharp teeth glinted.
“Cute, aren’t I?” she said.
I said harshly: “Cute as a Filipino on Saturday night.”
So begins perhaps the most instructive scene in Raymond Chandler’s 1939 debut classic of noir fiction, The Big Sleep. Tucked midway through a story about private investigator Philip Marlowe, who is prying into the shady connections of two wild and pretty daughters of an ailing California oilman, we find a super-masculine ideal. Continue reading “No Game For Knights”