Re: Terrorist capacity

1

From my vague recollections of childhood TV watching in that late 70s and early 80s, there seems to have been a minor industry built around making documentaries about B.D. Cooper.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 8:49 AM
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2

It kept going in the 90s with Hangin' with Mr. Cooper.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 8:53 AM
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3

The brother of a friend and colleague hijacked a plane to Cuba. http://skyjackeroftheday.tumblr.com/post/50651913894/33-alben-truitt

Didn't turn out well.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 8:56 AM
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4

It never does.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 8:57 AM
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5

So far as you know.


Posted by: Opinionated D.B. Cooper | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 8:58 AM
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I don't think hijacking is the driven by the same impulse as shooting up a school. The latter is IMO a glorified suicide, whereas the former is more a kind of tantrum. I can kind of see how there's a common thread of frustration running through both, but the suicide bit seems to me to loom large enough to make it a difference in kind rather than degree.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 8:59 AM
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That's a great book. Good on whoever recommended it to you!

Anyhow, the networks effects fascinate me. First hijacker goes to Cuba? Everybody else goes to Cuba for like a decade! Somebody demands money and then parachutes out? Like a half-dozen other people try the same thing in short order!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 8:59 AM
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-s


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:01 AM
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I know! Whoever recommended it to me should be very, very pleased with themself.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:05 AM
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very, very pleased with themself.

Hmm. As a fan of the singular "they" I somehow think that I still would say "themselves", but maybe not. I wonder what I actually say. I'll have to pay attention to it sometime when I'm not paying attention to it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:12 AM
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11

The god of red squiggly lines didn't like it, either.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:15 AM
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12

Thanks for remembering this, heebie!

I kept intending to post about it, but it's hard for me to write when I'm actually trying to say something.

Anyway, spoiler alert! There is a certain amount of suspense about the outcome of the hijacking that is central to the book, and I have to give it away to talk about this.

My questions center on the co-hijacker Cathy Kerkow, and to what extent Koerner is making stuff up when he writes about the hijacking from her perspective. The key thing is that she disappeared and has never been found, never went on trial for the hijacking, and as far as I can determine there is no record of her telling anybody about her experience of the hijacking. So, as far as I can tell, the only possible source for a lot of this is her co-hijacker, William Holder-- and he doesn't seem all that reliable to me -- not that he would deliberately lie, so much as that he seems pretty crazy.

And there is the very odd extended passage in which Koerner imagines that Kerkow might be be married and living someehere in rural France -- and this gave me a theory which I find amusing if not entirely believable -- that Koerner actually did track down Kerkow, and she talked him on the condition that he wouldn't give her away.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:19 AM
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that Koerner actually did track down Kerkow, and she talked him on the condition that he wouldn't give her away.

I love this idea.

Anyway, I have an idea - based on the website from 3 and the "ask me anything" feature, I bet the Koerner is receptive to just being straight-up asked. I'm going to do so. Maybe he'd say hi in this thread.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:24 AM
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14

There was a fun Leverage episode about DB Cooper.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:25 AM
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Oh goddamnit. The "ASK ME ANTHING!" box requires a tumblr account. Maybe my first question can address that annoyingness.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:25 AM
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16

Newsradio had the definitive take on D.B. Cooper.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:26 AM
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17

Also, in retrospect, the definitive take on the subjects of Dave Foley, Phil Hartman, Andy Dick not being terribly depressing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:27 AM
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I don't think 17 is written in English.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:27 AM
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I (used to) know K/oerner pretty well and could likely get him to respond to questions anyone has, though I think he'd probably happily respond to an email anyway.


Posted by: Known for the Paleo Diet Regular Commenter | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:28 AM
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13: But even if I'm right, he has to deny it!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:29 AM
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18: just add "themself" after the list of names.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:32 AM
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22

Heebie! Have you ever seen Dog Day Afternoon? I bet you'd like it.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:32 AM
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23

I emailed him. Maybe he'll stop by and wink affirmatively really hard.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:33 AM
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24

Also: Dave Foley - I was musing the other day what a big crush I have on him. Just now I looked him up and it turns out that he's growing older, grayer and fatter than in my mind. I still love you, Dave.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:36 AM
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22: I haven't! Thanks for the rec.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:38 AM
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24: don't listen to the WTF with Marc Maron with him. It's enormously depressing. Also, avoid the bulk of his work from 2002-2008 or so, especially Uwe Boll's Postal, although he does get naked in that one.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:39 AM
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27

I wouldn't ask Koerner.

We are being watched you know, and our travel records are available, and if I were to speak to a hijacker hidden in Uruguay on condition she be protected, I would never admit anywhere.

Ask Koerner often enough, and people will begin to believe he knows where she is, even if he remains silent.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:42 AM
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Oh, does he take a turn for the worst? That's too bad.

I just read the most depressing fucking book - Miles From Nowhere, by Nami Mun - and halfway through I was thinking "Can't I just donate money to an organization that helps homeless teens and stop reading this godforsaken book?" It was for book club, and I'm gleefully eager to be the asshole who poops in the punchbowl because I get the feeling that other people were captivated by the beauty, etc. The writing was in fact really amazingly good, but jesus christ is it depressing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:43 AM
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29

Odd synchronicity with this thread over at LGM:


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:43 AM
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27: You're right, bob! I've already spoken too much!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:43 AM
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31

I wouldn't ask Koerner.

Too late!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:43 AM
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32

Oh, does he take a turn for the worst? That's too bad.

Bad divorce; bitterness, with a tinge of the kind of resentment that leads to men's rights activism; financial obligation to take any shitty, soul-destroying project that will have him. Things seem to have perked up for him lately, though, for whatever reason.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:46 AM
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33

Boo. I'll stick with 90s Foley.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:51 AM
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34

We are being watched you know

Great. Now you tell me.


Posted by: D.B. Cooper | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 9:59 AM
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Koerner responded quite promptly and said he'd try to stop by when he's got a few minutes to spare. What a nice guy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 10:12 AM
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30: well, do we care if hijackers get tracked down and put in prison? I'd rather like that, to be honest.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 10:18 AM
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37

I watched the PBS documentary on Sundance and Butch Cassidy and felt a little sad when they got hunted down and killed in Argentina. So yes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 10:22 AM
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38

You can read this (about Dave Foley) the next time you're feeling good about life, Heebie. Alternately, the next time you're feeling bad about your life choices and want an example other than Lindsay Lohan of someone rich and successful who made worse ones.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 10:29 AM
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36: She's a very likeable hijacker.

From a post 9/11 perspective, there was something sweet and innocent about a time when people might threaten to blow up a plane to get attention or further their cause, but they wouldn't just blow it up without warning, just because they could.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 10:31 AM
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40

I think Mac from IASIP and Foley of the 90s have a similar charm, which is what I like about them both. It's the big, dimpled, bright-eyed smile, while delivering something absolutely heinous, that I love.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 10:38 AM
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41

From a post 9/11 perspective, there was something sweet and innocent about a time when people might threaten to blow up a plane to get attention or further their cause, but they wouldn't just blow it up without warning, just because they could.

What? 9/11 was precisely about blowing up planes to get attention and further a cause. It wasn't "just because they could." Or is the essential difference you're talking about that back then, none of them would have gone through with it if the demands hadn't been fulfilled? (Is that actually true?)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 10:43 AM
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(Is that actually true?)

I'd think probably not, given that there was some level of escalation even though essentially all of their demands were being fulfilled.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 10:45 AM
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41: My point was that they crashed the planes trying to kill as many people as possible without making any demands. Contrast this with 1960s incident in which Palestinean terrorist group triumphantly blew up the plane after first getting everybody off the plane.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 10:51 AM
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From a post 9/11 perspective, there was something sweet and innocent about a time when people might threaten to blow up a plane to get attention or further their cause, but they wouldn't just blow it up without warning, just because they could.

I am trying to be charitable and read this as something other than "I think no one ever blew up planes without warning before 9/11", but it's really difficult.
And hijackers killed hostages before 9/11 as well, don't forget.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 11:03 AM
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44: No need to be charitable! I know this wasn't historically accurate. I'm actually very aware of this incident -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lod_Airport_Massacre--
as I was in Israel at the time, and my father was friends with one of the people killed.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 11:10 AM
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46

||

So, in Copenhagen for work

Herring with pork fat on rye bread. Plus beer. Turns out to be pretty great.

>


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 11:17 AM
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I read this recently because I remembe sifu (at least, I think it was sifu) raving about it. My absolute favourite thing? The insane levels of booze consumed on those hijacked flights. They drank all the liquor! All the champagne! Oh noes!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 11:19 AM
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48

+ r


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 11:19 AM
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49

I do think that I came away with the general feeling that these were more innocent hijackings, even if there was occasional violence. Compared to Lockerbie, 9/11, and other international events a la upthread, the hijackers getting on with a fake weapon and demanding to be taken to Cuba left me thinking, "How quaint." (I feel that way about a lot of the 1970s, which is really rather at odds with the end of the Vietnam War/radical protest/etc. I blame nostalgia shows.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 11:26 AM
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50

I mean, that was sort of the whole tone, though, right? (Also, yes, it was me who was talking about it. Also heebie read it because of me. Me, me, me!)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 11:28 AM
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51

49: Did That 70s Show ever do a Very Special Hijacking episode?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 11:29 AM
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46: But they're hopeless at ice hockey! Great sandwiches, yes.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 11:30 AM
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50: It definitely was the tone. (And yes, I remember your discussion of the book, which totally led to me purchasing the book.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 11:40 AM
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Compared to Lockerbie, 9/11, and other international events a la upthread, the hijackers getting on with a fake weapon and demanding to be taken to Cuba left me thinking, "How quaint." (I feel that way about a lot of the 1970s, which is really rather at odds with the end of the Vietnam War/radical protest/etc. I blame nostalgia shows.)

Even Dog Day Afternoon was quaint. If a remake ever gets made, I can't imagine it ending with less than ten people being shot and killed.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 11:44 AM
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Dog Day Afternoon, starring RoboCop as Sauron.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 11:58 AM
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56

Not that many people died in Airheads (1994).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 11:59 AM
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Even Dog Day Afternoon was quaint. If a remake ever gets made, I can't imagine it ending with less than ten people being shot and killed.

I'm pretty sure that a Dog Day Afternoon remake today would be extensively re-worked to incorporate zombies into the story somehow.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 12:02 PM
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The idea of the 70s as a simpler, more innocent time is maybe the greatest testimony ever to the power of nostalgia to make anything anywhere seem innocent no matter what (alternate exemplar; the 1940s: a time of innocence, also not an uncommon theme). Terrorists, crime, and porno theaters everywhere! Total urban decay and riots!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 12:07 PM
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I guess riots were more of a 60s thing. A more innocent time.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 12:08 PM
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They're all angry, disenfranchised ordinary people who want fame and attention, and have no exit strategy whatsoever.

I have a really dumb question: is there a way of using virtual reality or some kind of technology to give people the fame/attention without the attendant killing/maiming?


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 12:10 PM
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Anyhow, I distinctly remember bumping into a hooker with a switchblade on Hollywood boulevard while going to see a matinee screening of The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. Meanwhile, somewhere in the United States, JP Stormcrow was drinking in a fern bar with other yuppies.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 12:11 PM
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You think we're cynical now; someday this will seem innocent.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 12:11 PM
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60: Some would-be hijackers now get their jollies trolling the internet.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 12:17 PM
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64

My thanks to Heebie-jeebie for posting about my book, and for inviting me to contribute a few words in response to the entertaining suggestion that I might know Cathy Kerkow's current whereabouts.

Oh, how I wish I knew where Ms. Kerkow was hanging her hat these days! I did my best to track her down, but I can't say I had significantly more luck than the FBI. I did come across a few scraps of gossip that I chose not to put in the book, due to my inability to find adequate sourcing. But putting in that information would not have altered my basic conclusions about her fate.

A French edition of the book is forthcoming, so perhaps that will shake loose some additional information. I certainly fantasize about getting a 3 a.m. phone call from the now 62-year-old Cathy, in which she reveals all about her life on the run.

Fleshing out a character you haven't had a chance to interview is always a major challenge in narrative nonfiction. Holder was a key source regarding Cathy's tale, of course, but so too were other folks who knew her well--or, in some instances, simply observed her during their time aboard Western Airlines Flight 701. I did the best I could to bring her story to life while staying true to my commitment to historical accuracy.

Thanks a million for conversing about a project that I poured so much of my heart and soul into creating. It means the world to see folks responding to this story.


Posted by: Brendan I. Koerner | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 12:18 PM
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Thanks for stopping by, Brendan! I adored your book, and have been actively recommending it all over the place.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 12:21 PM
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64: Thanks, Brendan! That was very convincing!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 12:23 PM
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63: This comment section is going to Havana or the blog gets it!


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 12:49 PM
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67 made me laugh, but then I realized he could be serious.

Ok, Klug. We'll meet all your demands.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 12:54 PM
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68: I want an immediate end to the acronym "STEM". I want it dragged out onto the blog and shot. I want to see its brains.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 1:00 PM
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70

I'm reading this blog in flip flops and shorts so I can hit the beach as soon as it gets to Havana.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 1:11 PM
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70: I just changed too!

69 would seem to require someone with skill at ASCII art.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 1:14 PM
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Thanks a million for conversing about a project that I poured so much of my heart and soul into creating.

I really enjoyed your book, and have been recommending it often and widely. Personally, it struck a note with me as my parents are the same ages as Kerkow & Holder, and my father had a similarly disenchanting experience in Vietnam (didn't they all) and moved in similar circles farther north in Santa Barbara. Fortunately, no hijackings occurred, but I had some great conversations about the era after reading the book.

The idea of the 70s as a simpler, more innocent time is maybe the greatest testimony ever to the power of nostalgia to make anything anywhere seem innocent no matter what

I know! I mean, I know better, I really do, I had endless books on the 70s on my comps list (ok, 4) and yet, I persist in thinking of it as That Seventies Show.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-18-14 1:56 PM
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It's sad to hear that Foley may be dickish in real life, but he's great as a guest star on In Plain Sight.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-19-14 2:09 AM
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The '70s saw some incredible mass liberation movements. Extremely messy and with very mixed success but far more militant and activist than the stereotype of wacky clothes and malaise.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-19-14 2:15 AM
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The book was indeed awesome, not least for the sense of non-specific extremism.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02-19-14 2:31 AM
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