Martin Galvin with a letter  that featured in the to the Irish News on 26-11-2020.

 A chara,

The six county centenary on May 3rd will be followed by the 40th anniversary of Bobby Sands' death on May 5th. There is a direct connection between the centenary some will celebrate, and next year's Hunger Strike commemorations. You cannot understand the Hunger Strikers, without understanding the British state in which they lived.

Before surrendering her post as Victims Commissioner, Judith Thompson cautioned the British government "Don't take a Westminster view of something that is so important for Northern Ireland." Her words apply as strongly to the centenary, or Brexit as to legacy justice.

There is no mystery how centenary celebrations following the "Westminster view" would go. Just analyze how successive British secretaries regard the north, with ideas customarily adopted by unionist supporters.

Westminster and their adherents will hail their "wee country", founded upon democracy, which survived Irish opposition and periodic rebellion. Any sectarian flaws can be blamed on local attitudes, provoked by disloyal opponents and rebels.

Whenever Westminster sent troops to preserve British hegemony, their killings were not crimes, but within the rule of Westminster made laws. British troopers were "acting under orders, and instruction and fulfilling their duty in a dignified and appropriate way", said Karen Bradley. Regard other views as a "pernicious counter narrative" per Theresa Villiers.

Bobby Sands MP, indeed each of the Hunger Strikers lived a different reality. The six counties were no "wee country" but two-thirds of Ulster, which Britain gerrymandered out despite a democratic vote in the Westminster run 1918 general election and Declaration of Independence .

For fifty years, Britain's Orange State used systematic sectarian discrimination denying jobs, houses and votes to keep Croppy numbers down.

Peaceful civil rights marchers threatened this sectarian system. They were beaten off the streets, eventually shot down on Bloody Sunday. British troopers backed British hegemony with Internment and the Ballymurphy Massacre.

The Hunger Strikers felt a deep moral duty, despite risking imprisonment or death, to fight to end British rule because they believed it was the only means to end British injustice.

They suffered torture and death rather than be masqueraded in a criminal costume and used so that "Britain might brand Ireland's fight 800 years of crime".

You cannot understand the Hunger Strikers without understanding the British state in which they lived. You cannot understand the truth about celebrating a centenary of partition without understanding the Hunger Strikers.  

Martin Galvin is a US Attorney-At-Law.

Celebrating Centenary Of Partition


A Morning Thought @ 911

Michael NugentI agree with Iseult White that Amnesty Ireland should not seek to deny media and political representation to people promoting the sex-based rights of women and LGB people.

Nor should they caricature people with one sincere belief as arbiters of truth and virtue, and people with another sincere belief as toxic bigots and haters.

In the real world, reasonable and ethical people promote the sex-based rights of women and LGB people, the gender-based rights of transgender people, and the protection of children. And a democratic pluralist society must sometimes balance competing claims of human rights.

Amnesty Ireland should instead oppose calls for the media and politicians to censor and disenfranchise people who peacefully express their beliefs on issues of public concern. It should support equally everybody’s rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

These rights include freedom of thought, conscience, belief, opinion, and expression, which includes seeking, receiving and imparting information and ideas through any media, and the right to take part in government directly or through freely chosen representatives.

These rights extend to people with whom we strongly disagree. As an example, when I campaigned against IRA and loyalist terrorism, I also opposed Section 31 that prevented Sinn Fein and the UDA from promoting their political aims democratically.

People have a right to express ideas that offend, shock, or disturb us, once they are not inciting crime or being defamatory. We should engage with the content of ideas we disagree with, not accuse the people who express them of being foreign or motivated by hate.

The Venice Commission for Democracy through Law says that persuasion through open debate, as opposed to ban or repression, is the best way to preserve fundamental values and achieve mutual understanding and respect.

Amnesty Ireland, as a human rights organisation, should return to defending the equal right of everyone to express their different beliefs, and should lobby the government to legally balance competing claims consistently with human rights principles.

Michael Nugent is Chair of Atheist Ireland

Amnesty Ireland Rejects Equal Rights For All

Christopher Owens 
The relationship between art and the artist should really be quite simple in that we separate the two and can appreciate/criticise both without it crossing over.

Often, however, we find ourselves in a quagmire in relation to our personal beliefs and the art of someone who may share differing beliefs. 

Messengers of Deception is bound to invoke similar emotions.

Forming in 2013, Tau Cross began life as a way for Rob Miller to carry on after his previous band (the legendary crust-punk pioneers Amebix) ground to a halt the previous year. Recruiting people like Michel “Away” Langevin (from Voivod) on drums and Andy Lefton (from War/Plague) on guitar, it was clear that Tau Cross were going to be a formidable band.

Subsequent releases like the self-titled debut and Pillar of Fire proved that this conception was not mistaken. Building upon the epic crust sound of Amebix’s 2011 record (Sonic Mass), we ended up with two forward thinking modern punk/metal albums that were bellicose with righteous fury in their grander moments and with a tender, folky feel in the more introspective songs.

Last year, the group had recorded Messengers … and handed it over to their label. Advertisements were taken out and a release date announced. Suddenly, the group found themselves dropped and the album pulled from the release schedule.

The group’s label at the time, Relapse, said that:

Over the weekend the German magazine Ox brought it to our attention that a person named Gerard Menuhin was prominently thanked in the new Tau Cross album, and specifically credited in the liner notes for inspiring Rob Miller. All Relapse records go through a vigorous proofing process — checking for spelling and punctuation mistakes, mostly. We all read this name, but didn't recognize it or think that it was anything other than a personal friend of the band's, that we did not know. Ox however recognized the name as a far-right conspiracy theorist, focused specifically on Holocaust denial. Suddenly the lyrics and themes of the new record were cast in a new light, for me. I spoke with Rob Miller, who is the individual in the band who Ox was interviewing, and while he denied being a Holocaust denier, I cannot comfortably work on or sell a record that dabbles in ideologies such as these. There are certain issues that rise above mere political differences and this is one of them. I spoke with the rest of the band on Monday, and NONE of them had any idea who Gerard Menuhin was, and were as shocked by these references in the record, as we at the label were. I firmly believe that these references and mentions in the record do not represent the band as a whole. but rather just Rob Miller's. In light of all this, Relapse swiftly decided we cannot move forward with this album — we gave the masters back to the band, together with the rest of their catalog.

Subsequently, the rest of the band walked away, telling the press that:

…the four of us were informed that Rob Miller has submitted a thank you to a notorious right-wing author who none of us are familiar with. We promptly researched this author's history and we are adamantly against anything relating to this kind of ugliness. We've been vigilant in our attempts to get answers as to why this has happened and, frankly, how it could possibly happen considering our background and beliefs.

Miller has released two statements on the matter and, since then, has quietly re-recorded Messengers… for release on Easy Action Records.

This is a situation worth pulling apart for discussion, especially considering the “controversy” surrounding Michael Gove earlier in the year. First and foremost, it is not a crime to read material that you find morally reprehensible and as, Kenan Malik wrote, “…possessing a book is not the same as being sympathetic to its contents.” Indeed, reading such material is often the sign of a mind looking to understand how people manipulate data and selectively interpret events and testimony in order to come up with ludicrous statements, such as the Holocaust being a hoax. Learning what the opposite side say is how you refute their talking points. There is also the argument that creative types will always want to explore areas considered repulsive by mainstream society (such as murder, rape, racism etc) and so will use such texts in which to get themselves into a similar frame of mind (akin to method acting).

Miller’s appearance on The Meads of Asphodel’s 2013 album Sonderkommando could be cited as an example of this mindset. Described by Keith Kahn-Harris as an example of how metal can engage “…with the Holocaust in ways that disturb in a more productive way” through “…making their own position difficult to perceive, metal artists can ask difficult questions of the listener: Who are you identifying with? Who are the heroes? What is the source of your fascination?”), it’s an example of how far artists can go to make art that disturbs.

However, publicly thanking such a person like Gerard Menuhin (and thereby, implicitly, giving your seal of approval) is where questions have to be asked. Although Miller has not given any indication that he is a Holocaust denier, he will have to face questions about this for a long time. Indeed, I am deeply uneasy regarding the public thanking of Menuhin, especially because (based on his two statements) Miller doesn’t seem to think it’s a big deal. Then again, Noam Chomsky never apologised for Memoire En Defense, did he?

By this point, most will have made their mind up about whether they want to listen to this album or not. That’s up to you to decide. I am here, ultimately, to review the record. So here we go.

‘Yaldabaoth’ (often seen by Gnostics as the manifestation of the vengeful God in the Old Testament) opens the record and, straight out of the gates it’s a formidable Tau Cross riffer, almost a kind of rewrite of Amebix’s ‘Arise’ (which, combined with the title, suggests an intentional crossover). While the main bulk of the song is exciting as it is, the middle eight adds keyboards into the mix and swirls to an epic crescendo. Lyrically, it depicts a narrator gazing at the wonder of the stars and wondering how paradise could become a prison (some would say a metaphor for social media and modern life). The repetition of the word “infection” makes it a very 2020 song, especially with the payoff line that "Religion is our downfall."

Following on is ‘Hollow Earth’, where a crusty one chord riff gives way to an Iron Maiden style gallop, giving the feeling of riding into battle, while some plaintive piano work adds a sombre texture to proceedings. The song appears to be a shamanistic style call for a return to a simpler lifestyle with a warning about eco collapse. Vocally, Miller is on fine form here as he alternates between world weary singing and his ferocious bark.

‘Burn with Me’ was the first track previewed and it revealed a more NWOBHM style influence in the guitar lick, but with some machine-like chugging to contrast and compliment the lick. Gotta love the Motorhead style bass run in the pre-chorus, which is carried on through the guitar solo which sounds like Phil Campbell did a session for Tau Cross. Lyrically, there seems to be an overarching metaphor of truth equalling fire. While this sounds nasty, the narrator offers solace when he announces in the chorus "Take my hand/And burn with me." Combined with the music, it’s a soaring anthem of defiance.

‘Black Cadillac’ is an odd curveball as it combines seemingly fun imagery invoking Jack the Ripper and undertakers until it gradually reveals itself to be about secret police removing people from society, while ‘Violence of the Lord’ sounds and feels like it was recorded at a cliffside, owing to the echoey and (dare I say) folky bass riff, the power of the chorus and the main riff which could start hurricanes.

‘Sorrow Draws the Plough’ closes the album in sombre (but optimistic) fashion. The evocative acoustic piano line and strings compliment the narrator ruminating on the end of the world/beginning of winter but still finding solace in the beauty of the stars (a cyclical motif shared with the first song) and accepting that the environment will conquer and rebuild again once spring begins.

As a Tau Cross record, it does its job effectively without ever sacrificing the purity of the band’s sound. The riffs are bludgeoning and widescreen, while the rhythm section doesn’t just drive the songs, they power them. Lyrically, the general theme is that of fake news and the suppression of alternative narratives, with the odd bit of Ufology thrown in. Undoubtedly there will be those who will suggest that these lyrics are “dog-whistles” and, while they are entitled to that interpretation, there is nothing here that would suggest anything to do with Holocaust denial.

Miller once reflected that the crust-punk scene (which was meant to be filled with free thinkers and anarchists) were sheep like in their mentality, citing the example of so called crusties not mentioning anything about the Falklands until Crass has put out ‘Sheep Farming in the Falklands’ as a single. Such distain for groupthink is evident throughout Messengers of Deception, marking it out as a record about the trials and tribulations that we have felt in 2020.

A questioning, thought provoking modern punk/metal album that will spark passionate debate as well as get heads banging.

⏩ Christopher Owens was a reviewer for Metal Ireland and finds time to study the history and inherent contradictions of Ireland. He is currently the TPQ Friday columnist. 

Tau Cross ➖ ‘Messengers of Deception’


A Morning Thought @ 910

Matt Treacy Following the fitting commemoration of those killed at Croke Park in November 1920, it is apt to recall that the other main stand and the terrace adjacent to Hill 16 are also named in honour of two great Irishmen, Michael Cusack and P.W Nally, who also died in the month of November.

Michael Cusack, of an Irish speaking family from Carron in County Clare died on November 28, 1906. He is best known as one of the founders of the Gaelic Athletic Association in 1884, a seed apparently sown during a walk through the Phoenix Park with his close friend Patrick Nally of Balla, County Mayo who died in horrendous conditions on November 9, 1891.

While their desire, along with other cultural and militant nationalists, to encourage the rebirth of native sport is well known, what is less spoken of is their part in democratising sport in general. Indeed their first initiatives were to organise what were termed “artisan sports days” in Mayo and Dublin in 1879 and 1880.

That was significant as sports, mostly athletics but also the emerging field games such as rugby, soccer and hockey, were regarded as the pursuits of “gentlemen amateurs” who through various monetary and caste means sought to exclude working class and most rural folk from participation. Curiously, cricket which would be regarded as the epitome of English classism, was a much more open sport which was quite popular in places like Kilkenny and north county Dublin which are now GAA strongholds but where cricket still survives.

Antique hurley owned by Michael Cusack.
Photo Credit: HockeyGods 

That only became an issue as urban and rural working people began to have a bit more leisure time in the late 19th century. While in countries with large urban populations and socialist movements, the issue was a pretty straight forward one of allowing mass participation, in Ireland there was the added fact that native sports in common with our language, music, religious practices and others had been deliberately suppressed or undermined as part of weakening the Irish peoples’ sense of itself as something other than an extension of Britain.

It was fashionable then, as it is now, for those seeking to replace Irish identity with some nebulous concept of Britishness, or EUism, or class to ridicule the pursuits of the peasantry. Hence the modern far-left fantasy of “football”, as in soccer, being a unifying factor between the cloth-capped and mufflered proletarians of Ireland and Britain. That concept is rather undermined by the reality of soccer rivalries replicating the atavistic sectarianism that is evident when Cliftonville play Linfield, or Celtic play Rangers or when the two association football teams of Ireland meet on the pitch.

Cusack despite his radical position on the land question in opposition to landlordism, his support for Irish independence and sovereignty, and his egalitarianism in sport, has sometimes been ridiculed as a caricature of “backward nationalism.” That was promoted in no small way by Joyce’s depiction of him as The Citizen in the Cyclops episode of Ulysses in which Cusack is portrayed as a drunken anti-Semitic bigot. That has been comprehensively rejected by several historians including Cusack’s biographer Liam Ó Caithnia and former Cork Lord Mayor Gerald Goldberg.

Ironically one of the most notorious Dublin anti Semites of that era was Oliver St. John Gogarty who played soccer ball for the Bow-iss, currently guardians of all that is PC and woke in Irish sport, and several of whose Antifa members have no time for “the gah.”

Dublin and Tipperary (as worn by Michael Hogan)
 jerseys from Bloody Sunday, 1920. Photo Credit: CrokePark

Cusack’s antipathy to organised rugby, which he had played himself, and soccer was based on their bigotry not on his. Soccer was very much a sport of the British soldiery which became popular in Dublin and other towns with garrisons, while rugby was classist in the extreme; to the extent that private schools of all religious persuasions basically banned working class schools from participating in competitions, a practise that only ceased in Dublin in the 1980s. But of course none of our bien pensants go on endlessly about that.

Cusack’s own political opinions, apart from his nationalism, might also be divined from the fact that in 1887 he welcomed the success of the GAA in encouraging mass participation in hurling, football and athletics under the association’s rules (camogie was only systemised in 1903) as evidence of the growth of a “democratic Christian socialism.”

Patrick William Nally was more directly involved in the revolutionary movement. He was one of the founders of the Land League in Mayo in 1879 and became Joint Secretary and in 1880 was co-opted onto the Supreme Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood as the Connacht representative. Nally was arrested in 1883 and convicted of an alleged plot to murder a landlord’s agent in Crossmolina. The only evidence was provided by two Special Branch informants at a time when British intelligence had deeply infiltrated the IRB. He was sentenced to ten years and thus missed the IRB meetings that were a prelude to its backing the foundation of the GAA in 1884.

Nally was first held in Downpatrick Gaol but was taken to Millbank prison in London to appear before the Parnell Commission in late 1888. That was part of the British attempt through the Times newspaper to implicate Parnell in revolutionary crime, but Nally refused to provide information to a ‘Thompson’ who visited them on behalf of the Times solicitor Soames. The Thompson in question was most likely Superintendent James Thomson who had been involved in secret operations against the Fenians under Sir Robert Anderson but who had retired in 1887.

Millbank was a dreadful place, built on marshes close to the Thames and regularly visited by outbreaks of dysentery, scurvy and other diseases. It had not had any prisoners since 1886 until Nally and other Fenians were held there to try and break them before the Commission. It was closed for good in 1890.

Monument to Patrick W Nally in Balla, Co Mayo.
Photo Credit: NMI

Nally’s refusal to become an informer meant that his severe treatment continued on his return to Downpatrick prison. He was transferred to Mountjoy Prison in Dublin when Downpatrick closed in April 1891. He was said to have contracted typhoid in Downpatrick or Millbank, and when transferred to Mountjoy he was made to clean the piggery. He died there on November 9, 1891.

The inquest in Dublin found that Nally had died due to “harsh and cruel treatment” due to his refusal to comply (Freeman’s Journal, November 17, 1891.) The family had been represented at the inquest by Parnellite MP John Redmond who elicited from the Deputy Governor of Mountjoy John Conden, on being asked about the conditions of political prisoners, the reply: “I would not consider Moonlighters political prisoners.” (Freeman’s Journal. November 12, 1891.)

Nally’s defiance and association with the fledgling GAA led to the founding of the P.W Nally club in Dublin among whose key members were James Boland, Chairman of the Dublin GAA and father of Harry who hurled for Faughs and Dublin and was killed during the Civil War. James Boland had known Nally through the Fenians in Manchester. Members of the Nally Club led the funeral procession from Clarendon Street to Glasnevin and Nally’s coffin was draped in the same flag that had covered Parnell’s a month previously.

Michael Cusack, múinteoir Gaeilge and founder of the
Gaelic Athletic Association. Credit: NUI Galway

Parnell of course, like Hogan, Nally and Cusack still holds a special place in the hearts of the GAA community as demonstrated by the number of clubs named in his honour, and of course Parnell Park in Dublin.

Matt Treacy has published a number of books including histories of the Republican Movement and of the Communist Party of Ireland.
He is currently working on a number of other books; His latest one is a novel entitled Houses of Pain. It is based on real events in the Dublin underworld. Houses of Pain is published by MTP and is currently available online as paperback and kindle while book shops remain closed.

Croke Park ➖The Story Of The Cusack And Hogan Stands

UnHerd Despite activist anger, the statistics tell a broadly positive story about black middle-class advancement.

David Goodhart

George Floyd’s appalling murder and the global outrage it triggered has evolved into a broader protest about black disadvantage and racism in western countries.

Many people of goodwill, including many white people, have joined marches in the UK. Young friends of mine who have been on the marches tell me I should tread carefully writing about the issue because I cannot know what it feels like to be black in Britain.

That is true. Yet if we are going to have an honest conversation about the condition of the black minority, then we should consider facts as well as feelings.

The most important fact is that there is no single black minority. Over recent decades some ethnic minority groups have been climbing the ladder faster than others. That divergence story can now be told about Britain’s black minority itself, which in recent decades has generally experienced less good outcomes than most other big UK minorities.

The UK doesn’t yet have a US-style black middle class, but we are getting there.

Continue reading @ UnHerd.

Facts Vs Feelings In The BLM Debate

Fra Hughes ✒ According to the BBC, “MI5 has up to 700 staff in Northern Ireland based at regional headquarters in Holywood, County Down.

It took over the lead role in intelligence gathering on ‘dissident republicans’ from the police in 2007. The operational framework was set out as part of the St Andrews Agreement a year earlier.”

On its web site, MI5 (the Security Service) claims to have had fewer than fifty operatives working out of Stormont Castle during the “Troubles.” As republicans can testify, they faced a plethora of state agents and state intelligence agencies during their “war of liberation,” including the police Special Branch, the Military Reaction Force, Force Research Unit, SAS, and who knows what other shadowy agencies that played a part in the dark and dangerous world of spies and informers.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland, and before that the Royal Ulster Constabulary, led the state’s fight against the Irish Republican Army and the Irish National Liberation Army. It ran agents and informers who gathered information on both loyalist and republican proscribed organisations, including the Ulster Defence Association, Ulster Volunteer Force, and Red Hand Commando.

Together with accusations of the “shoot to kill” policy against republicans by Margaret Thatcher, coupled with persistent and proven cases of state collusion with loyalist murder gangs, the role of the state security apparatus was, first and foremost, the battle to marginalise and eradicate the threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom posed by militant republicans, battling to end Britain’s colonial occupation of the north-east of Ireland.

This is borne out by the leading role MI5 plays in securing the state of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom. MI5 has sole responsibility for operational jurisdiction here against “dissident republicans,” while the PSNI retains primacy over loyalist paramilitary activities as well as ordinary crime.

Republicans are viewed as a threat to the state, but apparently loyalists are not; in fact they may be deemed at times an asset to the state—a local militia?

The whole thrust of British state intelligence work, with a budget of possibly billions, is directed solely against republicans, north and south of the border that partitioned Ireland on behalf of British interests in 1922.

Republicans and nationalists have always claimed that the security services and security forces operated here with impunity, using torture, false imprisonment and shoot-to-kill operations alongside extrajudicial murders and covert state executions.

Now many people in both Ireland and the United Kingdom see the new Security Bill brought before Parliament as the next phase of Britain’s dubious and at times discredited security operation in Ireland. This act of Parliament may well be a “get out of jail” card for MI5 operatives and others who flout the law, break the law, and commit such crimes as recruitment to proscribed organisations, procurement of arms and ammunition, entrapment, incitement to maim and murder, directing terrorism, and prosecuting a war against the state in order to protect the state.

It is my opinion that this new legislation will allow MI5 to operate even more aggressively, immorally and illegally against republicans by becoming not only judge, jury and executioner but also the recruiter, organiser and promoter of dissident republican activity, by using its embedded assets, both inserted and recruited as agents provocateurs within these organisations.

The rationale is not to defeat its enemies but to create an endless conveyor belt of young and old republicans being sent to Maghaberry Jail and Hyde Bank prison while securing massive funds for its operation, in effect creating a perfect storm of intercepted missions and compromised leaders and a perceived continued threat to the peace talks and the Belfast Agreement, the bogey man and woman of Irish republicanism.

When is the state protecting itself, and by extension its citizens, from a militarised threat and when is it promoting, using and funding that threat?

There are numerous examples of assets within organisations, legal and illegal, being used to promote illegal activity. These cases have been well documented by the CND movement, socialist organisations, and civil society groups, involving deep-cover agents—some of whom had physical relationships with those they were spying on, in order to cement their place in the group—and incited violence in order to brand them as criminal and militant in the eyes of the public.

Undercover informants working for the police and MI5 are going to be explicitly permitted for the first time under British law to commit crimes. This will legalise what many believe has already happened in Britain’s dirty war against Irish republicans.

Always remember, the crimes the British establishment commit on the Irish people will eventually be used against its own citizenry.

Thankfully, elements within the British political class are standing against this new legalised criminality; but their voices are few.

Will the trial involving Dennis McFadden, MI5’s star witness against the alleged leadership of the New IRA, and the Palestinian Dr Issam Hijawwi Basalat be the first showcase trial where an undercover operative admits being involved in illegal activity, previously held to be criminal but now to be accepted as the hard face of Britain’s fight against international terrorism?

Why has this legislation been brought forward at this time?

Will it be used in the trial of Teresa May’s would-be assassin, entrapped and possibly set up by the state?

Is it to help keep Dennis McFadden and others out of jail?

The “Covert Human Resources Bill” must be opposed by all those who defend democracy. Entrapment by the state will become a tool for criminalising individuals, groups and communities opposed to the state and for creating false-flag attacks on society, to manipulate public opinion in favour of the state narrative.

Licensed To Kill


A Morning Thought @ 909

Philip LoPresti
answers 13 questions in Booker's Dozen

TPQ: What are you currently reading? 

PL: I’m reading two at the moment. I often have a couple going at once. The Churchgoer by Patrick Coleman which is a sort of mystery noir set in California and a true crime book Hell In The Heartland: Murder, Meth And The Case Of Two Missing Girls By Jax Miller.

TPQ: Best and worst books you have ever read?

PL: A few of my favorite books are A Choir Of Ill Children by Tom Piccirilli, Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor and Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. Worst books are harder to list because if I can’t get into a book by page fifty I usually give up. Life is too short and I don’t have time to crawl through books that don’t hold my interest but I hated reading John Steinbeck in school. I always thought his writing was a bit dry. Still do.

TPQ: Book most cherished as a child?

PL: Probably The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn. I read it at a young age after my mother gave me a copy and it changed a lot of how I saw things. Reading about a child who was nearly my own age at the time, in a very rough and adult world was both eye opening and relatable. It saved me.

TPQ: Favourite Childhood author?

PL: I didn’t follow authors much as a kid, but I did own all the books in the Goosebumps series so probably R.L. Stine. My older sister also read the Fear Street series and we had all those in the house which I graduated to. I’ve always been a big fan of horror, even as a child.

TPQ: First book to really own you?

PL: Probably Naked Lunch by William Burroughs. When I discovered it as sixteen it was unlike anything I’d read before, and all these years later it is still unlike anything I’ve read. A lot of my poetry was written using techniques I learned from Burroughs. 

TPQ: Favorite male and female author?

PL: Tom Piccirilli and Flannery O’Connor. I don’t want to get long winded about why but I want to say that Choir Of Ill Children and Wise Blood are the only books I truly need.

TPQ: A preference for fact or fiction?

PL: I never had a preference. I always loved both but I seem to reading a lot of True Crime these days. More than I usually do. Don’t know if that’s because my last book was a crime/noir and it so happens that the new one I’m currently writing is as well, so it could be I’m researching subconsciously. Or it could be I’m burnt out on fiction for the time being.

TPQ: Biography, autobiography or memoir that most impressed you?

PL: The Basketball Dairies by Jim Carroll. Jim was a writer whose work did and still does speak to me on a very personal level. He also single handedly taught me how to write a poem. All from just reading his work.

TPQ: Any author or book you point blank refuse to read?

PL: Too many to name.

TPQ: A book to share with somebody so that they would more fully understand you? 

PL: The Sunset Limited by Cormac McCarthy. 

TPQ: Last book you gave as a present?

PL: A Choir of Ill Children by Tom Piccirilli. I gave it to a friend recently actually. Like two weeks ago. She just messaged me today about how much she loves it so I guess we can remain friends.

TPQ: Book you would most like to see turned into a movie?

PL: Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. A couple who experiment with radioscopic drugs to breed their own freak show to keep the family business afloat, how amazing would that be? Only problem it would need a budget and that’s a hard sell. Also, I feel that there may be only two people to get it right. Fellini and Terry Gilliam. One’s already gone and the other is on his way out. Still, I’d watch it if an adaptation ever happened regardless who directed.

TPQ: A "must read" you intend getting to before you die?

PL: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. An ex girlfriend loved his work and his books were always around the apartment, but I never around to reading his books. A bunch of others tell me I should read his work, that book in particular. One day I will get to it.

Philip LoPresti is a New York-based poet, photographer, and fiction author, most recently of the novella The Things We Bury

Booker's Dozen @ Philip LoPresti

UnHerdIf you were bullied by 338 colleagues, what would you do?

 Suzanne Moore
It is March 2020. For several months now I have been trying to write something — anything — about the so-called “trans debate” in my Guardian column. But if I ever slip a line in about female experience belonging to people with female bodies, and the significance of this, it is always subbed out. It is disappeared. Somehow, this very idea is being blocked, not explicitly, but it certainly isn’t being published. My editors say things like: “It didn’t really add to the argument”, or it is a “distraction” from the argument.

Distraction has always been a triggering word for me. In a good way. My PhD supervisor told me I was “a woman of too many distractions”. This was because I was venturing into journalism, frustrated by the dead language of academia ...

Even though I’d been writing for them for decades, editors consistently try to steer me towards “lifestyle” subjects for my column. One even suggests that I shouldn’t touch politics at all. And yet I won the Orwell Prize for political journalism the year before.

Continue reading @ UnHerd.

Why I Had To Leave The Guardian

The Journal - Report details case of mentally ill inmate found lying naked on floor of cell
Hayley Halpin  

The Council Of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture found a mentally ill prisoner lying naked in his cell in an Irish prison, with faeces and urine on the floor. 

The CPT has today published its report on its seventh periodic visit to Ireland, which took place from 25 September to 4 October 2019.

In the five prison establishments visited, prisoners stated that the vast majority of prison officers treated them correctly.

However, a small number of prison officers are inclined to use more physical force than is necessary and to verbally abuse prisoners, the committee outlined.

The CPT also found that the current complaints system cannot be considered fit for purpose.

The committee outlined that most people stated that they were treated corrected by gardaí when detained.

However, it said there were several allegations of physical ill-treatment and verbal disrespect from remand prisoners. These allegations mostly involved slaps, kicks and punches to various parts of the body.  

Continue reading @ The Journal.

Report Details Case Of Mentally Ill Inmate Found Lying Naked On Floor Of Cell

UnHerd ✒ A university without a library is like a home without a roof.

Tom Crew

 And so, despite the insistence of many universities that their libraries remain “open online”, higher education has all but come to an end in the UK. A sector that remained open during the Second World War and provided a home to dissidents and the otherwise persecuted — from Theodor W. Adorno to Sir Ludwig Guttmann — has closed itself as quickly and as meekly as the church.

The University of Cambridge, where I am a doctoral student and which, in 1933, helped form the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA), seems to be leading the retreat: declaring an end to group lectures for the whole of the next academic year and generally falling over itself in eager deference to government “advice”.

Speaking at the Albert Hall at an event organized by CARA in 1933, Albert Einstein urged the audience to “resist the powers which threaten to suppress intellectual and individual freedom”. As contentious as references to the 1930s might be, when in our entire history has “intellectual and individual freedom” been as besieged as it is today?

Continue reading @ UnHerd.

Safetyism ➖ The New University Doctrine