Dark Money

I’ve been contemplating squandering $15 plus Arizona sales tax on the ebook version of Dark Money by New Yorker investigative reporter Jane Meyer. Before I buy anything from Amazon, which seems to be the cheapest place to buy the book, I read all of the negative reviews. This habit has saved me from a lot of impulse buys.

In this case, however, the one-star reviews unintentionally promote the book. The reviewers who attempt to trash Ms. Mayer’s treatsy do so from a far-right ideological point of view instead of writing logical and honest criticism. In my opinion, anything that gets radical ideologues so riled up that they start spouting their unimaginative nonsense deserves a second look.

The subjects of the book are the famously rich Koch brothers and the immense impact their money has had on American politics. According to a New York Times review. Ms Meyer first published her research as a 10,000-word article in the New Yorker in August 2010. After the article was published, she found herself under investigation by a powerful private investigation firm. She reacted to this attempted intimidation the same way I would have: She dug up all of the dirt she could find on the Koch brothers political machinations and used it to write a 464-page book.

I did discover a newer article by Ms Meyer published in the January 25, 2016 edition of the New Yorker, which is also online. You can read it by clicking here. I’ve only skimmed it, but I’m going to read it as soon as I finish this blog entry. From what I have gathered from my browsing, the Koch brothers seemed to have turned over a new leaf and are now campaigning in favor of criminal justice reform. They have also launched a nonprofit group called the LIBRE Initiative to help poor Hispanics improve their economic status, and another of their foundations donated $25 million to the United Negro College Fund. How uncharacteristic!

If the Kochs are trying to become upstanding citizens by trying to do something useful with their money, I will be disappointed. What is this world coming to if a pair of the world’s worst villains suddenly become do-gooders? At my age it is difficult to alter my cherished stereotypes.

Of course, it could be that the Kochs have merely gotten tired of their rotten public image and have hired a publicity consultant to improve it. No matter what their motive is, if the Kochs have finally decided to put some of their money to use in improving society instead of undermining it, it is a good thing. I applaud them for it.

However, whom am I going to use as models for the villains in my novels? The Koch brothers are the model for the Hogsons in the novel I am writing about a psychopath who becomes president of the United States. (Some people think that has already happened.) While you’re waiting for that novel to be finished, you can check out my current book, a non-fictional account of my 400-plus mile pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela by clicking on the image of the book’s cover in the left sidebar of this blog. Zero copies have been purchased so far today. We can’t let a Saturday end that way, can we?

As to the models for my fictional characters, if the Kochs really have decided to become good citizens, I’m sure I can find some other rotten people to serve that purpose. And regarding Ms. Mayer’s book, it’s not the price that has me hesitating to buy it. I’m not going to live long enough to plow through the stack of reading material I’ve already purchased. How am I going to find the time to read that 464-page magnum opus?