Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Golden Age Is In Us: Journeys & Encounters, 1987-1994

1995, possibly first edition, from Verso
Alexander Cockburn
The Golden Age Is In Us: Journeys & Encounters, 1987-1994
Probably bought new for unknown
Worn paperback

Unlike 1988's Corruptions of Empire, which I could happily quote for an hour, I found this mix of journaling and journalism sometimes a bit boring or annoying.  Despite the Gulf War, there's surprisingly little on Bush's presidency (Quayle is mentioned once!), although Cockburn does work up animosity towards Bush's successor, "President McMuffin."  (However, the parallels between Clintonism and lesbian chic are something to ponder.)  And while the autobiographical parts are sometimes interesting, from his mother's death and various earthquakes, to less traumatic events (including his own occasional cross-dressing), I didn't feel I knew or liked him much better than I did before.

Between Corruptions and this book, I got married and divorced, and got a subscription to The Nation, which lapsed around the time this was published.  I mention this because I think this book might've belonged to my ex-husband.  There are many typos and I think it's my ex's handwriting that put "defiance?" where Cockburn says, "..the killing of peasants and social workers, all in defense of US and international laws."

At best, this is the bronze age of Cockburn's work.  While I enjoyed reading him in The Nation (more than Hitchens, less than Pollitt), I can see why I didn't get his later books.  Still, I was sorry to hear when he died July of last year (ironically a few days before his contemporary and former compatriot, Maeve Binchy).

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