Planes, brains and commonsense

From Henry Rollins’ journal/blog.

#30. 01-30-06 Melbourne Australia: 2139 hrs.

Henry writes:

"I just got a letter from a nice woman who told me the man I sat next to on the flight from Auckland to Goldcoast Australia reported me to the Australian Government because of the book I was reading."

This is what alert and alarmed wrote:

"I hope this finds you before you leave Australia as I think its something that won’t surprise you but might give you a smile when you are sitting in a hotel room. I work in one of those Government areas that deals with anti terrorism matters. A fine service is provided but unfortunately we get to read a lot of things submitted by lunatics. The Australian Government set up the National Security Hotline to report terrorists.
The person who sat next to you on the flight from New Zealand does not agree with your politics or choice of reading and so nominated you as a possible threat. As they were too cowardly or stupid to leave their details I can’t call them to discuss their idiocy with them."

Henry writes:

"Interesting that he and I exchanged nothing but polite hellos. I was reading Ahmed Rashid’s book Jihad: The Rise Of Militant Islam In Central Asia. He’s a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and the book is on the Yale University Press. Didn’t Bush drink beer at Yale? Didn’t he not seem to learn much at Yale? Of course I wrote the nice lady back."

In a letter to alert and alarmed, Henry wrote:

"I was reading a book called Jihad by Ahmed Rashid which is a history of Central Asia. I didn’t speak to the man next to me past how do you do. I think Ahmed Rashid is published by Yale University Press. Bush’s alma mater. Please tell your government and everyone in your office to go fuck themselves. Tell them twice. If your boss is looking for something to do, you can tell him I suggest he go fuck himself. Baghdad’s safer than my hometown and your PM is a sissy. You have a nice night."

I hope my copy of The Assassins Gate: America in Iraq by George Packer arrives in time for my next plane journey. If not, I’ll re-read Andrew Wilkie’s Axis of deceit

HoWARd’s Australia- Read a book and draw attention to yourself.


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10 Responses to “Planes, brains and commonsense”

  1. cat =^..^= Says:

    Bill Hicks was once famously but mockingly called “a bloody reader” and you know we have to watch out for those. i’m a librarian and i should know. 🙂

  2. Suki Says:

    Does being a librarian make you the organiser of the terrorist group? 🙂

  3. kartar Says:

    I regularly read my book at my girlfriend’s work (a pub) and dread the “what are you doing?” comment. When I answer ‘reading’ – I get a stream of comments about it. Like ‘reading’ is some unusual activity that merits investigation and comment – like it’s suspicious.

  4. Suki Says:

    In a previous job, I read professional work-related journals/texts at my desk that I requested through the APS library service. From the time the item arrived in the office to the time I posted it back the whole process was viewed with suspicion…hence it became a previous job.

    Grim are the days when the pursuit of knowledge, and the quest for it, is seen as a deficit, or a flaw, or worst of all- suspicious.

    I’m with Kurt Vonnegut who said:

    “I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles.

    So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.”

  5. kartar Says:

    As a former employee of a library I was very proud when I read those stories – people assume librarians are conservative old women who tell people to ‘shush’ – more often they are defenders of the written word and the providers of knowledge to people, both young and old, who might not otherwise be able to find or afford that knowledge.

  6. tigtog Says:

    There’s a pub in Chippendale, Sydney with bookshelves in the front bar full of old books that are there for anyone to pick up and read if they don’t happen to have brought their own book along. The Thurles Castle. Or at least it was still like that a few years ago – I hope it hasn’t changed.

  7. kartar Says:

    Still there from memory. But been a while since I walked past and lot’s of scary pub renovations have been done in poor old Redfern/Chippendale to make the yuppie scum feel more comfortable about living there.

  8. The Blogger Formerly known as Fulmination Dave Says:

    I got some weird looks on the train a few years back when I was reading “The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq”. What the fuck is going on here?

    Bill Hicks: “Looks like we have ourselves a reader.” haha.

  9. Suki Says:

    Were you tempted to paraphrase for the starers TBFkaFD? 🙂

    Now that you are a formerly person, will you only be recognised by a symbol or perhaps a gravatar?

    Welcome back.

  10. Dave Says:

    Thanks Suki. Will be back blogging next week. Flashman was right – I couldn’t stay away for long – sickness or no sickness…

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