Or have we eaten on the insane root that takes the reason prisoner?
July 1, 2009 8:09 AM   Subscribe

“Josephine had practically every desirable personal characteristic, except wisdom and mercy.” Gee, that sounds like she actually isn’t a nice person at all! Gary Brecher (previously) reviews Banquo’s Ghosts, a political-minded spy thriller from National Review editor Richard Lowry and novelist Keith Korman. Lowry describes it as an "episode of “24″ written by Proust. "

Bonus Conservative Potboiler Review: Matt Taibbi on William F. Buckley's Tucker's Last Stand.
posted by The Whelk (52 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
A couple of years back one of Banquo’s staff hung a framed replica of Fox Mulder’s famous alien saucer poster on the wall. ... Except this poster showed Saddam’s noble profile superimposed over a mushroom cloud. The caption stayed the same though, a comment on the Agency’s egregiously wrong ‘slam dunk’ insistence that Iraq had WMD’s when none could be found:
“I Want to Believe.”

posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:19 AM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Rich Lowry should be forbidden for life from uttering or writing the name of Proust.
posted by blucevalo at 8:22 AM on July 1, 2009

Huh. Does the protagonist see "little starbursts" when he meets Josephine? 'Cause she sounds really familiar.
posted by EarBucket at 8:29 AM on July 1, 2009

An episode of 24 written by Proust would be 24 hours long in real time.
posted by dortmunder at 8:30 AM on July 1, 2009 [4 favorites]

Bad fiction is bad.
posted by jquinby at 8:31 AM on July 1, 2009

Why would the CIA have changing tables? A lot of cryptanalysts bring babies into Top Secret decoding rooms?
posted by DU at 8:33 AM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

He's really got a thing for the passive voice.
posted by HumanComplex at 8:38 AM on July 1, 2009

"Where are the goddamn madeleines?" he yelled. Swann shook his head briefly before collapsing to the floor, dead. "DAMMIT! Chloe, get me a satellite into position NOW! We have to find that Lost Time before it's too late!"
posted by Electric Dragon at 8:46 AM on July 1, 2009 [17 favorites]

To be fair he does follow "Well, think of an episode of “24″ written by Proust." with "OK, maybe not quite." Of course, he should have followed that with "OK, not in any way at all even to someone who has not ever read Proust," but, hey, disclaimer....
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:52 AM on July 1, 2009

> "episode of “24″ written by Proust. "

If only he had described it as, "An episode of '24' written by Murasaki Shikibu," it would have all been alright.
posted by ardgedee at 9:23 AM on July 1, 2009

Oh boy, fiction! That's where I'm still relevant!
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:25 AM on July 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

Wait, are you literally relevant? Or are you only relevant in a fictional world?
posted by Navelgazer at 9:27 AM on July 1, 2009 [3 favorites]

There are some mornings I wish I could remember lost time.
posted by The Whelk at 9:29 AM on July 1, 2009

I'm having more fun imagining 24 written by famous authors now…

"Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad. Jack Bauer was that man."
posted by klangklangston at 10:49 AM on July 1, 2009 [5 favorites]

I'm having more fun imagining 24 written by famous authors now…

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a secret agent in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a terrorist plot to foil.
posted by dortmunder at 10:57 AM on July 1, 2009 [13 favorites]

Reason why it's Proustian? "it is a thriller with a point of view. We try to keep the plot moving, while satirizing the chattering class and skewering the imbecilities of America’s political/media culture."

There is just so much wrong with that sentence. First of all EVERY author of note criticises/satirises the moeurs of his time, big whoop. Then there's the fact that Proust was not out there for the social satire or commentary, they were by products of his more global vision to explore Truth with a capital T. A vision HE DID NOT WANT TO BE EXPLICIT. In a letter to Jacques Riviére he even says he hates ideological works with an axe to grind. He wanted art of art's sake (not solely admittedly, but he was not a pamphlet writer).

Best of all? Lowry has, by implicatation, compared his writing to that of the one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. I think not.
posted by litleozy at 11:08 AM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

It was the best of time slots, it was the worst of time slots, it was the age of WB, it was the age of FOX, it was the Season Six, it was the Season of Darkness...
posted by xod at 11:22 AM on July 1, 2009

It was the worst of times, it was the worser of times, it was the age of intellgence-gathering, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of suspension of disbelief, it was the epoch of complete audience incredulity, it was the season of running around screaming, it was the season of staring into a computer screen, it was the spring of explosions, it was the winter of torture-porn, we had everything running past us in our black SUVs, and everyone was a mole.
posted by The Whelk at 11:23 AM on July 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

Xod. please stay off my Psychannel Stream, k?
posted by The Whelk at 11:24 AM on July 1, 2009

In my younger and more vulnerable years, my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my head ever since.
"Whenever you feel like torturing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in the world haven't had the advantages you've had."
posted by klangklangston at 11:24 AM on July 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

Jack believed in America, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further... And one fine morning -

So we beat our suspect on, hands cuffed against the wall, borne back ceaselessly into the news at 10.
posted by The Whelk at 11:27 AM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

My name is Tony Almeida. You don't know about me without you have watched a show called 24 by Mr. Joel Surnow, but that ain't no matter.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:31 AM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Call me Islam.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:32 AM on July 1, 2009 [3 favorites]

Jack Bauer as a ne'er-do-well-fuck-up Donald Westlake character would be good.
posted by xod at 11:36 AM on July 1, 2009

Xod. please stay off my Psychannel Stream, k?

No, you got your Dickens in my 24.
posted by xod at 11:41 AM on July 1, 2009

and O that awful deepdown torrent O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a jihadist where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.
posted by xod at 11:47 AM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

my name is jak bowr. i am riting this becoz the director told me i need to do things by the book. im gonna be a reel tuff ajent. sum reel bad men hav dun somefing reel bad, so ill cloze for today,
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 11:49 AM on July 1, 2009 [11 favorites]

The only way Buckley could get a laugh out of a person under 70 is if he fell off his Hinckley into a school of barracuda.

Now THAT'S comedy gold.
posted by tkchrist at 11:55 AM on July 1, 2009

В пять часов утра, как всегда, пришло сообшение -- ядерная бомба у белого дома. Баур никогда не просыпал подёма, а этот день -- будет саиый длинный день жизни Джека Баура.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 12:06 PM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have killed
the suspect
that was in
the integration room

and which
you were probably
for questioning

Forgive me
He was so suspicious
so brown
and so Muslim
posted by The Whelk at 12:09 PM on July 1, 2009 [36 favorites]

Jack gets me a job in CTU, after that Jack's pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to talk. For 24 hours though, Jack and I were best friends. People are always asking me, did I know about Jack Bauer.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 12:21 PM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

This show is to be both an affirmation and a confession, and most of all an adventure, for terrorism is but an adventure for those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a man who, even though he may have moved on from its shells, was birthed by the war.
posted by clorox at 12:55 PM on July 1, 2009

Happy counter-terrorism units are all alike; each unhappy counter-terrorism unit is unhappy in its own way.
posted by nicepersonality at 1:00 PM on July 1, 2009

I am a sick man… I am a spiteful man. I am an unattractive man. I believe my liver is being held hostage by terrorists.
posted by klangklangston at 1:04 PM on July 1, 2009 [3 favorites]

Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a razor was crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the midmorning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned:
—Allah akbar!
posted by klangklangston at 1:09 PM on July 1, 2009

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the CTU to correlate all its contents.
posted by empath at 1:09 PM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

One morning, as Jack Bauer was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in his bed he had been changed into a terrorist hostage.
posted by empath at 1:11 PM on July 1, 2009 [7 favorites]

Bauer a grammar.
posted by jquinby at 1:19 PM on July 1, 2009

Far out, in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy, lies a small, unregarded, yellow sun.

Orbiting this at a distance of 93 million miles lies an utterly insignificant blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital countdowns are a pretty neat idea.

This planet has--or rather, had--a problem. One man can solve it. Jack Bauer.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 1:19 PM on July 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

I am seated in a bunker, surrounded by heads and bodies. My posture is consciously congruent to the shape of my wheeled office chair. This is a cold room in the Counter-Terrorism Unit, concrete-walled, double-bulletproof-windowed against the November spike in high-value-target attacks owing to Himself's1 increase in Toughness On Terror which we generally suspected to be a bellweather for his violent Seasonal Affective Disorder. Himself's.

I am in here.

1We called the P.O.T.U.S. "Himself" in the C.T.U., one of those affectionate private nicknames. Don't even think about asking what my affectionate private nickname is.
posted by pts at 1:23 PM on July 1, 2009 [5 favorites]

The age of this gentleman of ours was bordering on fifty; he was of a hardy habit, spare, gaunt-featured, a very early riser and a great sportsman. They will have it his surname was Bauer or Bower (for here there is some difference of opinion among the recappers who write on the subject), although from reasonable conjectures it seems plain that he was called Jack.

You must know, then, that the above-named gentleman whenever he was at work (which was mostly all the day round) gave himself up to torturing Moors with such ardour and avidity that he almost entirely neglected the pursuit of justice, and even the management of his family; and to such a pitch did his eagerness and infatuation go that he stormed many an acre of abandoned storage facility to find suspects to torture, and brought back as many of them as he could get...
posted by Iridic at 1:24 PM on July 1, 2009

People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: vaporized was the usual word.

Oh ...wait.
posted by The Whelk at 1:30 PM on July 1, 2009

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were beeping steadily towards thirteen.
Jack Bauer, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the
vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of CTU,
though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty realism from entering
along with him.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 1:30 PM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

That is the 3rd time that was happened in this thread.

I'm starting to get paranoid.
posted by The Whelk at 1:31 PM on July 1, 2009

Jack Bauer's jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth. His nostrils curved back to make another, smaller, v. His yellow-gray eyes were horizontal. The v motif was picked up again by thickish brows rising outward from twin creases above a hooked nose, and his pale grown hair grew down -- from high flat temples -- to a point on his forehead. He looked rather pleasantly like a blond Satan. He said to Chloe O'Brian: "Yes, sweetheart?"
posted by clorox at 1:40 PM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Jack, jolter of jackals, electrocuter of their loins. Our sin, our soul.
posted by The Whelk at 1:44 PM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

William Carlos Williams + 24 = comedy gold!
posted by vibrotronica at 2:18 PM on July 1, 2009

Who says an English degree isn't worth something...
posted by Tesseractive at 4:02 PM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

'What's it going to be then, eh?'
There was me, that is Jack, and my three droogs, that is Chloe, Tony, and Kim, Kim being really Kim, and we sat in the CTU making up our rassoodocks what to do with the terrorist, a flip dark chill winter bastard, whose pants were dry.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:00 PM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

There's only four things we do better than anyone else: music, movies, microcode (software), and high-speed terrorist interrogations.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:26 PM on July 1, 2009

"Well, Obama, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the bin Ladins. But I warn you, if you don't tell me that this means war, if you still try to defend the infamies and horrors perpetrated by that Antichrist -- and I really believe he is the Antichrist -- I'll disown you. You're no friend of mine -- and I'll have to have you waterboarded until you TALK DAMMIT!!!"
posted by Avenger at 11:25 PM on July 1, 2009

Listen: Jack Bauer is stuck in time.
posted by Grimgrin at 1:20 AM on July 2, 2009

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