Chapter OneOn the Defeat of the Sandinistas in the Nicaraguan election:
I hadn't come to Nicaragua prepared for such joy. Like most readers of papers and watchers of newscasts, I thought the Sandinistas were supposed to win this one. That is-I blush to admit this-I accepted the results of an opinion poll taken in a country where it was illegal to hold certain opinions. You can imagine the poll-taking process: "Hello, Mr. Peasant, I'm an inquisitive and frightening stranger. God knows who I work for. Would you care to ostensibly support the dictatorship which controls every facet of your existence, or shall we put you down as in favor of the UNO opposition and just tear up your ration card right here and now?
You can't shame or humiliate modern celebrities. What used to be called shame and humiliation is now called publicity. And forget traditional character assassination. If you say a modern celebrity is an adulterer, a pervert and a drug addict, all it means is that you've read his autobiography.
On the Gulf War:
The rest of the traffic coming toward me was made up of refugees. I guess I'd expected them to be pushing all their belongings in baby carriages or something, the way movie newsreel refugees always were when I was a kid. That type of refugee would sizzle and pop open like a weenie on a grill in this climate. Besides, these were affluent refugees-at least they had been until recently-in Chevrolet Caprice Classics, 200-series Mercedes, Peugeots and BMWs. And they were very modern refugees, people making a run for it not because Stukas were strafing villages but because their bank cards wouldn't work in Kuwaiti cash machines anymore.
The Saudi Arabian beach resort of Khafji has been retaken. Which leaves us with the question: What do Saudi Arabians do at a beach resort? The women are dressed in tents, you can't get a beer to save your life and it's hard to play beach volleyball in robes that drag on the ground. As much as I can figure, the only amusement that's ever been available in Khafji is the one we've just witnessed-shooting Iraqis.