September 21st, 2006

breaking bad

The Course of the Heart

I am just finishing 'The Course of the Heart' by M John Harrison. MJH is an exceptional writer, sometimes his prose is almost ostentatious. I get the impression that he writes at will without discrete structure and assembles the parts almost arbitrarily into short stories and novels. This novel includes characters and scenes from more than one of his short stories. The atmosphere and philosophy of the book is aligned with all of his work. The flaws are flaws I sympathise with. However, like Philip K Dick I think he is a very masculine writer, who has problems with the female. Like PKD he is a gnostic writer, though his style is very different. The material world is the shadow of a denser, more real, world (in this novel 'the Pleroma') which intrudes in an unhealthy way.
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breaking bad

'What is it good for? absolutely nothing'

What do you think about arguments that torture 'doesn't work'? Military experts say that torture is a poor way of discovering truth, and history (for instance the witch craze) gives us many examples of torture leading to fabricated confession. So, personally, I think the actual evidence is that torture doesn't work, when employed systematically.

On the other hand I have sympathy with Majikthise who argues that we shouldn't even discuss why torture 'doesn't work'. It shouldn't even be on the table for discussion. We don't stoop to explaining to men why rape doesn't work as a form of sexual encounter: we just say it's no good.
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