Your partners in crime hit me up for nickels and dimesThe man you were loving couldn’t never get clean It felt out of place, my foot in his face But he should’ve stayed where his money was green…
– Bob Dylan, Where Are You Tonight?
+ I’m not sure what’s more enervating: liberals embracing Liz Cheney or the Left fist-bumping Henry Kissinger. But here we are. We can’t escape two of the most grotesque shadows of our past. No one needs either of them as allies, even fleeting ones. They contaminate all they touch.
+ Liz Cheney didn’t do the one thing she was meant to do: convince any of her fellow Republicans that Trump was a threat to the Republic and, by extension, the “values” of the Republican Party, because Trump’s “values” are now symbiotic with those of the GOP. So, she was a failure. In fact, the Cheneys–Dick, Lynne & Liz–have been agents of political corruption since Dick’s tenure in the Nixon Administration, steadily eating away at whatever frail ethical foundations the party may have had for three decades, rotting clean through by 2001–the detritus providing the seedbed from which the toxic tendrils of Trumpism sprouted. So it is fitting that this is her political end, undone by the savagery of a party her family re-shaped in its own depraved image.
+ Ideologically Liz Cheney was pretty much in lockstep with Trump, backing nearly every vicious social and economic policy he sent to the Hill. (She voted for Trump bills 93% of the time.) She might as well be Stephen Miller’s political doppelgänger. Liz only diverged from Trump on those few occasions when he went soft on foreign policy–on Russia, Iraq, Syria, North Korea and Afghanistan. She’s always been a guard dog of her father’s ruinous legacy. Her objections to the J6th insurrection were to its overtness, which risked exposing the way the continuity of power–real power–is maintained in the US, from one administration to the next, with little real change in policy. Call it the Deep State if you like–though it’s really just “the State.” If anything, it was the clumsiness of Trump that offended the sensibility of the Cheneys. Because Liz and Dick both know from experience there are subtler ways to fix the outcomes of elections.
Here’s your hero pic.twitter.com/8NOS5tYqcT
— Abdallah Fayyad (@abdallah_fayyad) August 17, 2022
+ During her abbreviated tenure in Congress, Cheney voted Liz Cheney against restoring the Voting Rights Act, against raising the minimum wage, against the Equality Act and the Equal Rights Amendment, against the George Floyd Act, the Build Back Better and Infrastructure bills, against the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, against the $35 Insulin bill, against the Women’s Health Protection Act and against anti-gas price gouging bill. A real hero for our time…
+ “Costs them everything”…? Liz Cheney’s Net Worth: $14.7 million.
+ Her profile has never been higher, her “thinginess” never more inflated…If she doesn’t immediately land a gig at CNN or MSNBC she’ll get a fat book deal and a seat on an oil company board.
+ Cheney says she may run for President. Will Democrats recruit her to replace Biden?
+ Was Ross Perot’s campaign, which put Bill Clinton in the White House, “dilettantish”….?
+ I keep urging the Dilettante of DuPont Circle, Ralph Nader, to claim credit for the defeat of Gore, who would have almost certainly nuked Baghdad after 9/11, as evidence that a principled progressive campaign at least has the power of negation. But Ralph has too much integrity to claim credit where it isn’t due.
+ The New York Times endorsed Daniel Goldman last week and forgot to mention that the former prosecutor a close friend of the paper’s publishers, the Sulzberger family. Goldman attended Sidwell Friends, the genteel DC prep school, with several of the Sulzberger brood. Meanwhile, Goldman’s mother, Susan Sachs Goldman, was chair of the board of trustees for Sidwell, a board on which Cathy Sulzberger also served.
One wonders how closely, if at all, the NYTs looked at Goldman’s record and financial holdings. It turns out Goldman has a large investment in Grand Canyon Education, an anti-abortion organization that runs Grand Canyon University and sponsors an “Abortion is Genocide” speaking tour, where the medical procedure compared to the “genocide” of “Jews and blacks.”
+ Maureen Dowd wrote a silly column in last Sunday’s NYT claiming the rightwing is now acting like “unhinged Leftists” of the 60s when it comes to the FBI. Did it really escape her attention that members of a rightwing militia blew up the Murrah Federal Building in 1995, killing 165 people? As for those “unhinged Leftists,” the FBI really was coming after them. (See: COINTELPRO.)
+ If Trump wants any credit as a whistleblower against the Deep State, he needs to publicly release the copies he surely must have of the document troves he mentally declassified.
+ The big question about those files is what did Trump have on Macron? Pee tapes?
+ According to a new study in Nature: Food, more than 5 BILLION people would die of starvation after a full-scale nuclear war between Russia and the US…
+ In the 1960s, the US developed plans to nuke the Han River bridges in response to a North Korean invasion of the South.
+ As Cockburn and I reported in our biography of Al Gore, Gore’s father, Senator Al Gore, Sr, wanted to irradiate the Korean DMZ with nuclear waste…
+ Maybe the “crime wave” isn’t the fault of progressive prosecutors after all: “Research shows that on average, violent crime increases by over 5% on days hotter than 85 degrees compared to days below that threshold. Studies mapping violent crime and weather in L.A. and Chicago show violence reliably rising with the temperature.”
+ According to a study by two Georgia State University criminologists, police forces that require at least a two-year college degree for employment are less likely to employ officers who engage in actions that cause the deaths of Black and unarmed citizens.
+ It’s time to end probation and parole. That’s the conclusion of a new report published by the American Society of Criminology, which concludes that the current punitive system of supervision, that keeps nearly 3.9 million Americans (about one in every 66 adults) shackled under some sort of government oversight, has failed to reduce the rate of incarceration and recidivism.
+ There are still 73,000 people locked in federal prisons on non-violent drug crimes, but the Post wants Biden to pardon Trump, who isn’t (and isn’t likely to be) charged with anything…
+ A travel advisory for people thinking of visiting Portland…
+ A Florida appeals court just affirmed an order prohibiting a parentless 16-year-old from terminating her pregnancy, ruling that young woman failed to prove she is “mature” enough to get an abortion. But apparently mature enough to give birth and raise a child…
+ As Olayemi Olurin, a public defender in New York, disclosed in a column for News One, after a New York City corrections officer named Dion Middleton shot and killed a teen for spraying him with a toy water gun, the Department of Corrections claimed that his actions “in no way reflects the other corrections officers.” The problem is that Middleton was responsible for training the new officers.
+ In the 2021 Texas passed a law that says if anyone donates framed “In God We Trust” posters, school districts are required to display them in a “conspicuous place.” The law was drafted by the same legislator who wrote the state’s anti-CRT law and was done at the behest of a conservative Christian outfit called Patriot Mobile, which has been donating the signs to Dallas-area schools.
+ The GOP’s recent messaging on the Justice Department, FBI and prosecutors is, to be charitable, mixed…
These Soros backed “reform prosecutors” are the driving force behind a national violent crime wave https://t.co/mok65w1Vcu
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 13, 2022
+ In San Francisco, the message is becoming clearer by the day. Brooke Jenkins, the new unelected District Attorney of San Francisco put into office by people who good liberals who share Rubio’s mentality, has within a few weeks of replacing reformist prosecutor Chesa Boudin fired or demoted every single attorney in the office who had investigated or prosecuted police officers.
+ Radley Balko: “We must let the rogue, corrupt ex-president steal classified documents and continue to undermine our democracy with impunity. Otherwise, he and his supporters who stormed the Capitol and think those who disagree with them should be executed might lose respect for the rule of law.”
+ Florida prisons have banned family members from wearing “Visits Matter” shirts during visits with their incarcerated loved ones, alleging that the offending shirts are “inflammatory” and pose a security risk.
+ Meanwhile, Whole Foods has fired workers in six states for wearing Black Lives Matter apparel. The workers and the NLRB argue that labor law protects their right to wear BLM apparel, but a Whole Foods lawyer defended the company’s action by claiming to the NLRB that “President Trump referred to BLM as a ‘symbol of hate’…”
+ A Louisiana woman named Nancy Davis says she’s being forced to either carry a fetus to term that is missing its skull and part of its head or travel to Florida for the closest legal abortion. “It’s hard knowing that I’m carrying it to bury it,” Davis said.
+ Move over, Obama, there’s a new Deporter-in-Chief in town: With more than a month left in the fiscal year, 2022 has already surpassed 2021’s record of nearly 1.7 million migrants arrested at the southern border, topping 1.82 million. At this rate, more than two million will have been arrested by the end of September.
+ Number of Afghan refugees approved on “humanitarian parole” grounds for entry into US in 2022: 143.
Number of Ukrainian refugees approved on humanitarian parole for entry into US in 2022: 68,000.
+ Yangian triangulation…
+ I thought Yang knew something about math?
+ Chomsky: “The standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, hand it over to private capital.”
+ A government watchdog group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government obtained an email trove showing the Secret Service waited until after the Jan 6 riot was well underway to inform Nancy Pelosi’s office of threats against the life of the Speaker of the House.
+ Trump’s never changed a tire, fixed a garbage disposal, cut the grass, grilled burgers or shoveled snow from the driveway, all those essential tasks which have come to define “white American Manhood”…
+ For someone who thought the Deep State was out to get him, Trump sure had a lot of Deep State alumni doing his bidding…
Jim Penrose, a FORMER INTELLIGENCE official who had been at [Trump lawyer Lin] Wood’s estate, emailed two senior SullivanStrickler executives and others. Penrose helped arrange for people from the firm to travel by private jet to Nevada for what Penrose called an urgent “forensics engagement” (on accessing voting machine data)…
+ New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James, is expected to file a big civil case against Trump and his organization. If successful, James might be able to seek the dissolution of the Trump Organization itself. But surely this plays right into his hands. If Trump committed a crime, charge him with a crime. Financial penalties are meaningless to him. Trump is more than capable of losing money and bankrupting a company on his own. In fact, it’s his standard business practice. He’s gotten rich off of being terrible at his job.
+ Oh, look, a faux-Ancien Regime coat of arms. Can’t get MAGAer than that…
+ Jay Bybee, one of the Bush/Cheney lawyers who signed off on the torture of detainees, now sits on the 9th Circuit Court. Bybee is a Mormon, who did missionary work in Santiago, Chile for two years during and after the Pinochet coup.
+ Why we call it MSDNC: Rachel Maddow is being replaced by Alex Wagner, whose father Carl Wagner was co-chair of Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign. Barack Obama attended her wedding to Sam Kass, an assistant chef at the White House, who served as Obama’s Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition and was the Executive Director for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign.
+ It’s hard not to reach the conclusion that the New York Times continues to run David Brooks in order to make Thomas Friedman seem less stupid. But that’s probably giving the editors too much credit…
+ Imagine how useless Biden’s team must consider Harris for her to be limited to Dan Quayle’s role of being the US rep at the funerals of the former leaders of US client states.
+ I thought Stormy Daniels described Trump’s package as a mushroom-like appendage?
Kari Lake says Desantis has ‘BDE,’ (Big Dick Energy), the same kind of BDE that Trump has. “He has the same BDE that we want all of our leaders to have.” pic.twitter.com/hcFlNiRrCn
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) August 15, 2022
+ Speaking of “BDE“, perhaps the poet Philip Larkin should have entered politics: “Andrew Motion, had been told by Larkin’s tailor that the poet’s penis was abnormally large, obliging him to alter the cut of his trouser legs.”
+ How it’s going: as of last week, there are 230,915 more registered Republicans than Democrats in Florida.
+ In a tendentious essay on Salman Rushdie in the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik strained to equate the political correctness of some segments of the Left to fatwas issued by religious fanatics : “The idea—which has sprung to dangerous new life in America as much on the progressive as on the theocratic side of the argument—that words are equal to actions.” Somehow Gopnik’s overwritten piece manages to demean Rushdie and trivialize the murderous assault on him in Chautauqua, New York last week.
+ In contrast, I offer this short, sharply written defense of Rushdie written by Edward Said for a PEN collection back in 1989…
Against the Orthodoxies
By Edward Said
It is not only a “case,” but a man and a book. Salman Rushdie has suffered unconscionably as a human being. In hiding for four years, he has lost his personal life and all personal tranquility. Forced constantly to move, unable to be with family and friends, he has been a hunted man, ironically in full view of the world for whom the dreaded Iranian fatwa – as vengefully obdurate as it had been stupidly murderous in intent – has been an occasional item in the news.
But we must also remember the book itself, The Satanic Verses, an epic of migration, stability and volatility, it challenges all conceptions of fixed identity with a wit and originality that appreciate in time. Why do readers find it hard to accept its energy? Because it overturns not just religious orthodoxies, but national and cultural ones as well. The Satanic Verses is a great novel and a great challenge to settled habits, to lazy authority, to unthinking unconscious assent. Were it the loathsome curse against Islam that it is portrayed as being, readers could set it aside and ignore it. It is attractive, engaging, funny: it offers not a dour, unsmiling sermon, but a riotous carnival and is much more humane than a counter doctrine or new dogma. So, the author is the book.
Lastly, Salman Rushdie is a cause for writers as well as ordinary men and women who live in the formerly colonized world, in Islamic or Arab countries, and in many other parts of the Third World.
Rushdie is everyone who dares to speak out against power, to say that we are entitled to think and express forbidden thoughts, to argue for democracy and freedom of opinion. The time has come for those of us who come from his part of the world to say that we are against this fatwa and all fatwas that silence, beat, imprison or intimidate people and ban, burn or anathematize books. Rushdie, his books, and his life stand at the frontier where tyranny dares to pronounce and exact its appalling decrees. His case is not really offense to Islam, but a spur to go on struggling for democracy that has been denied us, and the courage not to stop. Rushdie is the intifada of the imagination.
+ I’ll take Said at his illustrious word on the literary merits of The Satanic Verses. As a fan of Midnight’s Children, I bought a copy of The Satanic Verses at Howard’s Bookstore in Bloomington the day it was published and struggled through its thick prose and bifurcating plot lines for a couple hundred pages before surrendering. Then, after the fatwa, I bought another copy and forced my way through to the end. Perhaps I missed the jokes and the blasphemies, but I found it a dull and sluggish critique of British colonialism, lacking the verve and zest of Midnight’s Children. Why fatwa this, when so few will read it? But isn’t that always the case with book burners, from Torquemada to Ron DeSantis, who manage to transform the tedious into compelling reading?
+ What made Hadi Matar, the quiet loner from New Jersey who grew up playing video games and reading Spiderman comics in California, snap, take a bus to Chautauqua and repeatedly stab Rushdie with a knife? It probably wasn’t reading an offending paragraph in the Satanic Verses. Could it have been Rushdie’s unapologetic support for the Iraq war and US intervention in Syria? If so, there were bigger targets in the neighborhood, some of whom may have been present in that very room. Matar’s dismal, aimless existence sounds very similar to the empty lives led by other young American Muslim men that the FBI has repeatedly seduced into joining its fake terror plots.
+ It’s hard to imagine the kind of life Rushdie’s been living for the last three decades, a hunted figure, wary of every public appearance. To his credit, they may have driven him underground, but they didn’t succeed in shutting him up. He remains as disagreeable as ever. I mean that as a compliment. He refused to be coerced into “agreement,” which should be the goal of every writer and free-thinker.
+ Over the years, Cockburn and I had our own encounters with zealots, usually angry about our position on Palestine or our relatively isolated opposition to the “good” war against Afghanistan. In one of our first joint appearances at a bookstore in the Mission District, our talk was interrupted by a flying grapefruit that I, deploying my skills as a former shortstop, snagged before it detonated on Cockburn’s head, as a man shouted: “Nazis! Killers! Shame! Shame!!” (We’d been discussing our book Whiteout, detailing how the CIA enabled the cocaine-trafficking of the Contras, but apparently they weren’t the Nazis the fruitslinger was enraged about. We were!) A few years later, I was outside Taos, New Mexico giving a talk with Bill and Kathy Christison on our collection The Politics of Antisemitism. All seemed to go fairly well in a little venue near the great gorge of the Rio Grande. Then somewhere outside of Española on the drive back to Santa Fe, it became clear that we were being followed. Bill and Kathy were both former CIA officers and knew something about tradecraft and evasive driving. The car tailing us suddenly sped forward, then abruptly slowed again until it came even with our own. As Bill accelerated, a gunshot was fired from the car in our direction. I hunkered down trying to control an unsteady bladder. But Bill and Kathy didn’t even flinch.
+ Funny, I don’t recall this fervor from Fox over Israel’s killings of two American citizens…
The Biden Administration must immediately stop negotiating with the Iranian terrorist regime while they carry out assassination attempts on American citizens and officials.
— Morgan Ortagus (@MorganOrtagus) August 15, 2022
+ As for Pompeo, I doubt he’s a target of the Iranians, who have more pressing concerns to deal with. But he is the target of a lawsuit from the lawyers of Julian Assange for illegally spying on lawyers and journalists who met with Assange, while he was living in the Ecuadoran embassy.
+ In her new book, Hillary Clinton calls Bernie Sanders “a sexist,” writing: “I know the kind of things that he says about women.” If Bernie’s a “sexist,” what does that make Bill (or Hillary for that matter for acting as his enabler)? I tend to think that slashing aid to single mothers (ie, “welfare reform”) is about as sexist as it gets at a practical level.
+ In the last quarter, Saudi-Aramco made more money ($48 billion) than Apple, Microsoft, Meta/Facebook and Tesla…combined ($45 billion).
+ As Britons struggle to pay their monthly gas bills, the energy conglomerate that controls British Gas, Centrica, pocketed a £56 million tax rebate on their North Sea operations last year.
+ While preparing for a trip to Wales in a couple of weeks, I came across these rather bracing statistics:
UK COVID deaths in the first 7 weeks of summer:
+ Over, eh?
+ The rights to same sex marriage, consensual sodomy and contraception may be on the chopping block in coming terms, but it’s looking at lot less likely that the Supremes will be banning Onanism any time soon…
+ As I reported a couple of weeks ago, the word on the Hill was that in order to secure passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, Schumer assured Manchin that after Biden took his victory lap, he would quietly introduce another bill to “ease the regulatory burden” on energy companies. Now Schumer has made this sleazy deal public, benignly calling it a “permitting reform” package. The IRA bill was bad enough to begin with. Now they’ll gut the regulations that would have modestly constrained how bad the bad things will get…
+ As part of the IRA, Biden has now given the greenlight to the largest oil and gas sale in US history–Lease Sale 257, which spans 80.8 million acres across the Gulf of Mexico. What’s left to be said?
+ According to a study from the Yale School of Public Health, children living close to fracking sites in Pennsylvania are two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with leukemia. Contamination of drinking water is suspected as the primary means of exposure.
+ The HudBay Mining Company, which plans to blast a 3,000 deep pit across 950 acres in the Santa Rita Mountains east of Tucson, is trying to outlaw photographs of the massive excavation at the Rosemont copper mine.
+ It reminds me of the time I got pulled over by a private security force for photographing the Harris Confined Feeding operation off of I-5 in central California. I was on the shoulder of a public road taking photos from my car…
+ July’s overnight low temperatures were the highest ever recorded in the U.S.
+ The nighttime lows here in Stumptown in mid-August have been feverishly high…
+ 44: the number of days since the last measurable rain in Portland and none in sight.
+ According to the Associated Press, the average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline dropped 45 cents over the past three weeks to $4.10 per gallon. Not here in the PNW. Within a five-mile radius yesterday in the sprawl of Greater Stumptown, I saw gas prices for regular of $5.59, $5.37, $5.16, $4.99 and $4.69….
+ In the grip of the worst mega drought in 1200 years, California has seen the driest first 7 months of the calendar year in recorded history.
+ How many people who have pled guilty to manslaughter (never mind 84 such killings) would be given a $1.4 billion loan to run a nuclear plant on an earthquake fault, as California Governor Gavin Newsom is poised to do at Diablo Canyon?
+ Even as six nuclear plants in a war zone have come under shelling, the pro-nuclear power claque is out in force, urging the resuscitation of a dying industry. Here’s the normally judicious David Wallace-Wells…
+ In point of fact, the Ukrainian govt. alone is paying survivor benefits to 35,000 families in the Chernobyl radiation zone. The global death figure has been estimated to be as high as 500,000 deaths.
+ Fearing a winter without enough natural gas to heat their homes, Germans are now frantically searching Google for ways to buy … firewood.
+ If there’s any good news on the horizon, it’s that in Europe at least solar photovoltaic power is now 8 times cheaper than fossil fuel.
+ The Bureau of Reclamation issue dire warnings about the for the Colorado River in 2023, projecting record-low elevation levels at Lake Mead, Lake Powell and Flaming Gorge reservoirs, and a Tier 2a water shortage in the Lower Basin.
+ Under the new restrictions on the distribution of Colorado River water, Phoenix and the Arizona tribes will be hit the hardest. But if Western Water Law–first in time, first in right–actually meant what it says, the tribes would be getting all of it…
+ According to a projection from the First Street Foundation, more than 100 million Americans will be living under extreme heat conditions (meaning enduring weeks at temperatures of more than 100F with at least one day a year of 125F) within the next 30 years.
+ In a study of 24 moist tropical plots in northern Australia, ecologist David Bauman and his co-workers at Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute found that tree mortality has doubled in the past 35 years (and life expectancy was cut in half), apparently owing to the increasing dryness of the air.
+ According to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, exposure to leaded gasoline lowered the IQ of about half the population of the United States.
+ The story of the brown bear cub in Turkey which gorged herself on a hallucinogenic substance called ‘mad honey’ reminded me of a great Edward Hoagland essay about black bears in NJ feasting on rotting apples to the point of drunkenness and passing out on the hoods of cars in a mall parking lot–an ursine version of Breughel’s Land of Cockayne.
+ Get a load of this from Jared Kushner’s “memoir” Breaking History (no shit):
On that Sunday, we were having lunch at Bono’s house in the town of Eze on the French Riviera, when Rupert stepped out to take a call. He came back and whispered in my ear, “They blinked, they agreed to our terms, we have The Wall Street Journal.” After lunch, Billy Joel, who had also been with us on the boat, played the piano while Bono sang with the Irish singer-songwriter Bob Geldof.
Three of the most banal posers in rock, all croaking out their vapid ditties to the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. Achtung Baby, indeed!
+ According to bassist Phil Lesh: “the basic inspiration for the Grateful Dead was the Miles [Davis] Quartet with Coltrane or Trane’s quartet from the early Sixties. So that was pretty much the inspiration for the way we approach our music.” Davis and Coltrane may have set them off, but the Dead ended up playing with–or perhaps around–someone farther out than they’d ever be: Ornette Coleman.
+ Doug Henwood excavated this scathing assessment of Jacques Lacan from Luce Irigaray’s This Sex Which Is Not One:
+ It largely confirms what I wrote about Lacan a few weeks ago: “Sylvia (Bataille/Lacan) outlived Lacan by another decade. After his death, Sylvia said that life with Lacan often went beyond the boundaries of the pleasure principle. He was, she remarked, ‘a domestic tyrant.'”
+ How Mary Shelley learned to write: Her father, the novelist and philosopher William Godwin, took her to her mother’s (Mary Wollstonecraft) grave at St. Pancras several times a week to trace the letters of the name they shared. Is it any wonder she eventually wrote Frankenstein?
+ Bill Evans: “Music should enrich the soul; it should teach spirituality by showing a person a portion of himself that he would not discover otherwise.”
+ Isn’t it enough that music can make you swing your hips, Bill?
+ From a contemporary review of A Tale of Two Cities: “a dish of puppy pie and stewed cat which is not disguised by the cooking.”
+ Of course, Dickens could have blamed the creakiness of the plot on the source material he pillaged for his novel, often word for word: The Dead Heart by Watts Phillips and Thomas Carlyle’s The French Revolution: a History.
Borders of Emotions We Know Have Been Lost
What I’m reading this week…
Profits and Power: Navigating the Politics and Geopolitics of Oil
David A. Detomasi
(University of Toronto)
Partisans: the Conservative Revolutionaries Who Remade American Politics in the 1990s
Platypus Matters: The Extraordinary Story of Australia’s Mammals
(University of Chicago)
What I’m listening to this week…
How Good It Is
Jimetta Rose and the Voices of Creation
In the Fade
(Run for Cover Records)
Everything That Begins as Comedy Ends in Tragedy
“For a while, Criticism travels side by side with the Work, then Criticism vanishes and it’s the Readers who keep pace. The journey may be long or short. Then the Readers die one by one and the Work continues on alone, although a new Criticism and new Readers gradually fall into step with it along its path. Then Criticism dies again and the Readers die again and the Work passes over a trail of bones on its journey toward solitude. To come near the work, to sail in her wake, is a sign of certain death, but new Criticism and new Readers approach her tirelessly and relentlessly and are devoured by time and speed. Finally the Work journeys irremediably alone in the Great Vastness. And one day the Work dies, as all things must die and come to an end: the Sun and the Earth and the Solar System and the Galaxy and the farthest reaches of man’s memory. Everything that begins as comedy ends in tragedy.” (Roberto Bolaño, The Savage Detectives)