The Faithful Executioner, Joel F. Harrington, 2013.

In case you were thinking that ~you~ were having a bad day. (Non-fiction, this.)

Lust Never Sleeps
An academic’s sexual memoir puts the ire in desire

Once in a while a book appears that’s so bad you want it to be a satire. If you set out to produce a parody of postfeminist mumbo jumbo, adolescent narcissism, excruciating erotic overshares, pseudopoetry, pretentious academic jargon, and shopworn and unshocking “dirty talk,” you could not do better than Unmastered: A Book on Desire, Most Difficult to Tell.

Is it possible that Japanese and English are so far apart that translators are creating entirely new works?

One of the cherished myths of American history is that plucky Yankees won independence from Great Britain by picking off befuddled redcoats too dense to deviate from ritualistic parade-ground warfare. That is an exaggeration.

By the time the Revolution broke out, in 1775, the British were well versed in irregular warfare and were countering it in Europe, the Caribbean, and North America. Redcoats certainly knew enough to break ranks and seek cover in battle when possible, rather than, in the words of one historian, “remaining inert and vulnerable to enemy fire.”

The spread of literacy and printed books allowed the American insurgents to appeal for popular support, thereby elevating the role of propaganda and psychological warfare. It is appropriate that the term “public opinion” first appeared in print in 1776, for the American rebels won independence in large part by appealing to the British electorate with documents such as Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense and the Declaration of Independence.

In fact, the outcome of the Revolution was really decided in 1782, when the British House of Commons voted by a narrow margin to discontinue offensive operations. The British could have kept fighting after that date; they could have raised fresh armies even after the defeat at Yorktown in 1781. But not after they had lost the support of parliament.

The pen is mightier than the sword! Huh!

Donald Richie, American Expert on Japan, Is Dead at 88

Donald Richie, one of the most prominent American writers on Japan and on expatriate life, who is best known for introducing the English-speaking world to the golden age of Japanese cinema, including the director Akira Kurosawa, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Tokyo. He was 88.

In 1959, he and Joseph Anderson published what is regarded by film studies experts as the first English-language book on Japanese movies, “The Japanese Film: Art and Industry.” In his memoir, he recounted how in the late 1940s he paid his first visit to a Japanese studio, where he met a director in a white floppy hat and “someone I guessed was a star … in a loose Hawaii-shirt.” Thus began Mr. Richie’s lifelong acquaintance with two of the giants of Japanese cinema, Mr. Kurosawa and the actor Toshiro Mifune.

Openly bisexual, Mr. Richie also wrote frankly about his lovers both male and female, saying Japan’s greater tolerance of homosexuality in the 1940s compared to the United States was one reason he returned after graduating from Columbia University in 1953.

Still, Mr. Richie seemed to have a complex view of the nation where he spent most of his life. In his writings, he did not shy from painting a less-than-rosy picture of its xenophobic society. Yet, he also found much to praise, particularly the sense of balance and subtlety apparent in traditional Japanese arts.

Indeed, some of Mr. Richie’s most poignant writings describe his status as an American expatriate in a nation that keeps outsiders at a distance. He said he never sought to become a Japanese citizen, but instead seemed to revel in his position on the margins of Japanese society, which he wrote offered him far greater personal freedom than he could have had back in Ohio.

Get Richie’s memoir The Japan Journals:1947-2004 at ^_^

DANKO JONES: In 2005, we played a show somewhere in the northeast of America. And the club was structured so that the big room — which is where we were playing — was on the top level, and below that there was a smaller room, but both shows shared a dressing room. In the dressing room, there was a communal computer, and we needed to use it.

And there was a guy sitting at the computer, who was obviously a part of the other show. I asked, “Are you finished?” And he goes, “Hold on a second.” And then he leaves, and JC sat down at the computer — and on the screen that guy had written “Danko Jones is corporate rock” or something like that. It was a guy from [Montreal indie-rock band] Sunset Rubdown. And we almost beat him up.

A girl who was with him defended him, so we just scared the shit out of him — we were like, “Who the fuck are you? Where are you from?” And he says, “Montreal.” And we’re like [sarcastically], “Oh, Montreal” — because we knew that was the new indierock Mecca.

The rest of the excerpt reads like shit; guys I don’t know or care about talking about Arcade Fire and the Canadian music scene like it matters.  I’m glad I didn’t waste $20 on it, it only seems to be tangentially about Danko Jones.