Steven Pressfield Blog
A guest blog by Michael Brandon McClellan [Mike McClellan is a graduate of Yale and Georgetown Law and a Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute. His articles on politics and foreign policy have appeared in the WSJ, the Weekly Standard and on TCS Daily. It’s our pleasure to welcome him as a contributor.]
Have you seen Elizabeth Gilbert at TED? The video has become a bit of a sensation on the web and if you watch it, you’ll see why. Ms. Gilbert is the author of Eat, Pray, Love. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design; it’s a nonprofit organization that brings together speakers from the arts and sciences and politics several times a year. Ms. Gilbert’s talk was a hit at the most recent get-together. She was talking about the enormous and unexpected (to her) success of Eat, Pray, Love and how she was struggling with the pressure to follow the book up…
Three items will be coming up this week (and in the following weeks) in this space that I think will be extremely interesting and provocative. I can say that with confidence because none of them will be coming from me. First, in the next day or two, we’ll post a response from Michael McClellan to George Will‘s recent “This Week” comments and Washington Post column. Mike is an extremely thoughtful and articulate young lawyer and Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute. I don’t know what he’ll say but I’m really looking forward to seeing it.
Discussion of the problems created by tribalism in Afghanistan often provokes from our own compatriots such outraged responses as, “Hey, who are we Americans to talk? We have our share of tribes too!” There’s no arguing with that. Here at home we’ve got the Bible-thumping cracker tribe, the latte-sipping liberal tribe and dozens more, all of which have to be catered to by the political process. To me though, the most useful American parallel to Afghan tribalism goes back to 1491—before the first European sail appeared off these virgin shores. Tribal America
This past week, the New York Times ran the op-ed “The Land of 10,000 Wars” by Ganesh Sitaraman. Hard to resist the urge to post the entire op-ed here. Check it out if you haven’t read it already.
How do you find your writer’s voice? A lot of humbug has been written on this subject. The myth is that in finding that voice, the writer achieves a kind of personal enlightenment. She discovers “who she really is.” Not in my experience.
I was very interested last week to see what would happen, in terms of leadership succession among the Pakistani Taliban, after the reputed death of Baitullah Mahsud. According to scores of press reports as well as Pakistani and Taliban spokesmen, the immediate aftermath was a shootout involving two rival successors, Hakimullah Mahsud and Wali ur-Rehman, that resulted in the death of Hakimullah Mahsud. Within two days however, Hakimullah was phoning in, according to the Economic Times, declaring not only that he was still alive but that so was Baitullah–and that the world would be hearing from both very shortly. This…
In the ancient Spartan tradition, there were only two cases when burial markers were permitted: for warriors killed in battle and for women who died in childbirth. The memorials were simple stones, often without inscriptions.
I’ve been lucky in my career in having a few really terrific mentors–just guys who’ve taught me stuff about writing and work. The best is Norman Stahl, the cosmically brilliant documentarian, novelist and military historian. Do you know people who’ve got a lot of bullshit? Norm has the least of anybody I’ve ever known. In fact I would say Norm has absolutely NO bullshit. Here’s one thing he told me:
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