Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Political haikus

Was musing on uses for twitter and noticed that someone had mentioned how twitter's 140 characters is the perfect medium for the 5-7-5 format of a haiku. Clearly, we need a new breed of columnists, such as the political Haiku writer who brightens our days:

Home Secretary
Smith is In hot water but
has her own bath-plug


Boom and bust no more!
(according to Gordon); just
The wrong kind of bust

Too true

'Any fool can write a novel, but it takes real genius to sell it.' (the now late) J G Ballard

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Persepolis -- the best book on Iran I've ever read

Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis is a insider story of:
  • the Iranian revolution,
  • the Gulf (Iran-Iraq) War (about which we in the West were so cruelly complacent),
  • how fugitives to the West are mostly welcomed by the alternative cultures, not the mainstream ones
  • Teenagerhood
  • Freedom and its contradictions
and with a walk on part by
  • God.
It's all told in cartoon form. It's the best thing I've ever read on Iran and one of the best books I've read about living under an Islamist regime.

(I also just finishedThe Reluctant Fundamentalist.
This novella also a lot of fun and well worth reading, but compared with Persepolis is a bit pompous and self-important.)

I found it the sort of book you have to put down while you walk around and try to think about it. Things like:

  • Why don't we understand Iranians as victims of totalitarianism, quite as much as people in Mao's China or Stalin's Russia?
  • How much teenagers need surrogate parents and grandparents;
  • How people can end up on the streets; and get off them again.

What a gem of a book.