Dual Loyalty

As writers and bloggers are so fond of saying; you couldn't make it up. You don't cross the Iron Curtain and come out without scars ...
· Jozef Imrich, Survivor of the Iron Curtain Crossing

Sunday, June 29, 2003

[It's a] bit like having a birdtable in the garden, I like the idea of it, but I know I'd forget to refill the peanut bag and put out the crumbs and all those sparrows would be lined up on the fence looking at me like I should have a guilty conscience.
Joel Biroco

Under Influence: Oh, well you spend the second half of your life getting over your first half...

I like to link to Orwell's Politics and the English Language essay at least once a year, if only to remind myself to re-read it.
· Slovenly [Mtholyoke]
· It was Orwell who complicated my political identity [SMH ]
· Doublespeak: Eric Arthur Blair, June 25, 1903 [WestChester ]
· Orwell Up Close: 100 Times [Time]

The next person who tries to tell me what I should and shouldn't be writing on my own site - which I produce for free and for which I ask nothing in exchange - is going to get a kick up the arse...
Tom Coates

Publishing Blogger Takes 22 Years to Hit Publishing List

A new comprehensive study on the state of Canadian publishing reports that there are more Canadian books being published and demand for them is increasing...
· More Pages [Toronto Star 06/27/03]
· "Overnight success" takes 20 something years for survivor-writer [Authorsden]


The Luck of the Slavs: Discover New Brutal Dreamers!
(West of Hell: Cold River)

Cast your minds back to the late 1970s when West German and Austrian journalists began to spot an interesting trend. A new series of risky escapes across the Iron Curtain had captured the hearts of the newspaper readers' with the consequence that - shock horror! - youth of Eastern Europe actually risked their lives in order to be free.

Czechoslovak's experience was simple: by 1977 the internal crisis of the totalitarian system grew so deep that it became clear to everyone, and when more and more young people learned to speak their own language and rejected the hollow, mendacious language of the powers that be, it meant that freedom seemed remarkably close, if not directly within reach. As soon as the theme of the Charter 77 spread through pubs, it seemed that the king was naked and the mysterious radiant energy that came from the charter turned out to be more powerful than the strongest army, police force, or party organization, stronger than the greatest power of a centrally directed and centrally devastated economy, or of the centrally controlled and centrally enslaved media.

What communists all had in common was the apparent need to steal extra priviledges, such as access to goods sold at tuzex shops, and to acquire amazing amount of power for doing whatever it was Husaks of our world did.

Meanwhile, many samizdat newsletters repeated the words of their teachers, such as Marta Chamillova: If you want to set something afire, you must burn yourself. Censored letters from my two exiled aunties, French Zofka and West German Otka, eroded some of the myths and told many fascinating stories betwen the lines. At the heart of all oppression lies the abuse of freedom. My parents were denied the opportunity to visit their sisters living in the West. Lacking the protection of procommunist family, I have experienced what it was like to be taken for a slave.

Crossing the Iron Curtain in '1980' was Our Final Distinction From '1984.'

This morning I was thinking about what the Spirit would have me say to you, and thoughts just started pouring out. Rather than link you to articles of ironic note, I would say this:

Some stories have no market value. They only have value. I hope Cold River is one of those with historical value...

Jozef Imrich is the least marketable storyteller in 2003 AD:

I apologize for the abruptness of this declaration, its lack of nuance, of any meaning besides the intuitive; but the plain truth is that the rhythms of the web strengened the noncommercial value of Cold River.

By most accounts, Cold River was something of an accident.
The gestation has been long, full of surprises, occasionally painful, always engaging. At last, a butterfly has emerged - alive, needy, beautiful. To me, it felt like renewal.

I cannot recall when I have had more fear or felt more uncertain then when I took my family on the writer's journey to Queensland. I came to subtropical country in 2000 as it seemed an embodiment of what a survivor/writer like me needed. Sydney is a hard place to write in. It is too exile friendly. Coming to redneck Queensland, where nobody cared whether I lived or died, was a great thing for a writer. You need a certain amount of isolation.

A mystifying development took place because there is no known engine driving the word of email of Cold River. This was a complete fluke. It got there by sheer luck -- no promo, no nothing... No Media connection.

We all know the story of waiting and how the forbidding-looking guard in Kafka's The Trial stands at the door to The Law and who tells the poor supplicant at the end of his life that the door had been his to pass through had he tried. My doorman stood at the door to The Publisher and addressed me unambiguously in my midlife and for that I owe him Cold River.
"Open it," he told me. And somehow interpreted the strange signs for me. "Go ahead, my boy, this door is intended for you. It's your door to open. Open it."

On an otherwise quiet day in June 2002, an angel of the Sydney Morning Herald fame opened my email and pre reviewed my book.

I'm beyond flattered that ABC Tales gave me some oxygen in London.

Amazing characters like James Cumes and Vaclav Havel endorsed Cold River in Vienna, Monaco and Prague.

Cold River: a survivor's story champions a hot award winning cover designed by my Canadian publisher Deron Douglas. Fictionwise boasts ever growing and compelling ebook and paperback collection written by Authors at the DDP

The rising tide of the tragic Cold War River lifted all the boats. However, receding rivers of freedom revealed who has been swimming naked. And what a lot of unattractive nudity there has been following the Velvetish Revolution...

If you want the scoop on irony, czech out the Media Dragon Tails

It is one of the best kept secrets ... As Voltaire reminds us (or was it Tim Dunlop?), Web is the best of all possible worlds.

Scoop Nisker said, if you don't like the news, go out make some of your own. Bloggers rush in where angels fear to tread.

To misquote Maury, the blogger: ‘Until you find a bomb every night in your car, until you be chased from every club and are the fear of every politician, you will not be a real blogger.’

A positive comment of Glenn Reynold and my blog appeared on the roadtosurfdom website:
‘The compelling thing about this little look at Glenn Reynolds, the fingers behind Instapundit, is it's breathless fascination with workload. Like simply doing things is an end in itself.’
‘Speaking of Glenn Reynolds, I reckon Jozef Imrich is a sort of Mitteleuropa Instapundit, which I mean as a compliment, as Media Dragon is a great site.’

With characteristic immodesty, I wish to say that I was among the first, perhaps the first, Central European to build a blog with a link from the Sydney Morning Herald.

The newspaper is a lecture. The web is a conversation. I have had the pleasure of experiencing what it felt like blogging around metaphorical and real conversations with former Speaker Kevin Rozzoli and former Premier Nick Greiner.

Pro/Epilogue: Three Tongues and a Tear

In a few moons time my family will head back to Sydney...the big smog Down Under. The reality czech (sic) suggests that life cannot be just one big subtropical holiday. And Lauren, born and bred in Sydney misses her friends and colleagues...

The Sunday sun is out today, it is a perfect winter day in Queensland and I got that little stab of pain in my heart that is reminding me of what I will miss next year when we leave Brisbane. It has been three years since we left Sydney. I can hardly believe it really.. it seems like such an incredible chunk of my life.. because it is.. I am 44 now. Funny, when I left communist Czechoslovakia 22 years ago I felt less pain. It was a giant relief...

My story would not be realised without Lauren's sacrifice. I made her to break the rules, play a forbidden game of quitting jobs and going north. A possibly unforgivable transgression in terms of working career ... we have sinned against - corporate culture. We have lived a bohemian life that is seemingly impossible in the postmodern culture. A culture buoyed by arising tide of materialism, where success is measured in terms of blind enthusiasm for obscene executive salaries demanded by the corporate super heros.

I am not a stranger to adversity, my surname in fact attracts it (smile), however, misfortune fails to defile me. Remember the words of Les Arsacides - Despite my chains, I have never adopted the heart of a slave. Nor will I. These wretched chains, yes, were they to drag me into the grave, you would still find me exactly the same. I have the misfortune to have received from heaven a strong soul that has never known how to stoop and never will.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Literature The Right Of The People To Sell Books...

Last year two 20-somethings decided to sell books on the streets of New Orleans. But the city said they needed a permit. But it wasn't possible to get a permit. So the pair fought the ban and ended up in the state Supreme Court ...
· Where they won! [Reason 06/20/03]
· Peddling fiction on the footpath one way for busker to get published [SMH6/6/03]
· A writer's underground market [IHT ]

Considering, in 1999, the publication of George Orwell's collected journalism, James reflects on the strange fate of the adjective "Orwellian," which has been almost wholly detached from the author and applied to the condition of totalitarianism that he despised. "It is as if George Orwell had conceived the nightmare instead of analyzed it, helped to create it instead of helping to dispel its euphemistic thrall." In other words, the term "Orwellian" itself has now recast around the phenomenon of totalitarianism the sort of "euphemistic thrall" — gorgeous phrase — it once helped to sweep away.
· Some subjects have no market value. They only have value. Literary journalism is one of them [CliveJames]

7/7 1980 Remembering May Be Our Final Distinction From '1984'

MEMORY AID: When people ask you if you were a collaborator or agent for the communist secret police back in the old days, do you find yourself answering, Senator, I do not recall at this time? Now, with the Interior Ministry's recently re-released list of friends of the STB, you can jog your memory! Download and browse the long list of names in the convenience of your own home, away from the prying television cameras recording the faces of those old techno-phobes who showed up at the distribution office for the dead tree version. It's all there, unless of course you've been clever enough to switch your citizenship to another country sometime in the past 13 years.
· In that case, the government won't include your name with the rest of the group! [ ViaPragueBlog]

I love this man, for his honesty, his hatred of cruelty and oppression, his passion for social justice, his love of men and nature, the flavor of his personality, and I believe that it is very good that he has lived and written and I grieve for his early death as for the death of a friend...

My Own Private Orwell: Why the high priest of dystopia still matters

Had he lived to be an old man and not died a young one, George Orwell would have been 100 years old on June 25. Many events are planned throughout the year to commemorate the centennial of one of the most influential writers of the past several generations. In October 1949, as George Orwell lay dying of lung disease in a London hospital, he received a letter from Aldous Huxley. Huxley had just read Orwell's recently published 1984.
· For Well or For Ill [Westchester ]

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Peddling fiction on the footpath one way for busker to get published
Since the day it opened, and for obvious reasons, the subway has been as much a supermarket as a means of transportation. Daily, it delivers a group of prospective consumers numbering in the millions. August Belmont, the system's chief financier, sensed the potential and tried to tap into it by plastering the early subway with hundreds of tin-framed advertisements for everything from rye whiskey to washing powder.
· A writer's underground market [IHT ]
· Underground & Underriver [Jozef Imrich]

Amerika, Amerika... New World: East of Eden

Half a world away, a young writer named John Steinbeck visits Eastern Europe for the first time in search of a mystical manuscript ostensibly written by his grandfather, who was once the mayor of Odessa. Steinbeck begins his journey with the help of a sex-starved Slavic teen named Balki, who speaks in hilarious pidgin English and dreams of having sex with his mother's cousin.
· Sex Starved Slavs [NealPollak(sic) ]

Who won the Cold War? We did. Our generation, proclaims Arthur Phillips in "Prague, a novel that takes place in Budapest. And in return, We Young Americans want:
· 1) your half-dollar beers, 2) your women, and 3) well... everything else [Forward]

Carry out your blogging dream, no matter how unlikely it may seem

The moral is: if you want to score with Google, be on the web. Otherwise, go whistle.
· Band Of Bloggers [Observing the Observers]
· If you want to score with Jozef, be on the web [WorldTreasure ]

New Media Higher (Blogger) Education Blogging is catching on with academics

In their skeptical moments, academic bloggers worry that the medium smells faddish, ephemeral. But they also make a strong case for blogging's virtues, the foremost of which is freedom of tone. Blog entries can range from three-word bursts of sarcasm to carefully honed 5,000-word treatises. The sweet spot lies somewhere in between, where scholars tackle serious questions in a loose-limbed, vernacular mode. Blogging also offers speed; the opportunity to interact with diverse audiences both inside and outside academe; and the freedom to adopt a persona more playful than those generally available to people with Ph.D.'s
· · Skeptical moments (Chronicle of Higher Education 06/06/03)

PaidContent.org and IWantMedia, that are noteworthy for bringing in real revenues by selling advertising and doing original reporting. Plus, they are run entirely by one person who acts as writer, editor, publisher, ad salesman, promotions director, janitor, etc.
· must-see sites for media junkies.

Directories of Blogs

RSS Directory, from blogStreet, contains a listing of 11,000+ RSS feeds of blogs, making it one of the largest directories of RSS. An added advantage is that the latest feeds of the listed blogs can be read through RSS Discovery - RSS Discovery finds out the RSS feed of a blog, the time when it last changed and displays the latest feed in HTML. Find a blog using the search engine or the alphabetical listing.
See also Technorati, with "384,996 weblogs watched," that recently launched a new · Keyword Search (Beta) feature that supports Boolean searching.

Waiting is certainly a central theme in the works of Kafka

Kafka's ultimate point in evading interpretation was that interpretation is ultimately impossible. So does this mean that we should not try to interpret what we read or what others say? Of course not. Because there is always hope; there is always the chance that indeed the message may get through, against all odds, and will be read correctly on the other end. It is the struggle that is of importance, because that is all that we have; if we become obsessed with the end of our journey we will never get there.

Just as Joseph K. is so obsessed with the object of his journey, the Castle, that he does not realize how many mistakes he makes in trying to reach it, or indeed, that it is probably not even worth reaching; just as Joseph K. is so obsessed with the ending of his Trial that he barely even notices when he is taken out and killed "like a dog." It is this struggle for understanding, this seemingly unavoidable need to interpret that keeps us going, keeps us reaching for some kind of truth, no matter how hopeless that task may sometimes seem. This is also why we create literature; it is through literature that we hope to create some kind of truth.

Kurt Eichenwald ’83 is dedicated to uncovering corporate crime

Media Devils in the Details

Business is the only thing that’s really great to write about any more. It is the last area of society where there is power that can affect people’s lives for better or worse and can be largely unchecked. You are not going to have another Nixon or see the CIA run amok. Lots of people learned a lot from the ’60s and ’70s. The complexity of the business world has presented barriers to entry, Eichenwald says; often, this is “either because people don not understand it or because people don not pay attention.
He says he is not reflexively anti-business, but anti-crime, and that he is driven, in part, by knowledge that massive corporate crime has little victims: the elderly investors who lost all because of Prudential-Bache’s fraud in the 1980s or the struggling farmers who had to pay higher prices for feed additives because of ADM’s price-fixing schemes.

· The Informant: A True Story [Swarthmore ]

Tim Dunlop If you build it they will come Blogging and the new citizenship

There's an old joke where two kids are sitting in a room and one says to the other, There's an aphrodisiac behind that radiator. And the other says, What's a radiator? The valuable lesson to learn from this piece of frippery is to define all your key terms, so that when I say, bloggers are the new public intellectuals, I will go on to give a definition of both public intellectual and blogger. And I'll begin with the latter because it is easier.
· The new public intellectuals are out there [RoadToSurfdom]

· Tax: Left & Right in Tudor Times [DissectLeft]
· LeftRightChart [BloggersandMedia]
· Bloggers Rate the Most Influential Blogs [OJR]


First, the REPORTER gathers information by interviewing PEOPLE and trying to write down what they say, getting approximately 35 percent of it right. The REPORTER then writes a STORY, which goes to an EDITOR, who bitterly resents the REPORTER because the REPORTER gets to go outside sometimes, whereas the EDITOR is stuck in the building eating NEWSPAPER CAFETERIA ''FOOD'' that was originally developed by construction-industry researchers as a substitute for PLYWOOD."
...Sounds right to me.....
· Right or wrong, we're journalists [ MiamiHerald]

Blogging Why I stopped blogging

The DISEASE is everywhere. It is worse than SARS, scarier than monkeypox (which hit Ohio, not France, by the fucking way), and more pertinent to the substance of America than Laci Paterson or is it Peterson’s bloody awful death will ever be.
So I’m sorry to my friends who came to rely on me. I may eventually get back to posting news. But right now my RAGE is beyond def con five. Right now I’m in a life rand death struggle with the DISEASE.

· And if you can’t figure outa what the DISEASE is, then I’m sorry, this apology isn’t for you [LiberalArtMafia ]
· Discussion About Blogging [DeadParrot ]
· Review [SpokesmanReview]
· Bistro Blogger [MediaBistro ]
· Blog rape [NoMoreMister]

· Corporate Blog by PA? [NTimes ]
· Meckler [Weblogs ]