In Which Links Are The Ambassadors to Peace


by Alex Carnevale

He’s the golden boy of conservative journalism. She’s Jennifer Aniston’s greatest foe, way more intimidating than Vince Vaughn’s PlayStation in The Break-Up. He lunches with right-wing luminaries like WFB, Karl Rove, and the ghost of Whittaker Chambers. She has a Red Cross tattoo right above her starfish.

Rich Lowry and Angelina Jolie went to Iraq. Probably not together.


Just got back from an 11-day trip to Iraq. We visited 10 out of the 18 provinces, 10 brigades, and every division (except the Koreans). It’s an incredibly complicated place, but two generalizations that I took away: 1) security conditions continue to improve and the sectarian civil war is basically over (for the time being); 2) everyone—Sunni and Shia, north, south, west, and center—hates the central government, which is creating the potential for a ground-up political movement that could eventually create a more responsive, practical government.

As always (this was my second trip), visiting Iraq is a humbling experience. You realize the incredible risks our men and women take every day, and the amazing progress they have been able to forge even as their achievements are ignored or denied back home. And you realize how little you know about Iraq. It’s one of those places where the more you know about it, the more you realize how little you know about it. Thanks to all those who made the trip possible, and to all those who took the time to explain to us their work.

(One last political note: From the prism of the war, a lot of the conservative criticisms of McCain fade toward insignificance: He was right about the surge, and he’s the candidate standing in the way of a President Obama or Clinton potentially throwing away all we’ve accomplished.)

Damon: What kind of a sense have you been able to get so far in terms of how severe the crisis is and what actually needs to be done to help out?

Jolie: Well, I in my research before I came here, I looked at the numbers and there are over 4 million people displaced and of the 2 million internally displaced it’s estimated that 58 percent are under 12 years old. So it’s a very high number of people in a very, very vulnerable situation and a lot of young kids. So far the different U.S. officials I’ve met with and different local people I’ve met with all have shared concerns and very, very strongly you know they have spoken out about the humanitarian crisis but um, but there seems to be a block in.

I’m not good at policy and fixing all this and saying what’s wrong but I do know that for example U.N.H.C.R. needs to be more active inside Iraq. In order for that to happen, they need they feel strongly about having some better protection … better security in talking with the U.S. officials, they’re willing to give that security to the extent that they can give it.

Damon: On a personal level why is this so important to you … you willing to come here and risk your life?

Jolie: Uh, what about you (laughs) why are you here? (laughs) It was an easy choice to make. I’ve uh, I felt I had to come here because it is very difficult to get answers about especially the internally displaced people. It’s as I said even U.N.H.C.R. who I traditionally work with — they are not able to be inside at the moment and so I was very frustrated and just getting a bunch of ideas and papers but not knowing what’s really going on, so so today I’m able to talk to all different people from our government and their government and really get some answers as to what is holding up the processes to really really assist these people properly.

What is actually happening in Iraq? Your guess is as good as mine.

“Mother’s Little Helper” – The Rolling Stones (mp3)

Poussin reunited at last:

Inside Olympic food preparation.

Dave Barry is still alive. Check back in 10 years.

The third soldier to be charged with murder.

“If It Shines We Have It” – Kawaii (mp3)

Kawaii myspace


Stereolab, Loveletter, Smiths, New Order, Softies, Kings of Convenience, Sondre Lerche, The Chills, The Go-betweens, Death By chockolate, The Sound, Prefab Sprout, Rocketship, Pale Saints, Kanda, Mahogany, Seely, Figurine, Postal Service, Belle and Sebastian, Pulp, Eggstone, Magnetic Fields, The legends, Arcade Fire, April March, Wannadies, St Etienne, The Beautiful People, The Triffids, Jaga Jazzist, Røyksopp, First Floor Power, Tortoise, Bob Hund, Postal Blue, Silverapples, Astrud Gilbertro, The Tables, Trembling Blue Stars, Loch Ness Mouse, Sambassadeur, TIAC, The Knife, The Blow, Grand Prix 86, Stereo Total, Momus, They Might Be Giants, Throw That Beat On The Garbagecan, Jens Lekman, Saturday Looks Good To Me, Lucksmiths, Phoenix, Annie, Professor Pez, Testbild, Language Of Flowers, Pipas, tweepop, Indie pop, shoegaze, casio-pop, Remington super 60, Don Juan Dracula, Tøyen, Hello Goodbye, Micromars + + + +

Sounds Like: We are told that Kawaiiis a pleasent mixture between Stereolab, Magnetic Fields, Pipas, Postal Service, Remington Super 60, OMD, Astrud Gilberto and Belle & Sebastian. hmmm…do you agree?

“Someone Saved My Life Tonight” – Elton John (mp3)

“Levon” – Elton John (mp3)

“Circle of Life” – Elton John (mp3)

Is Ryan Reynolds the next…I don’t know…Ryan Reynolds?

“I really see it as a love letter to broken families,” said an earnest Reynolds, who stopped in Boston last week to promote the movie. “It’s subject matter that hasn’t been explored in this way before. Divorce is so pervasive. It’s exciting to see it on the big screen in a way that is charming and accessible.”

“This guy is me beginning in this industry with pie-in-the-sky ideas and ideals,” he said. “I felt like this journey mirrored my own journey, not just romantically, but in my own professional life as well, the sort of ups and downs and all arounds.”

why was I one hundred percent sure Jon Cryer was in this show?

The following is glorious:

Ryan Reynolds can turn a phrase. During an hourlong interview, he lovingly compared child actress Abigail Breslin to “a little skin-covered lawn dart,” noted that the sitcom “Friends” was so popular in the ’90s it “replaced Christianity” and said of the Highland Gardens Hotel, the first place he stayed in L.A. as a starving young actor, “I think it’s just held together by like, you know, congealed actor blood.”

All of these lines were delivered crisply, in a clear, deep voice and with a twinge of cynicism; Reynolds, for whatever it’s worth, has excellent diction.

Yeah, he’s an actor, diction is probably not important. If Ryan does one more interview to promote his film, I will explode, and if he doesn’t choose Rachel Weisz, he’s a retard.

The strongest literary critic we have.

The poetry of John Hollander.

Heidi Klum & Will Ferrell getting all nasty with one another.

Cafe Babblecat

Michael Weiss phones up a Russian poet.

Halle Berry in Monsters Ball

Mud tracks in an Arizona canyon


More wasted government spending, what a shock.

New James Bond movie has terrible title.

Why Canada disgusts me.

Just kidding! Sorry, Rachael. Rachael is writing this remedial guide to the liver for a medical school assignment, and she has been sending me excerpts. To wit:


The liver is the biggest internal organ in the human body. It is also, for me, the biggest mystery in the human body. I have felt this way since the first year of medical school. The liver is so big! It seems so solid! It seems implicated in so many important bodily tasks, and yet I can’t say with any certainty what it does. It is for this reason that we are about to embark on this journey together.


I find that very funny, also this:

We are going to learn all about how bilirubin is formed, how it gets conjugated to become more water soluble, how it gets into the bile and how it gets excreted. Here we go!

Chapter 4: In Which the Liver’s got a Virus, and the Only Solution is MORE COWBELL

Hep. A has an incubation period of about 4 weeks. This means that it takes a while to reveal its presence to you – it plays a game of cat and mouse, if you will.

I was like, “Rachael, I thought that cowbell joke was beneath you.” She wrote back:

I know, that “more cowbell” joke is totally played out, but it is super funny in this context because no one in my class will even get the reference, so I am basically making a double joke by saying, like, “this is a frat boy joke that is totally played out and you guys STILL don’t get it.”

Astonishing stuff.

Adaptation of Watchmen is in deep shit.

I fear the child of Sacha Baron Cohen & Isla Fisher. Will Vince Vaughn be the justice of the peace at their upcoming wedding?

Things he’s learned from women who’ve dumped him.

Natalie Portman tired of stripper scripts.

Will’s friends from high school got a new TV show.

Speaking of Will, I have been nursing a desire to get together the two most photogenic people possibly in the world, and achieved my goal last weekend.


Great photoset, but it was only my second favorite photoset of the week, thanks to our trusty senior editor.

R.I.P. Keatons one love

“Lovely Allen” – Holy Fuck (mp3)

Damn. Damn. Lambert. You outdid yourself girl.

A story of natural childbirth.

The next great chapter in the Star Wars saga.

Top five African hunting videos.

more fun lionship here

Reagan’s diaries entertain me muchly. Should you be able to place that reference you will warm the cold place in the cockles of my heart.

This Vice article about Tracie Egan’s rape fantasy never gets old for me.

More tomorrow.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.


That long train you take.

Best to hump your fist this Valentine’s Day.

I generally have nothing to complain about.

“Goodbye Norma Jean” – Elton John (mp3)

4 thoughts on “In Which Links Are The Ambassadors to Peace

  1. He’s the golden boy of conservative journalism. She’s Jennifer Aniston’s greatest foe, way more intimidating than Vince Vaughn’s PlayStation in The Break-Up.

    Uh… they fight crime?

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