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Please Don't Remain Calm: Provocations and…
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Please Don't Remain Calm: Provocations and Commentaries

by Michael Kinsley

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Back in the dark ages of the 1990s, Michael Kinsley was Pat Buchanan's punching bag on the CNN news-talk program Crossfire. The show was so archaic in it's format that the two adversaries would often be seen to smile at one another and shook hands publicly on many occasions.

Kinsley left Crossfire to become the editor of a newfangled magazine on your screen called Slate, something invented by Microsoft. He has since written for real newspapers like the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and even Time magazine.

Please Don't Remain Calm is a collection of some of Kinsley's writings for all of these various publications dating from 1995 up until 2007. I would guess that another collection won't be appearing until some time in 2020. This will give you plenty of time to work your way through this one.



Many of the early pieces are quite clever and stand the test of time better than a stained blue dress. It is interesting to look back and remember how worked up we all were over issues that seem, frankly, to be trivial by today's standards. Midway through the book we are introduced to the misadventures of George W Bush. Things I would rather forget are on almost every page from that point on.

The book's title is derived from a piece written in 2006, reflecting on the actions of the passengers on United Flight 93 on September 11th 2001. Kinsley concludes that, unlike those passengers, he would have followed instructions and stayed in his seat. I'm not so sure. Those were a random group of ordinary people and hey acted as they did. Why not any other random group, even one including a journalist and bon vivant.

Generally I don't consider these collections of editorials as real books, and this is no exception. It was a bit like reading an out of date blog, except for the anachronistic use of paper as a medium of expression. And no YouTube videos.

I'll Never Forget The Day I Read A Book!
  cbjorke | Sep 10, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393066541, Hardcover)

A lucid deconstruction of the politics and public figures shaping the social, financial, and military disasters of our times.

This selection of Michael Kinsley's trenchant editorial writing in Slate (and elsewhere) since 1995 covers the end of the Clinton era (Monica, impeachment, etc.) and two terms of George W. Bush (9/11, the War on Terror, Iraq, etc.).

During this time Kinsley left Washington for Seattle and founded Slate, was opinion editor of the Los Angeles Times, underwent brain surgery for Parkinson's disease, and had other adventures that are reflected here. Although mostly about politics, there are articles and essays about other things, such as the future of newspapers, the existence of God, and why power women love Law and Order.

This is the work of a writer at the top of his form. Kinsley's wit is a weapon that any talk-show host or elected blowhard should envy and fear, and the reader will cherish his sense of humor, which enlivens even the toughest subject matter.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:03 -0400)

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