During the Watergate Era, there were several periods when certain members of Congress discovered that they could gain a day’s headlines by righteously denigrating our civilian and military clandestine resources. The media cooperated handsomely. Thus it was that an exodus of good but bitter men occurred in 1973 and 1974, leaving our human source intelligence collection agencies somewhat stripped of experienced personnel The majority of those who left did so quietly, swallowing their professional pride as decades of incredibly difficult work were sacrificed to the egos of a few fat-mouthed Senators and Representatives. Most of those prematurely retired veterans of the silent war went on to a smooth integration into civilian society. Some did not.
Aisha Sabatini Sloan
Episode 22: “Form and Formlessness”
In an essay specially commissioned for the podcast, Aisha Sabatini Sloan describes rambling around Paris with her father, Lester Sloan, a longtime staff photographer for Newsweek, and a glamorous woman who befriends them. In an excerpt from The Art of Fiction no. 246, Rachel Cusk and Sheila Heti discuss how writing her first novel helped Cusk discover her “shape or identity or essence.” Next, Allan Gurganus’s reading of his story “It Had Wings,” about an arthritic woman who finds a fallen angel in her backyard, is interspersed with a version of the story rendered as a one-woman opera by the composer Bruce Saylor. The episode closes with “Dear Someone,” a poem by Deborah Landau.
Rachel Cusk photo courtesy the author.
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