the anthony dobranski blog


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Nobody knows anything (Boston Marathon bombing)

It’s weird to post a long-mulled-over essay about potential violence in America only to find one’s social page filled up with actual violence. I already put a stake in this ground but I’m not crediting myself with any foresight. Nobody knows anything, except for the investigators. It’s tempting to guess, but stupid.

After the Oklahoma City bombing, the initial guessing on US news was that it was the work of Islamic extremists. Only three years earlier, followers of the “Blind Sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman had tried to destroy the World Trade Center with car bombs.

The night of the bombing I was with a friend, switching news channels along with most of America. At one point when she left the room, I added Univision to my rotation. I admit I was unsure of my Spanish when a University of California professor suggested it might be the work of Americans disaffected with their government.

It was days before I heard the same on Anglo media. Nobody knows anything.

Continue reading


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Surly fearful white people in the Age of Global Browning, part 1

Twenty years ago my friend W___, a Westerner and a conservative, talked to me about the growing resentments of his fellow Western conservatives. He foresaw them going off the deep-end and putting their considerable armories to work to change the course of our nation’s politics and culture. This was in the early years of President Clinton’s administration, and the very fact of him was provocative enough to these people, not to mention the recent attack on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. “They’re angry,” W___ told me. “They’re going to explode.”

Sure, why not. Twenty years ago, despite our recent victory-without-nuclear-winter in the long Cold War, apocalypse was the meme of the day. Harold Camping said the Rapture would be in 1994, nerds put software-driven armageddon six years later, and Terence McKenna and the Mayan Calendar pointed to 2012. What had once been Yugoslavia had collapsed into “ethnic cleansing,” and Rwanda would soon follow suit. The Handmaid’s Tale was a bestseller. We weren’t so interconnected then, multiculturalism was a suspect and derided concept, and “militias” were getting ready for guerrilla acts against the government.

Then came the Oklahoma City bombing. Continue reading


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Progress Report – Beard Crumbs & Contests

I had vowed that this would be the month I would get back on track; after a winter of “life getting in the way” I have to start sending queries to agents. I am finding ways to avoid that. Or at least that’s one interpretation, that I am fiddling with the novel as a stalling tactic to avoid the big bad commercial world. Another interpretation is that I am listening to the responses I am getting from friends and professionals.

Whatever. Let’s just say I feel there are still crumbs in my beard.

I only received one comment about my idea to move a late passage in the book to the beginning as a sort of prologue, but it came from the excellent and commercially-savvy crime novelist Oliver Tidy which gives it vastly more weight than most, so I’ve done that. We’ll see if it helps.

This also led to my realizing that the whole chapter this passage came from stands alone as a short story, and I thought I might send it out as such. Continue reading


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