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Today, prosecutors tried to introduce a document from actress, Mia Farrow, alleging that supermodel Naomi Campbell had informed her that Mr. Taylor had sent his men to give her a rough-cut diamond after they had all attended a dinner that was hosted by former South African President, Nelson Mandela. Defense lawyers for Mr. Taylor objected to the use of the document, arguing that while the document was a declaration made by Ms. Farrow to Special Court for Sierra Leone prosecutor, Nicholas Koumjian, there is nothing indicating that the declaration was made under oath or whether it was a sworn affidavit. Mr. Taylor’s lead defense counsel, Courtenay Griffiths, further stated that Ms. Farrow’s declaration that certain guests at the dinner, including Mrs. Mandela, raised concern about the presence of Mr. Taylor at the dinner, meant that the document was prejudicial, and that the best person to have made any statement about the transfer of the the diamond would have been Ms. Campbell herself, not a third party. Mr. Griffiths called the document “third-hand hearsay.” –“Judges Order That Prosecutors Cannot Use New Documents Alleging That Charles Taylor Gave Sierra Leone’s Blood Diamonds To Supermodel Naomi Campbell,” Alpha Sesay, The Trial of Charles Taylor
Throughout the book, adopt a sotto voice, in conspiracy with the reader, and a sad I-expected-so-much tone. Establish early on that your liberalism is impeccable, and mention near the beginning how much you love Africa, how you fell in love with the place and can’t live without her. Africa is the only continent you can love—take advantage of this. If you are a man, thrust yourself into her warm virgin forests. If you are a woman, treat Africa as a man who wears a bush jacket and disappears off into the sunset. Africa is to be pitied, worshipped or dominated. Whichever angle you take, be sure to leave the strong impression that without your intervention and your important book, Africa is doomed. –“How to Write about Africa,” Binyavanga Wainaina, Granta (2005)
What I should really do is just commit suicide. I have this little Sunday ritual I started around the time I publicly compared the torture at Abu Ghraib to a fraternity prank, where I climb into my Jacuzzi and put a gun in my mouth. But I can never work up the guts to pull the trigger. A few times I came close to overdosing on prescription pain pills, but my goddamn doctors were always there to save me. If I had any sense, I would just hole myself up in a Red Roof Inn with a case of Jack Daniel’s and slowly drink myself into the gaping maw of death itself. –“I Don’t Even Want To Be Alive Anymore,” by “Rush Limbaugh,” The Onion
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
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 naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“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.”