Writing Machines is the course website for English 170L at Pomona College in Claremont, California.
I can't take the Alexander Litvinenko saga seriously. For some reason it seems entirely anachronistic, when I'm scanning the news online, to read about an ex-Russian spy being poisoned with radioactive material. It's too... 80's... or something.
But I don't know if anyone else feels that way, and it's one of those things that seems like it ought to be mutual. How do I know if something stands out against the zeitgeist if I'm not tapped in? As it stands, everyone I know who's mentioned it has found it odd and amusing, in a general way, but that could just be the novelty of it -- it's not as if spies turn up dead and radioactive every day.
Except I'm sure they did in the 80's. Back when buying $25 mil. worth of polonium-210 to take out an ex-spy was not only not wasteful, but also way cool. Who in 2006 doesn't realize that killing someone with radioactive material is both self-destructive and guaranteed to leave an easily detectable trail (or maybe that's the point... I guess I figured this one out... alert Interpol)?
Actually, maybe I'm wrong about all this. There is something to a technologically traceable weapon in an age in which the details of life are more and more traceable. Maybe a polonium-210 deep-sixing is as modern as the internet. Although one might imagine the internet ultimately becoming effective enough to make the radioactive material part unnecessary. You know, it'll already be tracking our souls.