The WashPost’s Joel Achenbach’s a great writer. Today’s wish-that-were-my-byline piece is “Numb Nation.”
Maybe we should have been tipped off by the detached heads.
In Jack Kelley’s amazing eyewitness account in USA Today of a suicide bombing in Israel, he described three men thrown into the air. When they hit the ground, “their heads separated from their bodies and rolled down the street.”
This is a movie script detail. You can imagine it perfectly because you’ve seen it before, while eating popcorn. As the heads bound along, they preferentially face the viewer. In Kelley’s first draft, a couple of the heads were still blinking their eyes. (Picture a movie producer reading that in the script: “Beeeyootiful,” he says.)
Yeah, it’s the same stupid detail I noticed. But that’s not why I like the piece.