Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I Love The Smell Of Paranoia In The Morning

Mulholland Books has been running some very interesting material over on its blog recently, and WINTERLAND author Alan Glynn pitched in this week with his take on ‘the Paranoid Style’, an excerpt from which runneth thusly:
It was never going to last that long. Golden ages rarely do. But for a while there in the 1970s, that’s what we had.
  Ten years after Richard Hofstadter coined the phrase “the paranoid style” (in a lecture he delivered just days before JFK was assassinated), the national traumas of Vietnam and Watergate were in full swing. Hofstadter’s point was that “they” weren’t out to get you at all — you really were being paranoid. But by the early ’70s, this paradigm had been shattered. The point now was that they really were out to get you, whether you knew it or not, and generally you didn’t until it was too late … Today, paranoia and conspiracy thrillers are dismissed as “voodoo histories” and pretty much seen as a debased form of entertainment.
  All of which might lead you to believe that things have changed for the better since the ’70s, that today’s government no longer spies on, or keeps things from, its citizens, that today’s corporations no longer put the profit motive before any moral consideration of their actions, or that Deep Throat’s exhortation in that underground parking garage all those years ago to “follow the money,” somehow, happily, doesn’t apply anymore. This, of course, would be to ignore the truth (undeniably out there), i.e., that since the ’70s there has been an utterly astonishing increase — exponential, Moore’s Law–like — in every form of electronic surveillance, in the influence, reach, and wealth of transnational corporations, and in the sinister privatization of the military-intelligence complex generally …
  For the rest, clickety-click here.
  For an interview (‘The Dark Art of Paranoia’) I conducted with Alan Glynn for the Sunday Times earlier this year, clickety-click here


michael said...

Google takes pictures of us from satellites in space. Security cameras are a common sight in any store. The head of the CIA tells Congress that no one knows how many intelligence agencies and agents the United States has. Paranoia? Naw, what is there to be paranoid about?

Declan Burke said...

Michael - what paranoiacs always fail to factor in is that the intelligence agencies, et al, are government-run. So why should they be any better / more efficient / any less Keystone Cops than any other government-run organisation?

Cheers, Dec

lil Gluckstern said...

Are you old enough to remember MAD magazine? I'm reminded of "What me worry?"-Alfred E. Neuman