Trained hawks have a peculiar ability to conjure history

Trained hawks have a peculiar ability to conjure history because they are in a sense immortal. While individual hawks of different species die, the species themselves remain unchanged. There are no breeds or varieties, because hawks were never domesticated. The birds we fly today are identical to those of five thousand years ago. Civilizations rise and fall, but the hawks stay the same. This gives falconry birds the ability to feel like relics from the distant past. You take a hawk onto your fist. You imagine the falconer of the past doing the same. It is hard not to feel it is the same hawk.

H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald

Not only is ubiquitous surveillance ineffective

Not only is ubiquitous surveillance ineffective, it is extraordinarily costly. … It breaks our technical systems, as the very protocols of the Internet become untrusted…. It’s not just domestic abuse we have to worry about; it’s the rest of the world, too. The more we choose to eavesdrop on the Internet and other communications technologies, the less we are secure from eavesdropping by others. Our choice isn’t between a digital world where the NSA can eavesdrop and one where the NSA is prevented from eavesdropping; it’s between a digital world that is vulnerable to all attackers, and one that is secure for all users.

—Security expert, Bruce Schneier, writing in the Atlantic in January 2014, taken from No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald.

known only in a series of subordinate clauses

He, too, must speak the Word everlasting. And over this resolve presides a woman who is nameless, faceless, known only in a series of subordinate clauses, ‘Who… / Who… ’, who walks with ‘the new years’, who restores his power to write ‘new verse’, and who bends her head in silent acceptance and gives the all-important sign that the Lord’s Word would come.

—from The Imperfect Life of T. S. Eliot  by Lyndall Gordon (p 235).

There would be no place to hide. Notice the date.

The United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through air… That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.

—Senator Frank Church, Chair, Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, 1975.

Epigraph to No Place to Hide, Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S., by Glenn Greenwald.

Joan Didion’s packing list

To Pack and Wear

2 skirts
2 jerseys or leotards
1 pullover sweater
2 pairs of shoes
nightgown, robe, slippers
bag with:
toothbrush and paste
Basis soap
razor, deodorant
aspirin, prescriptions, Tampax
face cream, powder, baby oil

To Carry:

mohair throw
2 legal pads and pens
house key

This is a list which was taped inside my closet door in Hollywood during those yeats when I was reporting more or less steadily. The list enabled me pack, without thinking, for any piece I was likely to do. Notice the deliberate anonymity of costume: in a skirt, a leotard, and stockings, I could pass on either side of the culture. Notice the mohair throw for trunk-line flights (i.e. no blankets) and for the motel room in which the air conditioning could not be turned off. Notice the bourbon for the same motel room. Notice the typewriter for the airport, coming home: the idea was to turn in the Hertz car, check in, find an empty bench, and start typing the day’s notes.

It should be clear that this was a list made by someone who prized control, yearned after momentum, someone determined to play her role as if she had the script, heard her cues, knew the narrative. There is on this list one significant omission, the one article I needed and never had: a watch. I needed a watch not during the day, when I could turn on the car radio or ask someone, but at night, in the motel. Quite often I would ask the desk for the time every half hour or so, until finally, embarrassed to ask again, I would call Los Angeles and ask my husband. In other words I had skirts, jerseys, leotards, pullover sweater, shoes, stockings, bra, nightgown, robe, slippers, cigarettes, bourbon, shampoo, toothbrush and paste, Basis soap, razor, deodorant, aspirin, prescriptions, Tampax, face cream, powder, baby oil, mohair throw, typewriter, legal pads, pens, files and a house key, but I didn’t know what time it was. This may be a parable, either of my life as a reporter during this period or of the period itself.
The White Album, by Joan Didion (1979).

Joan Didion on Jim Morrison and The Doors

…the fourth Door, the lead singer, Jim Morrison, a 24-year-old graduate of U.C.L.A. who wore black vinyl pants and no underwear and tended to suggest some range of the possible just beyond a suicide pact… It was Morrison whoo wrote most of The Doors’ lyrics, the peculiar character of which was to reflect either an ambiguous paranoia or a quite unambiguous insistence upon the love-death as the ultimate high.

The White Album, Joan Didion (1979)