Friday, July 25, 2008

Don't try this at home

Who says Gonzo died with HST? In Vanity Fair, of all freaking precious places, between the perfume ads and airbrushed milk-fed starlets, Christopher Hitchens has himself waterboarded by some hooded dudes in North Carolina (Richard Butner and John Kessel deny all involvement, but I'm not fully persuaded):

You may have read by now the official lie about this treatment, which is that it “simulates” the feeling of drowning. This is not the case. You feel that you are drowning because you are drowning—or, rather, being drowned, albeit slowly and under controlled conditions and at the mercy (or otherwise) of those who are applying the pressure. The “board” is the instrument, not the method. You are not being boarded. You are being watered. This was very rapidly brought home to me when, on top of the hood, which still admitted a few flashes of random and worrying strobe light to my vision, three layers of enveloping towel were added. In this pregnant darkness, head downward, I waited for a while until I abruptly felt a slow cascade of water going up my nose. Determined to resist if only for the honor of my navy ancestors who had so often been in peril on the sea, I held my breath for a while and then had to exhale and—as you might expect—inhale in turn. The inhalation brought the damp cloths tight against my nostrils, as if a huge, wet paw had been suddenly and annihilatingly clamped over my face. Unable to determine whether I was breathing in or out, and flooded more with sheer panic than with mere water, I triggered the pre-arranged signal and felt the unbelievable relief of being pulled upright and having the soaking and stifling layers pulled off me. I find I don’t want to tell you how little time I lasted.

In other news: If Radovan Karadzic can remake himself as New Age healer, "Dr. David," what does the future hold for Dick Cheney? Maybe some kind of late-night infomercials on first generation cyborg implants, or how to make a killing in international real estate with no money down?

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