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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Presque vu XXVII

Children should be taught not the little virtues but the great ones. Not thrift but generosity and an indifference to money; not caution but courage and a contempt for danger; not a desire for success but a desire to be and to know. Natalia Ginzburg


A statement from Rolls Royce:

“In view of the situation in Burma, Rolls-Royce has decided to cease all business with that country. The Company is immediately returning two engines to Myanmar Airways which were awaiting overhaul at one of our UK facilities and we will terminate the contract for future repair work.
Rolls-Royce does also have contractual commitments with a Singapore-based operator who, in turn, leases an aircraft to a Burmese airline. Action is in hand to terminate this contract also and it is anticipated that this involvement will be terminated by early November 2007.
At that point Rolls-Royce will have no further involvement in Burma and will not be seeking any further business.”


The American Army, Navy and Air Force unwittingly advertised for recruits on, a website for gays.

When informed by USA Today that they were advertising on a website for gay professionals, recruiters expressed surprise.

“This is the first I’ve heard about it,” said Maj. Michael Baptista, advertising branch chief for the Army National Guard. “We didn’t knowingly advertise on that particular website,” which he said does not “meet the moral standards” of the military.


In The Guardian, John Keenan wonders why there is still so much respect for a burnt-out homophobic misogynist?

Only in America in the 1960s and early 70s could a gun-worshipping, atavistic, pill-popping paranoid like (Hunter S.)Thompson come across as an innocent. With a swindler in the White House, a depraved war being fought for futile reasons, and the American political system infected to the marrow, Thompson appeared to many young people to embody not so much freak power as common sense.

One Response to “Presque vu XXVII”

  1. Shawn says:

    Wonderful quote from Natalia Ginzburg. Thompson was overrated, but he could write well once in a while and he could be very funny with equal regularity, but I never saw the brilliance other people seemed to see.

    Why is he so revered in America? It’s because most Americans think that being a “rebel”, being someone who “challenges the system/status quo/the man/etc” involves making lots of noise while simultaneously being very careful not to actually affect anything whatsoever. It’s sort of a magic trick of self-promotion that seems to satisfy certain groupings of male, middle-class, educated Americans. What’s most impressive about the trick is that the conjurer is just as convinced as his audience that it’s not a trick at all.

    jb says: Hi Shawn. I also loved the Natalia Ginzburg quote. Your remarks about Hunter S Thompson’s popularity are intriguing and perceptive. I’ve seen it work many times. Certainly, in this instance it’s an American thing, but I don’t think it’s confined to the States. Works just as well in the UK and the rest of Europe.