Ed Driscoll

Secret Neo-Con Cabal Plots High Above Hills Of Silicon Valley

Yesterday evening, my wife and I met Roger L. Simon and Charles Johnson, along with syndicated columnist Jill Stewart at the AO/Technorati Open Media 100. Technorati chose to have their bash celebrating the cutting-edge of technological revolution at a decidedly non-cutting edge location, the Alpine Inn, a sort of funky roadside bar and grill with a large open air patio, in Portola Valley.


Roger has his own take on the events there, and of course, there’s no way I can top his description.

But I can take up the events afterwards. After chatting up folks from Technorati and various VC firms, we piled Roger, Charles, and Jill into the back of Nina’s 1987 Toyota Land Cruiser and headed deep into the hills near La Honda–site of Ken Kasey and the Merry Prankster’s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Tests on the “Furthur” bus. (Life was hard for our forefathers in those stone knives and bearskins pre-spell check 1960s.)

But unlike that lysergic era, we had more high-tech discussions in mind. It was great to finally meet Roger and Charles. Charles, whose blog I’ve been reading since very shortly after 9/11, perfectly fits this description by James Lileks:

Turned on the Prager show Wednesday and caught half of Charles Johnson’s interview. He’s the webmaster of LGF, your one-stop shopping center for terrorism updates. He sounds exactly like I’d imagined, although I can’t say why – his writing often bores in like a woodburning tool, but I always suspected the man himself was mild in temperament. Something about the combination of web designer / bike fan / musician / Zappa admirer spelled laaaaiiiid back, and that’s what he was: calm, even, and decent.


As befits a man whose chief hobby is serious long distance bike-riding, on the drive through the winding roads to La Honda, Charles was fascinated by the hills, and if he we had a ten-speed in the back of the Land Cruiser, he’d have happily shot those hills himself.

Not surprisingly, Roger, who’s written for Paul Mazursky and Woody Allen, was acerbic and funny, even as he fought mammoth jetlag that would have laid low a weaker man.

Arriving at our secret neo-con safe house, I prepared an appropriate drink for the day: Martinis, whose main ingredient was the very essence of Ye Olde England, and whose invention was in the Bay Area–but needless to say, a very different Bay Area than today’s de facto Blue State capital.

The house we dined at was not owned by Blofeld or Karl Rove, as the post of this title suggests, but rather is the province of a mutual friend of Nina’s and mine. She has a top-secret dual identity that would make Agent 99 blush: expert money manager and equally expert chef and caterer. She prepared a superb meal including a butter lettuce salad, a lamb shank that just fell off the bone, and peaches in philo dough for dessert, which was equally marvelous.


We spent quite a bit of the evening discussing China, a country that Roger visited in the 1970s, and all agreed that Jung Chang and Jon Halliday’s new book on Mao has the potential to be a blockbuster.

On the way back to the Alpine Inn to pick up their rental car, Roger raved about Ronald Radosh’s new Red Star Over Hollywood, and we all wondered why the writers of Hollywood’s past–no matter what their political persuasions–could write rings around today’s writers.

Of course, I get the feeling that the writers of Pajamas Media, the consortium that Roger and Charles started, along with Jill and others, will be writing rings around today’s writers in the mainstream media as well.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member