Guardian (UK)


War games

THE GUARDIAN

April 19, 2005

By James Verini

Imagine yourself, one balmy morning, on patrol in the Sadr City section of Baghdad. You and your US army unit advance along abandoned streets strewn with the burned-out shells of cars. Minarets peek out over dingy apartment blocks. Suddenly, a young Iraqi boy appears in the street. You halt, guns raised. “Milk!” he yells, holding aloft a jug. You give him a few dinars. Pressing on, you find a dead horse lying in the street. One of your men reminds you to be careful of improvised explosive devices. But your suspicions aren’t piqued until you notice a pile of decaying steers nearby. This suggests something especially lethal, you surmise. And sure enough, not far away, you and your unit come upon a dubious warehouse. Entering it, you find a stash of anthrax. WMDs, at last! Read Full Story


Out of site

THE GUARDIAN

November 6, 2004

By James Verini

In Hollywood there are no real distinctions between business and social life, and dating – like acting – has its methods. The latest development: judging your love interest according to how he or she shows up on the Internet Movie Database. Doing research on someone you’re considering dating is a generally acceptable modern practice, of course, and if you live in a city other than Los Angeles, certain standard in-roads usually suffice: mutual friends, stories from university, even Googling. Read Full Story


Fight the power

THE GUARDIAN

July 2, 2004

By James Verini

Only a quarter century into its history, hip-hop has not only taken over American popular culture, but it has also gained a surprising respect among the intelligentsia. The lyrics of Tupac Shakur are dissected in university classrooms; former Public Enemy frontman Chuck D has a political talk-show on the radio. Among professional African-American intellectuals, big names such as Michael Eric Dyson and Cornel West sing hip-hop’s praises. Literally so with West, a Princeton University professor and probably the best-known black intellectual in the country, who last year cut his own rap and poetry album, Sketches of My Culture. Read Full Story


Mr Ferrer can’t be with us tonight

THE GUARDIAN

February 2004

By James Verini

In the spring of 2003, the celebrated Iranian film-maker Jafar Panahi was travelling to South America from Hong Kong. He did not intend to stop in the US, but his flight path took him through New York’s John F Kennedy airport. There, Panahi, a winner of the Golden Bear award at the Venice film festival who had visited the US several times, expected to while away a few dull hours. Instead, he was detained by officials; because his fingerprints were not on file, he was handcuffed and held in custody for several hours. He was so incensed at his treatment that he vowed never to return to the US. See Full Story