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33 Halliburton in Hell
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31 Little Dictators
30 The 2002 B-TOY Awards
29 My Fitness Goals
28 A Streetcar Named Darlene
27 Operation Enduring Irritation
26 Au Revoir
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23 The Center of the Universe
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12 The Smell of Rodent in the Morning
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9 What Michael Pollan Learned From His Alien Abductors
8 We Are in the End Times
7 The Incurable Disease of Writing
6 Halitosis of the Mind
5 My Mommy Fetish
4 Sherlock Holmes Was No Fancy Boy
3 Joyce Carol Oates Scares Me
2 Global Warming is Getting on My Nerves
1 I. Don't. Like. Dave. Eggers

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Original Essays | June 20, 2014

Lisa Howorth: IMG So Many Books, So Many Writers

I'm not a bookseller, but I'm married to one, and Square Books is a family. And we all know about families and how hard it is to disassociate... Continue »
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    Flying Shoes

    Lisa Howorth 9781620403013


Bibliolatry: opinions from a very
No. 27: 

Operation Enduring Irritation

Editor's note:
Okay, so for once Carlisle's hit a few good ones, though how he could neglect to even mention Regis is anyone's guess. But if you're truly interested in disturbing trends in American culture, you might want to try a more serious thinker. Here are a few of our current favorites.

Wealth and Democracy: How Great Fortunes and Government Created America's Aristocracy
Wealth and Democracy: How Great Fortunes and Government Created America's Aristocracy
by Kevin Phillips

In this excellent history, Phillips argues that the ever-increasing concentration of wealth in America is putting a strain on the health of our democracy.

Your Price: $29.95
(New - Hardcover)
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Into the Buzzsaw
Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press
by Kristina Borjesson

According to Borjesson, as media continue to merge into huge conglomerates, the quality of journalism in this country is increasingly being subjected to corporate interests, with disastrous effects.

Your Price: $26.00
(New - Hardcover)
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No Logo
No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies
by Naomi Klein

"A complete, user-friendly handbook on the negative effects that '90s uberbrand marketing has had on culture, work, and consumer voice." The Village Voice

Your Price $17.00
(New - Trade Paper)
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Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything
by James Gleick

As our technological sophistication increases, Gleick argues, our lives are becoming faster, busier, and more cluttered.

Your Price $14.00
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What Went Wrong at Enron: Everyone's Guide to the Largest Bankruptcy in U.S. History
What Went Wrong at Enron: Everyone's Guide to the Largest Bankruptcy in U. S. History
by Peter C. Fusaro

A lucid account of what went wrong at Enron, and what made it possible.

Your Price: $14.95
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The Unwanted Gaze
The Unwanted Gaze: The Destruction of Privacy in America
by Jeffrey Rosen

An important book exploring how changes in technology and the law have combined to demolish our rights of privacy, and what we can and must do to re-secure them.

Your Price $13.00
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[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Damn. By allowing weapons inspectors back into Iraq "without conditions," Saddam has really thrown a wrench into our invasion plans. And just when we thought we'd been given the green light. Now what are we going to do?

Only time will tell, of course. But it is clear what we're not going to do. We're not going to sit back and let a bunch of European pansies and UN legalists deprive us of the satisfaction we so richly deserve. Let's be honest. We're itching to blow Saddam back to the Stone Age. If he continues to play "rope-a-dope with the world," though, who knows when we'll get a chance to pop the top on that can of whoop-ass.

Fortunately, we don't have to mobilize the entire American military in a costly and controversial action to bring Saddam to his knees. This is a new millennium. Bombs and missiles are so last year. Today, we have far better methods at our disposal. Instead of blowing Saddam to kingdom come, why don't we just annoy him into submission.

Sure it's possible. We have the technology. We have the resources. We're blessed with the lion's share of world experts. Why not push our advantage? I hereby propose Operation Enduring Irritation. After we get through grating on Saddam's nerves, he'll be begging for mercy (we won't give it to him).

Still skeptical? Well, why don't you read through some of my ideas, and see if you aren't convinced.

  • With the help of the folks at Orbitz, X-10, and Verizon we could hijack a few of Saddam's favorite websites and plant a series of pop-up minefields. Every time Saddam or one of his henchmen visited,, or, their browser would disgorge a few dozen tiny windows proclaiming cheap airline tickets, miniature cameras, or free DVDs. He'll be so busy closing windows and cursing Bill Gates he won't have time for evil deeds.
  • We could appoint Shirley MacLaine ambassador to Iraq.
  • We could tap the expertise of the Internet porn industry and those companies who "consolidate debt" and coordinate a massive spam blitz. Sure, Saddam might actually appreciate finding e-mails in his inbox each morning with headers like "Add 1 to 3 inches to your penis" or "Guess who Britney Spears had sex with?" And who knows, the world's most potent dictator might be in the market for "Discounted Viagra." But after his inbox is flooded with 400 e-mails a day making obviously fraudulent offers ("Earn $5,000 a week doing e-mail from home") and flagrant claims ("I lost 30 lbs. in 10 days") Saddam will begin pulling that Castro Street mustache out by the roots.
  • We could leaflet the Iraqi countryside with samples of Jewel's poetry.
  • We could accidentally — oops! — give each of Saddam's palaces free basic cable. He'll be thrilled when he finds out that he now has 97 channels. But he'll go bonkers when he finds out he still has wait for the new season of the Sopranos to come out on video.
  • We could drop ten thousand copies of Celine Dion's Greatest Hits onto the streets of Baghdad.
  • We could rent every billboard in Baghdad and blanket the city with That Seventies Show ads.
  • We could give each household in the country one horse trailer-sized SUV, each equipped with a tiny, Mountain Bar-sized cell phone. With the country bumper to bumper with harried soccer moms, one eye on the road, one eye on the brats in the backseat, complete attention on the juicy gossip bubbling from the Mountain Bar clutched to her ear, Saddam will succumb to road rage each evening when he's trying to get to his secret bunker du jour.
  • We could produce a made for TV movie of Saddam's life starring Keanu Reeves as Saddam and broadcast it on the Food Channel.
  • Survivor Iraq.
  • We could set up mammoth radio towers in the countries surrounding Iraq and barrage the nation with talk radio. Dr. Laura from Turkey, Howard Stern from Jordan, Rush Limbaugh from Kuwait, and 24 hours-a-day, every day, a steady barrage of the Satellite Sisters. People close to Saddam will undoubtedly die as a result. But hey, it'll be worth it to watch him squirm.
  • We could send both of Saddam's wives a complimentary copy of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus and attach the following note: "This book is sooooo amazing, Pita. We'll talk."
  • We could send Saddam a complimentary copy of Southpark: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut.
  • We could book Ann Coulter onto every Iraqi talk show.
  • Saddam may feel pretty confident he can play games with the president, but we could tell Tom Cruise that Saddam claimed "he had passionate sex with Cruise on several occasions." He'd learn quick enough how the big boys play hardball.
  • We could sink a hundred million dollars into an Iraqi multimedia advertising campaign for Vagisil.
  • We could convince several hundred neo-primitive body artists to defect to Iraq.
  • We could tell the tabloids that Saddam possesses the smoking gun on the JonBenet Ramsey case, not to mention those nude photos of Diana.

I'm no irritation expert, but look at all the great ideas I was able to produce. Just think what a real expert like Donald Rumsfeld could come up with.

Of course, the fundamental question is, will it work? Oh, come on. What country could withstand such a ruthless, incessant assault on its intelligence, its aesthetic integrity, and its fundamental need for peace and quiet? No, wait. Don't answer that. [an error occurred while processing this directive]

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