A Brass Pole in Bangkok

"Looks like five hundred pounds of bear liver in a plastic bag?" So go the essays in A Brass Pole in Bangkok, sometimes wildly funny, sometimes deadly serious, always merciless in their unmasking of the pretenses and charlatans of society.

A Brass Pole in Bangkok

"Oprah? I remember her," said Uncle Hant reflectively. "Looks like five hundred pounds of bear liver in a plastic bag?" So go the essays in A Brass Pole in Bangkok, sometimes wildly funny, sometimes deadly serious, always merciless in their unmasking of the pretenses and charlatans of society. Fred, a former Marine, subscribes to no ideology ("an ideology is just a systematic way of misunderstanding the world") but exuberantly wreaks havoc on practically everything, and delights in everything else: the psychotherapy swindle, squalling feminists, race racketeers, damn fool wars, red-light districts in Asia, and tequila fests in Mexico, where he lives. Why marry, he asks? And answers: "As a young man full of dangerous steroids, your answer will probably be, 'Ah, because her hair is like corn silk under an August moon; her lips are as rubies and her teeth, pearls; and her smile would make a dead man cry.' This amounts to, 'I'm horny,' with elaborations." Behind the folksy approach lie a great deal of reading and thought by a man who has spent a lifetime in journalism, much of it overseas in places like Cambodia and Taiwan, where you find the snake butchers but that is inside.

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