FDL Book Salon Welcomes Matt Farwell, discussion about Michael Hastings and The Last Magazine
EDITORS NOTE: This Book Salon will be rescheduled. Apologies for the interruption.
Matthew Farwell, is friend of Michael Hastings and his family. Matt is a journalist and a veteran of the Afghan War, he helped the late reporter Michael Hastings write his 2012 Rolling Stone piece titled “America’s Last Prisoner of War.” Please keep the discussion to Michael Hasting’s life, works and travels, let’s avoid Michael’s tragic death. – bev
Michael Hastings’ The Last Magazine, is a scathing satire and indictment of the way the New York / DC big media world works. When I first read it, in an all-nighter months after his death, it was an amazing surprise: he was gone but his voice was still out there, and for a good 80,000 words completely new and fresh. Anyone halfway familiar with the New York / DC news and media apparatus will recognize the characters behind the characters. Hopefully the way they’re portrayed is as disturbing to you as it was to me—as essentially out-of-touch, solipsistic, preening weenies, who for some reason we keep listening to on TV & Radio and reading in print.
It is hard at this point not to draw a parallel to Michael’s merciless article about General Stanley McChrystal. McChrystal, commander of US Forces in Afghanistan, was fired after Michael’s 2009 Rolling Stone article revealed a revered figure as an eccentric weirdo with an incredibly un-disciplined staff who didn’t really want to take orders from the White House. In that case, at least, McChrystal was held accountable and fired for his conduct and screw-ups—I wonder why we’ll never see the same for the pundits and political journalists skewered in The Last Magazine.
Both the McChrystal article and the novel give the reader a real sense what is going on behind the curtain… and it isn’t always pretty. Yet somehow Michael also managed to inject the story he crafted with a level of humor, plain whacked-out weirdness, and certain scenes with a gem-cut brilliance and clarity that slices through a lot of the bullshit in the world around us in such a way that you don’t want to reach for a razor blade yourself and draw a lukewarm bath. If you haven’t read the book, I encourage you to. If you have, I look forward to your questions. Thanks for joining me here!
[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions. Please take other conversations to a previous thread. – bev]