November 13, 2007

A Postscript to The Company Kept

"Until we reveal to ourselves and revel in the true meaning of our acts we will go on suffering the double penalty of guilt and ineffectualness.

I am in a bad way as I write these words. My health is poor. I have a treacherous wife, an unhappy home, unsympathetic superiors. I suffer from headaches. I sleep badly. I am eating myself out. If I knew how to take holidays perhaps I would take one. But I see things and have a duty toward history that cannot wait. What I say is in pieces. I am sorry. I sit in libraries and see things. I am in the honorable line of bookish men who have sat in libraries and had visions of great clarity. I name no names. You must listen. I speak with the voice of things to come. I speak in troubled times and tell you how to be as children again. I speak to the broken halves of all our selves and tell them to embrace, loving the worst in us equally with the best.

Tear this off, Coetzee, it is a postscript, it goes to you, listen to me."
--J. M. Coetzee, Dusklands

November 8, 2007

The Company Kept

November 6, 2007: Senator Arlen Specter on why Attorney General nominee Judge Michael Mukasey could not speak to the obvious truth that the controlled drowning technique known as waterboarding is illegal:

"And he said, in answers to my letter of October 24, that he was reluctant to put people at risk, and we know that a couple of weeks ago former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld was served with legal process, unclear exactly what it was, perhaps a warrant of arrest. We know that some countries are exercising extraterritorial jurisdiction on crimes against humanity, that Prime Minister Sharon was under indictment from Belgium. And we know what happened with Pinochet, so that there is a risk factor. So I think he went about as far as he could go, and I think now it’s a matter for the Congress."