Saturday, November 2, 2013

Terrorist - John Updike

I was prepared to dislike this book. John Updike is known for his liberal bias on just about everything - and that's usually, not my cup of tea. I started reading the book anyway and was drawn in quickly.  Before reviewing the book, and as an example of typical Updike, here are a few excerpts worth considering:
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". . . the unspeakable but considerably successful and still,at least in the Arab world, admired Adolf Hitler."

"Now, routinely, Jack Levy interviews children who seem to have no flesh-and-blood parents - whose instructions from the world are entirely imparted by electronic ghosts signaling from across a crowded room, or rapping through black foam earplugs, or encoded in the intricate programing of action figures twitching their spasmodic way through the explosion- producing algorithms of a video game."

"Look at television, Mr. Levy, how it's always using sex to sell you things you don't need. Look at the history the school teaches, pure colonialist.  Look how Christianity committed genocide on the Native Americans and undermined Asia and Africa and now is coming after Islam, with everything in Washington run by Jews to keep themselves in Palestine."

". . . computers. We've built them into the system so that everyone is dependent, not just libraries but industry, and banks, and brokerage houses, and the airlines, and nuclear power plants - I could go on and on."

"There could be a cyberattack. They use these worms that get by the firewalls and plant these applets, they call them, that send back covert messages describing the network they've penetrated and paralyzing everything, scrambling what they call the routing tables and getting by the gateway protocols so that not just the stock market and traffic lights but everything freezes - the power grids, the hospitals, the Internet itself, can you imagine? The worms would be programed to spread and spread until even that television you were watching would go on the fritz, or else show nothing but Osama bin Laden on all channels."

"Race, sex - they spook us (Americans). Once you run out of steam, America doesn't give you much. It doesn't even let you die, what with the hospitals sucking all the money they can out of Medicare. The drug companies have turned doctors into crooks. Why should I hang around until some disease turns me into a cash cow for a bunch of crooks?"

* * * * * 

John Updike essentially constructed the entire story around these excerpts. It's about an American Muslim from childhood to early manhood, and his evolution from innocence to terrorist.

An excellent book, easily read.

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