There's yet another new issue of The Believer (for a 10-issues-a-year mag there's something rapidfire and relentless about its production; maybe it's the $8 cover price that makes me gasp) and there's some very fine stuff in it: I liked B. Kite's (is that a real name?) discussion of J.M. Coetzee's morally vivid, half-convincing doppleganger, Elizabeth Costello (who pops up in Coetzee's new novel as well) and there's a surprisingly dense, chewy, and satisfying discussion of the philosophy of law with one Peter Fitzpatrick (interview conducted by Jill Stauffer). Most notably there's Jim Shepard's uncanny comparison of the Bush administration to Nosferatu: as that which destroys what it purports to love, specifically in this case the all-volunteer Army as personified by Pat Tillman, the NFL player whose death by friendly fire has been covered up and denied. On the day the President has made yet another meaningless stay-the-course, honor-their-sacrifice speech, the last three sentences demand to be quoted:
When this administration talks about sacrifice, it does so with a weird doubleness, an edge. The all-volunteer Army is doing precisely what the major figures in this administrationfrom Donald Rumsfeld to Dick Cheney to George W. Bushrefused to do, whatever their pst or present rhetoric about the glories of sacrifice. We're very grateful to those who sacrifice for us, and grateful as well to those who embody the virtues to which we claim we most aspire. And we're enraged by them, as well, for all they demonstrate to us, through the example of their behavior, about ourselves.