Frank, My Dear, We Don’t Give a Damn

The Nuremberg boys (Hans Frank in the dock's front row, with arms folded, wearing dark glasses)

East West Street, written by Philippe Sands (2017) “To do a great right, do a little wrong” (The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene 1) It was a dilemma – in the smoking ashes of WWII, there were several handfuls of Nazi insiders scooped-up by the Allied forces. What to do with them? Hitler and his main henchmen were gone, bullets in their brains or cyanide caps twixt their clenched teeth (sometimes both) – and the residue claimed the time-honoured defence, ‘Befehl ist Befehl.’  Whilst the ‘odious apparatus’ of the Third Reich assiduously documented their outrages, prosecutors yet faced awesome…

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Graham Greene

October 2, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Books, WRITING & LITERATURE |

2 October 1904 “They are ill with me and I can cure them. And you too God – you are ill with me. I can’t go on, month after month, insulting you. I can’t face coming up to the altar at Christmas – your birthday feast – and taking your body and blood for the sake of a lie. I can’t do that. You’ll be better off if you lose me once and for all. I know what I’m doing….” The Heart of the Matter (1948) ——————————————- “He turned his back on her; he wouldn’t promise, but he wouldn’t tell….

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T.S. Eliot in the Library

September 26, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Poetry, WRITING & LITERATURE |

"In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo"...Eliot photographed by Lady Ottoline Morrell

26 September 1888: Thomas Stearns Eliot born in St Louis, Missouri. In its long piece on Old Possum, Poetry Foundation [https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/t-s-eliot] said: “When T. S. Eliot died, wrote Robert Giroux, “the world became a lesser place.” Certainly the most imposing poet of his time, Eliot was revered by Igor Stravinsky “not only as a great sorcerer of words but as the very key keeper of the language.” For Alfred Kazin he was “the mana known as ‘T. S. Eliot,’ the model poet of our time, the most cited poet and incarnation of literary correctness in the English-speaking world.” Northrop Frye simply states: “A…

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The Football Solution

By George Megalogenis (2018) First, one disclamatory reason for liking this book. At a pub on the south side of Adelaide on AFL Grand Final day, 2017, I was the sole Richmond supporter (wearing my Glenelg Tigers scarf and barracking for my 2nd team) which earned plenty of dirty looks.  Outside a restaurant in town after the match, I caught the eye of an Adelaide Crows fan, bedecked in all the gear, packing his sullen family into a people-mover.  Without a trace of sarcasm (because I’ve seen a few losing Grand Finals, and you don’t rub it in in such…

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H. L. Mencken and Crap Towns

September 12, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Non-Fiction, TRAVEL, WRITING & LITERATURE |

H. L. Mencken (12 September 1880) There’s a splendid English book called Crap Towns.  Lovingly referred to by ‘The Sunday Telegraph’ as “The Domesday book of misery” it celebrates awful urban constructs, from Luton to Hull to Bury St Edmonds.  TVC once thought to produce an Australian edition, covering such lively towns as Mt Druitt and Wilcannia, NSW, and Millicent, SA. But the great H.L. Mencken beat us all to it.  In his 1928 article, The Libido for the Ugly, Mencken canvasses the ugliest towns in the USA: “I have seen, I believe, all of the most unlovely towns of…

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