Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Commentary By Ron Beasley

I love a good spy novel.  I read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carr�hortly after it came out in 1974 and shortly after I left the DIA.  I heard about the movie and looked forward to seeing it.  I had it in my Netflix que but but then I read this by Eric Margolis, Forget the Film Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: See the BBC Original. Well I took his advice and watched the five plus hour BBC version instead.

John Le Carr�39;s Cold War espionage trilogy, which also includes, The Honorable Schoolboy and Smiley's People, is the finest work on the world of intelligence ever written. Le Carr�erved in Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, and knows of what he writes. He masterfully captures all the bureaucratic tedium and moments of terror of spy work, its lies, double-dealing, and betrayals.

The 1976 BBC TV version of Tinker, Tailor and the sequel, Smiley's People, was the best thing I have ever seen on TV. It was perfect. Full stop. Only the BBC series I, Claudius came near it.

John Le Carr�tated the BBC version was "complete" and should not be remade. I felt the same way, fearing that a remake would inevitably disappoint.

I still haven't seen the movie but after watching the 1976 BBC version I don't really see how a two hour movie could do the novel nearly as much justice as the five hour BBC series.  In addition Alec Guinness plays George Smiley and I can't really imagine anyone doing it better.  



  1. Plus the follow-on, "Smiley's People", was equally fine, and has Patrick Stewart and Allan Ryckman.
    At the same time, the Brits did an equalaay fine multi-part series of Len Deighton's "Berlin Game, Mexico Set, LondonMatch", with Ian Holme. Saw it originally on CBC back in 1981 � then it disappeared. Well, it took 3-4 years of searching, but I found a copy from VHS in Oz, and DL'd. It really is excellent, but for some reason Deighton hated it, and after a limited VHS release, all copies were removed, he had that much clout.

  2. @Edstock
    I regret that I can't enjoy "Smiley's People". I am hearing impaired and need English subtitles or CC.

  3. Ron, I noticed that about Smiley's People. It's really unfortunate. Smiley's People is not as good the first, but worth seeing. That said, I'm a fan of both versions of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and the film is worth a look. (I wrote about both versions as the fourth entry in this post, and Lance Mannion also has a good post.) Le Carr�as involved with the new film, and it's the equivalent of a new production of a classic play. It doesn't play out scenes at length, which is the great strength of the miniseries, but the performances are splendid and the command of the medium (particularly the cinematography) is markedly stronger. Like I said, I like both.

  4. @Batocchio
    Thanks for the links, I'd missed my friend Lance's review and your's was great. I will put the movie in my Netflex Que again.

  5. Well, let us know what you think! On the extras, Oldman talks about how he admires Guinness' performance, but thinks he made him slightly more likable than in the book, where he has a dark side. I do agree with one of Lance's commenters that the Esterhase confrontation stands out as better in the miniseries (because it can take the time). But we'll see how you feel about it all...