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John le Carré, RIP
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The famous spy novelist John le Carré has died at 89.

Unfortunately, I’ve only read one of his novels, a late one, and don’t have anything to say about his books. My vague impression is that the current consensus is that Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is his best, admired by both his fans and his detractors. The miniseries of it with Alec Guinness is supposed to be the best screen version of a Le Carre work.

One interesting thing about the author was that his father, Ronnie Cornwell, was a colorful character, the King of the Spivs. He looks like a good role for Nathan Lane to play. From the Daily Mail:

Ronnie resolved to make his sons the gentleman he never succeeded in becoming by sending them to expensive schools. Ironically, this distanced them from him. David was embarrassed by Ronnie both because he flashed his money about and because he often failed to pay the school fees on time.

To avoid being thought different, David pretended to share the attitudes he found around him, even when he felt alienated by them. In retrospect, he would feel he had been schooled into becoming a spy, learning the enemy’s language, wearing his clothes, apeing his opinions and pretending to share his prejudices.

He would later liken his boyhood to living in occupied territory. ‘The catastrophes in our family were so great and the disproportion between the domestic situation and the orthodoxy of my educated programme was so great that I seemed to go about in disguise,’ he wrote.

For Ronnie, the war presented new opportunities trading in black market chocolate, petrol coupons, Benzedrine inhalers and nylon stockings. He paid his sons’ school fees with dried fruit and a case of gin. He escaped conscription by pleading he was a single parent. …

As a child, David fantasised about chopping his father’s head off, studying Ronnie’s neck for the best point to aim his axe. In later life he would liken Ronnie to P. G. Wodehouse’s Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge, a man who will do anything for money – except work.

But David’s loveless, itinerant childhood prepared him perfectly for his future life as an intelligence officer and novelist. David’s father even inspired his first spy creation: at school, he intimated to friends that Ronnie was a secret agent, rather than admitting he was a spiv. Ronnie peddled similar stories in London while trading in black-market goods.

‘How I got out from under Ronnie, if I ever did,’ David would write many years later, ‘is the story of my life.’

Here’s le Carré’s own account of his father from 2002 in The New Yorker.

 
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  1. Consider A Perfect Spy, which was heavily autobiographical.

    • Agree: Kent Nationalist
  2. I have read all of his novels except for the ones published in the last 15 years. I was a big fan as a teenager, and probably still could be described as one though I stopped reading him that 15 years ago or so. I have been meaning to read A Legacy of Spies simply because of its connection to the The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, but just have never gotten around to it.

    • Replies: @Alden
    @Yancey Ward

    I too read all the earlier novels. I stopped reading after the Cold War material petered out. Have them all, love them all.

    LeCarre was very very leftist and didn’t like America much. It comes through in the early cold war novels. .

    Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist

    , @Paul Jolliffe
    @Yancey Ward

    I did read “Legacy of Spies” a couple years ago, and I highly recommend it as a sequel to LeCarre’s masterpiece, “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold”.

    Tinker, Tailor is terrific, but this blog has a commenter using “Alec Leamas” from TSWCIFTC. However, there is no one here using the handle “Percy Alleline”, or “Control”, or “Roy Bland”, or “Toby Esterhazy”, or “Bill Hayden.”

    So, by the impeccable standards of the I-Steve commentariat, “The Spy Who . . .” is the clear winner.

  3. The movie version of his book The Spy Who Came In From the Cold was great, starring Richard Burton. More recently, the miniseries of The Night Manager with Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie was solid.

    • Agree: jimmyriddle, Drew
    • Disagree: Pierre de Craon
  4. Smiley’s People was his best novel. It wrapped up the whole Karla saga quite neatly if somewhat unbelievable (as pretty much all spy novels). It’s been awhile since I’ve read them but Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy seemed to be needlessly complicated to me. I don’t think I was satisfied with the ending. He’s one of those authors that I always think I’ll take another dive in because I’ve only read 5 or 6 of his books but I never do. Le Carre’s life was as good as any spy novel really.

  5. RIP.

    John le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold was huge when it came out in 1963, though now he is better remembered for theTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy trilogy.

    The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (along with Len Deighton’ contemporary The Ipcress File and Funeral in Berlin and the early James Bond novels) was probably so successful because the book was perhaps innovative in letting the reading audience soak in the enveloping Cold War zeitgeist in the form of thriller fiction.

    It got made into a movie starring Richard Burton, but it was the movies of Deighton’s books, especially Funeral in Berlin, with Michael Caine in the lead, that translated that feel of the books onto film a bit more ably. imho.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @PiltdownMan

    I remember TSWCIFTC to be very good. It is hard to pick between the two AG miniseries. Both were great. Perhaps SP was even better than TSSS. It has been a while though.

    Maybe one day I will read one of his books, but I find I don't read anything other than internet content these days. For years. Even though I read voraciously in my youth.

    Replies: @AKAHorace

    , @duncsbaby
    @PiltdownMan

    I prefer Len Deighton to John LeCarre. Deighton's books to me come across as a hard-boiled take on the espionage genre.

  6. Red pill wisdom.

    • Replies: @JohnnyWalker123
    @JohnnyWalker123

    https://twitter.com/nytmike/status/1338291508659761153

    I wonder what Micky Mantle would say about this.

    Replies: @Dago Shoes, @Reg Cæsar, @Franz, @AnotherDad, @Known Fact

    , @Trinity
    @JohnnyWalker123

    Hell, the only thing the Mick cared about was when was the last call for alcohol. Okay, that was mean, but at least the kid learned early, it took me half a lifetime before I learned to stop giving a shit about some guy because he could throw or catch a ball. Some poor White guy's never learn and will continue to worship "their teams" and players even when the entire team is all Black.

  7. OT Four Covid vaccine volunteers now have Bell’s palsy (half their face droops). But hey, at least we destroyed the economy for a virus with a 99% survival rate and avoided using a safe and nearly free drug of which we have warehouses-full already made.
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-9030943/Four-volunteers-got-Pfizers-vaccine-developed-Bells-palsy.html

    • Replies: @Mike Tre
    @J.Ross

    That would be telling.

    Replies: @That Would Be Telling

  8. A remarkable fact: according the article I read, Le Carre did not die of the Coof.

    Someone in the NHS slipped up.

  9. @JohnnyWalker123
    Red pill wisdom.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFHO18vFc8o

    Replies: @JohnnyWalker123, @Trinity

    I wonder what Micky Mantle would say about this.

    • Replies: @Dago Shoes
    @JohnnyWalker123

    So … leave them still the Indians -- just change the symbol from a feather to a red dot … problem solved.

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @JohnnyWalker123

    What will they rename Ohio?

    Interestingly, of the state's 75 largest cities, only Cuyahoga Falls (#17) and Sandusky (#64) have Indian names. In eleven states, the largest city's name is aboriginal. Ohio's largest city (not metro) is named for a guy the aboriginals have in their sights.

    As for the Tribe, the obvious choices would be to go back to the Napoleons or the Spiders. Anything else would be craven.


    https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-46a8spxhjq/images/stencil/1280x1280/products/2890/3223/RG_2819_042__23398__26049.1480784963.JPG?c=2

    https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/517FIVgMVxL._SY346_.jpg

    Replies: @Pericles, @HammerJack, @james wilson, @Clyde

    , @Franz
    @JohnnyWalker123

    When they fired Chief Wahoo, the matter became academic. Without the old cartoon boss the name means nothing at all.

    They should have taken my advice years ago: THE CLEVELAND SALT POUNDERS!

    It is a true fact that an insanely large salt mine, being burrowed under Lake Erie for decades, is the ragged old town's main claim to uniqueness now anyway. So use it. And it's okay because it's a product of the industrial age and can annoy nobody in the snowflake league.

    The Salt Pounders could start a whole new creative trend; use gnarly local industries for names and inspiration AND to promote interest in America's battered industrial sector.

    Just a thought.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Alden, @Known Fact, @Peter D. Bredon

    , @AnotherDad
    @JohnnyWalker123


    Cleveland’s Baseball Team Will Drop Its Indians Team Name
     
    They should call themselves the Cleveland Blacks.

    It worked for Kamala.

    Replies: @Buffalo Joe

    , @Known Fact
    @JohnnyWalker123

    So will the Atlanta Braves fall in line here? Will they stop showing Charlie Sheen in Major League? What about that Star Trek where Kirk hits his head on some stupid obelisk and becomes the Indian tribe's medicine man?

  10. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was indeed a great spy thriller. I can’t speak to whether it was his best, as I’ve only read two of his books, the other being The Honorable Schoolboy, which was vastly inferior to TTSS.

    And the 1979 miniseries was a very good rendering of the novel. Alec Guinness came to embody the character of George Smiley, even in Le Carre’s idea of him – so much so, that when Le Carre read his own novel for the Books-on-tape version, he voiced Smiley with a Guinness impression. He voiced the other characters with the voices of the other actors from the miniseries as well: Michael Jayston, Bernard Hepton, Ian Richardson, etc. Clearly, Le Carre considered the 1979 production to be canonical.

    The sequel miniseries, Smiley’s People, wasn’t bad either (though not nearly as good as TTSS).

    The 2011 movie version with Gary Oldman was total crap.

    • Replies: @Alden
    @Mr. Anon

    Loved The Honorable Schoolboy. Thanks for reminding me of the name. Honorable Schoolboy and A Perfect Spy are my absolute favorites. The hunting Karla series is great too. Although very sympathetic to the communists.

    The best movie adaption is Tinker Tailor.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    , @eD
    @Mr. Anon

    I mostly agree with this, but not so vehemently.

    The Honorable Schoolboy, the one Le Carre novel where the bad guys are Chinese, is the weakest of the Smiley trilogy but still interesting enough to be worth reading. I think it should have or should be made into a movie or miniseries.

    I think the 2011 movie "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" was disappointing instead of crap. It should be skipped. The problem may have been that the miniseries was so good that there was no room for the movie makers to do something different. Oldman gave a weirdly flat performance and if the movie is your first exposure to Le Carre, you would wonder what the fuss is about. The plot of the movie is pretty faithful to that of the book, however.

    While there is a consensus that Le Carre's later work is not as good as his early work, "A Most Wanted Man", basically about Islamic terrorism and the American deep state, is worth checking out. The movie, though it changes one character from the significantly and for the worse, is definitely worth seeing and Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance is not flat.

    Replies: @Houston 1992, @utu

  11. A 4chan comment:
    The year so far (half a month to go):

    Kirk Douglas
    Olivia de Havilland
    Sean Connery
    Diana Rigg
    Honor Blackman
    Max Von Sydow
    Terry Jones
    Ian Holm
    Barbara Windsor
    Brian Dennehy
    Irrfan Khan
    David Prowse
    Chadwick Boseman
    Fred Willard
    Wilford Brimley
    Carl Reiner
    Michael Lonsdale
    Joel Schumacher
    Ranjit Chowdry
    Tim Brooke-Taylor
    Derek Fowlds

    James Randi
    John le Carre
    Grant Imahara
    John Sessions
    Alex Trebek
    Regis Philbin
    Des O’Connor
    Jackie Stallone
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    Howard Finkel
    Christopher Tolkien

    Vera Lynn
    Little Richard
    Kenny Rogers
    Eddie Van Halen
    Peter Green
    Neil Peart
    Lee Kerslake
    Spenser Davis
    Helen Reddy
    Tommy DeVito

    Diego Maradona
    Ray Clemence
    Nobby Stiles
    Harry Gregg
    Jack Charlton
    Norman Hunter
    Stirling Moss
    Kobe Bryant
    Dean Jones
    Willie Thorn

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    @J.Ross

    Sad to hear about Brian Dennehy and Michael Lonsdale. Both fine actors. Lonsdale was great in Day of the Jackal.

  12. Because I am an incorrigible sentimentalist, I found that The Russia House appealed to me the most. The film version was not at all what I imagined from the book, but I watched it anyway, because I’m a sucker for anything with Michelle Pfeiffer. Klaus Maria Brandauer was good in it though. I thought he stole the show.

    In general, I found the leftism that infused his writing to be unpalatable, however gifted he was as a writer. And his technical details were often cartoonishly wrong.

    • Agree: Kylie
    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    @Twinkie

    John le Carré on what MI5 was really like (keep in mind that while MI5 never caught a Soviet spy—its only job—it did manage to spawn a couple of them, so the UK would have been better off had it never created MI5):


    it was a world that was all made-up. Le Carre - who had himself been a spy - admitted this, and described what the true reality of the spy world was:

    "For a while you wondered whether the fools were pretending to be fools as some kind of deception, or whether there was a real efficient service somewhere else.

    Later in my fiction, I invented one.

    But alas the reality was the mediocrity. Ex-colonial policemen mingling with failed academics, failed lawyers, failed missionaries and failed debutantes gave our canteen the amorphous quality of an Old School outing on the Orient express. Everyone seemed to smell of failure."
     

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/entries/3662a707-0af9-3149-963f-47bea720b460

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Jack D

  13. It was some time after I read “A Perfect Spy” that I discovered it was pretty autobiographical, with the protagonist’s fraudster dad being a Ronnie Cornwell clone.

    He created a neat world though, although he said he made a lot of it up and was then surprised when a lot of his invented terms actually got taken up by the secret world. The former head of the KGB, on a London visit and asked who he’d like to meet, said “le Carre”.

    He had a bad case of Trump/Brexit derangement syndrome in his later years.

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/oct/11/john-le-carre-truth-was-what-you-got-away-with

    His attitude to Brexit is pungently expressed in the new novel. “It is my considered opinion,” one of the characters declares to Nat, “that for Britain and Europe, and for liberal democracy across the entire world as a whole, Britain’s departure from the European Union in the time of Donald Trump, and Britain’s consequent unqualified dependence on the United States in an era when the US is heading straight down the road to institutional racism and neo-fascism, is an unmitigated clusterfuck bar none.

    • Replies: @AKAHorace
    @YetAnotherAnon


    He had a bad case of Trump/Brexit derangement syndrome in his later years.
     
    His books after the Tinker Tailor trilogy changed a lot. He went from being very intricate and slightly over written to being a lot blunter and shallowly left wing (the secret gardener is a good example of this). It read as if Bill Hayden wrote his later work.

    Everything pre Smiley's people is worth reading.

    Replies: @Bill B.

    , @Dan Hayes
    @YetAnotherAnon

    Agreed. In his later public incarnation, le Carre came across as a baying-at-the-moon ultra leftist!

    Replies: @Alden

    , @dfordoom
    @YetAnotherAnon



    His attitude to Brexit is pungently expressed in the new novel. “It is my considered opinion,” one of the characters declares to Nat, “that for Britain and Europe, and for liberal democracy across the entire world as a whole, Britain’s departure from the European Union in the time of Donald Trump, and Britain’s consequent unqualified dependence on the United States in an era when the US is heading straight down the road to institutional racism and neo-fascism, is an unmitigated clusterfuck bar none.”
     

     
    He was certainly right in the sense that the end result of Brexit will be to make Britain even more of a US vassal state than it already is.

    Replies: @Art Deco

  14. @Twinkie
    Because I am an incorrigible sentimentalist, I found that The Russia House appealed to me the most. The film version was not at all what I imagined from the book, but I watched it anyway, because I’m a sucker for anything with Michelle Pfeiffer. Klaus Maria Brandauer was good in it though. I thought he stole the show.

    In general, I found the leftism that infused his writing to be unpalatable, however gifted he was as a writer. And his technical details were often cartoonishly wrong.

    Replies: @Almost Missouri

    John le Carré on what MI5 was really like (keep in mind that while MI5 never caught a Soviet spy—its only job—it did manage to spawn a couple of them, so the UK would have been better off had it never created MI5):

    it was a world that was all made-up. Le Carre – who had himself been a spy – admitted this, and described what the true reality of the spy world was:

    “For a while you wondered whether the fools were pretending to be fools as some kind of deception, or whether there was a real efficient service somewhere else.

    Later in my fiction, I invented one.

    But alas the reality was the mediocrity. Ex-colonial policemen mingling with failed academics, failed lawyers, failed missionaries and failed debutantes gave our canteen the amorphous quality of an Old School outing on the Orient express. Everyone seemed to smell of failure.”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/entries/3662a707-0af9-3149-963f-47bea720b460

    • Thanks: utu
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Almost Missouri


    keep in mind that while MI5 never caught a Soviet spy—its only job—it did manage to spawn a couple of them
     
    Lost wog visitor on a central London street: "Which side is the Foreign Office on?"

    Native: "Yours, I'm afraid."

    (PS, Steve-- what about Charley Pride?)

    Replies: @Anonymous

    , @Jack D
    @Almost Missouri

    The CIA was little better. Westerners suck at espionage - they are just not good at all the lying and cheating that is required. Russians are much more dedicated to the task. Think of the deep cover Russian spies who, on orders, married each other and had children together just to maintain their cover and lived for decades in enemy territory. Can you imagine an American CIA officer accepting that assignment (AND pulling it off)?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegals_Program

    Replies: @Almost Missouri, @kaganovitch, @Anonymous, @xc, @dfordoom

  15. Anonymous[302] • Disclaimer says:
    @PiltdownMan
    RIP.

    John le Carré's The Spy Who Came in from the Cold was huge when it came out in 1963, though now he is better remembered for theTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy trilogy.

    The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (along with Len Deighton' contemporary The Ipcress File and Funeral in Berlin and the early James Bond novels) was probably so successful because the book was perhaps innovative in letting the reading audience soak in the enveloping Cold War zeitgeist in the form of thriller fiction.

    It got made into a movie starring Richard Burton, but it was the movies of Deighton's books, especially Funeral in Berlin, with Michael Caine in the lead, that translated that feel of the books onto film a bit more ably. imho.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @duncsbaby

    I remember TSWCIFTC to be very good. It is hard to pick between the two AG miniseries. Both were great. Perhaps SP was even better than TSSS. It has been a while though.

    Maybe one day I will read one of his books, but I find I don’t read anything other than internet content these days. For years. Even though I read voraciously in my youth.

    • Replies: @AKAHorace
    @Anonymous


    I remember TSWCIFTC to be very good. It is hard to pick between the two AG miniseries. Both were great. Perhaps SP was even better than TSSS. It has been a while though.
     
    The Spy that came in from the cold was well written but the plot was too intricate to be believable. Tinker Tailor was better.
  16. @JohnnyWalker123
    @JohnnyWalker123

    https://twitter.com/nytmike/status/1338291508659761153

    I wonder what Micky Mantle would say about this.

    Replies: @Dago Shoes, @Reg Cæsar, @Franz, @AnotherDad, @Known Fact

    So … leave them still the Indians — just change the symbol from a feather to a red dot … problem solved.

  17. In retrospect, he would feel he had been schooled into becoming a spy…

    But David’s loveless, itinerant childhood prepared him perfectly for his future life as an intelligence officer…

    “You sent me to whore school!”

    Benzedrine inhalers…

    Inhalers? Didn’t they have Ovaltine?

    P. G. Wodehouse’s Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge

    Pronounced “FAN-shaw”, not just in Wodehouse but in real life.

    [Norman Murphy] cites a British surnames dictionary which states bluntly that “Featherstonehaugh” is the only English surname with seven pronunciations!

    These are:

    Feeson-haw
    Feeson-huff
    Feeson-hay
    Feather-stone-huff
    Feather-stone-hay
    Feather-stone-haw
    Fan-shaw…

    The British name Featherstone-haugh
    Obeys no phonetical law
    Many ways are correct
    But the best, I suspect
    Is the simplest one, pronounced Faw

    http://www.wodehouse.org/extra/PL/PL_v23_nr1.pdf

    Ukridge is not to be found in Cottle’s Dictionary of Surnames,
    which has nothing between Udall and Ulman. Is it a pun? On his country? If it was Waugh, not Wodehouse, Steve could tell us!

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
    @Reg Cæsar

    No, but there is Uxbridge, at the end of the Metropolitan line, just noth of London.

  18. My vague impression is that the current consensus is that Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is his best, admired by both his fans and his detractors. The miniseries of it with Alec Guinness is supposed to be the best screen version of a Le Carre work.

    In this case the consensus is absolutely correct.

    The Spy Who Came in From the Cold is superb but doesn’t have quite the complexity of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. And with le Carre the more complexity the better.

    Le Carre was particularly good at describing the motivations of spies. Both the personal and political motivations. Len Deighton was more fun but le Carre was the greater writer. Deighton has to be content with being the second greatest spy novelist of all time.

    The Alec Guinness TTSS mini-series is magnificent.

    If you’re serious about understanding the world of the spy then read early le Carre and read Kim Philby’s autobiography, My Silent War.

    • Agree: AKAHorace
    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    @dfordoom


    Len Deighton was more fun but le Carre was the greater writer.
     
    Gotta disagree. I found le Caree's books turgid and full of moral equivalence. OTOH, Deighton's trilogy of trilogies starting with Berlin Game were much better.

    https://www.amazon.com/Berlin-Game-Samson-Book-1-ebook/dp/B003P9XE0Q
  19. @JohnnyWalker123
    @JohnnyWalker123

    https://twitter.com/nytmike/status/1338291508659761153

    I wonder what Micky Mantle would say about this.

    Replies: @Dago Shoes, @Reg Cæsar, @Franz, @AnotherDad, @Known Fact

    What will they rename Ohio?

    Interestingly, of the state’s 75 largest cities, only Cuyahoga Falls (#17) and Sandusky (#64) have Indian names. In eleven states, the largest city’s name is aboriginal. Ohio’s largest city (not metro) is named for a guy the aboriginals have in their sights.

    As for the Tribe, the obvious choices would be to go back to the Napoleons or the Spiders. Anything else would be craven.

    • Replies: @Pericles
    @Reg Cæsar

    Couldn't they just change the logo to a pajeet? It's not like 'Indian' is problematic in itself. But that apart, let me recommend as a new name the 'Cleveland Sports Team (Baseball)'.

    , @HammerJack
    @Reg Cæsar

    Your post sent me on a little trip, the result of which is that I learned that I'm really bad at guessing the second-largest city in each state. Hmm.

    , @james wilson
    @Reg Cæsar

    Cleveland Crows?

    , @Clyde
    @Reg Cæsar

    Major content. Thanks Reg!

  20. I only have the dimmest recollection of reading a few of le Carre’s books in the 1970s and ’80s. Thoughtful and literate they were, I suppose, but don’t press me for details.

    Some of the comments above have jogged my memory of a thought expressed, I think, in a history of England between WWI and WWII. I don’t recall the wording, but it was something like: English elites knew their country and her Empire were on the decline. That knowledge was meant to explain how some Englishmen were attracted to the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany as places that were unleashing fresh energies.

    Is there any American literature that’s informed by the idea that America and its empire is declining?

    (FWIW-the pessimism on UR seems to me testimony enough that a lot of bright folks in America feel as some Englishmen did a century ago. Something’s gone wrong, and we don’t have the power to keep it from going even more wrong.)

    • Agree: ic1000
    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @JackOH


    Some of the comments above have jogged my memory of a thought expressed, I think, in a history of England between WWI and WWII. I don’t recall the wording, but it was something like: English elites knew their country and her Empire were on the decline. That knowledge was meant to explain how some Englishmen were attracted to the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany as places that were unleashing fresh energies.
     
    The other interesting thing is the way British spy fiction in the post-WW2 period reflected the bitter knowledge that Britain was no longer a Great Power but merely a US satellite. Ian Fleming's Bond novels can be seen in this light as pure cope. They reflect the fantasy that the Special Relationship with the US was something other than the relationship between a superpower and a grovelling vassal state. When there's a threat to the Free World the CIA is powerless. Only the British Secret Service can save the Free World.

    Le Carre didn't bother with the cope. His novels reflected the reality. The British Secret Service was a a bunch of clowns living on past glories (this is especially obvious in the superb The Looking Glass War) still trying to play international power games which Britain simply could no longer play. The British Secret Service was totally subservient to the US and was treated by the CIA with the contempt it deserved. Superpowers like having vassals but they never respect them. Nobody respects a toady.

    You can't understand George Smiley unless you realise that he knows this.

    Replies: @Art Deco, @utu, @Wielgus

  21. @Almost Missouri
    @Twinkie

    John le Carré on what MI5 was really like (keep in mind that while MI5 never caught a Soviet spy—its only job—it did manage to spawn a couple of them, so the UK would have been better off had it never created MI5):


    it was a world that was all made-up. Le Carre - who had himself been a spy - admitted this, and described what the true reality of the spy world was:

    "For a while you wondered whether the fools were pretending to be fools as some kind of deception, or whether there was a real efficient service somewhere else.

    Later in my fiction, I invented one.

    But alas the reality was the mediocrity. Ex-colonial policemen mingling with failed academics, failed lawyers, failed missionaries and failed debutantes gave our canteen the amorphous quality of an Old School outing on the Orient express. Everyone seemed to smell of failure."
     

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/entries/3662a707-0af9-3149-963f-47bea720b460

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Jack D

    keep in mind that while MI5 never caught a Soviet spy—its only job—it did manage to spawn a couple of them

    Lost wog visitor on a central London street: “Which side is the Foreign Office on?”

    Native: “Yours, I’m afraid.”

    (PS, Steve– what about Charley Pride?)

    • LOL: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Reg Cæsar


    Lost subcon visitor on a central London street: “Which side is the Foreign Office on?”

    Native: “Yours, I’m afraid.”
     

    Aren’t the US State Department and foreign service corps sometimes described as having adopted a Foreign First mindset, in the sense of effectively acting as lobbyists for foreign nations and people?

    Replies: @Art Deco

  22. Anonymous[165] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reg Cæsar
    @Almost Missouri


    keep in mind that while MI5 never caught a Soviet spy—its only job—it did manage to spawn a couple of them
     
    Lost wog visitor on a central London street: "Which side is the Foreign Office on?"

    Native: "Yours, I'm afraid."

    (PS, Steve-- what about Charley Pride?)

    Replies: @Anonymous

    Lost subcon visitor on a central London street: “Which side is the Foreign Office on?”

    Native: “Yours, I’m afraid.”

    Aren’t the US State Department and foreign service corps sometimes described as having adopted a Foreign First mindset, in the sense of effectively acting as lobbyists for foreign nations and people?

    • LOL: Bardon Kaldian
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    @Anonymous

    I think one of the reasons they move Foreign Service officers around so is to inhibit them from going native. The trouble is, they're drawn from the same pool as our professional-managerial class generally, among whom leapfrogging loyalties are common if not the norm. Look at the dame who testified at the shampeachment hearings. She was not only Foreign Service, she'd been promoted through the ranks to 'Career Ambassador'.

    Replies: @Almost Missouri, @Peter D. Bredon

  23. The current British PM, Boris Johnson, is, of course, a classic Wodehousian character:

    Dishevelled, loquacious, dodgy and Machiavellian, but with an inner steel and ruthlessness behind the buffoonery, Boris manages to remain likeable and even loveable despite it all.

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    @Anonymous

    The inner steel part of Boris Johnson's character is rather Waughish than Wodehouseian though.

    Replies: @Anon55uu

    , @gsjackson
    @Anonymous

    Boris comes across as a stiff here reacting to Sean Connery giving him a hard time about being an Eton twit. And of course, lately Boris has been playing the role of an insane person trying to convince the British people that they reside in an asylum with him. Likeable? Loveable???

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_N1uNd5DUo

    , @James O'Meara
    @Anonymous

    Someone or other has said that Hitler's greatest mistake was thinking that the British were all a bunch of Wodehouse characters.

  24. The New-Yorker piece about his father linked above is a gem. Thanks.
     
    It can be read as a character study and dwarfs many a psychiatric report about manic depression – not least by absolutely avoiding this vocabulary.

    Le Carré understood Switzerland better than Germany. Being so heartfully accepted at  Berne when he arrived there “being almost 17 years old” was a life-changing experience for him he said – he felt there like “being born again”.
    Reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, he makes you feel his – love for Berne (and Switzerland).

    https://www.international.unibe.ch/stories/2018/john_le_carre

    • Agree: PiltdownMan
  25. That’s an extraordinary portrait of a father by a son. Thanks.

    Another, later, piece that le Carré wrote in 2008 in the New Yorker, about his own days in intelligence.

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/09/29/the-madness-of-spies

  26. @Anonymous
    The current British PM, Boris Johnson, is, of course, a classic Wodehousian character:

    Dishevelled, loquacious, dodgy and Machiavellian, but with an inner steel and ruthlessness behind the buffoonery, Boris manages to remain likeable and even loveable despite it all.

    Replies: @Dieter Kief, @gsjackson, @James O'Meara

    The inner steel part of Boris Johnson’s character is rather Waughish than Wodehouseian though.

    • Replies: @Anon55uu
    @Dieter Kief

    I’ve heard the adjective Wavian used, similar to Shavian for GBS.

  27. @JohnnyWalker123
    @JohnnyWalker123

    https://twitter.com/nytmike/status/1338291508659761153

    I wonder what Micky Mantle would say about this.

    Replies: @Dago Shoes, @Reg Cæsar, @Franz, @AnotherDad, @Known Fact

    When they fired Chief Wahoo, the matter became academic. Without the old cartoon boss the name means nothing at all.

    They should have taken my advice years ago: THE CLEVELAND SALT POUNDERS!

    It is a true fact that an insanely large salt mine, being burrowed under Lake Erie for decades, is the ragged old town’s main claim to uniqueness now anyway. So use it. And it’s okay because it’s a product of the industrial age and can annoy nobody in the snowflake league.

    The Salt Pounders could start a whole new creative trend; use gnarly local industries for names and inspiration AND to promote interest in America’s battered industrial sector.

    Just a thought.

    • Agree: Buffalo Joe
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Franz

    The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers are memorable Industrial Sector NFL team names.

    But, I dunno, Washington Rubber Stampers? Cleveland Clinics?

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Mike Tre, @HammerJack, @Buffalo Joe, @Franz

    , @Alden
    @Franz

    In Europe the teams just use the name of the town I believe. Liberals need a cause to make a living. Soon the animal rights liberals will get tax payer grants to go after names like Bears Rams , Broncos etc.

    The San Francisco football team is the 49ers. That name if offensive to:

    1 The indigenous Indians who lived there before the Spanish.
    2. The Mexicans from whom American stole California.
    3. Everyone who arrived before 1847 and after 1850.

    Replies: @YetAnotherAnon

    , @Known Fact
    @Franz

    Danbury CT's various low level hockey teams often play off the town's hatmaking history -- e.g. the Hatters, Mad Hatters and now very cleverly the Hat Tricks, with a stick-wielding rabbit in magician's top hat and cape for the logo.

    When an allegedly corrupt sanitation company owned the team, it was called the Trashers, with an anthropomorphic hockey-playing garbage can for the logo.

    Replies: @Franz

    , @Peter D. Bredon
    @Franz

    "The Salt Pounders could start a whole new creative trend; use gnarly local industries for names and inspiration AND to promote interest in America’s battered industrial sector."

    Springfield Isotopes

  28. @YetAnotherAnon
    It was some time after I read "A Perfect Spy" that I discovered it was pretty autobiographical, with the protagonist's fraudster dad being a Ronnie Cornwell clone.

    He created a neat world though, although he said he made a lot of it up and was then surprised when a lot of his invented terms actually got taken up by the secret world. The former head of the KGB, on a London visit and asked who he'd like to meet, said "le Carre".

    He had a bad case of Trump/Brexit derangement syndrome in his later years.

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/oct/11/john-le-carre-truth-was-what-you-got-away-with

    His attitude to Brexit is pungently expressed in the new novel. “It is my considered opinion,” one of the characters declares to Nat, “that for Britain and Europe, and for liberal democracy across the entire world as a whole, Britain’s departure from the European Union in the time of Donald Trump, and Britain’s consequent unqualified dependence on the United States in an era when the US is heading straight down the road to institutional racism and neo-fascism, is an unmitigated clusterfuck bar none.
     

    Replies: @AKAHorace, @Dan Hayes, @dfordoom

    He had a bad case of Trump/Brexit derangement syndrome in his later years.

    His books after the Tinker Tailor trilogy changed a lot. He went from being very intricate and slightly over written to being a lot blunter and shallowly left wing (the secret gardener is a good example of this). It read as if Bill Hayden wrote his later work.

    Everything pre Smiley’s people is worth reading.

    • Replies: @Bill B.
    @AKAHorace

    I liked The Honorable Schoolboy very much because it captured quite well places I have lived in: Hong Kong, Thailand and Cambodia. The book benefited from his talking to hardened expats and cynical locals in the region.

    His later books became increasingly dreary denunciations of Britain and the West. His later research became minimal.

    Like the infinitely better writer Graham Greene he purported to believe that vicious dictatorships were often no worse and perhaps even better than the corrupt and immoral white West.

    Replies: @AKAHorace, @David In TN

  29. @Dieter Kief
    @Anonymous

    The inner steel part of Boris Johnson's character is rather Waughish than Wodehouseian though.

    Replies: @Anon55uu

    I’ve heard the adjective Wavian used, similar to Shavian for GBS.

  30. @Reg Cæsar
    @JohnnyWalker123

    What will they rename Ohio?

    Interestingly, of the state's 75 largest cities, only Cuyahoga Falls (#17) and Sandusky (#64) have Indian names. In eleven states, the largest city's name is aboriginal. Ohio's largest city (not metro) is named for a guy the aboriginals have in their sights.

    As for the Tribe, the obvious choices would be to go back to the Napoleons or the Spiders. Anything else would be craven.


    https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-46a8spxhjq/images/stencil/1280x1280/products/2890/3223/RG_2819_042__23398__26049.1480784963.JPG?c=2

    https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/517FIVgMVxL._SY346_.jpg

    Replies: @Pericles, @HammerJack, @james wilson, @Clyde

    Couldn’t they just change the logo to a pajeet? It’s not like ‘Indian’ is problematic in itself. But that apart, let me recommend as a new name the ‘Cleveland Sports Team (Baseball)’.

  31. @Franz
    @JohnnyWalker123

    When they fired Chief Wahoo, the matter became academic. Without the old cartoon boss the name means nothing at all.

    They should have taken my advice years ago: THE CLEVELAND SALT POUNDERS!

    It is a true fact that an insanely large salt mine, being burrowed under Lake Erie for decades, is the ragged old town's main claim to uniqueness now anyway. So use it. And it's okay because it's a product of the industrial age and can annoy nobody in the snowflake league.

    The Salt Pounders could start a whole new creative trend; use gnarly local industries for names and inspiration AND to promote interest in America's battered industrial sector.

    Just a thought.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Alden, @Known Fact, @Peter D. Bredon

    The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers are memorable Industrial Sector NFL team names.

    But, I dunno, Washington Rubber Stampers? Cleveland Clinics?

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    @Steve Sailer

    Ohio has important centers for glassmaking and aviation history, there should be good names from that, and if that fails they have the local custom of naming the team after a guy.

    , @Mike Tre
    @Steve Sailer

    How about the Washington Piddly Diddlers?

    Replies: @RickinJax, @Paul Mendez

    , @HammerJack
    @Steve Sailer

    As even Green Bay becomes more diverse, with a larger and larger Chocolate Contingent, perhaps they can rename the team the Green Bay Fudge Packers. Would that offend homos or would they consider it properly inclusive?

    , @Buffalo Joe
    @Steve Sailer

    Steve, Washington should have become the "Buckskins", an early Frontier symbol and they could still call themselves the "Skins."

    , @Franz
    @Steve Sailer


    But, I dunno, Washington Rubber Stampers? Cleveland Clinics?
     
    I'd stick to basics as much as I could.

    Even an extinct industry, or a product from same. The Tacoma Wiggle-Bridgers. The Chicago Pig Canners. Not cruelty to animals. The workers who canned and sealed pork didn't kill them. And there's Carl Sandburg to remember, he called Chicago "hog butcher to the world" in a poem. Is anybody burning Sandburg's poetry? I think they drew the line there. Poetry is special.

    Can't be something like Cleveland Clinic, known hereabouts as McMedicine. It started as a social climbing infirmary then became renowned. World leaders came for procedures there in the glory years. Then some blowhard thought to monetize the name and now it's just a brand. Not good for sports.

  32. @Reg Cæsar

    In retrospect, he would feel he had been schooled into becoming a spy...

    But David’s loveless, itinerant childhood prepared him perfectly for his future life as an intelligence officer...

     

    "You sent me to whore school!"

    Benzedrine inhalers...

     

    Inhalers? Didn't they have Ovaltine?

    P. G. Wodehouse’s Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge
     
    Pronounced "FAN-shaw", not just in Wodehouse but in real life.

    [Norman Murphy] cites a British surnames dictionary which states bluntly that “Featherstonehaugh” is the only English surname with seven pronunciations!

    These are:

    Feeson-haw
    Feeson-huff
    Feeson-hay
    Feather-stone-huff
    Feather-stone-hay
    Feather-stone-haw
    Fan-shaw...

    The British name Featherstone-haugh
    Obeys no phonetical law
    Many ways are correct
    But the best, I suspect
    Is the simplest one, pronounced Faw

    http://www.wodehouse.org/extra/PL/PL_v23_nr1.pdf
     

    Ukridge is not to be found in Cottle's Dictionary of Surnames,
    which has nothing between Udall and Ulman. Is it a pun? On his country? If it was Waugh, not Wodehouse, Steve could tell us!

    Replies: @Jonathan Mason

    No, but there is Uxbridge, at the end of the Metropolitan line, just noth of London.

  33. @YetAnotherAnon
    It was some time after I read "A Perfect Spy" that I discovered it was pretty autobiographical, with the protagonist's fraudster dad being a Ronnie Cornwell clone.

    He created a neat world though, although he said he made a lot of it up and was then surprised when a lot of his invented terms actually got taken up by the secret world. The former head of the KGB, on a London visit and asked who he'd like to meet, said "le Carre".

    He had a bad case of Trump/Brexit derangement syndrome in his later years.

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/oct/11/john-le-carre-truth-was-what-you-got-away-with

    His attitude to Brexit is pungently expressed in the new novel. “It is my considered opinion,” one of the characters declares to Nat, “that for Britain and Europe, and for liberal democracy across the entire world as a whole, Britain’s departure from the European Union in the time of Donald Trump, and Britain’s consequent unqualified dependence on the United States in an era when the US is heading straight down the road to institutional racism and neo-fascism, is an unmitigated clusterfuck bar none.
     

    Replies: @AKAHorace, @Dan Hayes, @dfordoom

    Agreed. In his later public incarnation, le Carre came across as a baying-at-the-moon ultra leftist!

    • Replies: @Alden
    @Dan Hayes

    He always was. Spy Who Came in From The Cold is a glorification if the old fashioned class war Labor lefty working class Jewish immigrants to Britain That’s about 9o years out of date now

    Small Town in Germany was about the election of an underground Nazi to be chancellor of Germany. Another very early one I can’t remember the name was about apartheid S Africa. An English intelligence agent was stationed in S Africa. Fell in love with and married a black woman. S Africa intelligence, the dreaded BOSS followed them to England for revenge or something.

    Another can’t remember the name hero tracked down a British intelligence agent who sent very damaging information to Russia in the 1950s 60s. The traitor was a Jew. Excuse was Russia sided with the Jews during WW2 against the Nazis.

    The later ones hero was a retired or redundant spy. He had a regular job but was still a contractor for British intelligence. Night Manager Book was excellent and much better than the movie.

    LeCarre books are a great library for next year’s lockdown. Get the E books or find them at Abe or Thrift Books

    Replies: @German_reader

  34. Ronnie looks like he could be W’s brother.

  35. @PiltdownMan
    RIP.

    John le Carré's The Spy Who Came in from the Cold was huge when it came out in 1963, though now he is better remembered for theTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy trilogy.

    The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (along with Len Deighton' contemporary The Ipcress File and Funeral in Berlin and the early James Bond novels) was probably so successful because the book was perhaps innovative in letting the reading audience soak in the enveloping Cold War zeitgeist in the form of thriller fiction.

    It got made into a movie starring Richard Burton, but it was the movies of Deighton's books, especially Funeral in Berlin, with Michael Caine in the lead, that translated that feel of the books onto film a bit more ably. imho.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @duncsbaby

    I prefer Len Deighton to John LeCarre. Deighton’s books to me come across as a hard-boiled take on the espionage genre.

    • Agree: SunBakedSuburb
  36. Anonymous[780] • Disclaimer says:

    I’ve never read any of Le Carre’s books, but I do recall watching many many moons ago the excellent film adaptation of ‘The Spy Who Came in from the Cold”, starring, of course, the late Richard Burton.

    Released at the same time as Bondmania, the film was a deliberate counterpoint to the heroic glamour and swagger of James Bond, depicting a distinctly seedy, down-at-heel, unglamorous, depressive drunk of a secret agent, who is forever getting into petty little fights and arguments with small tradesmen.

    • Replies: @Alden
    @Anonymous

    Drunk and fighting with store clerks was his cover so the Russian spies in Britain would trust him.

    I don’t think Lecarre will last. His Cold War novels are great but just too too dated and specific for a certain time and place. Plus there wasn’t enough diversity. Imagine that, a British civil service full of native British citizens. One part I love is Connie Sachs and her clerks searching through the endless files making the connections . Really did used to be like that. Just send a request and the clerk would deliver it. A bit here, a bit there, and bingo, got a case for the DA.

    Replies: @James O'Meara

  37. @JohnnyWalker123
    @JohnnyWalker123

    https://twitter.com/nytmike/status/1338291508659761153

    I wonder what Micky Mantle would say about this.

    Replies: @Dago Shoes, @Reg Cæsar, @Franz, @AnotherDad, @Known Fact

    Cleveland’s Baseball Team Will Drop Its Indians Team Name

    They should call themselves the Cleveland Blacks.

    It worked for Kamala.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    @AnotherDad

    Another Dad, how absurdly stupid. The epitome of virtue signaling. Two years ago I found and bought an embroidered "Chief Yahoo" emblem from a game jersey at the flea market. My Cleveland daughter has it on her office shelf. Native Americans are about to be memory holed out of existence. I am guessing next the Kansas City Chiefs. Are there any left wing prospectors, sourdoughs, who find the name "49 ers" offensive. Well, seeing there is so much debt in the black community maybe the Buffalo "Bills" go next.

  38. @Anonymous
    @Reg Cæsar


    Lost subcon visitor on a central London street: “Which side is the Foreign Office on?”

    Native: “Yours, I’m afraid.”
     

    Aren’t the US State Department and foreign service corps sometimes described as having adopted a Foreign First mindset, in the sense of effectively acting as lobbyists for foreign nations and people?

    Replies: @Art Deco

    I think one of the reasons they move Foreign Service officers around so is to inhibit them from going native. The trouble is, they’re drawn from the same pool as our professional-managerial class generally, among whom leapfrogging loyalties are common if not the norm. Look at the dame who testified at the shampeachment hearings. She was not only Foreign Service, she’d been promoted through the ranks to ‘Career Ambassador’.

    • Agree: kaganovitch
    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    @Art Deco

    Agree.

    There's a story that George Schulz (I think) as Secretary of State, had all his ambassadors begin their presentations to him in his office by going to the world map on his wall and pointing to the country they represented. Of course, they each went to wall and pointed to the foreign country where they were posted. His response each time was to point to the USA and say: "No! Your country is right there!"

    It's a little crude, and the effete FSOs probably felt patronized, but I think it's an effective way to drive home a fundamental point that is too easily overlooked.

    Replies: @Alden

    , @Peter D. Bredon
    @Art Deco

    " she’d been promoted through the ranks to ‘Career Ambassador’."

    Could any title say "Public Grifter" more clearly? Isn't it a little too close to "Career crimininal"?

    It just screams "Here is someone used to shouting "More champagne and lobster Newberg, and don't skimp on the fucking pate!"

  39. @JackOH
    I only have the dimmest recollection of reading a few of le Carre's books in the 1970s and '80s. Thoughtful and literate they were, I suppose, but don't press me for details.

    Some of the comments above have jogged my memory of a thought expressed, I think, in a history of England between WWI and WWII. I don't recall the wording, but it was something like: English elites knew their country and her Empire were on the decline. That knowledge was meant to explain how some Englishmen were attracted to the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany as places that were unleashing fresh energies.

    Is there any American literature that's informed by the idea that America and its empire is declining?

    (FWIW-the pessimism on UR seems to me testimony enough that a lot of bright folks in America feel as some Englishmen did a century ago. Something's gone wrong, and we don't have the power to keep it from going even more wrong.)

    Replies: @dfordoom

    Some of the comments above have jogged my memory of a thought expressed, I think, in a history of England between WWI and WWII. I don’t recall the wording, but it was something like: English elites knew their country and her Empire were on the decline. That knowledge was meant to explain how some Englishmen were attracted to the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany as places that were unleashing fresh energies.

    The other interesting thing is the way British spy fiction in the post-WW2 period reflected the bitter knowledge that Britain was no longer a Great Power but merely a US satellite. Ian Fleming’s Bond novels can be seen in this light as pure cope. They reflect the fantasy that the Special Relationship with the US was something other than the relationship between a superpower and a grovelling vassal state. When there’s a threat to the Free World the CIA is powerless. Only the British Secret Service can save the Free World.

    Le Carre didn’t bother with the cope. His novels reflected the reality. The British Secret Service was a a bunch of clowns living on past glories (this is especially obvious in the superb The Looking Glass War) still trying to play international power games which Britain simply could no longer play. The British Secret Service was totally subservient to the US and was treated by the CIA with the contempt it deserved. Superpowers like having vassals but they never respect them. Nobody respects a toady.

    You can’t understand George Smiley unless you realise that he knows this.

    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    @dfordoom

    Le Carre didn’t bother with the cope. His novels reflected the reality.

    Wanna buy a bridge?

    Replies: @dfordoom

    , @utu
    @dfordoom

    It was a cope and a very good PR and it was happening just when the UK was discovering it was a pop-culture power.

    , @Wielgus
    @dfordoom

    Fleming's Bond novels are pure escapism for the most part. Le Carré describes a more authentic if humdrum world.
    I have never got into Deighton's spy novels - he is better writing about WW2.

    Replies: @Etruscan Film Star

  40. Never read his fiction. Saw bits and fragments of television adaptations. He always struck me from a distance as an unappealing character (as do members of the British chatterati generally).

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    @Art Deco


    He always struck me from a distance as an unappealing character....
     
    That's funny, coming from you. You have no sense of situational awareness, do you?
  41. @AKAHorace
    @YetAnotherAnon


    He had a bad case of Trump/Brexit derangement syndrome in his later years.
     
    His books after the Tinker Tailor trilogy changed a lot. He went from being very intricate and slightly over written to being a lot blunter and shallowly left wing (the secret gardener is a good example of this). It read as if Bill Hayden wrote his later work.

    Everything pre Smiley's people is worth reading.

    Replies: @Bill B.

    I liked The Honorable Schoolboy very much because it captured quite well places I have lived in: Hong Kong, Thailand and Cambodia. The book benefited from his talking to hardened expats and cynical locals in the region.

    His later books became increasingly dreary denunciations of Britain and the West. His later research became minimal.

    Like the infinitely better writer Graham Greene he purported to believe that vicious dictatorships were often no worse and perhaps even better than the corrupt and immoral white West.

    • Agree: AKAHorace
    • Replies: @AKAHorace
    @Bill B.


    I liked The Honorable Schoolboy very much because it captured quite well places I have lived in: Hong Kong, Thailand and Cambodia. The book benefited from his talking to hardened expats and cynical locals in the region.

    His later books became increasingly dreary denunciations of Britain and the West. His later research became minimal.
     
    The best thing about "The Honourable Schoolboy" was that it was full of minor characters and incidents that did not move the plot along but gave the flavour of a place. Remember the scene where Westerby is in Battambang and in the office of a senior official and his underlings ? The official pulls an envelope out of his desk and everyone becomes very nervous. Westerby is not sure what is about to happen until the official reads him his poems which he has to enthuse over.

    The next in the series, "Smiley's People" goes even further with this kind of detail and is a bit overwritten. After this Le Carre's writing style changed completely. The plot drove everything, few irrelevant but interesting details and morality went from being blurred to black and white.
    , @David In TN
    @Bill B.

    I think I read one of le Carre's books a long time ago. He took the "equivalence" theme--The West was just as bad as the East in the Cold War. If anything, the West was worse.

    The James Bond craze was on when le Carre began. The critics loved him for showing the espionage business was shabby little men doing shabby things.

  42. He paid his sons’ school fees with dried fruit and a case of gin.

    That’s a really great sentence.

    • Agree: PiltdownMan
    • Replies: @Jack D
    @slumber_j

    Tuition must have been cheaper in those days. I would have needed truckloads of Beefeaters and mountains of prunes to pay my kid's private school tuition.

    Replies: @kaganovitch, @Alden

  43. @YetAnotherAnon
    It was some time after I read "A Perfect Spy" that I discovered it was pretty autobiographical, with the protagonist's fraudster dad being a Ronnie Cornwell clone.

    He created a neat world though, although he said he made a lot of it up and was then surprised when a lot of his invented terms actually got taken up by the secret world. The former head of the KGB, on a London visit and asked who he'd like to meet, said "le Carre".

    He had a bad case of Trump/Brexit derangement syndrome in his later years.

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/oct/11/john-le-carre-truth-was-what-you-got-away-with

    His attitude to Brexit is pungently expressed in the new novel. “It is my considered opinion,” one of the characters declares to Nat, “that for Britain and Europe, and for liberal democracy across the entire world as a whole, Britain’s departure from the European Union in the time of Donald Trump, and Britain’s consequent unqualified dependence on the United States in an era when the US is heading straight down the road to institutional racism and neo-fascism, is an unmitigated clusterfuck bar none.
     

    Replies: @AKAHorace, @Dan Hayes, @dfordoom

    His attitude to Brexit is pungently expressed in the new novel. “It is my considered opinion,” one of the characters declares to Nat, “that for Britain and Europe, and for liberal democracy across the entire world as a whole, Britain’s departure from the European Union in the time of Donald Trump, and Britain’s consequent unqualified dependence on the United States in an era when the US is heading straight down the road to institutional racism and neo-fascism, is an unmitigated clusterfuck bar none.”

    He was certainly right in the sense that the end result of Brexit will be to make Britain even more of a US vassal state than it already is.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    @dfordoom

    He was certainly right in the sense that the end result of Brexit will be to make Britain even more of a US vassal state than it already is.

    The term 'vassal state' does not mean what you fancy it means.

  44. @Yancey Ward
    I have read all of his novels except for the ones published in the last 15 years. I was a big fan as a teenager, and probably still could be described as one though I stopped reading him that 15 years ago or so. I have been meaning to read A Legacy of Spies simply because of its connection to the The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, but just have never gotten around to it.

    Replies: @Alden, @Paul Jolliffe

    I too read all the earlier novels. I stopped reading after the Cold War material petered out. Have them all, love them all.

    LeCarre was very very leftist and didn’t like America much. It comes through in the early cold war novels. .

    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist
    @Alden


    LeCarre was very very leftist and didn’t like America much. It comes through in the early cold war novels.

     

    This is too true. I read and enjoyed quite a few Le Carre novels, but also gave him up at the point most people here are mentioning, i.e. when the anti-Western snark started to overwhelm his gifts as a writer. But the jealousy/resentment/not-very-well-disguised vitriol towards the USA was there from the beginning.
  45. @Dan Hayes
    @YetAnotherAnon

    Agreed. In his later public incarnation, le Carre came across as a baying-at-the-moon ultra leftist!

    Replies: @Alden

    He always was. Spy Who Came in From The Cold is a glorification if the old fashioned class war Labor lefty working class Jewish immigrants to Britain That’s about 9o years out of date now

    Small Town in Germany was about the election of an underground Nazi to be chancellor of Germany. Another very early one I can’t remember the name was about apartheid S Africa. An English intelligence agent was stationed in S Africa. Fell in love with and married a black woman. S Africa intelligence, the dreaded BOSS followed them to England for revenge or something.

    Another can’t remember the name hero tracked down a British intelligence agent who sent very damaging information to Russia in the 1950s 60s. The traitor was a Jew. Excuse was Russia sided with the Jews during WW2 against the Nazis.

    The later ones hero was a retired or redundant spy. He had a regular job but was still a contractor for British intelligence. Night Manager Book was excellent and much better than the movie.

    LeCarre books are a great library for next year’s lockdown. Get the E books or find them at Abe or Thrift Books

    • Thanks: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @German_reader
    @Alden


    Another very early one I can’t remember the name was about apartheid S Africa. An English intelligence agent was stationed in S Africa. Fell in love with and married a black woman. S Africa intelligence, the dreaded BOSS followed them to England for revenge or something.
     
    No, that one was by Graham Greene:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Human_Factor_(novel)

    Replies: @Alden

  46. @Anonymous
    The current British PM, Boris Johnson, is, of course, a classic Wodehousian character:

    Dishevelled, loquacious, dodgy and Machiavellian, but with an inner steel and ruthlessness behind the buffoonery, Boris manages to remain likeable and even loveable despite it all.

    Replies: @Dieter Kief, @gsjackson, @James O'Meara

    Boris comes across as a stiff here reacting to Sean Connery giving him a hard time about being an Eton twit. And of course, lately Boris has been playing the role of an insane person trying to convince the British people that they reside in an asylum with him. Likeable? Loveable???

  47. @JohnnyWalker123
    @JohnnyWalker123

    https://twitter.com/nytmike/status/1338291508659761153

    I wonder what Micky Mantle would say about this.

    Replies: @Dago Shoes, @Reg Cæsar, @Franz, @AnotherDad, @Known Fact

    So will the Atlanta Braves fall in line here? Will they stop showing Charlie Sheen in Major League? What about that Star Trek where Kirk hits his head on some stupid obelisk and becomes the Indian tribe’s medicine man?

  48. @Franz
    @JohnnyWalker123

    When they fired Chief Wahoo, the matter became academic. Without the old cartoon boss the name means nothing at all.

    They should have taken my advice years ago: THE CLEVELAND SALT POUNDERS!

    It is a true fact that an insanely large salt mine, being burrowed under Lake Erie for decades, is the ragged old town's main claim to uniqueness now anyway. So use it. And it's okay because it's a product of the industrial age and can annoy nobody in the snowflake league.

    The Salt Pounders could start a whole new creative trend; use gnarly local industries for names and inspiration AND to promote interest in America's battered industrial sector.

    Just a thought.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Alden, @Known Fact, @Peter D. Bredon

    In Europe the teams just use the name of the town I believe. Liberals need a cause to make a living. Soon the animal rights liberals will get tax payer grants to go after names like Bears Rams , Broncos etc.

    The San Francisco football team is the 49ers. That name if offensive to:

    1 The indigenous Indians who lived there before the Spanish.
    2. The Mexicans from whom American stole California.
    3. Everyone who arrived before 1847 and after 1850.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    @Alden

    It's a good job the Gold Rush wasn't in 1869.

  49. @Franz
    @JohnnyWalker123

    When they fired Chief Wahoo, the matter became academic. Without the old cartoon boss the name means nothing at all.

    They should have taken my advice years ago: THE CLEVELAND SALT POUNDERS!

    It is a true fact that an insanely large salt mine, being burrowed under Lake Erie for decades, is the ragged old town's main claim to uniqueness now anyway. So use it. And it's okay because it's a product of the industrial age and can annoy nobody in the snowflake league.

    The Salt Pounders could start a whole new creative trend; use gnarly local industries for names and inspiration AND to promote interest in America's battered industrial sector.

    Just a thought.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Alden, @Known Fact, @Peter D. Bredon

    Danbury CT’s various low level hockey teams often play off the town’s hatmaking history — e.g. the Hatters, Mad Hatters and now very cleverly the Hat Tricks, with a stick-wielding rabbit in magician’s top hat and cape for the logo.

    When an allegedly corrupt sanitation company owned the team, it was called the Trashers, with an anthropomorphic hockey-playing garbage can for the logo.

    • Replies: @Franz
    @Known Fact

    Hatters? Trashers? Both perfect.

    Very few occupations don't have great nicknames, some affectionate and some just descriptive. As a youngster in a now-dead factory a ran a slag crusher to keep steel scale from hardening to mountains. The one I used was a specialty model made before the war in San Francisco.

    The San Francisco Slag Crushers, perfect name for a team. Even a chess or math team.

  50. @Mr. Anon
    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was indeed a great spy thriller. I can't speak to whether it was his best, as I've only read two of his books, the other being The Honorable Schoolboy, which was vastly inferior to TTSS.

    And the 1979 miniseries was a very good rendering of the novel. Alec Guinness came to embody the character of George Smiley, even in Le Carre's idea of him - so much so, that when Le Carre read his own novel for the Books-on-tape version, he voiced Smiley with a Guinness impression. He voiced the other characters with the voices of the other actors from the miniseries as well: Michael Jayston, Bernard Hepton, Ian Richardson, etc. Clearly, Le Carre considered the 1979 production to be canonical.

    The sequel miniseries, Smiley's People, wasn't bad either (though not nearly as good as TTSS).

    The 2011 movie version with Gary Oldman was total crap.

    Replies: @Alden, @eD

    Loved The Honorable Schoolboy. Thanks for reminding me of the name. Honorable Schoolboy and A Perfect Spy are my absolute favorites. The hunting Karla series is great too. Although very sympathetic to the communists.

    The best movie adaption is Tinker Tailor.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @Alden


    The hunting Karla series is great too. Although very sympathetic to the communists.
     
    Really? Early le Carre always came across to me as rabidly anti-communist. You can be rabidly anti-communist and still be no fan of the United States.

    It's certainly true that le Carre tried to make his spies real people. Including the Soviet spies. They have real motivations rather than being melodrama villains. You could argue that he hated communism but was still capable of seeing convinced communists as sincere people doing what they perceived to be their duty.

    You see that in quite a bit of British spy fiction of the 60s. Not just books but movies and TV series. In the superb Callan TV series the Soviet master-spy Richmond is a complex and fairly sympathetic character but he's still the Bad Guy. And in Callan the methods of the British Secret Service are just as ruthless and brutal as the methods of the KGB. I think the point being made (and maybe the point le Carre was trying to make) is that in the spy game both sides include vicious psychopaths and both sides include sincere people doing their duty as they see it, and both sides include misguided idiots.

    Replies: @Wielgus, @sb

  51. His early books were great, his later books not so much.

    He got all preachy in the 2000s, seemingly trying to attract the attention of the Left.

    In 20 years he’ll just be a footnote.

  52. @Steve Sailer
    @Franz

    The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers are memorable Industrial Sector NFL team names.

    But, I dunno, Washington Rubber Stampers? Cleveland Clinics?

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Mike Tre, @HammerJack, @Buffalo Joe, @Franz

    Ohio has important centers for glassmaking and aviation history, there should be good names from that, and if that fails they have the local custom of naming the team after a guy.

  53. @Almost Missouri
    @Twinkie

    John le Carré on what MI5 was really like (keep in mind that while MI5 never caught a Soviet spy—its only job—it did manage to spawn a couple of them, so the UK would have been better off had it never created MI5):


    it was a world that was all made-up. Le Carre - who had himself been a spy - admitted this, and described what the true reality of the spy world was:

    "For a while you wondered whether the fools were pretending to be fools as some kind of deception, or whether there was a real efficient service somewhere else.

    Later in my fiction, I invented one.

    But alas the reality was the mediocrity. Ex-colonial policemen mingling with failed academics, failed lawyers, failed missionaries and failed debutantes gave our canteen the amorphous quality of an Old School outing on the Orient express. Everyone seemed to smell of failure."
     

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/entries/3662a707-0af9-3149-963f-47bea720b460

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Jack D

    The CIA was little better. Westerners suck at espionage – they are just not good at all the lying and cheating that is required. Russians are much more dedicated to the task. Think of the deep cover Russian spies who, on orders, married each other and had children together just to maintain their cover and lived for decades in enemy territory. Can you imagine an American CIA officer accepting that assignment (AND pulling it off)?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegals_Program

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    @Jack D

    Agree. Ironically, the US selection process for intel officers selects for Mormons and the Mormonesque, exactly the wrong sort for deep cover machinations. (Though these people are great for signals intel and other scenarios where subterfuge isn't paramount.)

    The UK seems to select for poof-y public (ie private) school boys. They do machinate, but in the wrong way.

    The West may be better off just accepting that it is constitutionally not good at Machiavellian dark ops for HBD reasons that we spent the last millennium breeding ourselves into. Better to play to our strengths: sigint & technical craft, than continually trying and failing to be what we are not, feeding our opponents and creating a toxic deep state in the process. Good sigint has historically worked spectacularly well for us historically. So well, unfortunately, that now it is being turned on ourselves.

    Replies: @Charon

    , @kaganovitch
    @Jack D

    The CIA was little better. Westerners suck at espionage – they are just not good at all the lying and cheating that is required.

    I'm not so sure the lying and cheating is the problem; look at John Brennan. I think the problem is they are generally sympathetic to the other side. The leftism of the CIA was conceived of as a sort of vaccine strategy- a bit of leftism inoculates against full-blown Communism. In practice it turned out to be an inexpertly crafted (or depending how far down the rabbit hole you want to go, expertly crafted) live virus vaccine that overwhelmed the immune systems of its recipients.

    Replies: @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    , @Anonymous
    @Jack D

    Police officers in the UK's London Metropolitan Police Force, apparently went deep undercover in order to infiltrate such dire threats to the UK's national security as the 'Animal Liberation Army' and various environmentalist groups (!) did manage to 'talk the talk' and 'walk the walk' so well as to have had a string of kids with the gullible female leftwing fools which infest those movements.
    Hat tip: Google 'Mark Kennedy'.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Wielgus

    , @xc
    @Jack D

    Lee Harvey Oswald, part of a CIA or ONI program which seeded fake defectors into the Soviet Union in the late 1950s. He stayed 2.5 years. Not sure how long the others spent there.

    Replies: @Art Deco, @Alden

    , @dfordoom
    @Jack D


    The CIA was little better. Westerners suck at espionage – they are just not good at all the lying and cheating that is required. Russians are much more dedicated to the task.
     
    A lot of communist spies actually believed in what they were doing and were prepared to accept the costs. Most of the people in western intelligence agencies (both during the Cold War and today) seem to be either cynical careerists or misfits and losers. Or bungling amateurs.

    Replies: @utu

  54. @J.Ross
    A 4chan comment:
    The year so far (half a month to go):

    Kirk Douglas
    Olivia de Havilland
    Sean Connery
    Diana Rigg
    Honor Blackman
    Max Von Sydow
    Terry Jones
    Ian Holm
    Barbara Windsor
    Brian Dennehy
    Irrfan Khan
    David Prowse
    Chadwick Boseman
    Fred Willard
    Wilford Brimley
    Carl Reiner
    Michael Lonsdale
    Joel Schumacher
    Ranjit Chowdry
    Tim Brooke-Taylor
    Derek Fowlds

    James Randi
    John le Carre
    Grant Imahara
    John Sessions
    Alex Trebek
    Regis Philbin
    Des O'Connor
    Jackie Stallone
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    Howard Finkel
    Christopher Tolkien

    Vera Lynn
    Little Richard
    Kenny Rogers
    Eddie Van Halen
    Peter Green
    Neil Peart
    Lee Kerslake
    Spenser Davis
    Helen Reddy
    Tommy DeVito

    Diego Maradona
    Ray Clemence
    Nobby Stiles
    Harry Gregg
    Jack Charlton
    Norman Hunter
    Stirling Moss
    Kobe Bryant
    Dean Jones
    Willie Thorn

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

    Sad to hear about Brian Dennehy and Michael Lonsdale. Both fine actors. Lonsdale was great in Day of the Jackal.

  55. @slumber_j

    He paid his sons’ school fees with dried fruit and a case of gin.
     
    That's a really great sentence.

    Replies: @Jack D

    Tuition must have been cheaper in those days. I would have needed truckloads of Beefeaters and mountains of prunes to pay my kid’s private school tuition.

    • LOL: Buffalo Joe
    • Replies: @kaganovitch
    @Jack D

    Tuition must have been cheaper in those days. I would have needed truckloads of Beefeaters and mountains of prunes to pay my kid’s private school tuition.

    This was in post-war rationing era, when luxury items were mostly unobtainable in any sort of volume,hence worth a fortune.

    , @Alden
    @Jack D

    If you and your crew went out a couple nights a month and hi jacked a truckload of Beef Eaters school tuition would have been just pocket change.

  56. @JohnnyWalker123
    Red pill wisdom.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFHO18vFc8o

    Replies: @JohnnyWalker123, @Trinity

    Hell, the only thing the Mick cared about was when was the last call for alcohol. Okay, that was mean, but at least the kid learned early, it took me half a lifetime before I learned to stop giving a shit about some guy because he could throw or catch a ball. Some poor White guy’s never learn and will continue to worship “their teams” and players even when the entire team is all Black.

    • Agree: JohnnyWalker123
  57. Washington Weasels would be a good name for the football team or Washington WINOS.

  58. Le Carré’s Cold War stuff was all good but when the Cold War ended, he (and the entire West) lost focus – without a clear clearly defined enemy as a foil, his fiction became flaccid. I tried reading The Night Manager but the plot concerned an undercover operation to bring down an “international arms dealer” and I could not bring myself to care about the characters and their machinations.

  59. Many thanks to Steve Sailer for his link to LeCarre’s portrait of his father and to other commenters for their mentions of various LeCarre items. After I’m through with the Raj Quartet I have changed my plans and will be reading some LeCarre books I missed and re-reading one or two that I didn’t. The movie version of TSWCIFTC was perfect. Richard Burton and Claire Bloom complimented each other perfectly. I first saw it when I was eighteen and immediately developed a permanent crush on Bloom.

    My suggestion for the Cleveland Indians’ new name is the Cleveland Dindus. It captures both the changing demographics of the Cleveland franchise and its less than stellar performance history.

    • Replies: @Kylie
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    Is this your first reading of The Raj Quartet? How do you like it?

    I just found "The Jewel in the Crown" on YouTube. Am rewatching it. May reread The Raj Quartet again. Scott is way too left-leaning for me but he is a brilliant writer.

  60. @Jack D
    @Almost Missouri

    The CIA was little better. Westerners suck at espionage - they are just not good at all the lying and cheating that is required. Russians are much more dedicated to the task. Think of the deep cover Russian spies who, on orders, married each other and had children together just to maintain their cover and lived for decades in enemy territory. Can you imagine an American CIA officer accepting that assignment (AND pulling it off)?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegals_Program

    Replies: @Almost Missouri, @kaganovitch, @Anonymous, @xc, @dfordoom

    Agree. Ironically, the US selection process for intel officers selects for Mormons and the Mormonesque, exactly the wrong sort for deep cover machinations. (Though these people are great for signals intel and other scenarios where subterfuge isn’t paramount.)

    The UK seems to select for poof-y public (ie private) school boys. They do machinate, but in the wrong way.

    The West may be better off just accepting that it is constitutionally not good at Machiavellian dark ops for HBD reasons that we spent the last millennium breeding ourselves into. Better to play to our strengths: sigint & technical craft, than continually trying and failing to be what we are not, feeding our opponents and creating a toxic deep state in the process. Good sigint has historically worked spectacularly well for us historically. So well, unfortunately, that now it is being turned on ourselves.

    • Replies: @Charon
    @Almost Missouri

    Your intelligence is at least a generation or two out of date. It also appears to rely upon mass media representations more than upon actual facts. Your last sentence may be accurate, though.

    Replies: @Almost Missouri

  61. @Art Deco
    @Anonymous

    I think one of the reasons they move Foreign Service officers around so is to inhibit them from going native. The trouble is, they're drawn from the same pool as our professional-managerial class generally, among whom leapfrogging loyalties are common if not the norm. Look at the dame who testified at the shampeachment hearings. She was not only Foreign Service, she'd been promoted through the ranks to 'Career Ambassador'.

    Replies: @Almost Missouri, @Peter D. Bredon

    Agree.

    There’s a story that George Schulz (I think) as Secretary of State, had all his ambassadors begin their presentations to him in his office by going to the world map on his wall and pointing to the country they represented. Of course, they each went to wall and pointed to the foreign country where they were posted. His response each time was to point to the USA and say: “No! Your country is right there!”

    It’s a little crude, and the effete FSOs probably felt patronized, but I think it’s an effective way to drive home a fundamental point that is too easily overlooked.

    • Replies: @Alden
    @Almost Missouri

    The major purpose of FSOs when stationed overseas is to obtain as much US taxpayers money for the country in which they are stationed as possible.

    That started during and after WW2. Nanny, policeman, enforcer, missionary, prison guard and indulgent wealthy grandma to the whole world.

  62. @Jack D
    @Almost Missouri

    The CIA was little better. Westerners suck at espionage - they are just not good at all the lying and cheating that is required. Russians are much more dedicated to the task. Think of the deep cover Russian spies who, on orders, married each other and had children together just to maintain their cover and lived for decades in enemy territory. Can you imagine an American CIA officer accepting that assignment (AND pulling it off)?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegals_Program

    Replies: @Almost Missouri, @kaganovitch, @Anonymous, @xc, @dfordoom

    The CIA was little better. Westerners suck at espionage – they are just not good at all the lying and cheating that is required.

    I’m not so sure the lying and cheating is the problem; look at John Brennan. I think the problem is they are generally sympathetic to the other side. The leftism of the CIA was conceived of as a sort of vaccine strategy- a bit of leftism inoculates against full-blown Communism. In practice it turned out to be an inexpertly crafted (or depending how far down the rabbit hole you want to go, expertly crafted) live virus vaccine that overwhelmed the immune systems of its recipients.

    • Thanks: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @Alec Leamas (hard at work)
    @kaganovitch


    I’m not so sure the lying and cheating is the problem; look at John Brennan. I think the problem is they are generally sympathetic to the other side. The leftism of the CIA was conceived of as a sort of vaccine strategy- a bit of leftism inoculates against full-blown Communism. In practice it turned out to be an inexpertly crafted (or depending how far down the rabbit hole you want to go, expertly crafted) live virus vaccine that overwhelmed the immune systems of its recipients.
     
    The problem as I see it is that if your spy operation selects for status conscious strivers where status is conferred by the adoption of contrarian political opinions as a means to distinguish the striver from his class origins you're going to wind up with an spy corps laden with sympathies for the object of the spying.

    This seemed to be the case with the Cambridge Five, who were not uniformly of the aristocratic class. Once you've gotten a nest of striver types in an organization, they're inevitably going to replicate themselves by seeking out recruits of like mind and background.
  63. @Jack D
    @slumber_j

    Tuition must have been cheaper in those days. I would have needed truckloads of Beefeaters and mountains of prunes to pay my kid's private school tuition.

    Replies: @kaganovitch, @Alden

    Tuition must have been cheaper in those days. I would have needed truckloads of Beefeaters and mountains of prunes to pay my kid’s private school tuition.

    This was in post-war rationing era, when luxury items were mostly unobtainable in any sort of volume,hence worth a fortune.

  64. Just read the New Yorker piece Steve linked to. Good grief. Magnus Pym’s dad is 100% Cornwell’s dad. And young Pym is young Cornwell. Does that mean he was recruited by the KGB, too?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Perfect_Spy

    At least he got out of MI6/SIS (so presumably he wasn’t recruited) and didn’t end up (spoiler alert) shooting himself in a seaside town.

  65. @Mr. Anon
    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was indeed a great spy thriller. I can't speak to whether it was his best, as I've only read two of his books, the other being The Honorable Schoolboy, which was vastly inferior to TTSS.

    And the 1979 miniseries was a very good rendering of the novel. Alec Guinness came to embody the character of George Smiley, even in Le Carre's idea of him - so much so, that when Le Carre read his own novel for the Books-on-tape version, he voiced Smiley with a Guinness impression. He voiced the other characters with the voices of the other actors from the miniseries as well: Michael Jayston, Bernard Hepton, Ian Richardson, etc. Clearly, Le Carre considered the 1979 production to be canonical.

    The sequel miniseries, Smiley's People, wasn't bad either (though not nearly as good as TTSS).

    The 2011 movie version with Gary Oldman was total crap.

    Replies: @Alden, @eD

    I mostly agree with this, but not so vehemently.

    The Honorable Schoolboy, the one Le Carre novel where the bad guys are Chinese, is the weakest of the Smiley trilogy but still interesting enough to be worth reading. I think it should have or should be made into a movie or miniseries.

    I think the 2011 movie “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” was disappointing instead of crap. It should be skipped. The problem may have been that the miniseries was so good that there was no room for the movie makers to do something different. Oldman gave a weirdly flat performance and if the movie is your first exposure to Le Carre, you would wonder what the fuss is about. The plot of the movie is pretty faithful to that of the book, however.

    While there is a consensus that Le Carre’s later work is not as good as his early work, “A Most Wanted Man”, basically about Islamic terrorism and the American deep state, is worth checking out. The movie, though it changes one character from the significantly and for the worse, is definitely worth seeing and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance is not flat.

    • Replies: @Houston 1992
    @eD

    do you recall the scene from the 2011 remake where the dialogue is "updated" to PC-ese? I recall the scene where an old espionage worker is contrasting the drab 1970's with the 1940's. In the original series the old worker recalls when MI5-6 workers would take pride in the Empire; the updated version had her declaring the 40's as a time when they could take pride in fighting National Socialism.

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

    , @utu
    @eD

    Agree that “A Most Wanted Man” is good and the movie with Philip Seymour Hoffman and German actress Nina Hoss even better. The book and movie work so well is because the American Deep Sate there is as inscrutable as KBG of his Cold War novels.

    The Little Drummer Girl is one of his best books but it is often overlooked. It is one of the first major novels to show how Mossad creates patsies and false flags years before thinking of false flags entered a common discourse.

    His post Cold War books are so so and not very compelling. The Tailor of Panama was still good though it was just an updated idea from Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene.

    Replies: @Art Deco, @Anonymouse

  66. @dfordoom

    My vague impression is that the current consensus is that Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is his best, admired by both his fans and his detractors. The miniseries of it with Alec Guinness is supposed to be the best screen version of a Le Carre work.
     
    In this case the consensus is absolutely correct.

    The Spy Who Came in From the Cold is superb but doesn't have quite the complexity of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. And with le Carre the more complexity the better.

    Le Carre was particularly good at describing the motivations of spies. Both the personal and political motivations. Len Deighton was more fun but le Carre was the greater writer. Deighton has to be content with being the second greatest spy novelist of all time.

    The Alec Guinness TTSS mini-series is magnificent.

    If you're serious about understanding the world of the spy then read early le Carre and read Kim Philby's autobiography, My Silent War.

    Replies: @Jim Don Bob

    Len Deighton was more fun but le Carre was the greater writer.

    Gotta disagree. I found le Caree’s books turgid and full of moral equivalence. OTOH, Deighton’s trilogy of trilogies starting with Berlin Game were much better.

  67. @J.Ross
    OT Four Covid vaccine volunteers now have Bell's palsy (half their face droops). But hey, at least we destroyed the economy for a virus with a 99% survival rate and avoided using a safe and nearly free drug of which we have warehouses-full already made.
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-9030943/Four-volunteers-got-Pfizers-vaccine-developed-Bells-palsy.html

    Replies: @Mike Tre

    That would be telling.

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
    @Mike Tre

    Officially, the FDA staff says the incidents of Bell's palsy are within the norms you'd expect from a population that big, per their briefing document (go down to Event Materials, would also be interesting to see if this was discussed if you're willing to sit through an 8 hours plus or minus meeting about biology and medicine few of us understands):


    [Discussion of the side effect profile in general, with numbers] The frequency of serious adverse events was low (<0.5%), without meaningful imbalances between study arms. Among non-serious unsolicited adverse events, there was a numerical imbalance of four cases of Bell’s palsy in the vaccine group compared with no cases in the placebo group, though the four cases in the vaccine group do not represent a frequency above that expected in the general population. Otherwise, there were no notable patterns or numerical imbalances between treatment groups for specific categories of non-serious adverse events (including other neurologic, neuro- inflammatory, and thrombotic events) that would suggest a causal relationship to BNT162b2 vaccine. With the exception of more frequent, generally mild to moderate reactogenicity in participants <55 years of age, the safety profile of BNT162b2 was generally similar across age groups, genders, ethnic and racial groups, participants with or without medical comorbidities, and participants with or without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection at enrollment.
     
    I suppose it's not considered serious, or these cases of it weren't because it often starts to resolve itself within three weeks according to Wikipedia, which hinted it can be caused by inflammation. The latter of course being an intended response from a vaccine.

    I myself am suspicious, but if limited to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine it's probably academic for most people reading this, 50 million highest priority people in the US are supposed to get this vaccine under the current Operation Warp Speed (OWS) contingent contract, then Pfizer says they won't have any more for us till the third quarter of 2021, but that might change. Given that Pfizer doesn't have a good handle on their ability to manufacture it due to supply chain issues (maybe they should have joined OWS instead of treating it with disdain?), who knows when they'll have more, or rather lots more doses for anyone to go beyond priority populations?

    Of course, with their planning on making 1.3 billion doses in 2021, this is not just a US issue, but those early doses to tens of millions of people will tell us if Bell's palsy is a real side effect of this vaccine or not, and soon.
  68. @Steve Sailer
    @Franz

    The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers are memorable Industrial Sector NFL team names.

    But, I dunno, Washington Rubber Stampers? Cleveland Clinics?

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Mike Tre, @HammerJack, @Buffalo Joe, @Franz

    How about the Washington Piddly Diddlers?

    • Replies: @RickinJax
    @Mike Tre

    The Washington Committee

    , @Paul Mendez
    @Mike Tre

    How about the “Washington Acting Deputy Assistants to the Agency Director”

  69. Anonymous[845] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D
    @Almost Missouri

    The CIA was little better. Westerners suck at espionage - they are just not good at all the lying and cheating that is required. Russians are much more dedicated to the task. Think of the deep cover Russian spies who, on orders, married each other and had children together just to maintain their cover and lived for decades in enemy territory. Can you imagine an American CIA officer accepting that assignment (AND pulling it off)?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegals_Program

    Replies: @Almost Missouri, @kaganovitch, @Anonymous, @xc, @dfordoom

    Police officers in the UK’s London Metropolitan Police Force, apparently went deep undercover in order to infiltrate such dire threats to the UK’s national security as the ‘Animal Liberation Army’ and various environmentalist groups (!) did manage to ‘talk the talk’ and ‘walk the walk’ so well as to have had a string of kids with the gullible female leftwing fools which infest those movements.
    Hat tip: Google ‘Mark Kennedy’.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Anonymous

    'The Animal Liberation Army' are or were a British fringe group dedicated to disrupting vivisectionists by such strategies as mass release of laboratory rats 'into the wild', and pouring acid on vivisectionists' cars.

    As a youngster, it used to amuse me that none of its members were, in fact, animals.
    The name conjured up images of cartoon rabbits, rats, dogs etc sitting around a table sporting Che type berets.

    , @Wielgus
    @Anonymous

    One undercover female police officer infiltrated protests disguised as a clown. She was really into it. Perhaps being a clown was not all acting...

  70. Anonymous[845] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous
    @Jack D

    Police officers in the UK's London Metropolitan Police Force, apparently went deep undercover in order to infiltrate such dire threats to the UK's national security as the 'Animal Liberation Army' and various environmentalist groups (!) did manage to 'talk the talk' and 'walk the walk' so well as to have had a string of kids with the gullible female leftwing fools which infest those movements.
    Hat tip: Google 'Mark Kennedy'.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Wielgus

    ‘The Animal Liberation Army’ are or were a British fringe group dedicated to disrupting vivisectionists by such strategies as mass release of laboratory rats ‘into the wild’, and pouring acid on vivisectionists’ cars.

    As a youngster, it used to amuse me that none of its members were, in fact, animals.
    The name conjured up images of cartoon rabbits, rats, dogs etc sitting around a table sporting Che type berets.

  71. The spy thriller is not to my taste, but I read Came in from the Cold.

    My personal favorite element was how the author gave Jewish-communists fair treatment (probably more than they deserved).

    The author nicely painted a nicely depressing backdrop of an economically spent, post-war England.

    He presented that whole moral expediency thing in a way that wasn’t too preachy.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    @Abolish_public_education

    The author nicely painted a nicely depressing backdrop of an economically spent, post-war England.

    The mean annual growth rate in per capita product in Britain was during the period running from 1914 to 1954 almost precisely what it had been between 1874 and 1914. The growth rate from 1954 to 1994 was more rapid by a factor of 2.3. Britain was growing more slowly than the United States, France, and Germany for long stretches of time, so losing a relative advantage. (Right now their per capita product is about the same as France's, about 17% below Germany's, and about 1/3 below ours). Britain's post-war problems can be attributed to bad monetary policy (overvalued currency for 20-odd years), a wretched industrial relations regime, the stampede into state-ownership of housing, medical facilities, and industry; and confiscatory marginal tax rates. To which of these did Le Carre object? (He was granted a private luncheon with Margaret Thatcher. By some accounts, he used his time during the lunch to babble about the 'Palestinians').

    Replies: @Jack D

  72. @Jack D
    @Almost Missouri

    The CIA was little better. Westerners suck at espionage - they are just not good at all the lying and cheating that is required. Russians are much more dedicated to the task. Think of the deep cover Russian spies who, on orders, married each other and had children together just to maintain their cover and lived for decades in enemy territory. Can you imagine an American CIA officer accepting that assignment (AND pulling it off)?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegals_Program

    Replies: @Almost Missouri, @kaganovitch, @Anonymous, @xc, @dfordoom

    Lee Harvey Oswald, part of a CIA or ONI program which seeded fake defectors into the Soviet Union in the late 1950s. He stayed 2.5 years. Not sure how long the others spent there.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    @xc

    Lee Harvey Oswald, part of a CIA or ONI program which seeded fake defectors into the Soviet Union in the late 1950s. He stayed 2.5 years. Not sure how long the others spent there.

    Was his inability to hold a job for periods of time not readily measurable in weeks also an act? How about dropping out of school at age 15? Or showing up at work carrying a package of 'curtain rods'?

    Replies: @Peter D. Bredon, @prosa123

    , @Alden
    @xc

    About a thousand books have been written claiming Oswald was a CIA spy It wasn’t a very successful program if so many people were able to figure it out. I wonder what deep important secrets he brought back from that factory in Minsk.

    Replies: @Jack D, @Peter D. Bredon

  73. “Tinker,Tailor,Soldier,Spy” along with “The Boys From Brazil” by Levin, “The Eagle has Landed” by Higgins and especially “Day of the Jackal” by Forsythe are four books that I have read more than once. Great story telling. Does anyone write like ths anymore?

    • Replies: @TGD
    @Buffalo Joe


    “Tinker,Tailor,Soldier,Spy” along with “The Boys From Brazil” by Levin, “The Eagle has Landed” by Higgins and especially “Day of the Jackal” by Forsythe are four books that I have read more than once. Great story telling. Does anyone write like ths anymore?
     
    I agree with you on Frederick Forsyth and Ira Levin. Jack Higgins I have never read. But John le Carré is the pits. Over creative glop. I never started one of his novels that I didn't throw the book away in disgust.

    Saw the latest movie iteration of "Tinker Tailor..." just last year on one of the pay channels. I think that it was shot in Hungary. Didn't follow the plot at all. It was either too dense or too stupid.

    Replies: @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

  74. Let no one speak ill of the dead, of course.

    Watching Tinker Tailor was one of the great pleasures of my early twenties (a sort of Anti-Brideshead); later caught up with the earlier Burton film, also great.

    That said, Le C. always seemed to be one of those limey shitlibs, having convinced himself, and trying to convince the rest of us, that the postwar Britain of poverty, rations, dirty dishwater, aversion to bathing, rotting teeth, patched clothing, was proof of how much better, how much more real or moral or something, they were, compared to those vulgar Americans. Hence the ramshackle Circus building, Roy Blunt the “shopworn great White hope”, etc. And for that reason, the Soviets had to be better than we were led to believe; after all, they were almost as shabby as the Brits!

    If Patton concluded that we fought the wrong enemy, Le C. insisted we got it right the first time.

    Le C. was thus a sort of late Angry Young Man, whose only new trick was to apply the technique not to marriage or music hall comedy or other institutions, but to the spy game (write what you know). Thus, he created the anti-Bond series.

    Len Deighton dealt in much the same wares, but his novels rose out of a genuine, Orwellian affection for the average bloke, rather than a reactionary anti-Americanism. I don’t recall much of his Hook, Line and Sinker series, but I vaguely recall it as quite as good as Tinker Tailor.

    As you might imagine, he was quite a supporter of the poor, downtrodden Jews. The supposedly sickening double cross in Cold (SPOILER) is that Leamas comes to quite like the Jew Fielder but his mission turns out to require him to falsely implicate him to save the Stasi guy, whose true evil is being antisemitic (being a commie would, of course, make Le C. favor him!)

    I recently made the mistake of trying to read “the first Smiley novel,” Call for the Dead, and gave up halfway through; the anti-anti-Semitism was sickening.

    Better than any Smiley book is Derek Marlowe’s A Dandy in Aspic (despite the silly title). Marlowe and his roommates (including Tom Stoppard) had a bet going as to who would be the first to make a splash, and the success of Cold led Marlowe to try his hand at the spy novel game, with excellent results. Both sides are pricks, but because that’s human nature, not knee-jerk anti-anti-communism. The book was recently republished, with a Stoppard intro, and I review it, along with the equally remarkable film (Laurence Harvey, Tom Courtney, Mia Farrow) here: https://counter-currents.com/2016/12/passing-the-buck-spy-dandy-ubermensch/

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @James O'Meara


    Better than any Smiley book is Derek Marlowe’s A Dandy in Aspic (despite the silly title).
     
    It's a great book. And I agree that the movie was great as well.
    , @YetAnotherAnon
    @James O'Meara

    "Len Deighton dealt in much the same wares, but his novels rose out of a genuine, Orwellian affection for the average bloke"

    Genuine affection for the average bloke is not something le Carre could ever be accused of. I'm trying to think of a sympathetic portrait of a working or lower-middle class Brit who's neither copper nor criminal in the whole of his works.

  75. @Anonymous
    The current British PM, Boris Johnson, is, of course, a classic Wodehousian character:

    Dishevelled, loquacious, dodgy and Machiavellian, but with an inner steel and ruthlessness behind the buffoonery, Boris manages to remain likeable and even loveable despite it all.

    Replies: @Dieter Kief, @gsjackson, @James O'Meara

    Someone or other has said that Hitler’s greatest mistake was thinking that the British were all a bunch of Wodehouse characters.

  76. @Franz
    @JohnnyWalker123

    When they fired Chief Wahoo, the matter became academic. Without the old cartoon boss the name means nothing at all.

    They should have taken my advice years ago: THE CLEVELAND SALT POUNDERS!

    It is a true fact that an insanely large salt mine, being burrowed under Lake Erie for decades, is the ragged old town's main claim to uniqueness now anyway. So use it. And it's okay because it's a product of the industrial age and can annoy nobody in the snowflake league.

    The Salt Pounders could start a whole new creative trend; use gnarly local industries for names and inspiration AND to promote interest in America's battered industrial sector.

    Just a thought.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Alden, @Known Fact, @Peter D. Bredon

    “The Salt Pounders could start a whole new creative trend; use gnarly local industries for names and inspiration AND to promote interest in America’s battered industrial sector.”

    Springfield Isotopes

  77. @eD
    @Mr. Anon

    I mostly agree with this, but not so vehemently.

    The Honorable Schoolboy, the one Le Carre novel where the bad guys are Chinese, is the weakest of the Smiley trilogy but still interesting enough to be worth reading. I think it should have or should be made into a movie or miniseries.

    I think the 2011 movie "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" was disappointing instead of crap. It should be skipped. The problem may have been that the miniseries was so good that there was no room for the movie makers to do something different. Oldman gave a weirdly flat performance and if the movie is your first exposure to Le Carre, you would wonder what the fuss is about. The plot of the movie is pretty faithful to that of the book, however.

    While there is a consensus that Le Carre's later work is not as good as his early work, "A Most Wanted Man", basically about Islamic terrorism and the American deep state, is worth checking out. The movie, though it changes one character from the significantly and for the worse, is definitely worth seeing and Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance is not flat.

    Replies: @Houston 1992, @utu

    do you recall the scene from the 2011 remake where the dialogue is “updated” to PC-ese? I recall the scene where an old espionage worker is contrasting the drab 1970’s with the 1940’s. In the original series the old worker recalls when MI5-6 workers would take pride in the Empire; the updated version had her declaring the 40’s as a time when they could take pride in fighting National Socialism.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    @Houston 1992

    They also made Peter Gwilliam a homosexual. I thought the 2011 movie was lousy for a variety of reasons. Not just the PC retconning as above, but also that they stripped a lot of the dialogue out of it - dialogue that was actually in the book. It's a very talky-book. Instead they made it very moody and atmospheric. Oh, and of course dark and edgy (the Russians didn't just kill Boris - they disemboweled him!). Everything has to be dark and edgy nowadays. It's trite. They also changed Czechoslovakia to Hungary for some reason. And Colin Firth is just kind of a blank - he doesn't work as the charismatic Bill Haydon. I found it to be a muddled mess.

    Replies: @Alden, @Houston 1992

  78. @Art Deco
    @Anonymous

    I think one of the reasons they move Foreign Service officers around so is to inhibit them from going native. The trouble is, they're drawn from the same pool as our professional-managerial class generally, among whom leapfrogging loyalties are common if not the norm. Look at the dame who testified at the shampeachment hearings. She was not only Foreign Service, she'd been promoted through the ranks to 'Career Ambassador'.

    Replies: @Almost Missouri, @Peter D. Bredon

    ” she’d been promoted through the ranks to ‘Career Ambassador’.”

    Could any title say “Public Grifter” more clearly? Isn’t it a little too close to “Career crimininal”?

    It just screams “Here is someone used to shouting “More champagne and lobster Newberg, and don’t skimp on the fucking pate!”

    • LOL: kaganovitch
  79. Cornwell wrote one story with a couple of nifty twists, “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold,” when he was young, then spent the rest of his life grinding out ornate, verbose fables about British bureaucracies disguised as spy novels, with a strong dose of the anti-Americanism common among insecure post-World War II Brits. I shall not miss him.

    • Agree: Alden
  80. @xc
    @Jack D

    Lee Harvey Oswald, part of a CIA or ONI program which seeded fake defectors into the Soviet Union in the late 1950s. He stayed 2.5 years. Not sure how long the others spent there.

    Replies: @Art Deco, @Alden

    Lee Harvey Oswald, part of a CIA or ONI program which seeded fake defectors into the Soviet Union in the late 1950s. He stayed 2.5 years. Not sure how long the others spent there.

    Was his inability to hold a job for periods of time not readily measurable in weeks also an act? How about dropping out of school at age 15? Or showing up at work carrying a package of ‘curtain rods’?

    • Agree: Alden, David In TN
    • Replies: @Peter D. Bredon
    @Art Deco

    "How about dropping out of school at age 15?"

    Not many HS dropouts speak flawless Russian.

    Replies: @Alden, @Art Deco, @Wielgus

    , @prosa123
    @Art Deco

    Not only did Oswald fail to complete high school, he attended a total of 12 different schools. His longest stay was three years at an elementary school in Fort Worth. The shortest, one month at a Lutheran school in Manhattan.

    Replies: @Wielgus

  81. @Almost Missouri
    @Art Deco

    Agree.

    There's a story that George Schulz (I think) as Secretary of State, had all his ambassadors begin their presentations to him in his office by going to the world map on his wall and pointing to the country they represented. Of course, they each went to wall and pointed to the foreign country where they were posted. His response each time was to point to the USA and say: "No! Your country is right there!"

    It's a little crude, and the effete FSOs probably felt patronized, but I think it's an effective way to drive home a fundamental point that is too easily overlooked.

    Replies: @Alden

    The major purpose of FSOs when stationed overseas is to obtain as much US taxpayers money for the country in which they are stationed as possible.

    That started during and after WW2. Nanny, policeman, enforcer, missionary, prison guard and indulgent wealthy grandma to the whole world.

    • Agree: HammerJack
  82. @kaganovitch
    @Jack D

    The CIA was little better. Westerners suck at espionage – they are just not good at all the lying and cheating that is required.

    I'm not so sure the lying and cheating is the problem; look at John Brennan. I think the problem is they are generally sympathetic to the other side. The leftism of the CIA was conceived of as a sort of vaccine strategy- a bit of leftism inoculates against full-blown Communism. In practice it turned out to be an inexpertly crafted (or depending how far down the rabbit hole you want to go, expertly crafted) live virus vaccine that overwhelmed the immune systems of its recipients.

    Replies: @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    I’m not so sure the lying and cheating is the problem; look at John Brennan. I think the problem is they are generally sympathetic to the other side. The leftism of the CIA was conceived of as a sort of vaccine strategy- a bit of leftism inoculates against full-blown Communism. In practice it turned out to be an inexpertly crafted (or depending how far down the rabbit hole you want to go, expertly crafted) live virus vaccine that overwhelmed the immune systems of its recipients.

    The problem as I see it is that if your spy operation selects for status conscious strivers where status is conferred by the adoption of contrarian political opinions as a means to distinguish the striver from his class origins you’re going to wind up with an spy corps laden with sympathies for the object of the spying.

    This seemed to be the case with the Cambridge Five, who were not uniformly of the aristocratic class. Once you’ve gotten a nest of striver types in an organization, they’re inevitably going to replicate themselves by seeking out recruits of like mind and background.

  83. @xc
    @Jack D

    Lee Harvey Oswald, part of a CIA or ONI program which seeded fake defectors into the Soviet Union in the late 1950s. He stayed 2.5 years. Not sure how long the others spent there.

    Replies: @Art Deco, @Alden

    About a thousand books have been written claiming Oswald was a CIA spy It wasn’t a very successful program if so many people were able to figure it out. I wonder what deep important secrets he brought back from that factory in Minsk.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @Alden

    Oswald bring back secret from making high quality Soviet television. Soviet television best television because of television is being Russian invention. Must use much steel in chassis of televisions set for maximum stability of picture image. At least 300 kilo. American television factory not interested - too many delivery driver complain from hernia.

    Replies: @Alden

    , @Peter D. Bredon
    @Alden

    " It wasn’t a very successful program if so many people were able to figure it out"

    To be fair, being arrested for shooting the President and then being shot on live TV does kinda focus everyone's attention on you. Successful spies try not to make such a splash.

    Replies: @dfordoom

  84. Here’s le Carré’s own account of his father from 2002 in The New Yorker.

    Ronnie Cornwell was indeed a fraudster but le Carré was first and foremost (in a way not unlike his Pa) a storyteller, a fabulist, a teller of tales. Accordingly you have to read his “non-fiction” like this with a grain of salt. Even by his own telling, some of the incidents he recounts may or may not have actually happened, but the basic details, such as his father having been sent to prison for insurance fraud, are true.

    Here is a more factual, if perhaps less colorfully written, version of his father’s history:

    https://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/9196356.why-le-carres-father-went-to-jail/

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
    @Jack D

    Ronnie Cornwell was indeed a fraudster but le Carré was first and foremost (in a way not unlike his Pa) a storyteller, a fabulist, a teller of tales.

    A very good point. I think Lawrence Block entitled his book on writing fiction "Telling Lies for Fun and Profit".

  85. @Abolish_public_education
    The spy thriller is not to my taste, but I read Came in from the Cold.

    My personal favorite element was how the author gave Jewish-communists fair treatment (probably more than they deserved).

    The author nicely painted a nicely depressing backdrop of an economically spent, post-war England.

    He presented that whole moral expediency thing in a way that wasn’t too preachy.

    Replies: @Art Deco

    The author nicely painted a nicely depressing backdrop of an economically spent, post-war England.

    The mean annual growth rate in per capita product in Britain was during the period running from 1914 to 1954 almost precisely what it had been between 1874 and 1914. The growth rate from 1954 to 1994 was more rapid by a factor of 2.3. Britain was growing more slowly than the United States, France, and Germany for long stretches of time, so losing a relative advantage. (Right now their per capita product is about the same as France’s, about 17% below Germany’s, and about 1/3 below ours). Britain’s post-war problems can be attributed to bad monetary policy (overvalued currency for 20-odd years), a wretched industrial relations regime, the stampede into state-ownership of housing, medical facilities, and industry; and confiscatory marginal tax rates. To which of these did Le Carre object? (He was granted a private luncheon with Margaret Thatcher. By some accounts, he used his time during the lunch to babble about the ‘Palestinians’).

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @Art Deco


    By some accounts, he used his time during the lunch to babble about the ‘Palestinians’).
     
    Scratch a British Leftist, especially a upper class Leftist, and underneath you'll find an anti-Semite. Ever since that bit of unpleasantness with the Germans, the modern ones fixate on "Israelis" rather than Jews. I suspect that arriviste Jews reminded Cornwell (funny that the man took a French pen name - he despised his fellow Brits almost as much as he despised Jews) too much of his hated father. Cornwell himself admitted that by sending him to posh schools, his father had unintentionally alienated his son from himself and his own class.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian, @Anonymouse, @German_reader

  86. @Mike Tre
    @Steve Sailer

    How about the Washington Piddly Diddlers?

    Replies: @RickinJax, @Paul Mendez

    The Washington Committee

  87. @Reg Cæsar
    @JohnnyWalker123

    What will they rename Ohio?

    Interestingly, of the state's 75 largest cities, only Cuyahoga Falls (#17) and Sandusky (#64) have Indian names. In eleven states, the largest city's name is aboriginal. Ohio's largest city (not metro) is named for a guy the aboriginals have in their sights.

    As for the Tribe, the obvious choices would be to go back to the Napoleons or the Spiders. Anything else would be craven.


    https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-46a8spxhjq/images/stencil/1280x1280/products/2890/3223/RG_2819_042__23398__26049.1480784963.JPG?c=2

    https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/517FIVgMVxL._SY346_.jpg

    Replies: @Pericles, @HammerJack, @james wilson, @Clyde

    Your post sent me on a little trip, the result of which is that I learned that I’m really bad at guessing the second-largest city in each state. Hmm.

  88. @Art Deco
    @Abolish_public_education

    The author nicely painted a nicely depressing backdrop of an economically spent, post-war England.

    The mean annual growth rate in per capita product in Britain was during the period running from 1914 to 1954 almost precisely what it had been between 1874 and 1914. The growth rate from 1954 to 1994 was more rapid by a factor of 2.3. Britain was growing more slowly than the United States, France, and Germany for long stretches of time, so losing a relative advantage. (Right now their per capita product is about the same as France's, about 17% below Germany's, and about 1/3 below ours). Britain's post-war problems can be attributed to bad monetary policy (overvalued currency for 20-odd years), a wretched industrial relations regime, the stampede into state-ownership of housing, medical facilities, and industry; and confiscatory marginal tax rates. To which of these did Le Carre object? (He was granted a private luncheon with Margaret Thatcher. By some accounts, he used his time during the lunch to babble about the 'Palestinians').

    Replies: @Jack D

    By some accounts, he used his time during the lunch to babble about the ‘Palestinians’).

    Scratch a British Leftist, especially a upper class Leftist, and underneath you’ll find an anti-Semite. Ever since that bit of unpleasantness with the Germans, the modern ones fixate on “Israelis” rather than Jews. I suspect that arriviste Jews reminded Cornwell (funny that the man took a French pen name – he despised his fellow Brits almost as much as he despised Jews) too much of his hated father. Cornwell himself admitted that by sending him to posh schools, his father had unintentionally alienated his son from himself and his own class.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
    • Troll: Charon
    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    @Jack D


    Scratch a British Leftist, especially a upper class Leftist, and underneath you’ll find an anti-Semite. Ever since that bit of unpleasantness with the Germans, the modern ones fixate on “Israelis” rather than Jews.
     
    Rubbish. British leftists (as well as other European leftists) live in a fantasy world where every colored person is sacred, hence Israel is a big bad colonialist racist oppressor.

    That's why simplistic, although in many fragments real, accusations of the Abby Martin ilk have wider resonance- many people are fed up with turning a blind eye to Israel's misdeeds & automatically & uncritically beatify Palestinians. Not because of some imaginary anti-Semitism, but because of a childish world-view where one is either a hero or a villain.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkxJd88xkBU

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7OnULnDZsk

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEVc30ddOnc
    , @Anonymouse
    @Jack D

    >I suspect that arriviste Jews reminded Cornwell (funny that the man took a French pen name – he despised his fellow Brits almost as much as he despised Jews) too much of his hated father.

    Typical projection on the part of one of the many rabid jew haters on this forum. In fact, Le Carre was extremely philosemitic. Check out this in depth interview of Le Carre from 1998.

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/010198/lecarre1.html

    Here's an excerpt from the interview -

    "I knew nothing of the Middle East, but then I have always seen my novels as opportunities for self-education," he says. "Investing my ignorance in my central character -- a leftist English actress -- and making a virtue of her naivety, I set off on a journey of self-enlightenment, living my character, leaning with each breeze -- now toward Israel, now away from it -- in a series of schizophrenic visits to Amman, Damascus, Beirut, South Lebanon and later Tunis. Then back to Israel, across the Allenby Bridge or by way of Cyprus."

    Israel, he says, "rocked me to my boots. I had arrived expecting whatever European sentimentalists expect -- a re-creation of the better quarters of Hampstead [in London]. Or old Danzig, or Vienna or Berlin. The strains of Mendelssohn issuing from open windows of a sumer's evening. Happy kids in seamen's hats clattering to school with violin cases in their hands..."

    Instead, what he found was "the most extraordinary carnival of human variety that I have ever set eyes on, a nation in the process of re-assembling itself from the shards of its past, now Oriental, now Western, now secular, now religious, but always anxiously moralizing about itself, criticizing itself with Maoist ferocity, a nation crackling with debate, rediscovering its past while it fought for its future."

    "No nation on earth," he says passionately, " was more deserving of peace -- or more condemned to fight for it."

    Replies: @Art Deco, @kaganovitch, @Bardon Kaldian

    , @German_reader
    @Jack D


    Scratch a British Leftist, especially a upper class Leftist, and underneath you’ll find an anti-Semite.
     
    LOL. In The spy who came in from the cold the Jewish communists Liz Gold and Fiedler are actually presented as very sympathetic, idealistic characters who come to a tragic end (whereas the gentile Germans in Le Carre's 1960s novels are pretty much all brutal crypto-Nazis).
    I suppose Le Carre didn't like Israel much because of a general opposition to nationalism and imperialism, but calling him an "antisemite"...lol.
    Regarding the "French pen name": iirc it was an allusion to William le Queux, an earlier writer of spy novels:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Le_Queux
  89. @Steve Sailer
    @Franz

    The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers are memorable Industrial Sector NFL team names.

    But, I dunno, Washington Rubber Stampers? Cleveland Clinics?

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Mike Tre, @HammerJack, @Buffalo Joe, @Franz

    As even Green Bay becomes more diverse, with a larger and larger Chocolate Contingent, perhaps they can rename the team the Green Bay Fudge Packers. Would that offend homos or would they consider it properly inclusive?

  90. @Almost Missouri
    @Jack D

    Agree. Ironically, the US selection process for intel officers selects for Mormons and the Mormonesque, exactly the wrong sort for deep cover machinations. (Though these people are great for signals intel and other scenarios where subterfuge isn't paramount.)

    The UK seems to select for poof-y public (ie private) school boys. They do machinate, but in the wrong way.

    The West may be better off just accepting that it is constitutionally not good at Machiavellian dark ops for HBD reasons that we spent the last millennium breeding ourselves into. Better to play to our strengths: sigint & technical craft, than continually trying and failing to be what we are not, feeding our opponents and creating a toxic deep state in the process. Good sigint has historically worked spectacularly well for us historically. So well, unfortunately, that now it is being turned on ourselves.

    Replies: @Charon

    Your intelligence is at least a generation or two out of date. It also appears to rely upon mass media representations more than upon actual facts. Your last sentence may be accurate, though.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    @Charon


    Your intelligence is at least a generation or two out of date.
     
    So, enlighten me...

    Replies: @AKAHorace

  91. @Buffalo Joe
    "Tinker,Tailor,Soldier,Spy" along with "The Boys From Brazil" by Levin, "The Eagle has Landed" by Higgins and especially "Day of the Jackal" by Forsythe are four books that I have read more than once. Great story telling. Does anyone write like ths anymore?

    Replies: @TGD

    “Tinker,Tailor,Soldier,Spy” along with “The Boys From Brazil” by Levin, “The Eagle has Landed” by Higgins and especially “Day of the Jackal” by Forsythe are four books that I have read more than once. Great story telling. Does anyone write like ths anymore?

    I agree with you on Frederick Forsyth and Ira Levin. Jack Higgins I have never read. But John le Carré is the pits. Over creative glop. I never started one of his novels that I didn’t throw the book away in disgust.

    Saw the latest movie iteration of “Tinker Tailor…” just last year on one of the pay channels. I think that it was shot in Hungary. Didn’t follow the plot at all. It was either too dense or too stupid.

    • Replies: @Alec Leamas (hard at work)
    @TGD


    Saw the latest movie iteration of “Tinker Tailor…” just last year on one of the pay channels. I think that it was shot in Hungary. Didn’t follow the plot at all. It was either too dense or too stupid.
     
    The Oldman as Smiley TTSS is difficult to follow if you don't know the story. As you state, it's too dense for the time allotted (after all, it's about spies who do things in hard to understand ways by nature, so it's a challenge to "show not tell" that in a feature length film). The Alec Guinness miniseries version is more approachable.
  92. @eD
    @Mr. Anon

    I mostly agree with this, but not so vehemently.

    The Honorable Schoolboy, the one Le Carre novel where the bad guys are Chinese, is the weakest of the Smiley trilogy but still interesting enough to be worth reading. I think it should have or should be made into a movie or miniseries.

    I think the 2011 movie "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" was disappointing instead of crap. It should be skipped. The problem may have been that the miniseries was so good that there was no room for the movie makers to do something different. Oldman gave a weirdly flat performance and if the movie is your first exposure to Le Carre, you would wonder what the fuss is about. The plot of the movie is pretty faithful to that of the book, however.

    While there is a consensus that Le Carre's later work is not as good as his early work, "A Most Wanted Man", basically about Islamic terrorism and the American deep state, is worth checking out. The movie, though it changes one character from the significantly and for the worse, is definitely worth seeing and Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance is not flat.

    Replies: @Houston 1992, @utu

    Agree that “A Most Wanted Man” is good and the movie with Philip Seymour Hoffman and German actress Nina Hoss even better. The book and movie work so well is because the American Deep Sate there is as inscrutable as KBG of his Cold War novels.

    The Little Drummer Girl is one of his best books but it is often overlooked. It is one of the first major novels to show how Mossad creates patsies and false flags years before thinking of false flags entered a common discourse.

    His post Cold War books are so so and not very compelling. The Tailor of Panama was still good though it was just an updated idea from Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    @utu

    t is one of the first major novels to show how Mossad creates patsies

    It's a work of fiction. The only thing it shows is the author's imagination.



    I'll demur on Jack D's assessment. I can't help but notice that of all the things Le Carre could think of to talk about, he avoids any subject in which they might take an interest in their mundane lives (gardening or music or architecture or literature or card games or children) and avoids public affairs bar to raise an intractable problem that neither the British government nor any other government can repair in any obvious way. (No doubt because he wanted the British prime minister to engage in petty harassment of Israel for sh*ts and giggles).

    Replies: @utu

    , @Anonymouse
    @utu

    >The Little Drummer Girl, is one of his best books but it is often overlooked. It is one of the first major novels to show how Mossad creates patsies and false flags years before thinking of false flags entered a common discourse.

    Here's an in depth interview of John Le Carre from 1998 in which he expresses his profound sympathy for Israel the nation and for the jewish existentiality which he believes he shares in some part. For the jew haters in this forum, this should be catnip for you.

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/010198/lecarre1.html

    Replies: @utu

  93. @utu
    @eD

    Agree that “A Most Wanted Man” is good and the movie with Philip Seymour Hoffman and German actress Nina Hoss even better. The book and movie work so well is because the American Deep Sate there is as inscrutable as KBG of his Cold War novels.

    The Little Drummer Girl is one of his best books but it is often overlooked. It is one of the first major novels to show how Mossad creates patsies and false flags years before thinking of false flags entered a common discourse.

    His post Cold War books are so so and not very compelling. The Tailor of Panama was still good though it was just an updated idea from Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene.

    Replies: @Art Deco, @Anonymouse

    t is one of the first major novels to show how Mossad creates patsies

    It’s a work of fiction. The only thing it shows is the author’s imagination.

    I’ll demur on Jack D’s assessment. I can’t help but notice that of all the things Le Carre could think of to talk about, he avoids any subject in which they might take an interest in their mundane lives (gardening or music or architecture or literature or card games or children) and avoids public affairs bar to raise an intractable problem that neither the British government nor any other government can repair in any obvious way. (No doubt because he wanted the British prime minister to engage in petty harassment of Israel for sh*ts and giggles).

    • Replies: @utu
    @Art Deco

    He just came back form his trip to the Middle East. He was doing research for his Little Drummer Girl book. Israel and Palestinians were on his mind. In 1982 when the lunch took place Israel and Palestinians were on everybody's mind because of Israel invasion of Lebanon on the punitive action against Palestinians that culminated in the Sabra and Shatila massacre. But you would like him to talk about card games and children. He is not you, he is not Mr.Mundane. He apparently does not perceive problems solely by the degrees of their tractability. And who decided that Palestinian problem is intractable? It is a hard problem only because every time one brings it up there is a Jack. D-in-the-box jumping out with accusations of of anti-Semitism.

    His book The Little Drummer Girl came the following year and was filmed in 1984 with Diane Keaton. Israel still then could have been talked about without Jack D's accusation of anti-Semitism shutting down all possible discussion.

  94. TTSS is his best novel, of those I read, but another early one, The Looking Glass War, is also excellent. A rival British spy organisation to the Circus decides to revive its glory days by sending an agent into East Germany. A Polish expatriate who was betrayed once already in WW2 decides to accept the job, for no obvious reason, but presumably because he prefers the spy game to ordinary life. A certain bureaucratic cynicism pervades the book. The Circus decides to intervene.

    • Agree: dfordoom, AKAHorace
  95. @TGD
    @Buffalo Joe


    “Tinker,Tailor,Soldier,Spy” along with “The Boys From Brazil” by Levin, “The Eagle has Landed” by Higgins and especially “Day of the Jackal” by Forsythe are four books that I have read more than once. Great story telling. Does anyone write like ths anymore?
     
    I agree with you on Frederick Forsyth and Ira Levin. Jack Higgins I have never read. But John le Carré is the pits. Over creative glop. I never started one of his novels that I didn't throw the book away in disgust.

    Saw the latest movie iteration of "Tinker Tailor..." just last year on one of the pay channels. I think that it was shot in Hungary. Didn't follow the plot at all. It was either too dense or too stupid.

    Replies: @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    Saw the latest movie iteration of “Tinker Tailor…” just last year on one of the pay channels. I think that it was shot in Hungary. Didn’t follow the plot at all. It was either too dense or too stupid.

    The Oldman as Smiley TTSS is difficult to follow if you don’t know the story. As you state, it’s too dense for the time allotted (after all, it’s about spies who do things in hard to understand ways by nature, so it’s a challenge to “show not tell” that in a feature length film). The Alec Guinness miniseries version is more approachable.

  96. @Reg Cæsar
    @JohnnyWalker123

    What will they rename Ohio?

    Interestingly, of the state's 75 largest cities, only Cuyahoga Falls (#17) and Sandusky (#64) have Indian names. In eleven states, the largest city's name is aboriginal. Ohio's largest city (not metro) is named for a guy the aboriginals have in their sights.

    As for the Tribe, the obvious choices would be to go back to the Napoleons or the Spiders. Anything else would be craven.


    https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-46a8spxhjq/images/stencil/1280x1280/products/2890/3223/RG_2819_042__23398__26049.1480784963.JPG?c=2

    https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/517FIVgMVxL._SY346_.jpg

    Replies: @Pericles, @HammerJack, @james wilson, @Clyde

    Cleveland Crows?

  97. It’s funny how he wrote horror stories about how bad the British spy service is, but personally said he loved the good ol’ thing. Cognitive dissonance at its finest.

  98. @utu
    @eD

    Agree that “A Most Wanted Man” is good and the movie with Philip Seymour Hoffman and German actress Nina Hoss even better. The book and movie work so well is because the American Deep Sate there is as inscrutable as KBG of his Cold War novels.

    The Little Drummer Girl is one of his best books but it is often overlooked. It is one of the first major novels to show how Mossad creates patsies and false flags years before thinking of false flags entered a common discourse.

    His post Cold War books are so so and not very compelling. The Tailor of Panama was still good though it was just an updated idea from Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene.

    Replies: @Art Deco, @Anonymouse

    >The Little Drummer Girl, is one of his best books but it is often overlooked. It is one of the first major novels to show how Mossad creates patsies and false flags years before thinking of false flags entered a common discourse.

    Here’s an in depth interview of John Le Carre from 1998 in which he expresses his profound sympathy for Israel the nation and for the jewish existentiality which he believes he shares in some part. For the jew haters in this forum, this should be catnip for you.

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/010198/lecarre1.html

    • Replies: @utu
    @Anonymouse

    1998 is not 1982 when John le Carré met Yasser Arafat while doing research for his Little Drummer Girl book. He is neither an anti-Semite that Jack D. wants him to be nor he is a philo-Semite (extremely philosemitic in your words) that you want him to be on the basis of the 1998 interview for a Jewish publication. Recognizing that Israel is a well functioning state with many accomplishments for which it can be admired and it having the right to exist is a basic objectivity that any good novelist must possess. That you and Jack D. chose to perceive the world in terms of anti-semitic and philo-semitic categories only is a great pity.


    He pressed my hand to his breast. The Palestinian heart is here! (2004)
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/nov/12/israel12
    "Mr David, why have you come here?" he demanded, unexpectedly using my Christian name while he studied me, eyes like a worried doctor.

    "Mr Chairman, I have come to put my hand on the Palestinian heart."

    He seized my hand and pressed it to his breast. "Mr David! It is here! It is here!"
    -----------------
    The boy who took me to him held a pistol to my head and wanted to shoot me in revenge for the massacres of Sabra and Shatila.

    Soon afterwards, an Israeli hit-team assassinated half his high command, thus giving a chance to the young ones coming up. Perhaps the boy was one of them. There will always be more boys.
     
    The side of Israel where Israel is unscrupulously and ruthlessly uses innocent people to engineer the false flag operations as described in The Little Drummer Girl is also true. And it is neither anti-Semitic or philo-Semitic noticing it and talking about it.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian

  99. @dfordoom
    @JackOH


    Some of the comments above have jogged my memory of a thought expressed, I think, in a history of England between WWI and WWII. I don’t recall the wording, but it was something like: English elites knew their country and her Empire were on the decline. That knowledge was meant to explain how some Englishmen were attracted to the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany as places that were unleashing fresh energies.
     
    The other interesting thing is the way British spy fiction in the post-WW2 period reflected the bitter knowledge that Britain was no longer a Great Power but merely a US satellite. Ian Fleming's Bond novels can be seen in this light as pure cope. They reflect the fantasy that the Special Relationship with the US was something other than the relationship between a superpower and a grovelling vassal state. When there's a threat to the Free World the CIA is powerless. Only the British Secret Service can save the Free World.

    Le Carre didn't bother with the cope. His novels reflected the reality. The British Secret Service was a a bunch of clowns living on past glories (this is especially obvious in the superb The Looking Glass War) still trying to play international power games which Britain simply could no longer play. The British Secret Service was totally subservient to the US and was treated by the CIA with the contempt it deserved. Superpowers like having vassals but they never respect them. Nobody respects a toady.

    You can't understand George Smiley unless you realise that he knows this.

    Replies: @Art Deco, @utu, @Wielgus

    Le Carre didn’t bother with the cope. His novels reflected the reality.

    Wanna buy a bridge?

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @Art Deco



    Le Carre didn’t bother with the cope. His novels reflected the reality.
     
    Wanna buy a bridge?
     
    He reflected the reality of Britain's position in regards to the US.

    Replies: @Art Deco

  100. @dfordoom
    @YetAnotherAnon



    His attitude to Brexit is pungently expressed in the new novel. “It is my considered opinion,” one of the characters declares to Nat, “that for Britain and Europe, and for liberal democracy across the entire world as a whole, Britain’s departure from the European Union in the time of Donald Trump, and Britain’s consequent unqualified dependence on the United States in an era when the US is heading straight down the road to institutional racism and neo-fascism, is an unmitigated clusterfuck bar none.”
     

     
    He was certainly right in the sense that the end result of Brexit will be to make Britain even more of a US vassal state than it already is.

    Replies: @Art Deco

    He was certainly right in the sense that the end result of Brexit will be to make Britain even more of a US vassal state than it already is.

    The term ‘vassal state’ does not mean what you fancy it means.

  101. @Jack D
    @Art Deco


    By some accounts, he used his time during the lunch to babble about the ‘Palestinians’).
     
    Scratch a British Leftist, especially a upper class Leftist, and underneath you'll find an anti-Semite. Ever since that bit of unpleasantness with the Germans, the modern ones fixate on "Israelis" rather than Jews. I suspect that arriviste Jews reminded Cornwell (funny that the man took a French pen name - he despised his fellow Brits almost as much as he despised Jews) too much of his hated father. Cornwell himself admitted that by sending him to posh schools, his father had unintentionally alienated his son from himself and his own class.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian, @Anonymouse, @German_reader

    Scratch a British Leftist, especially a upper class Leftist, and underneath you’ll find an anti-Semite. Ever since that bit of unpleasantness with the Germans, the modern ones fixate on “Israelis” rather than Jews.

    Rubbish. British leftists (as well as other European leftists) live in a fantasy world where every colored person is sacred, hence Israel is a big bad colonialist racist oppressor.

    That’s why simplistic, although in many fragments real, accusations of the Abby Martin ilk have wider resonance- many people are fed up with turning a blind eye to Israel’s misdeeds & automatically & uncritically beatify Palestinians. Not because of some imaginary anti-Semitism, but because of a childish world-view where one is either a hero or a villain.

  102. @Jack D
    @Art Deco


    By some accounts, he used his time during the lunch to babble about the ‘Palestinians’).
     
    Scratch a British Leftist, especially a upper class Leftist, and underneath you'll find an anti-Semite. Ever since that bit of unpleasantness with the Germans, the modern ones fixate on "Israelis" rather than Jews. I suspect that arriviste Jews reminded Cornwell (funny that the man took a French pen name - he despised his fellow Brits almost as much as he despised Jews) too much of his hated father. Cornwell himself admitted that by sending him to posh schools, his father had unintentionally alienated his son from himself and his own class.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian, @Anonymouse, @German_reader

    >I suspect that arriviste Jews reminded Cornwell (funny that the man took a French pen name – he despised his fellow Brits almost as much as he despised Jews) too much of his hated father.

    Typical projection on the part of one of the many rabid jew haters on this forum. In fact, Le Carre was extremely philosemitic. Check out this in depth interview of Le Carre from 1998.

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/010198/lecarre1.html

    Here’s an excerpt from the interview –

    “I knew nothing of the Middle East, but then I have always seen my novels as opportunities for self-education,” he says. “Investing my ignorance in my central character — a leftist English actress — and making a virtue of her naivety, I set off on a journey of self-enlightenment, living my character, leaning with each breeze — now toward Israel, now away from it — in a series of schizophrenic visits to Amman, Damascus, Beirut, South Lebanon and later Tunis. Then back to Israel, across the Allenby Bridge or by way of Cyprus.”

    Israel, he says, “rocked me to my boots. I had arrived expecting whatever European sentimentalists expect — a re-creation of the better quarters of Hampstead [in London]. Or old Danzig, or Vienna or Berlin. The strains of Mendelssohn issuing from open windows of a sumer’s evening. Happy kids in seamen’s hats clattering to school with violin cases in their hands…”

    Instead, what he found was “the most extraordinary carnival of human variety that I have ever set eyes on, a nation in the process of re-assembling itself from the shards of its past, now Oriental, now Western, now secular, now religious, but always anxiously moralizing about itself, criticizing itself with Maoist ferocity, a nation crackling with debate, rediscovering its past while it fought for its future.”

    “No nation on earth,” he says passionately, ” was more deserving of peace — or more condemned to fight for it.”

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    @Anonymouse

    Typical projection on the part of one of the many rabid jew haters on this forum. In fact, Le Carre was extremely philosemitic.

    Or adept at running con jobs on reporters.

    The Jewish population of Britain when Le Carre was in mid-career amounted to about 0.6% of the total, and was mostly orthodox. I'll wager there weren't five Jewish kids in the student body of either of the schools he supposedly attended, if that.

    Everyone's got their niche interests and that's fine. When you have masses of people with the same niche interest (and no organic connection to a given population), you have to ask why that might be.

    Replies: @YetAnotherAnon

    , @kaganovitch
    @Anonymouse

    Typical projection on the part of one of the many rabid jew haters on this forum.

    Jack may be many things but a rabid Jew hater ain't one of them.

    , @Bardon Kaldian
    @Anonymouse

    Rabid? You used the word "rabid"?

    Don't use this word ......

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ne_ucyzLK6E

  103. @Jack D

    Here’s le Carré’s own account of his father from 2002 in The New Yorker.
     
    Ronnie Cornwell was indeed a fraudster but le Carré was first and foremost (in a way not unlike his Pa) a storyteller, a fabulist, a teller of tales. Accordingly you have to read his "non-fiction" like this with a grain of salt. Even by his own telling, some of the incidents he recounts may or may not have actually happened, but the basic details, such as his father having been sent to prison for insurance fraud, are true.

    Here is a more factual, if perhaps less colorfully written, version of his father's history:

    https://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/9196356.why-le-carres-father-went-to-jail/

    Replies: @kaganovitch

    Ronnie Cornwell was indeed a fraudster but le Carré was first and foremost (in a way not unlike his Pa) a storyteller, a fabulist, a teller of tales.

    A very good point. I think Lawrence Block entitled his book on writing fiction “Telling Lies for Fun and Profit”.

  104. @Art Deco
    @utu

    t is one of the first major novels to show how Mossad creates patsies

    It's a work of fiction. The only thing it shows is the author's imagination.



    I'll demur on Jack D's assessment. I can't help but notice that of all the things Le Carre could think of to talk about, he avoids any subject in which they might take an interest in their mundane lives (gardening or music or architecture or literature or card games or children) and avoids public affairs bar to raise an intractable problem that neither the British government nor any other government can repair in any obvious way. (No doubt because he wanted the British prime minister to engage in petty harassment of Israel for sh*ts and giggles).

    Replies: @utu

    He just came back form his trip to the Middle East. He was doing research for his Little Drummer Girl book. Israel and Palestinians were on his mind. In 1982 when the lunch took place Israel and Palestinians were on everybody’s mind because of Israel invasion of Lebanon on the punitive action against Palestinians that culminated in the Sabra and Shatila massacre. But you would like him to talk about card games and children. He is not you, he is not Mr.Mundane. He apparently does not perceive problems solely by the degrees of their tractability. And who decided that Palestinian problem is intractable? It is a hard problem only because every time one brings it up there is a Jack. D-in-the-box jumping out with accusations of of anti-Semitism.

    His book The Little Drummer Girl came the following year and was filmed in 1984 with Diane Keaton. Israel still then could have been talked about without Jack D’s accusation of anti-Semitism shutting down all possible discussion.

  105. @Alden
    @xc

    About a thousand books have been written claiming Oswald was a CIA spy It wasn’t a very successful program if so many people were able to figure it out. I wonder what deep important secrets he brought back from that factory in Minsk.

    Replies: @Jack D, @Peter D. Bredon

    Oswald bring back secret from making high quality Soviet television. Soviet television best television because of television is being Russian invention. Must use much steel in chassis of televisions set for maximum stability of picture image. At least 300 kilo. American television factory not interested – too many delivery driver complain from hernia.

    • Replies: @Alden
    @Jack D

    I thought it was a radio factory. 3 brands Defective, Non Functional and Beware Of Explosion. Did they even have television in 1959-62 Russia?

    I remember one of the WKK books presented Oswald’s IQ as proof he was a CIA spy. His IQ was tested at 120 when he lived in NYC. He seldom went to school and was put through a battery of tests and evaluations. 120 IQ very bright normal, very intelligent. Many of the “Oswald was CIA “authors claimed that CIA spies are intelligent, Oswald was intelligent. Therefore Oswald was a CIA spy

    Oswald, the CIA marine who couldn’t shoot straight.

    Of course, CIA killed Kennedy. Oswald was CIA is totally opposite Oswald didn’t kill Kennedy but who cares if any WKK book makes sense.

  106. @dfordoom
    @JackOH


    Some of the comments above have jogged my memory of a thought expressed, I think, in a history of England between WWI and WWII. I don’t recall the wording, but it was something like: English elites knew their country and her Empire were on the decline. That knowledge was meant to explain how some Englishmen were attracted to the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany as places that were unleashing fresh energies.
     
    The other interesting thing is the way British spy fiction in the post-WW2 period reflected the bitter knowledge that Britain was no longer a Great Power but merely a US satellite. Ian Fleming's Bond novels can be seen in this light as pure cope. They reflect the fantasy that the Special Relationship with the US was something other than the relationship between a superpower and a grovelling vassal state. When there's a threat to the Free World the CIA is powerless. Only the British Secret Service can save the Free World.

    Le Carre didn't bother with the cope. His novels reflected the reality. The British Secret Service was a a bunch of clowns living on past glories (this is especially obvious in the superb The Looking Glass War) still trying to play international power games which Britain simply could no longer play. The British Secret Service was totally subservient to the US and was treated by the CIA with the contempt it deserved. Superpowers like having vassals but they never respect them. Nobody respects a toady.

    You can't understand George Smiley unless you realise that he knows this.

    Replies: @Art Deco, @utu, @Wielgus

    It was a cope and a very good PR and it was happening just when the UK was discovering it was a pop-culture power.

  107. @Alden
    @xc

    About a thousand books have been written claiming Oswald was a CIA spy It wasn’t a very successful program if so many people were able to figure it out. I wonder what deep important secrets he brought back from that factory in Minsk.

    Replies: @Jack D, @Peter D. Bredon

    ” It wasn’t a very successful program if so many people were able to figure it out”

    To be fair, being arrested for shooting the President and then being shot on live TV does kinda focus everyone’s attention on you. Successful spies try not to make such a splash.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @Peter D. Bredon


    Successful spies try not to make such a splash.
     
    Indeed. If you're a successful spy no-one has ever heard of you.
  108. @AnotherDad
    @JohnnyWalker123


    Cleveland’s Baseball Team Will Drop Its Indians Team Name
     
    They should call themselves the Cleveland Blacks.

    It worked for Kamala.

    Replies: @Buffalo Joe

    Another Dad, how absurdly stupid. The epitome of virtue signaling. Two years ago I found and bought an embroidered “Chief Yahoo” emblem from a game jersey at the flea market. My Cleveland daughter has it on her office shelf. Native Americans are about to be memory holed out of existence. I am guessing next the Kansas City Chiefs. Are there any left wing prospectors, sourdoughs, who find the name “49 ers” offensive. Well, seeing there is so much debt in the black community maybe the Buffalo “Bills” go next.

  109. @Anonymouse
    @Jack D

    >I suspect that arriviste Jews reminded Cornwell (funny that the man took a French pen name – he despised his fellow Brits almost as much as he despised Jews) too much of his hated father.

    Typical projection on the part of one of the many rabid jew haters on this forum. In fact, Le Carre was extremely philosemitic. Check out this in depth interview of Le Carre from 1998.

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/010198/lecarre1.html

    Here's an excerpt from the interview -

    "I knew nothing of the Middle East, but then I have always seen my novels as opportunities for self-education," he says. "Investing my ignorance in my central character -- a leftist English actress -- and making a virtue of her naivety, I set off on a journey of self-enlightenment, living my character, leaning with each breeze -- now toward Israel, now away from it -- in a series of schizophrenic visits to Amman, Damascus, Beirut, South Lebanon and later Tunis. Then back to Israel, across the Allenby Bridge or by way of Cyprus."

    Israel, he says, "rocked me to my boots. I had arrived expecting whatever European sentimentalists expect -- a re-creation of the better quarters of Hampstead [in London]. Or old Danzig, or Vienna or Berlin. The strains of Mendelssohn issuing from open windows of a sumer's evening. Happy kids in seamen's hats clattering to school with violin cases in their hands..."

    Instead, what he found was "the most extraordinary carnival of human variety that I have ever set eyes on, a nation in the process of re-assembling itself from the shards of its past, now Oriental, now Western, now secular, now religious, but always anxiously moralizing about itself, criticizing itself with Maoist ferocity, a nation crackling with debate, rediscovering its past while it fought for its future."

    "No nation on earth," he says passionately, " was more deserving of peace -- or more condemned to fight for it."

    Replies: @Art Deco, @kaganovitch, @Bardon Kaldian

    Typical projection on the part of one of the many rabid jew haters on this forum. In fact, Le Carre was extremely philosemitic.

    Or adept at running con jobs on reporters.

    The Jewish population of Britain when Le Carre was in mid-career amounted to about 0.6% of the total, and was mostly orthodox. I’ll wager there weren’t five Jewish kids in the student body of either of the schools he supposedly attended, if that.

    Everyone’s got their niche interests and that’s fine. When you have masses of people with the same niche interest (and no organic connection to a given population), you have to ask why that might be.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    @Art Deco


    "The Jewish population of Britain when Le Carre was in mid-career amounted to about 0.6% of the total, and was mostly orthodox. I’ll wager there weren’t five Jewish kids in the student body of either of the schools he supposedly attended, if that."
     
    I think I've picked you up on this sort of thing before - there have been Jewish areas in most UK cities since at least Victorian times - and they were mostly secular. Where the Industrial Revolution was, they followed - which is why people like Michael Howard (ne Hecht) were raised in industrial South Wales. It's only post-WW2 that the Orthodox have expanded courtesy of the welfare state.

    Jews have been prominent in UK life and politics since a Rothschild made a fortune by getting the news of Waterloo (1815) before the UK government did (he started a wave of panic selling then bought in again at the bottom). Bletchley Park of Enigma/Ultra fame was built by a Jewish financier. Families like the Samuels have been influential for more than a century.

    It's true that not many wealthy Jews would send their kids to Sherborne. It's way out in the sticks - too far. I bet Eton and Westminster get a lot more. But the Jews had their own public school.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmel_College,_Oxfordshire

    Incidentally when I read in the Guardian of David Cornwell, on a visit to London, waxing lyrical over the diversity in the streets, I am bound to recall that he lived for the last 40 years of his life as far away from diversity as you can get while still being in Southern England. He lived near Lands End, and had his own mile of private clifftop to stroll on.
  110. @Art Deco
    @xc

    Lee Harvey Oswald, part of a CIA or ONI program which seeded fake defectors into the Soviet Union in the late 1950s. He stayed 2.5 years. Not sure how long the others spent there.

    Was his inability to hold a job for periods of time not readily measurable in weeks also an act? How about dropping out of school at age 15? Or showing up at work carrying a package of 'curtain rods'?

    Replies: @Peter D. Bredon, @prosa123

    “How about dropping out of school at age 15?”

    Not many HS dropouts speak flawless Russian.

    • Replies: @Alden
    @Peter D. Bredon

    His Russian wife and their Russian friends in Texas denied he spoke flawless Russian. He was fairly fluent. Oswald studied Russian on his own from about age 14. He taught himself Marxism from public libraries. He intensified his Russian studies while in the Marines. Then he spent 2 years working in a factory living in an apartment house completely surrounded by native Russian speakers who didn’t speak English

    Anyone would learn reasonable Russian doing that.

    , @Art Deco
    @Peter D. Bredon

    And who said he spoke 'flawless Russian'?

    Replies: @Alden

    , @Wielgus
    @Peter D. Bredon

    There has been some discussion and speculation about just how well he spoke Russian, and when he learned it. He took a Russian proficiency test in the Marines, did badly but had a basic knowledge of the language. The Warren Commission apparently asked whether he had ever studied the language at the US Army language school in Monterey, California but I don't know whether he had or even if the question was answered.

  111. I’ve never read anything by Le Carre – I am not interested in that genre fiction – but I’ve seen 2-3 his video interviews & he seemed like a pleasant man.

    It is impossible to predict his literary future. By all rational reasons, Conan Doyle should have been a non-entity by now. On the other hand, as a literature- H.G.Wells, John Galsworthy, most Edwardian authors …- non-entities.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Bardon Kaldian

    H.G. Welles more or less invented the genre of science fiction. That's an accomplishment.

    Replies: @utu, @Bardon Kaldian

  112. German_reader says:
    @Jack D
    @Art Deco


    By some accounts, he used his time during the lunch to babble about the ‘Palestinians’).
     
    Scratch a British Leftist, especially a upper class Leftist, and underneath you'll find an anti-Semite. Ever since that bit of unpleasantness with the Germans, the modern ones fixate on "Israelis" rather than Jews. I suspect that arriviste Jews reminded Cornwell (funny that the man took a French pen name - he despised his fellow Brits almost as much as he despised Jews) too much of his hated father. Cornwell himself admitted that by sending him to posh schools, his father had unintentionally alienated his son from himself and his own class.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian, @Anonymouse, @German_reader

    Scratch a British Leftist, especially a upper class Leftist, and underneath you’ll find an anti-Semite.

    LOL. In The spy who came in from the cold the Jewish communists Liz Gold and Fiedler are actually presented as very sympathetic, idealistic characters who come to a tragic end (whereas the gentile Germans in Le Carre’s 1960s novels are pretty much all brutal crypto-Nazis).
    I suppose Le Carre didn’t like Israel much because of a general opposition to nationalism and imperialism, but calling him an “antisemite”…lol.
    Regarding the “French pen name”: iirc it was an allusion to William le Queux, an earlier writer of spy novels:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Le_Queux

  113. @Steve Sailer
    @Franz

    The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers are memorable Industrial Sector NFL team names.

    But, I dunno, Washington Rubber Stampers? Cleveland Clinics?

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Mike Tre, @HammerJack, @Buffalo Joe, @Franz

    Steve, Washington should have become the “Buckskins”, an early Frontier symbol and they could still call themselves the “Skins.”

  114. @Bardon Kaldian
    I've never read anything by Le Carre - I am not interested in that genre fiction - but I've seen 2-3 his video interviews & he seemed like a pleasant man.

    It is impossible to predict his literary future. By all rational reasons, Conan Doyle should have been a non-entity by now. On the other hand, as a literature- H.G.Wells, John Galsworthy, most Edwardian authors ...- non-entities.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    H.G. Welles more or less invented the genre of science fiction. That’s an accomplishment.

    • Replies: @utu
    @Steve Sailer

    "H.G. Welles more or less invented the genre of science fiction." - I'd say rather less than more. Shelley or Verne and many others in-between before Welles.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    , @Bardon Kaldian
    @Steve Sailer

    Wells invented modern science fiction (proto-modern is the child of Jules Verne, who is still read- although, mostly his adventure novels). Wells remains a significant historical influence, but he is hardly read anymore.

    Similar to Cervantes, doubtless the father of the European novel, who is rarely read, even in Spanish speaking world. Historical influence & significance are different from readability or attractiveness to an educated common reader.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

  115. @Jack D
    @Alden

    Oswald bring back secret from making high quality Soviet television. Soviet television best television because of television is being Russian invention. Must use much steel in chassis of televisions set for maximum stability of picture image. At least 300 kilo. American television factory not interested - too many delivery driver complain from hernia.

    Replies: @Alden

    I thought it was a radio factory. 3 brands Defective, Non Functional and Beware Of Explosion. Did they even have television in 1959-62 Russia?

    I remember one of the WKK books presented Oswald’s IQ as proof he was a CIA spy. His IQ was tested at 120 when he lived in NYC. He seldom went to school and was put through a battery of tests and evaluations. 120 IQ very bright normal, very intelligent. Many of the “Oswald was CIA “authors claimed that CIA spies are intelligent, Oswald was intelligent. Therefore Oswald was a CIA spy

    Oswald, the CIA marine who couldn’t shoot straight.

    Of course, CIA killed Kennedy. Oswald was CIA is totally opposite Oswald didn’t kill Kennedy but who cares if any WKK book makes sense.

  116. German_reader says:
    @Alden
    @Dan Hayes

    He always was. Spy Who Came in From The Cold is a glorification if the old fashioned class war Labor lefty working class Jewish immigrants to Britain That’s about 9o years out of date now

    Small Town in Germany was about the election of an underground Nazi to be chancellor of Germany. Another very early one I can’t remember the name was about apartheid S Africa. An English intelligence agent was stationed in S Africa. Fell in love with and married a black woman. S Africa intelligence, the dreaded BOSS followed them to England for revenge or something.

    Another can’t remember the name hero tracked down a British intelligence agent who sent very damaging information to Russia in the 1950s 60s. The traitor was a Jew. Excuse was Russia sided with the Jews during WW2 against the Nazis.

    The later ones hero was a retired or redundant spy. He had a regular job but was still a contractor for British intelligence. Night Manager Book was excellent and much better than the movie.

    LeCarre books are a great library for next year’s lockdown. Get the E books or find them at Abe or Thrift Books

    Replies: @German_reader

    Another very early one I can’t remember the name was about apartheid S Africa. An English intelligence agent was stationed in S Africa. Fell in love with and married a black woman. S Africa intelligence, the dreaded BOSS followed them to England for revenge or something.

    No, that one was by Graham Greene:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Human_Factor_(novel)

    • Replies: @Alden
    @German_reader

    Thanks, you’re right.

  117. @Anonymouse
    @utu

    >The Little Drummer Girl, is one of his best books but it is often overlooked. It is one of the first major novels to show how Mossad creates patsies and false flags years before thinking of false flags entered a common discourse.

    Here's an in depth interview of John Le Carre from 1998 in which he expresses his profound sympathy for Israel the nation and for the jewish existentiality which he believes he shares in some part. For the jew haters in this forum, this should be catnip for you.

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/010198/lecarre1.html

    Replies: @utu

    1998 is not 1982 when John le Carré met Yasser Arafat while doing research for his Little Drummer Girl book. He is neither an anti-Semite that Jack D. wants him to be nor he is a philo-Semite (extremely philosemitic in your words) that you want him to be on the basis of the 1998 interview for a Jewish publication. Recognizing that Israel is a well functioning state with many accomplishments for which it can be admired and it having the right to exist is a basic objectivity that any good novelist must possess. That you and Jack D. chose to perceive the world in terms of anti-semitic and philo-semitic categories only is a great pity.

    He pressed my hand to his breast. The Palestinian heart is here! (2004)
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/nov/12/israel12
    “Mr David, why have you come here?” he demanded, unexpectedly using my Christian name while he studied me, eyes like a worried doctor.

    “Mr Chairman, I have come to put my hand on the Palestinian heart.”

    He seized my hand and pressed it to his breast. “Mr David! It is here! It is here!”
    —————–
    The boy who took me to him held a pistol to my head and wanted to shoot me in revenge for the massacres of Sabra and Shatila.

    Soon afterwards, an Israeli hit-team assassinated half his high command, thus giving a chance to the young ones coming up. Perhaps the boy was one of them. There will always be more boys.

    The side of Israel where Israel is unscrupulously and ruthlessly uses innocent people to engineer the false flag operations as described in The Little Drummer Girl is also true. And it is neither anti-Semitic or philo-Semitic noticing it and talking about it.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    @utu

    Well, you can rightfully call him philo-Semite because both Jews & Arabs are "Semites", according to the Torah mythology....

    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/83/e2/a4/83e2a4765fe6f2a11f295090d9e0c232.gif

  118. @Jus' Sayin'...
    Many thanks to Steve Sailer for his link to LeCarre's portrait of his father and to other commenters for their mentions of various LeCarre items. After I'm through with the Raj Quartet I have changed my plans and will be reading some LeCarre books I missed and re-reading one or two that I didn't. The movie version of TSWCIFTC was perfect. Richard Burton and Claire Bloom complimented each other perfectly. I first saw it when I was eighteen and immediately developed a permanent crush on Bloom.

    My suggestion for the Cleveland Indians' new name is the Cleveland Dindus. It captures both the changing demographics of the Cleveland franchise and its less than stellar performance history.

    Replies: @Kylie

    Is this your first reading of The Raj Quartet? How do you like it?

    I just found “The Jewel in the Crown” on YouTube. Am rewatching it. May reread The Raj Quartet again. Scott is way too left-leaning for me but he is a brilliant writer.

  119. @Steve Sailer
    @Bardon Kaldian

    H.G. Welles more or less invented the genre of science fiction. That's an accomplishment.

    Replies: @utu, @Bardon Kaldian

    “H.G. Welles more or less invented the genre of science fiction.” – I’d say rather less than more. Shelley or Verne and many others in-between before Welles.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @utu


    “H.G. Welles more or less invented the genre of science fiction.” – I’d say rather less than more. Shelley or Verne and many others in-between before Welles.
     
    Mary Shelley has the best claim. There was quite a bit of science fiction being written in European countries in the 19th century, especially in France.

    Mary Shelley invented science fiction and Verne turned it into a viable pop fiction genre.

    Frankenstein is one of the most influential books ever written. Most people have never read it but most people's attitudes toward science have been influenced by it. She wrote other science fiction as well.
  120. @Peter D. Bredon
    @Art Deco

    "How about dropping out of school at age 15?"

    Not many HS dropouts speak flawless Russian.

    Replies: @Alden, @Art Deco, @Wielgus

    His Russian wife and their Russian friends in Texas denied he spoke flawless Russian. He was fairly fluent. Oswald studied Russian on his own from about age 14. He taught himself Marxism from public libraries. He intensified his Russian studies while in the Marines. Then he spent 2 years working in a factory living in an apartment house completely surrounded by native Russian speakers who didn’t speak English

    Anyone would learn reasonable Russian doing that.

  121. @Peter D. Bredon
    @Art Deco

    "How about dropping out of school at age 15?"

    Not many HS dropouts speak flawless Russian.

    Replies: @Alden, @Art Deco, @Wielgus

    And who said he spoke ‘flawless Russian’?

    • Replies: @Alden
    @Art Deco

    None of the Russians with whom he spoke during his 3 years in Russia said he spoke flawless Russian. Still, learning Russian on his own as a teen is admirable.

    Replies: @fnn

  122. @Steve Sailer
    @Bardon Kaldian

    H.G. Welles more or less invented the genre of science fiction. That's an accomplishment.

    Replies: @utu, @Bardon Kaldian

    Wells invented modern science fiction (proto-modern is the child of Jules Verne, who is still read- although, mostly his adventure novels). Wells remains a significant historical influence, but he is hardly read anymore.

    Similar to Cervantes, doubtless the father of the European novel, who is rarely read, even in Spanish speaking world. Historical influence & significance are different from readability or attractiveness to an educated common reader.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Boys read "Time Machine," Spielberg made "War of the Worlds."

    Maybe few boys read any books anymore due to video game time sink, but these books are often on lists of classics you can do a book report on, and they are fairly popular with students.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian

  123. @utu
    @Anonymouse

    1998 is not 1982 when John le Carré met Yasser Arafat while doing research for his Little Drummer Girl book. He is neither an anti-Semite that Jack D. wants him to be nor he is a philo-Semite (extremely philosemitic in your words) that you want him to be on the basis of the 1998 interview for a Jewish publication. Recognizing that Israel is a well functioning state with many accomplishments for which it can be admired and it having the right to exist is a basic objectivity that any good novelist must possess. That you and Jack D. chose to perceive the world in terms of anti-semitic and philo-semitic categories only is a great pity.


    He pressed my hand to his breast. The Palestinian heart is here! (2004)
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/nov/12/israel12
    "Mr David, why have you come here?" he demanded, unexpectedly using my Christian name while he studied me, eyes like a worried doctor.

    "Mr Chairman, I have come to put my hand on the Palestinian heart."

    He seized my hand and pressed it to his breast. "Mr David! It is here! It is here!"
    -----------------
    The boy who took me to him held a pistol to my head and wanted to shoot me in revenge for the massacres of Sabra and Shatila.

    Soon afterwards, an Israeli hit-team assassinated half his high command, thus giving a chance to the young ones coming up. Perhaps the boy was one of them. There will always be more boys.
     
    The side of Israel where Israel is unscrupulously and ruthlessly uses innocent people to engineer the false flag operations as described in The Little Drummer Girl is also true. And it is neither anti-Semitic or philo-Semitic noticing it and talking about it.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian

    Well, you can rightfully call him philo-Semite because both Jews & Arabs are “Semites”, according to the Torah mythology….

  124. Guinness was superb as Smiley in TTSS.

    • Replies: @Kylie
    @Prester John

    "Guinness was superb as Smiley in TTSS."

    Guinness was superb, period. By the time of TTSS, he had perfected the extreme economy of technique that made his portrayal of George so riveting. It's not that he did much, it's that he was so densely present, so much the center of the piece that he had little left to do besides suggest the Smiley's bleakness in the face of both personal and professional betrayal.

    , @Pierre de Craon
    @Prester John

    I might agree that Guinness was superb, at least in the sense that he didn't undermine the effectiveness of the TV production in which he appeared, but as a representation of Le Carré's character, Guinness was a falsifier: never recessive or anonymous enough, frequently too coy by half. The author himself admitted as much in several interviews, and the actor's influence drove Le Carré to make an utter mess of Smiley's People—among other things, the book is at least a third too short and far too abrupt in its plot and character development—because Smiley, his central character, was no longer truly his own creation.

    There is an unbroken thread of consistent character development for the "definitive form" of George Smiley. It excludes the prentice work of Call for the Dead and A Murder of Quality and properly begins with the Smiley of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, where he appears in a critical supporting role. Recognizably the same man next appears in The Looking Glass War, there as the primary background character. Those who knew the man from these two novels were not surprised by the character who then dominated Tinker, Tailor from the front and The Honourable Schoolboy essentially from the rear. Then comes Smiley's People, where his "true" self seems either to be having an identity crisis or to have done a life swap with a physical duplicate, à la du Maurier's novel The Scapegoat.

    For the rest, the Smiley who turns up in The Secret Pilgrim is a shameless impostor and ought to have been an embarrassment to the author. As for the last appearance of a character bearing the Smiley name, in A Legacy of Spies, I can't comment because I have not yet read the book, my old eyes no longer being the serviceable instruments they once were.

    As for actors, I think that two have conveyed a sense of Le Carré's Smiley with notably greater precision than Guinness. Oddly, they appear in films based on the novels where the pre-canonical Smiley is still plainly a work in progress. In The Deadly Affair, based on Call for the Dead, James Mason plays Smiley—albeit renamed Charles Dobbs in the film—with the appropriate physical and psychological awkwardness that Guinness's characterization utterly eschews. In addition, no other Smiley communicates so well the character's frustrated passion for his beautiful but inappropriate wife, Anne. Guinness makes a hash of the Anne scenes and seems more embarrassed than frustrated at how others mock his besottedness.

    Overall, the very best Smiley, I think, is Denholm Elliott in the BBC adaptation of A Murder of Quality. His physical appearance is younger and rather less awkward than one might think ideal, but he alone plays Smiley in such a way as to give everyone he investigates or suspects the sense that he, Smiley, is too innocuous to do his target any harm. As this is the character's core attribute, his ace in the hole, getting it right trumps all else. No other Smiley even approaches the Le Carré Smiley's ability to fly under the radar whenever he wishes to do so.

  125. @Bardon Kaldian
    @Steve Sailer

    Wells invented modern science fiction (proto-modern is the child of Jules Verne, who is still read- although, mostly his adventure novels). Wells remains a significant historical influence, but he is hardly read anymore.

    Similar to Cervantes, doubtless the father of the European novel, who is rarely read, even in Spanish speaking world. Historical influence & significance are different from readability or attractiveness to an educated common reader.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Boys read “Time Machine,” Spielberg made “War of the Worlds.”

    Maybe few boys read any books anymore due to video game time sink, but these books are often on lists of classics you can do a book report on, and they are fairly popular with students.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    @Steve Sailer

    Agree with you about "The Time Machine", his only work I've read (and enjoyed). Experts, for instance E.M. Forster and Harold Bloom, consider his best novels to be "Mr. Polly " & "Togo-Bungay" (haven't read them).

  126. @Anonymous
    I've never read any of Le Carre's books, but I do recall watching many many moons ago the excellent film adaptation of 'The Spy Who Came in from the Cold", starring, of course, the late Richard Burton.

    Released at the same time as Bondmania, the film was a deliberate counterpoint to the heroic glamour and swagger of James Bond, depicting a distinctly seedy, down-at-heel, unglamorous, depressive drunk of a secret agent, who is forever getting into petty little fights and arguments with small tradesmen.

    Replies: @Alden

    Drunk and fighting with store clerks was his cover so the Russian spies in Britain would trust him.

    I don’t think Lecarre will last. His Cold War novels are great but just too too dated and specific for a certain time and place. Plus there wasn’t enough diversity. Imagine that, a British civil service full of native British citizens. One part I love is Connie Sachs and her clerks searching through the endless files making the connections . Really did used to be like that. Just send a request and the clerk would deliver it. A bit here, a bit there, and bingo, got a case for the DA.

    • Replies: @James O'Meara
    @Alden

    "Plus there wasn’t enough diversity. Imagine that, a British civil service full of native British citizens. "

    One odd feature of Marlowe's A Dandy in Aspic (see my comment above) is the head of the service, Brogue, is an African (a Russian handler asks the double agent at one point "So, how is the Negro?). He was the head of some African nation's agency and jumped ship to the British. Twice a year he returns to Africa for a two week vacation, during which he purchases the services of a different young boy. It seems very implausible on a number of levels. In the US version (Marlowe re-wrote it, based on his screenplay) his role is cut back, including his backstory. In the movie, he's played by Calvin Lockheart (The Electrician in Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me).

  127. @Art Deco
    @Peter D. Bredon

    And who said he spoke 'flawless Russian'?

    Replies: @Alden

    None of the Russians with whom he spoke during his 3 years in Russia said he spoke flawless Russian. Still, learning Russian on his own as a teen is admirable.

    • Replies: @fnn
    @Alden

    He qualified as an interpreter when he returned to the US. Of course that doesn't mean his Russian was flawless.
    https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth338868/m1/5/?q=Oswald

  128. @Steve Sailer
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Boys read "Time Machine," Spielberg made "War of the Worlds."

    Maybe few boys read any books anymore due to video game time sink, but these books are often on lists of classics you can do a book report on, and they are fairly popular with students.

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian

    Agree with you about “The Time Machine”, his only work I’ve read (and enjoyed). Experts, for instance E.M. Forster and Harold Bloom, consider his best novels to be “Mr. Polly ” & “Togo-Bungay” (haven’t read them).

  129. Anon[899] • Disclaimer says:

    I’ve always wondered if there are great spy novels written by Russians during the Cold War that are till now unknown to the West.
    If there are not, one must ask, why? That’s a dog that didn’t bark!
    Wouldn’t you love to read about slow-talking KGB agent Ivan grimly rooting out the deep-cover capitalists who’ve infiltrated Moscow Centre?
    I suppose, in fact, Stalin wrote such stories to justify his show trials. In a way, Stalin was the John Le Carré of the U.S.S.R.!

    • LOL: Bardon Kaldian
    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    @Anon

    More interesting question is: why is there not a truly good-to-great Russian WW2 novel (except, perhaps, Grossman's flawed & a bit clumsy epic novel)?

  130. @Charon
    @Almost Missouri

    Your intelligence is at least a generation or two out of date. It also appears to rely upon mass media representations more than upon actual facts. Your last sentence may be accurate, though.

    Replies: @Almost Missouri

    Your intelligence is at least a generation or two out of date.

    So, enlighten me…

    • Replies: @AKAHorace
    @Almost Missouri

    Your intelligence is at least a generation or two out of date.

    So, enlighten me…

    If he told you he would have to kill you.

  131. @Known Fact
    @Franz

    Danbury CT's various low level hockey teams often play off the town's hatmaking history -- e.g. the Hatters, Mad Hatters and now very cleverly the Hat Tricks, with a stick-wielding rabbit in magician's top hat and cape for the logo.

    When an allegedly corrupt sanitation company owned the team, it was called the Trashers, with an anthropomorphic hockey-playing garbage can for the logo.

    Replies: @Franz

    Hatters? Trashers? Both perfect.

    Very few occupations don’t have great nicknames, some affectionate and some just descriptive. As a youngster in a now-dead factory a ran a slag crusher to keep steel scale from hardening to mountains. The one I used was a specialty model made before the war in San Francisco.

    The San Francisco Slag Crushers, perfect name for a team. Even a chess or math team.

  132. By the way-better respect Covid-19 distance measures in India…

  133. @Steve Sailer
    @Franz

    The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers are memorable Industrial Sector NFL team names.

    But, I dunno, Washington Rubber Stampers? Cleveland Clinics?

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Mike Tre, @HammerJack, @Buffalo Joe, @Franz

    But, I dunno, Washington Rubber Stampers? Cleveland Clinics?

    I’d stick to basics as much as I could.

    Even an extinct industry, or a product from same. The Tacoma Wiggle-Bridgers. The Chicago Pig Canners. Not cruelty to animals. The workers who canned and sealed pork didn’t kill them. And there’s Carl Sandburg to remember, he called Chicago “hog butcher to the world” in a poem. Is anybody burning Sandburg’s poetry? I think they drew the line there. Poetry is special.

    Can’t be something like Cleveland Clinic, known hereabouts as McMedicine. It started as a social climbing infirmary then became renowned. World leaders came for procedures there in the glory years. Then some blowhard thought to monetize the name and now it’s just a brand. Not good for sports.

  134. @Anon
    I've always wondered if there are great spy novels written by Russians during the Cold War that are till now unknown to the West.
    If there are not, one must ask, why? That's a dog that didn't bark!
    Wouldn't you love to read about slow-talking KGB agent Ivan grimly rooting out the deep-cover capitalists who've infiltrated Moscow Centre?
    I suppose, in fact, Stalin wrote such stories to justify his show trials. In a way, Stalin was the John Le Carré of the U.S.S.R.!

    Replies: @Bardon Kaldian

    More interesting question is: why is there not a truly good-to-great Russian WW2 novel (except, perhaps, Grossman’s flawed & a bit clumsy epic novel)?

  135. @Mike Tre
    @Steve Sailer

    How about the Washington Piddly Diddlers?

    Replies: @RickinJax, @Paul Mendez

    How about the “Washington Acting Deputy Assistants to the Agency Director”

    • Thanks: Alden
  136. @Alden
    @Art Deco

    None of the Russians with whom he spoke during his 3 years in Russia said he spoke flawless Russian. Still, learning Russian on his own as a teen is admirable.

    Replies: @fnn

    He qualified as an interpreter when he returned to the US. Of course that doesn’t mean his Russian was flawless.
    https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth338868/m1/5/?q=Oswald

  137. Interesting how many people say, “I only read one of his books.” I read two of them, or tried to. I didn’t finish either one. Bleccch.

    Unlike some other authors. Patrick O’Brian for instance. Not only have I read all of his books, I’ve read all of them four times, will read them again, and have toured HMS Surprise, twice, which is in San Diego.

    • Replies: @JMcG
    @Bill H

    I can’t tell you how much I enjoy getting lost in the world of Aubrey/Maturin. I’ve read them all four or five times now. Someone had left a copy of Master and Commander in a beach house I rented 25 years ago. I picked it up on a rainy afternoon and it was off to the races for me.
    The Surprise used to be the Rose, which cruised as a tall ship on the east coast. I suppose after using it for the movie, it was left on the west coast. I wonder did they sail it there?
    Good luck to you now, and Merry Christmas from a fellow devotee.

  138. @dfordoom
    @JackOH


    Some of the comments above have jogged my memory of a thought expressed, I think, in a history of England between WWI and WWII. I don’t recall the wording, but it was something like: English elites knew their country and her Empire were on the decline. That knowledge was meant to explain how some Englishmen were attracted to the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany as places that were unleashing fresh energies.
     
    The other interesting thing is the way British spy fiction in the post-WW2 period reflected the bitter knowledge that Britain was no longer a Great Power but merely a US satellite. Ian Fleming's Bond novels can be seen in this light as pure cope. They reflect the fantasy that the Special Relationship with the US was something other than the relationship between a superpower and a grovelling vassal state. When there's a threat to the Free World the CIA is powerless. Only the British Secret Service can save the Free World.

    Le Carre didn't bother with the cope. His novels reflected the reality. The British Secret Service was a a bunch of clowns living on past glories (this is especially obvious in the superb The Looking Glass War) still trying to play international power games which Britain simply could no longer play. The British Secret Service was totally subservient to the US and was treated by the CIA with the contempt it deserved. Superpowers like having vassals but they never respect them. Nobody respects a toady.

    You can't understand George Smiley unless you realise that he knows this.

    Replies: @Art Deco, @utu, @Wielgus

    Fleming’s Bond novels are pure escapism for the most part. Le Carré describes a more authentic if humdrum world.
    I have never got into Deighton’s spy novels – he is better writing about WW2.

    • Replies: @Etruscan Film Star
    @Wielgus

    Len Deighton's two Cold War espionage trilogies (Berlin Game, Mexico Set, and London Match and Spy Hook, Spy Line, and Spy Sinker) display narrative skill and snappy dialogue, leavened with local color. Unlike le Carré, he didn't catch the eye of many "literary" critics and had to settle for a large and devoted readership. I suspect his reputation will outstay that of le Carré.

    Replies: @Jim Don Bob

  139. John le Carré/David Cornwell’s works seem heavily influenced by the agnst produced by his MI5 & MI6 work. This agnst led to his application of moral equivalence to the clash of KGB/GRU and the western intelligence services. Given what is now become known since the fall of the USSR and the gradual die-off of Soviet apologists, I suspect that future will treat le Carré with increasing unkindness.

    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @Alden
    @ThurstonBT

    His early life wasn’t easy. His mother fled when he was 5. She stayed away. Her family stayed away. One wonders why. Dad Ronnie wasn’t solely a fraudster. He was with the violent organized crime Kray twins. Could be Ronnie planned to kill Olive for insurance money.

    LeCarre was well taken care of by grandparents. In autobiographical Perfect Spy maternal uncle stood in for paternal grandparents. But Magnus Pym was miserable at maternal uncle’s. In Perfect Spy criminal Dad sent Magnus to Berne to assist in some crime. And told Magnus to stay in Berne because of trouble with police in England.

    Replies: @Jack D

  140. @Art Deco
    @Anonymouse

    Typical projection on the part of one of the many rabid jew haters on this forum. In fact, Le Carre was extremely philosemitic.

    Or adept at running con jobs on reporters.

    The Jewish population of Britain when Le Carre was in mid-career amounted to about 0.6% of the total, and was mostly orthodox. I'll wager there weren't five Jewish kids in the student body of either of the schools he supposedly attended, if that.

    Everyone's got their niche interests and that's fine. When you have masses of people with the same niche interest (and no organic connection to a given population), you have to ask why that might be.

    Replies: @YetAnotherAnon

    “The Jewish population of Britain when Le Carre was in mid-career amounted to about 0.6% of the total, and was mostly orthodox. I’ll wager there weren’t five Jewish kids in the student body of either of the schools he supposedly attended, if that.”

    I think I’ve picked you up on this sort of thing before – there have been Jewish areas in most UK cities since at least Victorian times – and they were mostly secular. Where the Industrial Revolution was, they followed – which is why people like Michael Howard (ne Hecht) were raised in industrial South Wales. It’s only post-WW2 that the Orthodox have expanded courtesy of the welfare state.

    Jews have been prominent in UK life and politics since a Rothschild made a fortune by getting the news of Waterloo (1815) before the UK government did (he started a wave of panic selling then bought in again at the bottom). Bletchley Park of Enigma/Ultra fame was built by a Jewish financier. Families like the Samuels have been influential for more than a century.

    It’s true that not many wealthy Jews would send their kids to Sherborne. It’s way out in the sticks – too far. I bet Eton and Westminster get a lot more. But the Jews had their own public school.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmel_College,_Oxfordshire

    Incidentally when I read in the Guardian of David Cornwell, on a visit to London, waxing lyrical over the diversity in the streets, I am bound to recall that he lived for the last 40 years of his life as far away from diversity as you can get while still being in Southern England. He lived near Lands End, and had his own mile of private clifftop to stroll on.

  141. @German_reader
    @Alden


    Another very early one I can’t remember the name was about apartheid S Africa. An English intelligence agent was stationed in S Africa. Fell in love with and married a black woman. S Africa intelligence, the dreaded BOSS followed them to England for revenge or something.
     
    No, that one was by Graham Greene:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Human_Factor_(novel)

    Replies: @Alden

    Thanks, you’re right.

  142. @Anonymouse
    @Jack D

    >I suspect that arriviste Jews reminded Cornwell (funny that the man took a French pen name – he despised his fellow Brits almost as much as he despised Jews) too much of his hated father.

    Typical projection on the part of one of the many rabid jew haters on this forum. In fact, Le Carre was extremely philosemitic. Check out this in depth interview of Le Carre from 1998.

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/010198/lecarre1.html

    Here's an excerpt from the interview -

    "I knew nothing of the Middle East, but then I have always seen my novels as opportunities for self-education," he says. "Investing my ignorance in my central character -- a leftist English actress -- and making a virtue of her naivety, I set off on a journey of self-enlightenment, living my character, leaning with each breeze -- now toward Israel, now away from it -- in a series of schizophrenic visits to Amman, Damascus, Beirut, South Lebanon and later Tunis. Then back to Israel, across the Allenby Bridge or by way of Cyprus."

    Israel, he says, "rocked me to my boots. I had arrived expecting whatever European sentimentalists expect -- a re-creation of the better quarters of Hampstead [in London]. Or old Danzig, or Vienna or Berlin. The strains of Mendelssohn issuing from open windows of a sumer's evening. Happy kids in seamen's hats clattering to school with violin cases in their hands..."

    Instead, what he found was "the most extraordinary carnival of human variety that I have ever set eyes on, a nation in the process of re-assembling itself from the shards of its past, now Oriental, now Western, now secular, now religious, but always anxiously moralizing about itself, criticizing itself with Maoist ferocity, a nation crackling with debate, rediscovering its past while it fought for its future."

    "No nation on earth," he says passionately, " was more deserving of peace -- or more condemned to fight for it."

    Replies: @Art Deco, @kaganovitch, @Bardon Kaldian

    Typical projection on the part of one of the many rabid jew haters on this forum.

    Jack may be many things but a rabid Jew hater ain’t one of them.

  143. @Alden
    @Mr. Anon

    Loved The Honorable Schoolboy. Thanks for reminding me of the name. Honorable Schoolboy and A Perfect Spy are my absolute favorites. The hunting Karla series is great too. Although very sympathetic to the communists.

    The best movie adaption is Tinker Tailor.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    The hunting Karla series is great too. Although very sympathetic to the communists.

    Really? Early le Carre always came across to me as rabidly anti-communist. You can be rabidly anti-communist and still be no fan of the United States.

    It’s certainly true that le Carre tried to make his spies real people. Including the Soviet spies. They have real motivations rather than being melodrama villains. You could argue that he hated communism but was still capable of seeing convinced communists as sincere people doing what they perceived to be their duty.

    You see that in quite a bit of British spy fiction of the 60s. Not just books but movies and TV series. In the superb Callan TV series the Soviet master-spy Richmond is a complex and fairly sympathetic character but he’s still the Bad Guy. And in Callan the methods of the British Secret Service are just as ruthless and brutal as the methods of the KGB. I think the point being made (and maybe the point le Carre was trying to make) is that in the spy game both sides include vicious psychopaths and both sides include sincere people doing their duty as they see it, and both sides include misguided idiots.

    • Replies: @Wielgus
    @dfordoom

    He was anti-Communist, certainly in his books of the 1960s and 1970s. (I have not read his later work.) However, a certain resentment of Britain's decline in the world shows through, as does the amorality of espionage. British agents who are now seen as a liability are left to their fate, like Leiser in The Looking Glass War. Ricki Tarr in TTSS is both a psychopath and not out of place. In the same book Alleline, the one high-up in the Circus who admires the Americans, is partly responsible for the biggest security breach of all. Also Smiley interrogates Karla when the latter is arrested in India and his line is essentially that neither he nor Karla really serve worthwhile causes - he makes no attempt to sell "the West" to Karla but tries to unsell Karla's own cause and point out that he stands a good chance of being shot if he is repatriated to the Soviet Union. He gets nowhere and Karla takes his cigarette lighter or case which is engraved with a message from Smiley's adulterous wife Ann. Smiley later reflects on that meeting and decides Karla is a fanatic and that will bring him down. But Smiley himself is so far from being a fanatic as to have no obvious belief system at all.

    The most sympathetic character in that novel, the betrayed Jim Prideaux, is thoroughly anti-Communist but sees the USA as consisting of "greedy fools fouling up their inheritance".

    , @sb
    @dfordoom

    Spot on .
    Many Americans that I've met are rather inclined to think that being anti communist ( anti Soviet , anti PRC etc ) means that you must be pro USA by definition .

    Not necessarily so

    By the way I was a little surprised that Mr Sailor has nor read much of le Carre - I would have thought that he would be his cup of tea ( so to speak ). Len Deighton is pretty good too and maybe more readable
    Cultural differences I guess . Then again I've never finished a Tom Clancy novel

    Replies: @Wielgus, @dfordoom

  144. @Jack D
    @Almost Missouri

    The CIA was little better. Westerners suck at espionage - they are just not good at all the lying and cheating that is required. Russians are much more dedicated to the task. Think of the deep cover Russian spies who, on orders, married each other and had children together just to maintain their cover and lived for decades in enemy territory. Can you imagine an American CIA officer accepting that assignment (AND pulling it off)?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegals_Program

    Replies: @Almost Missouri, @kaganovitch, @Anonymous, @xc, @dfordoom

    The CIA was little better. Westerners suck at espionage – they are just not good at all the lying and cheating that is required. Russians are much more dedicated to the task.

    A lot of communist spies actually believed in what they were doing and were prepared to accept the costs. Most of the people in western intelligence agencies (both during the Cold War and today) seem to be either cynical careerists or misfits and losers. Or bungling amateurs.

    • Replies: @utu
    @dfordoom

    You do not get Jack D. This is his usual gaslighting. His "Westerners suck" stands for "Jews are superior." But you will be called an anti-Semite if you question whether Jews are Westerners.

    Replies: @Jack D

  145. @Alden
    @Anonymous

    Drunk and fighting with store clerks was his cover so the Russian spies in Britain would trust him.

    I don’t think Lecarre will last. His Cold War novels are great but just too too dated and specific for a certain time and place. Plus there wasn’t enough diversity. Imagine that, a British civil service full of native British citizens. One part I love is Connie Sachs and her clerks searching through the endless files making the connections . Really did used to be like that. Just send a request and the clerk would deliver it. A bit here, a bit there, and bingo, got a case for the DA.

    Replies: @James O'Meara

    “Plus there wasn’t enough diversity. Imagine that, a British civil service full of native British citizens. ”

    One odd feature of Marlowe’s A Dandy in Aspic (see my comment above) is the head of the service, Brogue, is an African (a Russian handler asks the double agent at one point “So, how is the Negro?). He was the head of some African nation’s agency and jumped ship to the British. Twice a year he returns to Africa for a two week vacation, during which he purchases the services of a different young boy. It seems very implausible on a number of levels. In the US version (Marlowe re-wrote it, based on his screenplay) his role is cut back, including his backstory. In the movie, he’s played by Calvin Lockheart (The Electrician in Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me).

  146. @James O'Meara
    Let no one speak ill of the dead, of course.

    Watching Tinker Tailor was one of the great pleasures of my early twenties (a sort of Anti-Brideshead); later caught up with the earlier Burton film, also great.

    That said, Le C. always seemed to be one of those limey shitlibs, having convinced himself, and trying to convince the rest of us, that the postwar Britain of poverty, rations, dirty dishwater, aversion to bathing, rotting teeth, patched clothing, was proof of how much better, how much more real or moral or something, they were, compared to those vulgar Americans. Hence the ramshackle Circus building, Roy Blunt the "shopworn great White hope", etc. And for that reason, the Soviets had to be better than we were led to believe; after all, they were almost as shabby as the Brits!

    If Patton concluded that we fought the wrong enemy, Le C. insisted we got it right the first time.

    Le C. was thus a sort of late Angry Young Man, whose only new trick was to apply the technique not to marriage or music hall comedy or other institutions, but to the spy game (write what you know). Thus, he created the anti-Bond series.

    Len Deighton dealt in much the same wares, but his novels rose out of a genuine, Orwellian affection for the average bloke, rather than a reactionary anti-Americanism. I don't recall much of his Hook, Line and Sinker series, but I vaguely recall it as quite as good as Tinker Tailor.

    As you might imagine, he was quite a supporter of the poor, downtrodden Jews. The supposedly sickening double cross in Cold (SPOILER) is that Leamas comes to quite like the Jew Fielder but his mission turns out to require him to falsely implicate him to save the Stasi guy, whose true evil is being antisemitic (being a commie would, of course, make Le C. favor him!)

    I recently made the mistake of trying to read "the first Smiley novel," Call for the Dead, and gave up halfway through; the anti-anti-Semitism was sickening.

    Better than any Smiley book is Derek Marlowe's A Dandy in Aspic (despite the silly title). Marlowe and his roommates (including Tom Stoppard) had a bet going as to who would be the first to make a splash, and the success of Cold led Marlowe to try his hand at the spy novel game, with excellent results. Both sides are pricks, but because that's human nature, not knee-jerk anti-anti-communism. The book was recently republished, with a Stoppard intro, and I review it, along with the equally remarkable film (Laurence Harvey, Tom Courtney, Mia Farrow) here: https://counter-currents.com/2016/12/passing-the-buck-spy-dandy-ubermensch/

    Replies: @dfordoom, @YetAnotherAnon

    Better than any Smiley book is Derek Marlowe’s A Dandy in Aspic (despite the silly title).

    It’s a great book. And I agree that the movie was great as well.

  147. @Prester John
    Guinness was superb as Smiley in TTSS.

    Replies: @Kylie, @Pierre de Craon

    “Guinness was superb as Smiley in TTSS.”

    Guinness was superb, period. By the time of TTSS, he had perfected the extreme economy of technique that made his portrayal of George so riveting. It’s not that he did much, it’s that he was so densely present, so much the center of the piece that he had little left to do besides suggest the Smiley’s bleakness in the face of both personal and professional betrayal.

    • Agree: Etruscan Film Star
  148. @Art Deco
    @dfordoom

    Le Carre didn’t bother with the cope. His novels reflected the reality.

    Wanna buy a bridge?

    Replies: @dfordoom

    Le Carre didn’t bother with the cope. His novels reflected the reality.

    Wanna buy a bridge?

    He reflected the reality of Britain’s position in regards to the US.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    @dfordoom

    He reflected the reality of Britain’s position in regards to the US.

    You've already referred to a country with a population of 63 million, $2.85 tn in annual domestic product, and a vigorous military as a 'vassal state'. Somehow I get the idea that you and 'reality' aren't on intimate terms.

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

  149. @Bill B.
    @AKAHorace

    I liked The Honorable Schoolboy very much because it captured quite well places I have lived in: Hong Kong, Thailand and Cambodia. The book benefited from his talking to hardened expats and cynical locals in the region.

    His later books became increasingly dreary denunciations of Britain and the West. His later research became minimal.

    Like the infinitely better writer Graham Greene he purported to believe that vicious dictatorships were often no worse and perhaps even better than the corrupt and immoral white West.

    Replies: @AKAHorace, @David In TN

    I liked The Honorable Schoolboy very much because it captured quite well places I have lived in: Hong Kong, Thailand and Cambodia. The book benefited from his talking to hardened expats and cynical locals in the region.

    His later books became increasingly dreary denunciations of Britain and the West. His later research became minimal.

    The best thing about “The Honourable Schoolboy” was that it was full of minor characters and incidents that did not move the plot along but gave the flavour of a place. Remember the scene where Westerby is in Battambang and in the office of a senior official and his underlings ? The official pulls an envelope out of his desk and everyone becomes very nervous. Westerby is not sure what is about to happen until the official reads him his poems which he has to enthuse over.

    The next in the series, “Smiley’s People” goes even further with this kind of detail and is a bit overwritten. After this Le Carre’s writing style changed completely. The plot drove everything, few irrelevant but interesting details and morality went from being blurred to black and white.

  150. @dfordoom
    @Jack D


    The CIA was little better. Westerners suck at espionage – they are just not good at all the lying and cheating that is required. Russians are much more dedicated to the task.
     
    A lot of communist spies actually believed in what they were doing and were prepared to accept the costs. Most of the people in western intelligence agencies (both during the Cold War and today) seem to be either cynical careerists or misfits and losers. Or bungling amateurs.

    Replies: @utu

    You do not get Jack D. This is his usual gaslighting. His “Westerners suck” stands for “Jews are superior.” But you will be called an anti-Semite if you question whether Jews are Westerners.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @utu


    Al Qaeda’s second-highest leader, accused of being one of the masterminds of the deadly 1998 attacks on American embassies in Africa, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, who went by the nom de guerre Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was gunned down on the streets of Tehran by two assassins on a motorcycle on Aug. 7, the anniversary of the embassy attacks. He was killed along with his daughter, Miriam, the widow of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden.

    The attack was carried out by Israeli operatives at the behest of the United States,
     

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/13/world/middleeast/al-masri-abdullah-qaeda-dead.html

    If Westerners are just as good as Israelis at this kind of "wet work", why did Trump contract it out to Mossad? Most CIA officers nowadays have never left their desks in Langley and if given this kind of assignment would be on the phone alleging war crimes (why wasn't al-Masri arrested and given a proper trial?) and leaking to the NY Times faster than you could say "Obama's your uncle." When was the last time the CIA had officers that could insert themselves into an enemy capital, successfully carry out an assassination and disappear into the night without a trace like this?

    Replies: @Johann Ricke, @Alden

  151. @Almost Missouri
    @Charon


    Your intelligence is at least a generation or two out of date.
     
    So, enlighten me...

    Replies: @AKAHorace

    Your intelligence is at least a generation or two out of date.

    So, enlighten me…

    If he told you he would have to kill you.

  152. @Peter D. Bredon
    @Alden

    " It wasn’t a very successful program if so many people were able to figure it out"

    To be fair, being arrested for shooting the President and then being shot on live TV does kinda focus everyone's attention on you. Successful spies try not to make such a splash.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    Successful spies try not to make such a splash.

    Indeed. If you’re a successful spy no-one has ever heard of you.

  153. @utu
    @Steve Sailer

    "H.G. Welles more or less invented the genre of science fiction." - I'd say rather less than more. Shelley or Verne and many others in-between before Welles.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    “H.G. Welles more or less invented the genre of science fiction.” – I’d say rather less than more. Shelley or Verne and many others in-between before Welles.

    Mary Shelley has the best claim. There was quite a bit of science fiction being written in European countries in the 19th century, especially in France.

    Mary Shelley invented science fiction and Verne turned it into a viable pop fiction genre.

    Frankenstein is one of the most influential books ever written. Most people have never read it but most people’s attitudes toward science have been influenced by it. She wrote other science fiction as well.

  154. @Anonymous
    @PiltdownMan

    I remember TSWCIFTC to be very good. It is hard to pick between the two AG miniseries. Both were great. Perhaps SP was even better than TSSS. It has been a while though.

    Maybe one day I will read one of his books, but I find I don't read anything other than internet content these days. For years. Even though I read voraciously in my youth.

    Replies: @AKAHorace

    I remember TSWCIFTC to be very good. It is hard to pick between the two AG miniseries. Both were great. Perhaps SP was even better than TSSS. It has been a while though.

    The Spy that came in from the cold was well written but the plot was too intricate to be believable. Tinker Tailor was better.

  155. @Houston 1992
    @eD

    do you recall the scene from the 2011 remake where the dialogue is "updated" to PC-ese? I recall the scene where an old espionage worker is contrasting the drab 1970's with the 1940's. In the original series the old worker recalls when MI5-6 workers would take pride in the Empire; the updated version had her declaring the 40's as a time when they could take pride in fighting National Socialism.

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

    They also made Peter Gwilliam a homosexual. I thought the 2011 movie was lousy for a variety of reasons. Not just the PC retconning as above, but also that they stripped a lot of the dialogue out of it – dialogue that was actually in the book. It’s a very talky-book. Instead they made it very moody and atmospheric. Oh, and of course dark and edgy (the Russians didn’t just kill Boris – they disemboweled him!). Everything has to be dark and edgy nowadays. It’s trite. They also changed Czechoslovakia to Hungary for some reason. And Colin Firth is just kind of a blank – he doesn’t work as the charismatic Bill Haydon. I found it to be a muddled mess.

    • Replies: @Alden
    @Mr. Anon

    I didn’t notice that Peter was made into a homosexual. In the books he was the ladies man, a master seducer with several marriages.

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

    , @Houston 1992
    @Mr. Anon

    thanks for those observations

  156. @utu
    @dfordoom

    You do not get Jack D. This is his usual gaslighting. His "Westerners suck" stands for "Jews are superior." But you will be called an anti-Semite if you question whether Jews are Westerners.

    Replies: @Jack D

    Al Qaeda’s second-highest leader, accused of being one of the masterminds of the deadly 1998 attacks on American embassies in Africa, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, who went by the nom de guerre Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was gunned down on the streets of Tehran by two assassins on a motorcycle on Aug. 7, the anniversary of the embassy attacks. He was killed along with his daughter, Miriam, the widow of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden.

    The attack was carried out by Israeli operatives at the behest of the United States,

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/13/world/middleeast/al-masri-abdullah-qaeda-dead.html

    If Westerners are just as good as Israelis at this kind of “wet work”, why did Trump contract it out to Mossad? Most CIA officers nowadays have never left their desks in Langley and if given this kind of assignment would be on the phone alleging war crimes (why wasn’t al-Masri arrested and given a proper trial?) and leaking to the NY Times faster than you could say “Obama’s your uncle.” When was the last time the CIA had officers that could insert themselves into an enemy capital, successfully carry out an assassination and disappear into the night without a trace like this?

    • Replies: @Johann Ricke
    @Jack D


    When was the last time the CIA had officers that could insert themselves into an enemy capital, successfully carry out an assassination and disappear into the night without a trace like this?
     
    You mean Jason Bourne wasn't based on a real person? It's actually kind of amusing. Even the most proficient Soviet assassins came off as somewhat amateurish, and they came from a post-October Revolution tradition of stone killers with a long record of efficiently dispatching, within the state, whomever the reigning officials wanted eliminated. Further, their overseas operations were in free societies where even foreigners weren't routinely watched on a day-to-day basis. But somehow the CIA, with the American preference for kid gloves in non-war settings, is going to coolly put someone down in the middle of a totalitarian society (where everyone has a minder of some kind, especially foreigners), execute a clean hit and extricate him from that operation without a scratch on him.

    That's why they call it the movies. Jason Bourne* is the fantasy of the CIA. Walter Mitty is its reality.

    * This excludes situations like Escobar's apprehension, where the foreign government was friendly (and a recipient of significant US aid) and IIRC foreign government operatives were literally on the American payroll in an above board fashion. And it wasn't the CIA that took Escobar down. Even the DEA operated at a remove from the locals, who carried out the operation.
    , @Alden
    @Jack D

    Tony Mendez the CIA artist model maker craftsman master creator of disguise masks who infiltrated himself and other CIA operatives into Iran in January 1979. They rescued 6 American state department employees who managed to avoid capture by the Iranians and hide out in the Canadian embassy. Mendez created a movie company and brought them out through the airport on a regular flight forged passports and everything

    His operation was worthy of the best Israeli operation.

    Replies: @Abolish_public_education, @Jack D

  157. @Art Deco
    Never read his fiction. Saw bits and fragments of television adaptations. He always struck me from a distance as an unappealing character (as do members of the British chatterati generally).

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

    He always struck me from a distance as an unappealing character….

    That’s funny, coming from you. You have no sense of situational awareness, do you?

    • LOL: utu
  158. @dfordoom
    @Art Deco



    Le Carre didn’t bother with the cope. His novels reflected the reality.
     
    Wanna buy a bridge?
     
    He reflected the reality of Britain's position in regards to the US.

    Replies: @Art Deco

    He reflected the reality of Britain’s position in regards to the US.

    You’ve already referred to a country with a population of 63 million, $2.85 tn in annual domestic product, and a vigorous military as a ‘vassal state’. Somehow I get the idea that you and ‘reality’ aren’t on intimate terms.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    @Art Deco


    @dfordoom

    You’ve already referred to a country with a population of 63 million, $2.85 tn in annual domestic product, and a vigorous military as a ‘vassal state’. Somehow I get the idea that you and ‘reality’ aren’t on intimate terms.
     

    Burgundy was a powerful duchy in its day, and yet - a vassal state. A lot of Brits thought of themselves as a 'vassal state'. John Le Carre was not alone in giving vent to that opinion. If you're going to act as a know-it-all, you should really try knowing some things, you yammering idiot.

    Replies: @Art Deco

  159. @Alden
    @Yancey Ward

    I too read all the earlier novels. I stopped reading after the Cold War material petered out. Have them all, love them all.

    LeCarre was very very leftist and didn’t like America much. It comes through in the early cold war novels. .

    Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist

    LeCarre was very very leftist and didn’t like America much. It comes through in the early cold war novels.

    This is too true. I read and enjoyed quite a few Le Carre novels, but also gave him up at the point most people here are mentioning, i.e. when the anti-Western snark started to overwhelm his gifts as a writer. But the jealousy/resentment/not-very-well-disguised vitriol towards the USA was there from the beginning.

    • Agree: Kylie
  160. @Yancey Ward
    I have read all of his novels except for the ones published in the last 15 years. I was a big fan as a teenager, and probably still could be described as one though I stopped reading him that 15 years ago or so. I have been meaning to read A Legacy of Spies simply because of its connection to the The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, but just have never gotten around to it.

    Replies: @Alden, @Paul Jolliffe

    I did read “Legacy of Spies” a couple years ago, and I highly recommend it as a sequel to LeCarre’s masterpiece, “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold”.

    Tinker, Tailor is terrific, but this blog has a commenter using “Alec Leamas” from TSWCIFTC. However, there is no one here using the handle “Percy Alleline”, or “Control”, or “Roy Bland”, or “Toby Esterhazy”, or “Bill Hayden.”

    So, by the impeccable standards of the I-Steve commentariat, “The Spy Who . . .” is the clear winner.

  161. @Art Deco
    @dfordoom

    He reflected the reality of Britain’s position in regards to the US.

    You've already referred to a country with a population of 63 million, $2.85 tn in annual domestic product, and a vigorous military as a 'vassal state'. Somehow I get the idea that you and 'reality' aren't on intimate terms.

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

    You’ve already referred to a country with a population of 63 million, $2.85 tn in annual domestic product, and a vigorous military as a ‘vassal state’. Somehow I get the idea that you and ‘reality’ aren’t on intimate terms.

    Burgundy was a powerful duchy in its day, and yet – a vassal state. A lot of Brits thought of themselves as a ‘vassal state’. John Le Carre was not alone in giving vent to that opinion. If you’re going to act as a know-it-all, you should really try knowing some things, you yammering idiot.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    @Mr. Anon

    Burgundy was a powerful duchy in its day, and yet – a vassal state. A lot of Brits thought of themselves as a ‘vassal state’. John Le Carre was not alone in giving vent to that opinion. If you’re going to act as a know-it-all, you should really try knowing some things, you yammering idiot.

    You've conflated two meanings of the word 'vassal'.

    That some bloc of Brits in your imagination have adjudged their country a 'vassal state' is of no account. It would be of no account if they actually existed. It's a silly idea.

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

  162. @Jack D
    @utu


    Al Qaeda’s second-highest leader, accused of being one of the masterminds of the deadly 1998 attacks on American embassies in Africa, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, who went by the nom de guerre Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was gunned down on the streets of Tehran by two assassins on a motorcycle on Aug. 7, the anniversary of the embassy attacks. He was killed along with his daughter, Miriam, the widow of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden.

    The attack was carried out by Israeli operatives at the behest of the United States,
     

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/13/world/middleeast/al-masri-abdullah-qaeda-dead.html

    If Westerners are just as good as Israelis at this kind of "wet work", why did Trump contract it out to Mossad? Most CIA officers nowadays have never left their desks in Langley and if given this kind of assignment would be on the phone alleging war crimes (why wasn't al-Masri arrested and given a proper trial?) and leaking to the NY Times faster than you could say "Obama's your uncle." When was the last time the CIA had officers that could insert themselves into an enemy capital, successfully carry out an assassination and disappear into the night without a trace like this?

    Replies: @Johann Ricke, @Alden

    When was the last time the CIA had officers that could insert themselves into an enemy capital, successfully carry out an assassination and disappear into the night without a trace like this?

    You mean Jason Bourne wasn’t based on a real person? It’s actually kind of amusing. Even the most proficient Soviet assassins came off as somewhat amateurish, and they came from a post-October Revolution tradition of stone killers with a long record of efficiently dispatching, within the state, whomever the reigning officials wanted eliminated. Further, their overseas operations were in free societies where even foreigners weren’t routinely watched on a day-to-day basis. But somehow the CIA, with the American preference for kid gloves in non-war settings, is going to coolly put someone down in the middle of a totalitarian society (where everyone has a minder of some kind, especially foreigners), execute a clean hit and extricate him from that operation without a scratch on him.

    That’s why they call it the movies. Jason Bourne* is the fantasy of the CIA. Walter Mitty is its reality.

    * This excludes situations like Escobar’s apprehension, where the foreign government was friendly (and a recipient of significant US aid) and IIRC foreign government operatives were literally on the American payroll in an above board fashion. And it wasn’t the CIA that took Escobar down. Even the DEA operated at a remove from the locals, who carried out the operation.

  163. @dfordoom
    @Alden


    The hunting Karla series is great too. Although very sympathetic to the communists.
     
    Really? Early le Carre always came across to me as rabidly anti-communist. You can be rabidly anti-communist and still be no fan of the United States.

    It's certainly true that le Carre tried to make his spies real people. Including the Soviet spies. They have real motivations rather than being melodrama villains. You could argue that he hated communism but was still capable of seeing convinced communists as sincere people doing what they perceived to be their duty.

    You see that in quite a bit of British spy fiction of the 60s. Not just books but movies and TV series. In the superb Callan TV series the Soviet master-spy Richmond is a complex and fairly sympathetic character but he's still the Bad Guy. And in Callan the methods of the British Secret Service are just as ruthless and brutal as the methods of the KGB. I think the point being made (and maybe the point le Carre was trying to make) is that in the spy game both sides include vicious psychopaths and both sides include sincere people doing their duty as they see it, and both sides include misguided idiots.

    Replies: @Wielgus, @sb

    He was anti-Communist, certainly in his books of the 1960s and 1970s. (I have not read his later work.) However, a certain resentment of Britain’s decline in the world shows through, as does the amorality of espionage. British agents who are now seen as a liability are left to their fate, like Leiser in The Looking Glass War. Ricki Tarr in TTSS is both a psychopath and not out of place. In the same book Alleline, the one high-up in the Circus who admires the Americans, is partly responsible for the biggest security breach of all. Also Smiley interrogates Karla when the latter is arrested in India and his line is essentially that neither he nor Karla really serve worthwhile causes – he makes no attempt to sell “the West” to Karla but tries to unsell Karla’s own cause and point out that he stands a good chance of being shot if he is repatriated to the Soviet Union. He gets nowhere and Karla takes his cigarette lighter or case which is engraved with a message from Smiley’s adulterous wife Ann. Smiley later reflects on that meeting and decides Karla is a fanatic and that will bring him down. But Smiley himself is so far from being a fanatic as to have no obvious belief system at all.

    The most sympathetic character in that novel, the betrayed Jim Prideaux, is thoroughly anti-Communist but sees the USA as consisting of “greedy fools fouling up their inheritance”.

    • Agree: dfordoom
  164. @Peter D. Bredon
    @Art Deco

    "How about dropping out of school at age 15?"

    Not many HS dropouts speak flawless Russian.

    Replies: @Alden, @Art Deco, @Wielgus

    There has been some discussion and speculation about just how well he spoke Russian, and when he learned it. He took a Russian proficiency test in the Marines, did badly but had a basic knowledge of the language. The Warren Commission apparently asked whether he had ever studied the language at the US Army language school in Monterey, California but I don’t know whether he had or even if the question was answered.

  165. @dfordoom
    @Alden


    The hunting Karla series is great too. Although very sympathetic to the communists.
     
    Really? Early le Carre always came across to me as rabidly anti-communist. You can be rabidly anti-communist and still be no fan of the United States.

    It's certainly true that le Carre tried to make his spies real people. Including the Soviet spies. They have real motivations rather than being melodrama villains. You could argue that he hated communism but was still capable of seeing convinced communists as sincere people doing what they perceived to be their duty.

    You see that in quite a bit of British spy fiction of the 60s. Not just books but movies and TV series. In the superb Callan TV series the Soviet master-spy Richmond is a complex and fairly sympathetic character but he's still the Bad Guy. And in Callan the methods of the British Secret Service are just as ruthless and brutal as the methods of the KGB. I think the point being made (and maybe the point le Carre was trying to make) is that in the spy game both sides include vicious psychopaths and both sides include sincere people doing their duty as they see it, and both sides include misguided idiots.

    Replies: @Wielgus, @sb

    Spot on .
    Many Americans that I’ve met are rather inclined to think that being anti communist ( anti Soviet , anti PRC etc ) means that you must be pro USA by definition .

    Not necessarily so

    By the way I was a little surprised that Mr Sailor has nor read much of le Carre – I would have thought that he would be his cup of tea ( so to speak ). Len Deighton is pretty good too and maybe more readable
    Cultural differences I guess . Then again I’ve never finished a Tom Clancy novel

    • Replies: @Wielgus
    @sb

    In the film Missing, clearly meant to be Chile in 1973, one of the coup soldiers says "f$$k Americans" even though he is part of an anti-Communist coup backed and probably orchestrated by the USA. It is of course true that he is too low-level to have got the memo.
    Bin Laden and indeed the Iranian leadership would tick both boxes - anti-Communist and anti-USA.

    , @dfordoom
    @sb


    By the way I was a little surprised that Mr Sailor has nor read much of le Carre – I would have thought that he would be his cup of tea ( so to speak ). Len Deighton is pretty good too and maybe more readable
    Cultural differences I guess .
     
    I think so. I think that any American reader is going to miss a lot of the nuances in le Carre's books. And I'm not being snarky about Americans or about Steve. But to appreciate le Carre you have to have be fairly thoroughly familiar with the peculiar position of postwar Britain, a former Great Power finding itself with no significant rôle to play in the new postwar political order. You also have to be able to put yourself into the minds of people who thought they'd won a war only to find that they'd lost their empire and their rôle in the world and were now the poor relations who were totally dependent on their rich cousins and they then discovered that their rich cousins despised them. No American can truly understand the psychology of postwar Britain.

    To appreciate le Carre you also have to understand that class in Britain is entirely different from class in the US. Le Carre takes it for granted that his readers understand the subtleties of the British class system.

    For an American Len Deighton is probably going to be much more approachable. His books are just as intelligent and subtle as le Carre's but you don't need as much specifically British cultural background information.

    Then again I’ve never finished a Tom Clancy novel
     
    Nor have I. I suspect he's a bit like le Carre in reverse - a non-American will find him a bit bewildering.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Art Deco

  166. @sb
    @dfordoom

    Spot on .
    Many Americans that I've met are rather inclined to think that being anti communist ( anti Soviet , anti PRC etc ) means that you must be pro USA by definition .

    Not necessarily so

    By the way I was a little surprised that Mr Sailor has nor read much of le Carre - I would have thought that he would be his cup of tea ( so to speak ). Len Deighton is pretty good too and maybe more readable
    Cultural differences I guess . Then again I've never finished a Tom Clancy novel

    Replies: @Wielgus, @dfordoom

    In the film Missing, clearly meant to be Chile in 1973, one of the coup soldiers says “f$$k Americans” even though he is part of an anti-Communist coup backed and probably orchestrated by the USA. It is of course true that he is too low-level to have got the memo.
    Bin Laden and indeed the Iranian leadership would tick both boxes – anti-Communist and anti-USA.

  167. @sb
    @dfordoom

    Spot on .
    Many Americans that I've met are rather inclined to think that being anti communist ( anti Soviet , anti PRC etc ) means that you must be pro USA by definition .

    Not necessarily so

    By the way I was a little surprised that Mr Sailor has nor read much of le Carre - I would have thought that he would be his cup of tea ( so to speak ). Len Deighton is pretty good too and maybe more readable
    Cultural differences I guess . Then again I've never finished a Tom Clancy novel

    Replies: @Wielgus, @dfordoom

    By the way I was a little surprised that Mr Sailor has nor read much of le Carre – I would have thought that he would be his cup of tea ( so to speak ). Len Deighton is pretty good too and maybe more readable
    Cultural differences I guess .

    I think so. I think that any American reader is going to miss a lot of the nuances in le Carre’s books. And I’m not being snarky about Americans or about Steve. But to appreciate le Carre you have to have be fairly thoroughly familiar with the peculiar position of postwar Britain, a former Great Power finding itself with no significant rôle to play in the new postwar political order. You also have to be able to put yourself into the minds of people who thought they’d won a war only to find that they’d lost their empire and their rôle in the world and were now the poor relations who were totally dependent on their rich cousins and they then discovered that their rich cousins despised them. No American can truly understand the psychology of postwar Britain.

    To appreciate le Carre you also have to understand that class in Britain is entirely different from class in the US. Le Carre takes it for granted that his readers understand the subtleties of the British class system.

    For an American Len Deighton is probably going to be much more approachable. His books are just as intelligent and subtle as le Carre’s but you don’t need as much specifically British cultural background information.

    Then again I’ve never finished a Tom Clancy novel

    Nor have I. I suspect he’s a bit like le Carre in reverse – a non-American will find him a bit bewildering.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @dfordoom

    I've read Len Deighton's WWII novel "Bomber" in which everything that can go wrong with a massive firebombing raid on Germany does go wrong. It was good.

    Replies: @JackOH, @Mr. Anon

    , @Art Deco
    @dfordoom

    To appreciate le Carre you also have to understand that class in Britain is entirely different from class in the US. Le Carre takes it for granted that his readers understand the subtleties of the British class system.

    They chuffer interminably about who is and is not a gent and are anxious about their accents. They also have a decorative nobility. That aside, their social strata are about the same.

    Replies: @Wielgus

  168. @dfordoom
    @sb


    By the way I was a little surprised that Mr Sailor has nor read much of le Carre – I would have thought that he would be his cup of tea ( so to speak ). Len Deighton is pretty good too and maybe more readable
    Cultural differences I guess .
     
    I think so. I think that any American reader is going to miss a lot of the nuances in le Carre's books. And I'm not being snarky about Americans or about Steve. But to appreciate le Carre you have to have be fairly thoroughly familiar with the peculiar position of postwar Britain, a former Great Power finding itself with no significant rôle to play in the new postwar political order. You also have to be able to put yourself into the minds of people who thought they'd won a war only to find that they'd lost their empire and their rôle in the world and were now the poor relations who were totally dependent on their rich cousins and they then discovered that their rich cousins despised them. No American can truly understand the psychology of postwar Britain.

    To appreciate le Carre you also have to understand that class in Britain is entirely different from class in the US. Le Carre takes it for granted that his readers understand the subtleties of the British class system.

    For an American Len Deighton is probably going to be much more approachable. His books are just as intelligent and subtle as le Carre's but you don't need as much specifically British cultural background information.

    Then again I’ve never finished a Tom Clancy novel
     
    Nor have I. I suspect he's a bit like le Carre in reverse - a non-American will find him a bit bewildering.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Art Deco

    I’ve read Len Deighton’s WWII novel “Bomber” in which everything that can go wrong with a massive firebombing raid on Germany does go wrong. It was good.

    • Agree: Wielgus
    • Replies: @JackOH
    @Steve Sailer

    I read Bomber, too, and many other of Deighton's books. His sympathetic portrayal of both Germans and Englishmen is impressive, as is his detailed look at the hum-drum nuts and bolts of wartime mass killing and mass destruction.

    Is there a skilled novelist looking for subject matter who's able to work Unzian-type themes into a good page-turner?

    Replies: @Jim Don Bob

    , @Mr. Anon
    @Steve Sailer

    Bomber was the first novel written on a word processor.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_MT/ST

    Replies: @Wielgus, @YetAnotherAnon

  169. @Mr. Anon
    @Art Deco


    @dfordoom

    You’ve already referred to a country with a population of 63 million, $2.85 tn in annual domestic product, and a vigorous military as a ‘vassal state’. Somehow I get the idea that you and ‘reality’ aren’t on intimate terms.
     

    Burgundy was a powerful duchy in its day, and yet - a vassal state. A lot of Brits thought of themselves as a 'vassal state'. John Le Carre was not alone in giving vent to that opinion. If you're going to act as a know-it-all, you should really try knowing some things, you yammering idiot.

    Replies: @Art Deco

    Burgundy was a powerful duchy in its day, and yet – a vassal state. A lot of Brits thought of themselves as a ‘vassal state’. John Le Carre was not alone in giving vent to that opinion. If you’re going to act as a know-it-all, you should really try knowing some things, you yammering idiot.

    You’ve conflated two meanings of the word ‘vassal’.

    That some bloc of Brits in your imagination have adjudged their country a ‘vassal state’ is of no account. It would be of no account if they actually existed. It’s a silly idea.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    @Art Deco


    You’ve conflated two meanings of the word ‘vassal’.
     
    No I've only used the one. Whether they are or not is immaterial. A lot of Brits - well placed and educated Brits too - seem to think they were.

    Replies: @Johann Ricke

  170. @dfordoom
    @sb


    By the way I was a little surprised that Mr Sailor has nor read much of le Carre – I would have thought that he would be his cup of tea ( so to speak ). Len Deighton is pretty good too and maybe more readable
    Cultural differences I guess .
     
    I think so. I think that any American reader is going to miss a lot of the nuances in le Carre's books. And I'm not being snarky about Americans or about Steve. But to appreciate le Carre you have to have be fairly thoroughly familiar with the peculiar position of postwar Britain, a former Great Power finding itself with no significant rôle to play in the new postwar political order. You also have to be able to put yourself into the minds of people who thought they'd won a war only to find that they'd lost their empire and their rôle in the world and were now the poor relations who were totally dependent on their rich cousins and they then discovered that their rich cousins despised them. No American can truly understand the psychology of postwar Britain.

    To appreciate le Carre you also have to understand that class in Britain is entirely different from class in the US. Le Carre takes it for granted that his readers understand the subtleties of the British class system.

    For an American Len Deighton is probably going to be much more approachable. His books are just as intelligent and subtle as le Carre's but you don't need as much specifically British cultural background information.

    Then again I’ve never finished a Tom Clancy novel
     
    Nor have I. I suspect he's a bit like le Carre in reverse - a non-American will find him a bit bewildering.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Art Deco

    To appreciate le Carre you also have to understand that class in Britain is entirely different from class in the US. Le Carre takes it for granted that his readers understand the subtleties of the British class system.

    They chuffer interminably about who is and is not a gent and are anxious about their accents. They also have a decorative nobility. That aside, their social strata are about the same.

    • Replies: @Wielgus
    @Art Deco

    It shows in lots of ways. In TTSS The Hungarian-born Toby Esterhase is presented as an example of artificial Englishness, with slight errors in his spoken English. He sends a card to another character with a picture of Leadenhall Street in London. Smiley is asked what the card means and he replies that Esterhase is foreign in lots of ways. Esterhase is not considered quite on the level of the others, and when interrogating Jim Prideaux Karla asks how anybody could trust a Hungarian, almost as if he is inviting the British to suspect Esterhase is the "mole".
    In The Looking Glass War, Fred Leiser, the agent sent into East Germany, is selected because he speaks German. He is given the codename "Mayfly", which suggests he has a short life expectancy. A naturalised Pole, Leiser is deemed expendable, perhaps even more so because he is not native to the isles.

  171. @Steve Sailer
    @dfordoom

    I've read Len Deighton's WWII novel "Bomber" in which everything that can go wrong with a massive firebombing raid on Germany does go wrong. It was good.

    Replies: @JackOH, @Mr. Anon

    I read Bomber, too, and many other of Deighton’s books. His sympathetic portrayal of both Germans and Englishmen is impressive, as is his detailed look at the hum-drum nuts and bolts of wartime mass killing and mass destruction.

    Is there a skilled novelist looking for subject matter who’s able to work Unzian-type themes into a good page-turner?

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    @JackOH

    This by LD on WW2 is quite good.

    https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Tears-Folly-Objective-World/dp/0007531176

    Replies: @Clyde

  172. @Art Deco
    @dfordoom

    To appreciate le Carre you also have to understand that class in Britain is entirely different from class in the US. Le Carre takes it for granted that his readers understand the subtleties of the British class system.

    They chuffer interminably about who is and is not a gent and are anxious about their accents. They also have a decorative nobility. That aside, their social strata are about the same.

    Replies: @Wielgus

    It shows in lots of ways. In TTSS The Hungarian-born Toby Esterhase is presented as an example of artificial Englishness, with slight errors in his spoken English. He sends a card to another character with a picture of Leadenhall Street in London. Smiley is asked what the card means and he replies that Esterhase is foreign in lots of ways. Esterhase is not considered quite on the level of the others, and when interrogating Jim Prideaux Karla asks how anybody could trust a Hungarian, almost as if he is inviting the British to suspect Esterhase is the “mole”.
    In The Looking Glass War, Fred Leiser, the agent sent into East Germany, is selected because he speaks German. He is given the codename “Mayfly”, which suggests he has a short life expectancy. A naturalised Pole, Leiser is deemed expendable, perhaps even more so because he is not native to the isles.

  173. Having read a few of his spy novels, I consider The Spy Who Came In From The Cold to be his best among those I read. One of the great all time first novels, just as Catch-22 was for Joseph Heller. I was impressed with the ending when I read it some 45 years ago. Rereading the first half recently, I am just impressed by the taut, understated style in which it written, with that old dry British manner that is no longer in fashion.

    I am in good company as Graham Greene considered it the best spy novel ever. He should know since his own The Human Factor is right up there with le Carre’s book.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @ivan


    I consider The Spy Who Came In From The Cold to be his best among those I read. One of the great all time first novels
     
    The Spy Who Came In From The Cold was le Carre's third novel. It was the third of the George Smiley novels and it was le Carre's second spy novel. A Call for the Dead (which is extremely good) was his first spy novel.

    Replies: @ivan

  174. @Art Deco
    @Mr. Anon

    Burgundy was a powerful duchy in its day, and yet – a vassal state. A lot of Brits thought of themselves as a ‘vassal state’. John Le Carre was not alone in giving vent to that opinion. If you’re going to act as a know-it-all, you should really try knowing some things, you yammering idiot.

    You've conflated two meanings of the word 'vassal'.

    That some bloc of Brits in your imagination have adjudged their country a 'vassal state' is of no account. It would be of no account if they actually existed. It's a silly idea.

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

    You’ve conflated two meanings of the word ‘vassal’.

    No I’ve only used the one. Whether they are or not is immaterial. A lot of Brits – well placed and educated Brits too – seem to think they were.

    • Replies: @Johann Ricke
    @Mr. Anon


    No I’ve only used the one. Whether they are or not is immaterial. A lot of Brits – well placed and educated Brits too – seem to think they were.
     
    Vassal states were a very different thing from the meaning that these unserious people have attached to the word "vassal". A vassal state had to dispatch hostages to the metropole. These were typically the heirs and other close kin of the rulers of the vassal states. The hostages were killed if these rulers failed to answer a summons to war on behalf of the metropole. Vassal states were often ordered to fight wars at the end of which their military forces were depleted, and the metropole moved to conquer them and annex them into the empire.

    These Brits are attaching a meaning to the word "vassal" that it has never meant in the history of any actual empire. They are using the word the way a child might call himself a slave because his parents require him to keep his room tidy or put his soiled clothing in the laundry basket.
  175. @Steve Sailer
    @dfordoom

    I've read Len Deighton's WWII novel "Bomber" in which everything that can go wrong with a massive firebombing raid on Germany does go wrong. It was good.

    Replies: @JackOH, @Mr. Anon

    Bomber was the first novel written on a word processor.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_MT/ST

    • Replies: @Wielgus
    @Mr. Anon

    The satirical magazine Private Eye alluded to his partiality for word processors, hinting that he let the word processors write his books. A little bit harsh...

    , @YetAnotherAnon
    @Mr. Anon

    "Bomber was the first novel written on a word processor."

    It's also the only Deighton book I've read more than once and have on my shelves.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bomber_%28novel%29

  176. @Bill B.
    @AKAHorace

    I liked The Honorable Schoolboy very much because it captured quite well places I have lived in: Hong Kong, Thailand and Cambodia. The book benefited from his talking to hardened expats and cynical locals in the region.

    His later books became increasingly dreary denunciations of Britain and the West. His later research became minimal.

    Like the infinitely better writer Graham Greene he purported to believe that vicious dictatorships were often no worse and perhaps even better than the corrupt and immoral white West.

    Replies: @AKAHorace, @David In TN

    I think I read one of le Carre’s books a long time ago. He took the “equivalence” theme–The West was just as bad as the East in the Cold War. If anything, the West was worse.

    The James Bond craze was on when le Carre began. The critics loved him for showing the espionage business was shabby little men doing shabby things.

  177. @Mike Tre
    @J.Ross

    That would be telling.

    Replies: @That Would Be Telling

    Officially, the FDA staff says the incidents of Bell’s palsy are within the norms you’d expect from a population that big, per their briefing document (go down to Event Materials, would also be interesting to see if this was discussed if you’re willing to sit through an 8 hours plus or minus meeting about biology and medicine few of us understands):

    [Discussion of the side effect profile in general, with numbers] The frequency of serious adverse events was low (<0.5%), without meaningful imbalances between study arms. Among non-serious unsolicited adverse events, there was a numerical imbalance of four cases of Bell’s palsy in the vaccine group compared with no cases in the placebo group, though the four cases in the vaccine group do not represent a frequency above that expected in the general population. Otherwise, there were no notable patterns or numerical imbalances between treatment groups for specific categories of non-serious adverse events (including other neurologic, neuro- inflammatory, and thrombotic events) that would suggest a causal relationship to BNT162b2 vaccine. With the exception of more frequent, generally mild to moderate reactogenicity in participants <55 years of age, the safety profile of BNT162b2 was generally similar across age groups, genders, ethnic and racial groups, participants with or without medical comorbidities, and participants with or without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection at enrollment.

    I suppose it’s not considered serious, or these cases of it weren’t because it often starts to resolve itself within three weeks according to Wikipedia, which hinted it can be caused by inflammation. The latter of course being an intended response from a vaccine.

    I myself am suspicious, but if limited to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine it’s probably academic for most people reading this, 50 million highest priority people in the US are supposed to get this vaccine under the current Operation Warp Speed (OWS) contingent contract, then Pfizer says they won’t have any more for us till the third quarter of 2021, but that might change. Given that Pfizer doesn’t have a good handle on their ability to manufacture it due to supply chain issues (maybe they should have joined OWS instead of treating it with disdain?), who knows when they’ll have more, or rather lots more doses for anyone to go beyond priority populations?

    Of course, with their planning on making 1.3 billion doses in 2021, this is not just a US issue, but those early doses to tens of millions of people will tell us if Bell’s palsy is a real side effect of this vaccine or not, and soon.

  178. @ivan
    Having read a few of his spy novels, I consider The Spy Who Came In From The Cold to be his best among those I read. One of the great all time first novels, just as Catch-22 was for Joseph Heller. I was impressed with the ending when I read it some 45 years ago. Rereading the first half recently, I am just impressed by the taut, understated style in which it written, with that old dry British manner that is no longer in fashion.

    I am in good company as Graham Greene considered it the best spy novel ever. He should know since his own The Human Factor is right up there with le Carre's book.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    I consider The Spy Who Came In From The Cold to be his best among those I read. One of the great all time first novels

    The Spy Who Came In From The Cold was le Carre’s third novel. It was the third of the George Smiley novels and it was le Carre’s second spy novel. A Call for the Dead (which is extremely good) was his first spy novel.

    • Replies: @ivan
    @dfordoom

    Thank you for the correction and recommendation.

  179. @Mr. Anon
    @Art Deco


    You’ve conflated two meanings of the word ‘vassal’.
     
    No I've only used the one. Whether they are or not is immaterial. A lot of Brits - well placed and educated Brits too - seem to think they were.

    Replies: @Johann Ricke

    No I’ve only used the one. Whether they are or not is immaterial. A lot of Brits – well placed and educated Brits too – seem to think they were.

    Vassal states were a very different thing from the meaning that these unserious people have attached to the word “vassal”. A vassal state had to dispatch hostages to the metropole. These were typically the heirs and other close kin of the rulers of the vassal states. The hostages were killed if these rulers failed to answer a summons to war on behalf of the metropole. Vassal states were often ordered to fight wars at the end of which their military forces were depleted, and the metropole moved to conquer them and annex them into the empire.

    These Brits are attaching a meaning to the word “vassal” that it has never meant in the history of any actual empire. They are using the word the way a child might call himself a slave because his parents require him to keep his room tidy or put his soiled clothing in the laundry basket.

  180. @Mr. Anon
    @Steve Sailer

    Bomber was the first novel written on a word processor.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_MT/ST

    Replies: @Wielgus, @YetAnotherAnon

    The satirical magazine Private Eye alluded to his partiality for word processors, hinting that he let the word processors write his books. A little bit harsh…

  181. @Alden
    @Franz

    In Europe the teams just use the name of the town I believe. Liberals need a cause to make a living. Soon the animal rights liberals will get tax payer grants to go after names like Bears Rams , Broncos etc.

    The San Francisco football team is the 49ers. That name if offensive to:

    1 The indigenous Indians who lived there before the Spanish.
    2. The Mexicans from whom American stole California.
    3. Everyone who arrived before 1847 and after 1850.

    Replies: @YetAnotherAnon

    It’s a good job the Gold Rush wasn’t in 1869.

  182. @Mr. Anon
    @Steve Sailer

    Bomber was the first novel written on a word processor.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_MT/ST

    Replies: @Wielgus, @YetAnotherAnon

    “Bomber was the first novel written on a word processor.”

    It’s also the only Deighton book I’ve read more than once and have on my shelves.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bomber_%28novel%29

  183. @Jack D
    @utu


    Al Qaeda’s second-highest leader, accused of being one of the masterminds of the deadly 1998 attacks on American embassies in Africa, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, who went by the nom de guerre Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was gunned down on the streets of Tehran by two assassins on a motorcycle on Aug. 7, the anniversary of the embassy attacks. He was killed along with his daughter, Miriam, the widow of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden.

    The attack was carried out by Israeli operatives at the behest of the United States,
     

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/13/world/middleeast/al-masri-abdullah-qaeda-dead.html

    If Westerners are just as good as Israelis at this kind of "wet work", why did Trump contract it out to Mossad? Most CIA officers nowadays have never left their desks in Langley and if given this kind of assignment would be on the phone alleging war crimes (why wasn't al-Masri arrested and given a proper trial?) and leaking to the NY Times faster than you could say "Obama's your uncle." When was the last time the CIA had officers that could insert themselves into an enemy capital, successfully carry out an assassination and disappear into the night without a trace like this?

    Replies: @Johann Ricke, @Alden

    Tony Mendez the CIA artist model maker craftsman master creator of disguise masks who infiltrated himself and other CIA operatives into Iran in January 1979. They rescued 6 American state department employees who managed to avoid capture by the Iranians and hide out in the Canadian embassy. Mendez created a movie company and brought them out through the airport on a regular flight forged passports and everything

    His operation was worthy of the best Israeli operation.

    • Replies: @Abolish_public_education
    @Alden

    One of those escapees had been a friend of mine (years earlier).

    , @Jack D
    @Alden

    Tony Mendez was brave and great but the Canadians are really the ones who deserve the most credit.

  184. @James O'Meara
    Let no one speak ill of the dead, of course.

    Watching Tinker Tailor was one of the great pleasures of my early twenties (a sort of Anti-Brideshead); later caught up with the earlier Burton film, also great.

    That said, Le C. always seemed to be one of those limey shitlibs, having convinced himself, and trying to convince the rest of us, that the postwar Britain of poverty, rations, dirty dishwater, aversion to bathing, rotting teeth, patched clothing, was proof of how much better, how much more real or moral or something, they were, compared to those vulgar Americans. Hence the ramshackle Circus building, Roy Blunt the "shopworn great White hope", etc. And for that reason, the Soviets had to be better than we were led to believe; after all, they were almost as shabby as the Brits!

    If Patton concluded that we fought the wrong enemy, Le C. insisted we got it right the first time.

    Le C. was thus a sort of late Angry Young Man, whose only new trick was to apply the technique not to marriage or music hall comedy or other institutions, but to the spy game (write what you know). Thus, he created the anti-Bond series.

    Len Deighton dealt in much the same wares, but his novels rose out of a genuine, Orwellian affection for the average bloke, rather than a reactionary anti-Americanism. I don't recall much of his Hook, Line and Sinker series, but I vaguely recall it as quite as good as Tinker Tailor.

    As you might imagine, he was quite a supporter of the poor, downtrodden Jews. The supposedly sickening double cross in Cold (SPOILER) is that Leamas comes to quite like the Jew Fielder but his mission turns out to require him to falsely implicate him to save the Stasi guy, whose true evil is being antisemitic (being a commie would, of course, make Le C. favor him!)

    I recently made the mistake of trying to read "the first Smiley novel," Call for the Dead, and gave up halfway through; the anti-anti-Semitism was sickening.

    Better than any Smiley book is Derek Marlowe's A Dandy in Aspic (despite the silly title). Marlowe and his roommates (including Tom Stoppard) had a bet going as to who would be the first to make a splash, and the success of Cold led Marlowe to try his hand at the spy novel game, with excellent results. Both sides are pricks, but because that's human nature, not knee-jerk anti-anti-communism. The book was recently republished, with a Stoppard intro, and I review it, along with the equally remarkable film (Laurence Harvey, Tom Courtney, Mia Farrow) here: https://counter-currents.com/2016/12/passing-the-buck-spy-dandy-ubermensch/

    Replies: @dfordoom, @YetAnotherAnon

    “Len Deighton dealt in much the same wares, but his novels rose out of a genuine, Orwellian affection for the average bloke”

    Genuine affection for the average bloke is not something le Carre could ever be accused of. I’m trying to think of a sympathetic portrait of a working or lower-middle class Brit who’s neither copper nor criminal in the whole of his works.

  185. @Mr. Anon
    @Houston 1992

    They also made Peter Gwilliam a homosexual. I thought the 2011 movie was lousy for a variety of reasons. Not just the PC retconning as above, but also that they stripped a lot of the dialogue out of it - dialogue that was actually in the book. It's a very talky-book. Instead they made it very moody and atmospheric. Oh, and of course dark and edgy (the Russians didn't just kill Boris - they disemboweled him!). Everything has to be dark and edgy nowadays. It's trite. They also changed Czechoslovakia to Hungary for some reason. And Colin Firth is just kind of a blank - he doesn't work as the charismatic Bill Haydon. I found it to be a muddled mess.

    Replies: @Alden, @Houston 1992

    I didn’t notice that Peter was made into a homosexual. In the books he was the ladies man, a master seducer with several marriages.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    @Alden


    I didn’t notice that Peter was made into a homosexual. In the books he was the ladies man, a master seducer with several marriages.
     
    It was subtle, but unambiguous - they show him coming home to a dude. As you say, in the book and the miniseries, Gwilliam was portrayed as a ladies man and a man of action, not a nance. It was a slap in the face of the novel.
  186. @Bill H
    Interesting how many people say, "I only read one of his books." I read two of them, or tried to. I didn't finish either one. Bleccch.

    Unlike some other authors. Patrick O'Brian for instance. Not only have I read all of his books, I've read all of them four times, will read them again, and have toured HMS Surprise, twice, which is in San Diego.

    Replies: @JMcG

    I can’t tell you how much I enjoy getting lost in the world of Aubrey/Maturin. I’ve read them all four or five times now. Someone had left a copy of Master and Commander in a beach house I rented 25 years ago. I picked it up on a rainy afternoon and it was off to the races for me.
    The Surprise used to be the Rose, which cruised as a tall ship on the east coast. I suppose after using it for the movie, it was left on the west coast. I wonder did they sail it there?
    Good luck to you now, and Merry Christmas from a fellow devotee.

  187. @Anonymouse
    @Jack D

    >I suspect that arriviste Jews reminded Cornwell (funny that the man took a French pen name – he despised his fellow Brits almost as much as he despised Jews) too much of his hated father.

    Typical projection on the part of one of the many rabid jew haters on this forum. In fact, Le Carre was extremely philosemitic. Check out this in depth interview of Le Carre from 1998.

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/010198/lecarre1.html

    Here's an excerpt from the interview -

    "I knew nothing of the Middle East, but then I have always seen my novels as opportunities for self-education," he says. "Investing my ignorance in my central character -- a leftist English actress -- and making a virtue of her naivety, I set off on a journey of self-enlightenment, living my character, leaning with each breeze -- now toward Israel, now away from it -- in a series of schizophrenic visits to Amman, Damascus, Beirut, South Lebanon and later Tunis. Then back to Israel, across the Allenby Bridge or by way of Cyprus."

    Israel, he says, "rocked me to my boots. I had arrived expecting whatever European sentimentalists expect -- a re-creation of the better quarters of Hampstead [in London]. Or old Danzig, or Vienna or Berlin. The strains of Mendelssohn issuing from open windows of a sumer's evening. Happy kids in seamen's hats clattering to school with violin cases in their hands..."

    Instead, what he found was "the most extraordinary carnival of human variety that I have ever set eyes on, a nation in the process of re-assembling itself from the shards of its past, now Oriental, now Western, now secular, now religious, but always anxiously moralizing about itself, criticizing itself with Maoist ferocity, a nation crackling with debate, rediscovering its past while it fought for its future."

    "No nation on earth," he says passionately, " was more deserving of peace -- or more condemned to fight for it."

    Replies: @Art Deco, @kaganovitch, @Bardon Kaldian

    Rabid? You used the word “rabid”?

    Don’t use this word ……

  188. @Art Deco
    @xc

    Lee Harvey Oswald, part of a CIA or ONI program which seeded fake defectors into the Soviet Union in the late 1950s. He stayed 2.5 years. Not sure how long the others spent there.

    Was his inability to hold a job for periods of time not readily measurable in weeks also an act? How about dropping out of school at age 15? Or showing up at work carrying a package of 'curtain rods'?

    Replies: @Peter D. Bredon, @prosa123

    Not only did Oswald fail to complete high school, he attended a total of 12 different schools. His longest stay was three years at an elementary school in Fort Worth. The shortest, one month at a Lutheran school in Manhattan.

    • Replies: @Wielgus
    @prosa123

    Many "army brats" have rather similar schooling. I was one and changed schools about once a year until the last few years. I wouldn't say 12 in my case but maybe seven or eight. In some ways Oswald's background was much like that of many low-level enablers of the US Empire, which I suspect he was at some level.

    Replies: @Art Deco

  189. @Alden
    @Jack D

    Tony Mendez the CIA artist model maker craftsman master creator of disguise masks who infiltrated himself and other CIA operatives into Iran in January 1979. They rescued 6 American state department employees who managed to avoid capture by the Iranians and hide out in the Canadian embassy. Mendez created a movie company and brought them out through the airport on a regular flight forged passports and everything

    His operation was worthy of the best Israeli operation.

    Replies: @Abolish_public_education, @Jack D

    One of those escapees had been a friend of mine (years earlier).

  190. @JackOH
    @Steve Sailer

    I read Bomber, too, and many other of Deighton's books. His sympathetic portrayal of both Germans and Englishmen is impressive, as is his detailed look at the hum-drum nuts and bolts of wartime mass killing and mass destruction.

    Is there a skilled novelist looking for subject matter who's able to work Unzian-type themes into a good page-turner?

    Replies: @Jim Don Bob

    This by LD on WW2 is quite good.

    • Agree: JackOH
    • Replies: @Clyde
    @Jim Don Bob

    Les Deighton was a lower case Ian Fleming but he was still very good. I could absorb the early James Bond films but Ipcress File left me confused. The indomitable Michael Caine who has continued in Batman films etc while Sean Connery did not/

    Replies: @Wielgus

  191. @Alden
    @Jack D

    Tony Mendez the CIA artist model maker craftsman master creator of disguise masks who infiltrated himself and other CIA operatives into Iran in January 1979. They rescued 6 American state department employees who managed to avoid capture by the Iranians and hide out in the Canadian embassy. Mendez created a movie company and brought them out through the airport on a regular flight forged passports and everything

    His operation was worthy of the best Israeli operation.

    Replies: @Abolish_public_education, @Jack D

    Tony Mendez was brave and great but the Canadians are really the ones who deserve the most credit.

  192. @Jack D
    @slumber_j

    Tuition must have been cheaper in those days. I would have needed truckloads of Beefeaters and mountains of prunes to pay my kid's private school tuition.

    Replies: @kaganovitch, @Alden

    If you and your crew went out a couple nights a month and hi jacked a truckload of Beef Eaters school tuition would have been just pocket change.

  193. @ThurstonBT
    John le Carré/David Cornwell's works seem heavily influenced by the agnst produced by his MI5 & MI6 work. This agnst led to his application of moral equivalence to the clash of KGB/GRU and the western intelligence services. Given what is now become known since the fall of the USSR and the gradual die-off of Soviet apologists, I suspect that future will treat le Carré with increasing unkindness.

    Replies: @Alden

    His early life wasn’t easy. His mother fled when he was 5. She stayed away. Her family stayed away. One wonders why. Dad Ronnie wasn’t solely a fraudster. He was with the violent organized crime Kray twins. Could be Ronnie planned to kill Olive for insurance money.

    LeCarre was well taken care of by grandparents. In autobiographical Perfect Spy maternal uncle stood in for paternal grandparents. But Magnus Pym was miserable at maternal uncle’s. In Perfect Spy criminal Dad sent Magnus to Berne to assist in some crime. And told Magnus to stay in Berne because of trouble with police in England.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @Alden

    His father packed him off to an English boarding school when he was five. English boarding schools are not warm and fuzzy places. It's no wonder that the boys turn queer at these schools - it's the only kind of love and affection that's available. I think what saved Cornwell is that he had his brother with him.

    Replies: @Alden

  194. @Alden
    @Mr. Anon

    I didn’t notice that Peter was made into a homosexual. In the books he was the ladies man, a master seducer with several marriages.

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

    I didn’t notice that Peter was made into a homosexual. In the books he was the ladies man, a master seducer with several marriages.

    It was subtle, but unambiguous – they show him coming home to a dude. As you say, in the book and the miniseries, Gwilliam was portrayed as a ladies man and a man of action, not a nance. It was a slap in the face of the novel.

  195. @Reg Cæsar
    @JohnnyWalker123

    What will they rename Ohio?

    Interestingly, of the state's 75 largest cities, only Cuyahoga Falls (#17) and Sandusky (#64) have Indian names. In eleven states, the largest city's name is aboriginal. Ohio's largest city (not metro) is named for a guy the aboriginals have in their sights.

    As for the Tribe, the obvious choices would be to go back to the Napoleons or the Spiders. Anything else would be craven.


    https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-46a8spxhjq/images/stencil/1280x1280/products/2890/3223/RG_2819_042__23398__26049.1480784963.JPG?c=2

    https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/517FIVgMVxL._SY346_.jpg

    Replies: @Pericles, @HammerJack, @james wilson, @Clyde

    Major content. Thanks Reg!

  196. @Jim Don Bob
    @JackOH

    This by LD on WW2 is quite good.

    https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Tears-Folly-Objective-World/dp/0007531176

    Replies: @Clyde

    Les Deighton was a lower case Ian Fleming but he was still very good. I could absorb the early James Bond films but Ipcress File left me confused. The indomitable Michael Caine who has continued in Batman films etc while Sean Connery did not/

    • Replies: @Wielgus
    @Clyde

    The film was not much like the novel in the case of Ipcress.

  197. Ive read several books. I’ll miss him very much.

  198. @Anonymous
    @Jack D

    Police officers in the UK's London Metropolitan Police Force, apparently went deep undercover in order to infiltrate such dire threats to the UK's national security as the 'Animal Liberation Army' and various environmentalist groups (!) did manage to 'talk the talk' and 'walk the walk' so well as to have had a string of kids with the gullible female leftwing fools which infest those movements.
    Hat tip: Google 'Mark Kennedy'.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Wielgus

    One undercover female police officer infiltrated protests disguised as a clown. She was really into it. Perhaps being a clown was not all acting…

  199. @Clyde
    @Jim Don Bob

    Les Deighton was a lower case Ian Fleming but he was still very good. I could absorb the early James Bond films but Ipcress File left me confused. The indomitable Michael Caine who has continued in Batman films etc while Sean Connery did not/

    Replies: @Wielgus

    The film was not much like the novel in the case of Ipcress.

  200. @Alden
    @ThurstonBT

    His early life wasn’t easy. His mother fled when he was 5. She stayed away. Her family stayed away. One wonders why. Dad Ronnie wasn’t solely a fraudster. He was with the violent organized crime Kray twins. Could be Ronnie planned to kill Olive for insurance money.

    LeCarre was well taken care of by grandparents. In autobiographical Perfect Spy maternal uncle stood in for paternal grandparents. But Magnus Pym was miserable at maternal uncle’s. In Perfect Spy criminal Dad sent Magnus to Berne to assist in some crime. And told Magnus to stay in Berne because of trouble with police in England.

    Replies: @Jack D

    His father packed him off to an English boarding school when he was five. English boarding schools are not warm and fuzzy places. It’s no wonder that the boys turn queer at these schools – it’s the only kind of love and affection that’s available. I think what saved Cornwell is that he had his brother with him.

    • Replies: @Alden
    @Jack D

    Are you sure he was 5? Even back then boarding school began at 8. Even so, School was about 35 weeks a year. His home base was paternal grandparents. The way he described it in Perfect Spy, boarding school was heaven compared to the prison run by maternal uncle.

    Many people prefer boarding school to home. There are kids who suggest it.

  201. I read two; Tinker Tailor and Came in from the cold; both of them glamorized communists as caring, well-meaning souls and characterized British patriots as cynical hypocrites. Corrosive stuff.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @West reanimator


    I read two; Tinker Tailor and Came in from the cold; both of them glamorized communists as caring, well-meaning souls
     
    Le Carré was rabidly anti-communist but he was interested in creating characters who were real people with real motivations, rather than cardboard cut-out heroes or villains. He wanted to explore the reasons why people would become communists.

    Replies: @utu

  202. @Jack D
    @Alden

    His father packed him off to an English boarding school when he was five. English boarding schools are not warm and fuzzy places. It's no wonder that the boys turn queer at these schools - it's the only kind of love and affection that's available. I think what saved Cornwell is that he had his brother with him.

    Replies: @Alden

    Are you sure he was 5? Even back then boarding school began at 8. Even so, School was about 35 weeks a year. His home base was paternal grandparents. The way he described it in Perfect Spy, boarding school was heaven compared to the prison run by maternal uncle.

    Many people prefer boarding school to home. There are kids who suggest it.

  203. @dfordoom
    @ivan


    I consider The Spy Who Came In From The Cold to be his best among those I read. One of the great all time first novels
     
    The Spy Who Came In From The Cold was le Carre's third novel. It was the third of the George Smiley novels and it was le Carre's second spy novel. A Call for the Dead (which is extremely good) was his first spy novel.

    Replies: @ivan

    Thank you for the correction and recommendation.

  204. This is not the place, and certainly not the time. But, I’ve just learned that a brilliant man, whose books have brought me so much delight, had passed away- in February this year, and I hadn’t noticed. Now, George Steiner, you know (if you exist at all), whether this is a resting place or a stage in liberation.

    A life well lived.

    [MORE]

  205. @West reanimator
    I read two; Tinker Tailor and Came in from the cold; both of them glamorized communists as caring, well-meaning souls and characterized British patriots as cynical hypocrites. Corrosive stuff.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    I read two; Tinker Tailor and Came in from the cold; both of them glamorized communists as caring, well-meaning souls

    Le Carré was rabidly anti-communist but he was interested in creating characters who were real people with real motivations, rather than cardboard cut-out heroes or villains. He wanted to explore the reasons why people would become communists.

    • Replies: @utu
    @dfordoom

    Le Carré was rabidly anti-communist - An example of his rabid anti-communism, please. I want to know what is rabid on the committee sympathizer scale.

  206. @Wielgus
    @dfordoom

    Fleming's Bond novels are pure escapism for the most part. Le Carré describes a more authentic if humdrum world.
    I have never got into Deighton's spy novels - he is better writing about WW2.

    Replies: @Etruscan Film Star

    Len Deighton’s two Cold War espionage trilogies (Berlin Game, Mexico Set, and London Match and Spy Hook, Spy Line, and Spy Sinker) display narrative skill and snappy dialogue, leavened with local color. Unlike le Carré, he didn’t catch the eye of many “literary” critics and had to settle for a large and devoted readership. I suspect his reputation will outstay that of le Carré.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    @Etruscan Film Star


    Len Deighton’s two Cold War espionage trilogies (Berlin Game, Mexico Set, and London Match and Spy Hook, Spy Line, and Spy Sinker) display narrative skill and snappy dialogue, leavened with local color.
     
    It is actually a trilogy of trilogies ending with Faith, Hope, and Charity, all beautifully written.
  207. @dfordoom
    @West reanimator


    I read two; Tinker Tailor and Came in from the cold; both of them glamorized communists as caring, well-meaning souls
     
    Le Carré was rabidly anti-communist but he was interested in creating characters who were real people with real motivations, rather than cardboard cut-out heroes or villains. He wanted to explore the reasons why people would become communists.

    Replies: @utu

    Le Carré was rabidly anti-communist – An example of his rabid anti-communism, please. I want to know what is rabid on the committee sympathizer scale.

  208. @Prester John
    Guinness was superb as Smiley in TTSS.

    Replies: @Kylie, @Pierre de Craon

    I might agree that Guinness was superb, at least in the sense that he didn’t undermine the effectiveness of the TV production in which he appeared, but as a representation of Le Carré’s character, Guinness was a falsifier: never recessive or anonymous enough, frequently too coy by half. The author himself admitted as much in several interviews, and the actor’s influence drove Le Carré to make an utter mess of Smiley’s People—among other things, the book is at least a third too short and far too abrupt in its plot and character development—because Smiley, his central character, was no longer truly his own creation.

    There is an unbroken thread of consistent character development for the “definitive form” of George Smiley. It excludes the prentice work of Call for the Dead and A Murder of Quality and properly begins with the Smiley of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, where he appears in a critical supporting role. Recognizably the same man next appears in The Looking Glass War, there as the primary background character. Those who knew the man from these two novels were not surprised by the character who then dominated Tinker, Tailor from the front and The Honourable Schoolboy essentially from the rear. Then comes Smiley’s People, where his “true” self seems either to be having an identity crisis or to have done a life swap with a physical duplicate, à la du Maurier’s novel The Scapegoat.

    For the rest, the Smiley who turns up in The Secret Pilgrim is a shameless impostor and ought to have been an embarrassment to the author. As for the last appearance of a character bearing the Smiley name, in A Legacy of Spies, I can’t comment because I have not yet read the book, my old eyes no longer being the serviceable instruments they once were.

    As for actors, I think that two have conveyed a sense of Le Carré’s Smiley with notably greater precision than Guinness. Oddly, they appear in films based on the novels where the pre-canonical Smiley is still plainly a work in progress. In The Deadly Affair, based on Call for the Dead, James Mason plays Smiley—albeit renamed Charles Dobbs in the film—with the appropriate physical and psychological awkwardness that Guinness’s characterization utterly eschews. In addition, no other Smiley communicates so well the character’s frustrated passion for his beautiful but inappropriate wife, Anne. Guinness makes a hash of the Anne scenes and seems more embarrassed than frustrated at how others mock his besottedness.

    Overall, the very best Smiley, I think, is Denholm Elliott in the BBC adaptation of A Murder of Quality. His physical appearance is younger and rather less awkward than one might think ideal, but he alone plays Smiley in such a way as to give everyone he investigates or suspects the sense that he, Smiley, is too innocuous to do his target any harm. As this is the character’s core attribute, his ace in the hole, getting it right trumps all else. No other Smiley even approaches the Le Carré Smiley’s ability to fly under the radar whenever he wishes to do so.

  209. @prosa123
    @Art Deco

    Not only did Oswald fail to complete high school, he attended a total of 12 different schools. His longest stay was three years at an elementary school in Fort Worth. The shortest, one month at a Lutheran school in Manhattan.

    Replies: @Wielgus

    Many “army brats” have rather similar schooling. I was one and changed schools about once a year until the last few years. I wouldn’t say 12 in my case but maybe seven or eight. In some ways Oswald’s background was much like that of many low-level enablers of the US Empire, which I suspect he was at some level.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    @Wielgus

    . In some ways Oswald’s background was much like that of many low-level enablers of the US Empire, which I suspect he was at some level.

    This is insane. There is no 'US Empire' except in your imagination. There are no enablers. Oswald did nothing useful with his abbreviated life, in large part because he was a narcissistic prick with poorly regulated emotions.

    Replies: @Wielgus

  210. @Wielgus
    @prosa123

    Many "army brats" have rather similar schooling. I was one and changed schools about once a year until the last few years. I wouldn't say 12 in my case but maybe seven or eight. In some ways Oswald's background was much like that of many low-level enablers of the US Empire, which I suspect he was at some level.

    Replies: @Art Deco

    . In some ways Oswald’s background was much like that of many low-level enablers of the US Empire, which I suspect he was at some level.

    This is insane. There is no ‘US Empire’ except in your imagination. There are no enablers. Oswald did nothing useful with his abbreviated life, in large part because he was a narcissistic prick with poorly regulated emotions.

    • Thanks: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @Wielgus
    @Art Deco

    Sure. I'm insane. In the past six months I have lived in two geographically distant parts of Europe. Yet they had one thing in common. There were US military facilities a short distance away from each.
    And this is not remarkable. The non-Empire has hundreds of military facilities outside its own borders.
    There are plenty of narcissistic pricks with poorly regulated emotions in the US armed forces. Every so often on Okinawa, for example, they create scandal by raping local women and girls but despite this, nobody actually makes the non-Empire leave.

    Replies: @Art Deco

  211. @Etruscan Film Star
    @Wielgus

    Len Deighton's two Cold War espionage trilogies (Berlin Game, Mexico Set, and London Match and Spy Hook, Spy Line, and Spy Sinker) display narrative skill and snappy dialogue, leavened with local color. Unlike le Carré, he didn't catch the eye of many "literary" critics and had to settle for a large and devoted readership. I suspect his reputation will outstay that of le Carré.

    Replies: @Jim Don Bob

    Len Deighton’s two Cold War espionage trilogies (Berlin Game, Mexico Set, and London Match and Spy Hook, Spy Line, and Spy Sinker) display narrative skill and snappy dialogue, leavened with local color.

    It is actually a trilogy of trilogies ending with Faith, Hope, and Charity, all beautifully written.

  212. @Art Deco
    @Wielgus

    . In some ways Oswald’s background was much like that of many low-level enablers of the US Empire, which I suspect he was at some level.

    This is insane. There is no 'US Empire' except in your imagination. There are no enablers. Oswald did nothing useful with his abbreviated life, in large part because he was a narcissistic prick with poorly regulated emotions.

    Replies: @Wielgus

    Sure. I’m insane. In the past six months I have lived in two geographically distant parts of Europe. Yet they had one thing in common. There were US military facilities a short distance away from each.
    And this is not remarkable. The non-Empire has hundreds of military facilities outside its own borders.
    There are plenty of narcissistic pricks with poorly regulated emotions in the US armed forces. Every so often on Okinawa, for example, they create scandal by raping local women and girls but despite this, nobody actually makes the non-Empire leave.

    • Agree: dfordoom
    • Thanks: Pierre de Craon
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    @Wielgus

    And this is not remarkable. The non-Empire has hundreds of military facilities outside its own borders.

    So what? The facilities are commonly modest and there with the consent of the governments in question. You'll notice we don't have facilities in the Philippines, even though we used to own the place. The Southern Command whose very existence bothers Andrew Bacevich has all of 2,600 billets, 30% of them at Guantanamo Bay, an American possession since 1902.

    If you deployed all American troops billeted abroad in one place and arrayed them like an occupying force, it might just be enough to subjugate Spain, depending on how recalcitrant the local population is. The largest concentration is in Japan, which has 39,000 American troops. They aren't there to exert political control over Kyushu.


    There are plenty of narcissistic pricks with poorly regulated emotions in the US armed forces.

    You've never met one.

    Replies: @Wielgus

  213. @Wielgus
    @Art Deco

    Sure. I'm insane. In the past six months I have lived in two geographically distant parts of Europe. Yet they had one thing in common. There were US military facilities a short distance away from each.
    And this is not remarkable. The non-Empire has hundreds of military facilities outside its own borders.
    There are plenty of narcissistic pricks with poorly regulated emotions in the US armed forces. Every so often on Okinawa, for example, they create scandal by raping local women and girls but despite this, nobody actually makes the non-Empire leave.

    Replies: @Art Deco

    And this is not remarkable. The non-Empire has hundreds of military facilities outside its own borders.

    So what? The facilities are commonly modest and there with the consent of the governments in question. You’ll notice we don’t have facilities in the Philippines, even though we used to own the place. The Southern Command whose very existence bothers Andrew Bacevich has all of 2,600 billets, 30% of them at Guantanamo Bay, an American possession since 1902.

    If you deployed all American troops billeted abroad in one place and arrayed them like an occupying force, it might just be enough to subjugate Spain, depending on how recalcitrant the local population is. The largest concentration is in Japan, which has 39,000 American troops. They aren’t there to exert political control over Kyushu.

    There are plenty of narcissistic pricks with poorly regulated emotions in the US armed forces.

    You’ve never met one.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @Wielgus
    @Art Deco

    The US military presence abroad is huge and unprecedented in world history. As to them not being there to exert influence over Kyushu, well, let's see what happens if there is some development in Kyushu the USA does not like.
    "You've never met one". I wouldn't be too sure about that. I had an "army brat" childhood as I mentioned.

  214. @Art Deco
    @Wielgus

    And this is not remarkable. The non-Empire has hundreds of military facilities outside its own borders.

    So what? The facilities are commonly modest and there with the consent of the governments in question. You'll notice we don't have facilities in the Philippines, even though we used to own the place. The Southern Command whose very existence bothers Andrew Bacevich has all of 2,600 billets, 30% of them at Guantanamo Bay, an American possession since 1902.

    If you deployed all American troops billeted abroad in one place and arrayed them like an occupying force, it might just be enough to subjugate Spain, depending on how recalcitrant the local population is. The largest concentration is in Japan, which has 39,000 American troops. They aren't there to exert political control over Kyushu.


    There are plenty of narcissistic pricks with poorly regulated emotions in the US armed forces.

    You've never met one.

    Replies: @Wielgus

    The US military presence abroad is huge and unprecedented in world history. As to them not being there to exert influence over Kyushu, well, let’s see what happens if there is some development in Kyushu the USA does not like.
    “You’ve never met one”. I wouldn’t be too sure about that. I had an “army brat” childhood as I mentioned.

  215. In TTSS it is mentioned that Roy Bland wrote for obscure left-wing periodicals that would have gone under except the Circus was subsidising them. It is just a throwaway remark but it calls to mind the concept of the controlled opposition.

  216. @Mr. Anon
    @Houston 1992

    They also made Peter Gwilliam a homosexual. I thought the 2011 movie was lousy for a variety of reasons. Not just the PC retconning as above, but also that they stripped a lot of the dialogue out of it - dialogue that was actually in the book. It's a very talky-book. Instead they made it very moody and atmospheric. Oh, and of course dark and edgy (the Russians didn't just kill Boris - they disemboweled him!). Everything has to be dark and edgy nowadays. It's trite. They also changed Czechoslovakia to Hungary for some reason. And Colin Firth is just kind of a blank - he doesn't work as the charismatic Bill Haydon. I found it to be a muddled mess.

    Replies: @Alden, @Houston 1992

    thanks for those observations

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