Showing posts from September, 2014

Those Were the Days / Дорогой длинною

The song “Those Were the Days” is an English version of the Russian song Дорогой длинною (By the Long Road). I like both versions a lot. The English one by Mark Hopkin from 1968 is very popular: A bit of related history is stranger than fiction: On Christmas 1975, the President of Equatorial Guinea, Francisco Macías Nguema, had 150 alleged coup plotters executed in the national stadium while Mary Hopkins’ cover of “Those Were the Days” was played over the PA system. That was reported in the Wikipedia article on the song. The first Russian recordings of the song go back to the 1920s and 1930s. This video anthologizes excerpts from some of them, giving a feel for the range of adaptations: I find the Russian lyrics and English translation are more interesting than the later English version.

The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory

Book review of The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory , by Jesse Walker. 421 pages excluding index. Published 2013 by HarperCollins . This book makes well its case that “The Paranoid Style Is American Politics”, as the name of the first chapter states. It covers pretty much everything, at least in passing: Presidential assassinations; slave uprisings; religious disputes; Indian conflict; influence by the French, English, and Spanish; overt devil worship; Freemasonry; Jews; Communism; the Illuminati; the Ku Klux Klan; later the FBI and COINTELPRO; the CIA and CHAOS; Rosicrucianism; Watergate; the Vietnam War; the tradition of paranoid movies and TV shows; Christian fears of devil worshiping and witchcraft and ritual mutilations and child abuse. Chapter 3, The Devil Next Door, includes detailed coverage of anti-Mormon paranoia about polygamy, harems, bloc voting, the Danites, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and treatment in novels by Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes