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"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

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"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

May 28, 2010

Five Dollar Friday

Explanation of Five Dollar Friday here. Follow who else is giving on twitter.

$5 goes today to Grit TV, and via the magic of matching grants lasting through the end of June, will be transformed into $15 total. I'm donating partly because they've done such a great job at seizing new media opportunities, and partly because while growing up I listened to "The Reluctant Cannibal" 7,000 times.

Here's Barry Eisler on Grit TV, talking about art, ideology, and his new thriller Inside Out.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at May 28, 2010 12:58 PM

I've just made the whole trip discovering Grit TV, Barry Eisler, and everything that lead to everything else as a result of this posting... Many compliments to you Johanthan for never ceasing to amaze me. (Or almost never) This Eisler guy is truly amazing, someone I thought I would have heard of before now. So thanks again for being there and pointing things like Grit TV and him out.

Posted by: Grandpa Ken at May 28, 2010 09:41 PM

Eisler is an okay writer, though even if his political stance is different from most of his contemporaries, he does write mostly sensationalistic potboilers.

The best writer of political thrillers right now to me is Lorraine Adams. Go read "Harbor" and "The Room and the Chair". Amazing stuff.

Posted by: En Ming Hee at May 29, 2010 11:11 PM

Eisler is a smart guy. I'll have to check out his sensationalistic potboilers after i finish browsing Hanke and Bartolomeo de las Casas and Sven Lindqvist, and then maybe i'll compare him to Lorraine Adams. Eisler is funny and smart to compare the CIA to the post office but with spies. That's what got them in such trouble when the Cold War ended--all of a sudden everybody started to see that the Emperor had no clothes. Because all that "intelligence" isn't really what they are for.

If you focus on Langley's crummy politicized intel and some of its ham-handed meddling abroad, you might think that incompetence and corruption are the only results of all the secrecy and unaccountability. But what they really excel at is marketing. Along with the Pentagon, Langley works the media (and the public) like no one else. It almost doesn't matter if they screw everything else up, which they often do, because man can they sell it.

Posted by: N E at May 30, 2010 08:48 AM

N E,

One of his books, "Rain Fall" has been filmed in Japan, but didn't seem to see wide release in the West. It's a fancy espionage action adventure featuring his early hero, the Japanese-American agent/martial arts expert John Rain. Maybe he's changed since then, but I when I read "Rain Fall" many years ago it just felt like any other sensational potboiler, even if smarter.

Posted by: En Ming Hee at May 30, 2010 10:20 PM