Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Excited to Help Launch The Correspondent!

If you read my stories and periodic blog posts, you know I have an interest in the shortcomings and failures of establishment media. Around the time I wrote The God’s Eye View, that interest led to an online friendship with Jay Rosen, a media professor at NYU. I’ve been reading Jay’s blog PressThink for years, and he’s one of the most insightful people I know on how media works and why good journalism is struggling.


About a year ago, Jay asked if I’d be interested in helping get out the word on The Correspondent, a Dutch news organization expanding into the English-language market. As soon as I looked into it, I was hooked. I think the concept is exceptionally well-conceived, with as good a chance as I can imagine not just of serving readers, but of providing a healthier model for how to cover what’s newsworthy—a model other organizations might emulate.

Jay has a Boing Boing article today on the importance of “Unbreaking News” that lays out the overall approach. The whole post is well worth your time. For example:

The exciting part is the principles that make it go. These are different from any news site you can name. 
Start with no ads, the key move the Dutch founders made. Downstream from that original “no” are others, equally welcome. No click-baity headlines. No auto-play videos. No ugly promos sliding into view as you try to read the article. No “sponsored content.” (No sponsors at all.) No third party—the advertiser—in between you and the people trying to inform you. No need to track you around the internet, or collect data on your browsing habits. No selling of your attention to others. 
Also: no controversy-of-the-day coverage, which happens when editors from different newsrooms react to the same data showing clicks and taps going to a few “hot” stories. These are typically the stories that trigger outrage in the most people. The people at The Correspondent have a phrase for it. “Your antidote to the daily news grind.” If that's an idea you can get behind, then get behind The CorrespondentJoin our club
Now for the next principle, equally basic. This is not an exclusive club. It’s extremely inclusive. Two reasons I can say that. Yes, you have to pay to be a member. But you pay what you feel you can afford. The Correspondent believes you are smart enough to figure this economy out. A paying membership is the other side of the coin that reads: no ads. And no ads, as we have seen, has all those welcome effects downstream.
The other reason I can say “extremely inclusive” is that The Correspondent is not selling digital subscriptions, as the Washington Post, the London Times, and most local newspapers nowadays do. Paid subscription is a product-consumer relationship: you pay your money and you get the product. If you don’t pay you don’t get it. Membership is different. You join the cause because you believe in the importance of the work. If you believe in the work, you want it to spread, including to non-members.
If The Correspondents membership campaign reaches its goal of raising $2.5 million by December 14, it will hire a staff and start publishing, in English, in 2019. When that happens, there will be no “meter” measuring how many articles you have read this month. No one will ever get that notice, “you have used four of your five free clicks.” Any link that comes to people in their social feeds will be clickable and shareable, without limit. In this way it is more like public radio in the U.S. Members who believe in the public radio mission support their NPR station, but everyone can listen.
The differences compared to the NPR system are important too: The Correspondent will have no corporate sponsors. No government funding. And thus no fear of that money getting cut off. Which in turns means no tendency toward false equivalence, no incentive system for “he said, she said” journalism. These are deeply-woven patterns for which I have often criticized NPR.

For more, here are their 10 Founding Principles. And here’s an article from De Correspondent’s founder, Rob Wijnberg—The Problem With Real News—And What We Can Do About It—about why the primary problem isn’t fake news, but rather real news.

Please consider joining this terrific news organization and please help me spread the word by sharing this post. Thanks.


Friday, November 09, 2018

If You Buy From Amazon, Do It At AmazonSmile

If you buy from Amazon, do it at AmazonSmile. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know—same products, same prices, same service. The difference is, when you log in at AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice.

My choice is the Legislative Drafting Institute for Child Protection, an organization founded by novelist Andrew Vachss, a lifelong advocate for better laws to protect children from predators. The LDICP produces clear, scientifically grounded, and easily implementable laws designed to protect children. Let me tell you, Livia Lone would be a huge supporter—which is probably why the first acknowledgment of The Killer Collective (February 1) mentions the LDICP, and why the book is dedicated to Andrew and his wife Alice, a former sex-crimes prosecutor and author of the hair-raising and galvanizing memoir Sex Crimes: Then and Now: My Years on the Front Lines Prosecuting Rapists and Confronting Their Collaborators.

If you buy from Amazon, why not do it through AmazonSmile, and ensure that some of your shopping dollars go to organizations like the LDICP?

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Oh Lucy!

I recently stumbled across Oh Lucy!, a movie that bounces back and forth between Tokyo and southern California, which sounded familiar...and I loved it.



I had no idea what to expect beyond what I saw in the trailer and beyond my love of Japan and Japanese culture. The story is fresh, surprising, poignant...just lovely, beautifully written by first time feature writer/director Atsuko Harayanagi. Josh Harnett is terrific, and Shinobu Terajima and Kaho Minami should win awards for their sometimes hilarious, sometimes heart rending portrayal of estranged sisters. Koji Yakusho (remember Tampopo? That's him) is always a pleasure, even in a small role, and relative newcomer Shioli Kutsuna (now in Dead Pool 2) is going to be a star. You don't have to love Japan to love this movie (though it won't hurt, either)--it's just a beautiful human story for anyone. Highly recommended.

Being an easy sell for stories involving Japan, I also recently watched The Outsider, with Jared Leto playing an American inducted into a yakuza family in post-war Japan. This one I can't recommend. Despite some solid performances that rose above the material (Tadanobu Asanobu, who you might know from the various Thor movies, and Shioli Kutsuna again) and good cinematography, the story was cliched, contradictory, and incoherent; the protagonist a dull cipher. Too bad, too, because Jared Leto is a talented actor, and could have done a lot had this smart premise been better written.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

My second Earphones Award--this one for Zero Sum. Thanks AudioFile Magazine,  I love narrating the audiobooks!

Thursday, June 07, 2018

What You Don't Know Can Kill You

I’ve been reading Marc MacYoung since 1989, when I stumbled across his first book—Cheap Shots, Ambushes, and Other Lessons—in a Paladin Press catalogue. I was a Career Trainee the CIA at the time, and MacYoung’s emphasis on thinking like the opposition, situational awareness, and various stages of alertness all tracked perfectly with Agency counter-terror training. I’ve been playing around with martial arts since I was about 15, but I’d never come across a civilian instructor who even touched on this stuff, let alone knew it at least as well as the paramilitary instructors at CIA. Suffice it to say, I was hooked.



And I still am. MacYoung’s latest—What You Don't Know Can Kill You—co-written with firearms instructor Jenna Meek, is essential reading for anyone who recognizes that your problems might be far from over after you’ve physically defended yourself. “Self-defense” is a tricky and surprisingly poorly understood legal concept, and MacYoung and Meek deal with it crisply and clearly, with plenty of case studies and hypotheticals. The book is a fast read, and having just finished it, I feel I have a much more solid idea of how, where, and why doing too much to defend yourself can be as dangerous as doing too little.

I should add that in the course of addressing the ins and outs of legal self-defense claims, and how getting them wrong can put you in prison or in the ground, the authors have also managed to put together a good primer on different types of violence (social, asocial resource predators, asocial process predators) and on various cost-effective counters.

If you’ve invested significant time and money in self-defense training, whether empty-handed or with weapons, I’d strongly recommend that you spend a few more bucks and a few more hours reading this book. Any self-defense system that doesn’t integrate the concepts MacYoung and Meek cover will be dangerously incomplete. It would be a shame to figure that out when it’s too late—especially when you have the opportunity to figure it out so easily right now.

Also recommended: Survive a Shooting, by Alain Burrese. I got to read a pre-release copy recently and the book is comprehensive, practical, and well organized. It goes without saying that it's a terrible shame that a book like Survive a Shooting is needed, but the need obviously exists, and I'm glad Burrese has addressed it.



Bonus: while covering the specific topic, Burrese also offers smart, cost-effective strategies that will help keep you safer in the world generally.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Night Trade, Out Today!

Today’s the day for The Night Trade, featuring “absolutely first-rate thriller” (New York Times) character Seattle sex crimes detective Livia Lone and former Marine sniper Dox!



I had a blast writing this book. It was an opportunity for Livia to delve more deeply into her past—and to try to complete her revenge. For Dox to continue the emotional and moral journey he began in the short story The Khmer Kill. And most of all, for these two different and dangerous characters to collide and then struggle to figure out a way to trust each other under the worst circumstances.

And if you’re in the Bay Area, come by Kepler’s at 7:30 tonight for the launch, and support your local bookstore.

Thanks and enjoy!
Barry

Livia Lone is back.

For sex-crimes detective Livia Lone, a position with a government anti-trafficking task force is a chance to return to Thailand to ferret out Rithisak Sorm, the kingpin behind her own childhood ordeal.

But after a planned takedown in a nightclub goes 

violently awry, Livia discovers that she's not the only one hunting Sorm. Former marine sniper Dox has a score to settle, too, and working together is the only way to take Sorm out.

Livia and Dox couldn't be less alike. But they share a single-minded creed: the law has to serve justice. And if it doesn't, justice has to be served another way.

What they don't know is that in threatening Sorm, they're also threatening a far-reaching conspiracy—one involving the highest levels of America's own intelligence apparatus. It turns out that killing Sorm just might be the easy part. The real challenge will be payback from his protectors.

Praise for Livia Lone:

An Amazon Best Book of 2016

Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction of 2016 Selection

An Amazon Best Book of the Month: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense Category

“An absolutely first-rate thriller...Emotionally true at each beat.” New York Times Book Review

“An explosive thriller that plunges into the sewer of human smuggling.…Filled with raw power, [Livia Lone] may be the darkest thriller of the year.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“[An] exciting thriller...Eisler keeps a firm hand on the throttle of what could be the first of a rewarding series.” Publishers Weekly

“Livia is a complex and sympathetic character...Readers of hard-boiled fiction, heavily tinted toward noir, may see in Livia something of Carol O’Connell’s Kathy Mallory, also a cop with an abuse-filled past and an appetite for revenge.” Booklist

“Readers may be reminded of Stieg Larsson’s beloved Lisbeth Salander when they meet Livia Lone, and will be totally riveted by the story of this woman on a mission to right the wrongs in her past.” —Bookish

“Eisler offers up an astonishingly raw tale that is dark and disturbing, but one that you will want to finish. Both the compelling narrative and the fascinating—yet seriously flawed—heroine are indications that Eisler is at the top of his game.” RT Book Reviews

“Barry Eisler is back, and then some. [Livia Lone] may be the best and strongest work of his storied career…Livia Lone moves like a freight train…Jump on what appears to be the start of a terrific new series.” —bookreporter

“This electric thriller...keeps you riveted to the end.” —Authorlink
“…a literary home run in every respect…Livia Lone [reaches] a whole new level...” —Providence Journal

“Former CIA agent Barry Eisler's latest sexy cyber thriller follows Seattle PD sex-crimes detective Livia Lone, who knows the monsters she hunts...the story is riveting.” —Boing Boing

“You won’t be able to tear yourself away as the story accelerates into a Tarantino-worthy climax and when you’re left gasping in the wake of its gut-wrenching vigilante justice, you’ll belatedly realize you learned a lot about a social travesty that gets far too little attention…Livia Lone is a harrowing tale with a conscience.” —Chicago Review of Books

“Everything you could want in a great thriller—a badass main character, an emotional and suspenseful plot, lots of high stakes, gritty murders and well-written action scenes.” —Night Owl Reviews

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"Child Prostitute" Is A Horrible Lie

If you follow my political blogging, you know I believe nomenclature is critical (data collection vs bulk surveillance, targeted killings vs assassinations, surge vs escalation, EITs instead of torture, detainees vs prisoners, interventions vs war...and on and on).

This is Andrew Vachss on why "child prostitute" is a horrible, propagandistic lie. Read it--and if you see this kind of terminology online somewhere, forward Vachss's post for the writer's consideration. Most people don't adopt shitty terminology out of malice; they just absorb it thoughtlessly through osmosis, then parrot it until someone corrects them. That's what seems to happen to me, at any rate, and I'm grateful to Vachss for bringing this kind of thing to my attention.