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GOVERNOR. I had a sort of presentiment of it. Last night I kept dreaming of two rats–regular monsters! Upon my word, I never saw the likes of them–black and supernaturally big. They came in, sniffed, and then went away.– Here’s a letter I’ll read to you—from Andrey Ivanovich. You know him, Artemy Filippovich.
Listen to what he writes: “My dear friend, godfather and benefactor–[He mumbles, glancing rapidly down the page.]–and to let you know”– Ah, that’s it–”I hasten to let you know, among other things, that an official has arrived here with instructions to inspect the whole state, and your district especially…”
AMMOS. My opinion is, Anton Antonovich, that the cause is a deep one and rather political in character. It means this, that Russia–yes–that Russia intends to go to war, and the Government has secretly commissioned an official to find out if there is any treasonable activity anywhere.
–Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol’, ??????? act I, sc I (1836)(S.H. trans.)
More from Scott Horton:
No Comment — November 4, 2013, 5:17 pm
An expert panel concludes that the Pentagon and the CIA ordered physicians to violate the Hippocratic Oath
No Comment — August 12, 2013, 7:55 am
How will the Obama Administration handle Edward Snowden’s case in the long term?
No Comment — July 29, 2013, 11:36 am
Is it possible to simply disband the partisan FISA court?
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Number of people stopped and frisked by the NYPD in 2011 for “furtive movements”:
The faces of Lego people were growing angrier.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature