Christopher Hitchens: a new theory of redemption

Here's looking at you, Hitch

We at the ol’ raincoaster blog have long been fans (and, almost as long, confused and saddened ex-fans, like all those little kids when they found out the World Series was fixed) of the controversial, bilious, bibulous ex-Brit writer Christopher Hitchens, now enjoying a cushy, spa-ridden sinecure, the just reward of age, at Vanity “Fifteen Dollars a Word” Fair, having some time ago experienced a midlife crisis of Shakespearean proportions, from which he has yet to recover. In fact, the sole point on which I am absolutely sure we are still in agreement is that his brother is an ass.

Encouraging hints are emerging, leading those who’ve enjoyed his fine words even as we’ve missed his fine mind for, say, the last seven or eight years, to hope that the message might yet match the medium in terms of quality. And we are all about the terms of quality, yo. One of the earliest expressions of senility in retreat came in the form of this remarkable video and article:

Christopher Hitchens Gets Waterboarded

From How does it feel to be “aggressively interrogated”? Christopher Hitchens found out for himself, submitting to a brutal waterboarding session in an effort to understand the human cost of America’s use of harsh tactics at Guantánamo and elsewhere. has the footage. Related: “Believe Me, It’s Torture,” from the August 2008 issue

Interview conducted by David Rose and filmed by Arya Surowidjojo.

Note the opening remarks: I don’t know what Hitchens did to piss Graydon Carter off, but Toby Young is lucky he got out of there when he did, from the looks of things.

So, why did getting waterboarded so suddenly turn Hitch‘s mind from self-centered, cranky mush, to something closer to a source of intellectual insight? It’s complicated, but I have an idea.

Actually, that generally goes without saying, doesn’t it? Both parts of that sentence.

So, the idea is this: as we all know, Hitchens is infamously immoderate of appetite(s). Since pre-puberty his brain has been stewed in a tepid chemical bath of scotch, tar, nicotine, preservatives, unmentionables, Red Dye #’s 1 through 642, and whatever it is that middle-class dealers cut their drugs with. Naturally, as time went on the effects got worse, culminating in the interminable Route 66 piece aforementioned, not to mention the neaderthal reactionarianism and spittle-flecked defensiveness that have marked/marred his work ever since.

Through the (admittedly rather drastic, but hey, we’ve got to be realists in this world today, amIrite?) use of the latest in waterboarding technology, thanks to one short session, the patient’s brain is already showing signs of improvement. We at the ol’ raincoaster blog believe this to be the result of nothing less than the cleansing flushing action of a pure water near-drowning, a remarkably successful (and inexpensive) way to restore the brain itself to youth and beauty.

Waterboarding. The Cranial Neti Pot of the Future.

Were we making the terrorists smarter and younger all this time? I see a future for battle-scarred veterans; no longer dependent on a sadly-depleted GI Bill or consigned to a gloomy and inadequate Veteran’s Hospital, nor shunted to the streets, they can now use the skills they developed across the oceans in the millions of American day spas. Spa visits will never be the same.

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LOLitics: Mannifest Destuny

Mannifest Destuny iz mannifestin


Now, it’s not the first time the Yanks have made a move on our land. The last time they pulled this my ancestors had to go down and loot and burn the White House to discourage this kind of thing, and as we know from recent example, the gene pool has bred true.

But this time they have gone too far.

Welcome: Portraits of America, a new seven-minute film produced by Disney, will be shown in airports and embassies to woo visitors with a sanitised take on US landmarks. There are no shots of highways clogged with cars bumper to bumper. Instead, the camera pans over the wonders of the Grand Canyon, New York’s Chrysler building and the awe-inspiring power of the Niagara Falls.

But wait a minute. What falls are these? They don’t seem to resemble the Bridal Veil Falls that stand on the US side of the border. They do, however, look distinctly like the Horseshoe Falls, the immense curtain of water shrouded in mist that is the stock image of Niagara and lies almost entirely inside Canada. The annexation of a Canadian natural wonder was spotted by the news agency Associated Press.”This is an insult,” said Paul Gromosiak, an expert on the waterfalls. “This is not the US, this is 100% Canada, shot from the Canadian side.


We have previously had our issues with the Guardian‘s coverage of Canada, but in this case we have little to add. Very little. Except: you don’t want to piss us off again.

That’s what Portraits of Americans are like.
This is what Portraits of Canadians are like.

via Bridlepath

Swords, baybee. We have swords. What do you have? A weak military force squandered in Iraq and a couple of dozen reserves out scouring the country side for escaped weasels. Tell them to look in Congress and the Senate.

coming soon

uh, blog content.

Blowing My CoverYesterday I unplugged for the entire day and read the only example of chick lit ever to fully engross me: the quite non-fictional Lindsay Moran‘s Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy.

And it occurred to me: given that most women buy their own perfume, rather than leave it to some guy, why are there no perfumes that are marketed using the superhero archetype? Or the superagent one? I would totally buy something that made me feel like Supergirl or Emma Peel; in fact, that’s how I choose perfumes: by balancing alluring qualities with kickass ones, which is how I ended up with Chanel #19, Allure, and (in my dreams) Midnight Poison, DKNY Red, and Stella McCartney, all of which can be described as kickass yet fuckable.

Is it related that today I am wearing my cape? I should totally make an indoor cape, for blogging, just to put myself in the right mindset. Why should imaginary people have all the fun?


Also, it keeps the tentacles warm.

Terror Alert Level: Speedos!

Borat! Yo! MY EYES! MY EYES!

Shocking news from Guantanamo Bay, as reports trickle in that security has been breached, in several, very palpable ways.

Prisoners have been sighted in possession of, and actually wearing, contraband items which have obviously been smuggled in somehow, to purportedly the most secure compound on Earth. Ringed by the Caribbean Ocean, patrolled by endless US Navy and Coast Guard boats, continuously scouted by fighter jets and surveillance drones, nonetheless the Gitmo prison camp has proven as porous as cheesecloth, all the forces of the United States Military no more effective than the elderly, be-aproned greeters at Wal-Mart.

We’re talking Speedos, people.

From the AP, via the Guardian:

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Guards at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp found two prisoners sporting unauthorized underwear, and the U.S. military is investigating to determine how they got the contraband.

Both prisoners were caught wearing Under Armour briefs and one also had on a Speedo bathing suit, items the military said were not issued by Guantanamo personnel or sent through the regular mail, according to a Defense Department letter obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

Army Lt. Col. Ed Bush, a spokesman at the jail holding some 340 men on suspicion of terrorism or links to al-Qaida and the Taliban, said more was involved than just an uproar over skivvies.

He said the appearance of contraband raised serious concerns about the potential for smuggling other items that could be used by detainees to harm themselves or staff.

There is no room for error when working in a dangerous environment, and constant vigilance is of the utmost importance,” Bush said.

Sweetie, if they look half-decent in them, you can be certain that at least some of your guards won’t take their eyes off of them. They’ve been away from home for a long time.

So, how does that work: if we wear the baggies, do the terrorists win?

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Osama bin Makeover

Osama bin Makeover

Is it October already? Quel suprise!

Much attention has been paid to the “latest” video which purports to be from Osama bin Laden. Less attention, unfortunately, has been paid to the remarkable differences in his appearance between this video and the “last” video, which was released back in July and shows bin Laden as he appeared back in, say, 2002 or so. In fact, there are no pictures up until this past week which have been identified as bin Laden post-2002.
Naturally, if you’ve been rocking the same look that long, it’s high time for a makeover. From the looks of this “latest” vid, he got one: why, the transformation is positively Swan-worthy. It’s like he’s a different man! Note in particular the Osama bin Rhinoplasty‘d, the Osama bin Browplucked, and the Osama bin Restylaned mouth and nasal folds, the whole region of which appears to be so changed that it is almost as if it belonged to another person.

Almost, eh?

The great fashion blogger (and, not coincidentally my boss) The Manolo has fisked Osama‘s new look over on Pajamas Media, and for once we at the deeply Red ol’ raincoaster blog will encourage you to click over to a site owned by the Great Right Wing Conspiracy to get some good old-fashioned belly laughs. If only Stacy and Clinton could get their hands on this boy!

In the simple phrase, we now have witnessed the arrival of “Osama bin Metrosexual”.

With the freshly dyed beard, it is obvious that here is yet another sorry example of the aging man who has resorted to the Grecian Formula SPF50 in order to stave off the ravages of time; the man for whom the grey beard is not the mark of honor and of the life well lived, but of the irretrievable loss of youth.

Trust the Manolo, Osama, this look is not working for you.

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