If you're in a masochistic mood and you have a long car journey to fill, you might be interested in hearing the four CDs that make up the audio book, "American Dream, Global Nightmares". Not your thing? I thought not. The Observer's reviewer, naturally, is bowled over:

The basis of American society, say the authors, is the American Dream, a myth upheld by 10 laws. Some of these are obvious but others are more covert; fear is essential, ignorance is bliss, war a necessity and cinema the engine of empire. It is the last one that lies at the heart of the dream machine and coerces Americans into believing that America is everything it should and wants to be and that it is different. More revealing are their comments on the neo-conservative think-tank set up by George W Bush to 'establish a global American empire'. The alarming upshot is that we are all citizens of America.

As Wyn Davies gets into her stride, the anger grows. She talks of the 'callous disregard for the lives of non-Americans' and the listener, moved, must agree.

Yes, I suppose he must. "I wants to make your flesh creep," says the fat boy in Pickwick Papers. His descendants are alive and well and writing pot-boilers.


Talking of painful experiences, there's also this feature, by Zoe Lewis, on the perils of Internet dating.
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