SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
No Comment readers recently saw my interview with Alex Gibney, the producer of “Taxi to the Dark Side.” Last night, Alex and his team got the best documentary Oscar. (Disclosure: I appear in “Taxi” and had many discussions with Alex and his crew about shaping it.) Here’s a wire report:
An investigation into the death later found Dilawar had been repeatedly kicked and punched and was chained to the ceiling of his cell for days. Gibney, who also produced hit documentary “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”, said in his acceptance speech that his wife had wanted him to make a romantic comedy.
“But honestly after Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and extraordinary rendition that simply wasn’t possible,” the film-maker said before dedicating the film to Dilawar, and his own father.
“This is dedicated to two people who are no longer with us, Dilawar, the young Afghan taxi driver and my father a Navy interrogator who urged me to make this film because of his fury at what was being done to the rule of law,” said Gibney.
“Let’s hope we can turn this country around, move away from the dark side and go back to the light,” he said.
Discovery originally took broadcast rights to the documentary, and then backed out, saying it was “too controversial.” Actually there is nothing “controversial” about the film. It is a compelling, honest account of something that the Bush Administration fervently hopes that Americans learn nothing. Discovery evidenced supreme cowardice. I was halfway expecting them to take a lambasting from the Oscar podium, but the “Taxi” team is far too classy for that.
The film rights were flipped to HBO. Let’s hope HBO gets it out and on the air quickly.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”