“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”*

*(Wikipedia) “a Latin phrase found in the work of the Roman poet Juvenal from his Satires (Satire VI, lines 347–348). It is literally translated as “Who will guard the guards themselves?”, though it is also known by variant translations, such as “Who watches the watchers?” and “Who will watch the watchmen?”.”

On 18 Dec 2020, William Boyd wrote in The Guardian:

“I can still remember the strange thrill I experienced on first reading The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, John le Carré’s third novel, published in 1963, and the one that made his name and brought him lasting international success. I must have been in my early 20s, I suppose, but I can vividly recall that feeling of privileged access that the book gave to you – as if you were being let into a private club, a clandestine world for initiates only. It was a bafflingly difficult novel, also, and that added to the engagement. When I came to read more le Carré I discovered that you, the reader, were expected to pay attention. Only that way could you participate in the slow and tortuous decryption of what was going to be revealed as the narrative unspooled. The concentrated act of reading became an almost physical pleasure. That self-conscious, deliberate, teasing difficulty about his novels was – for me, certainly, and I suspect for almost all of his readers – his particular trademark. Reading a le Carré novel became an act of collaboration between reader and author: what the author hinted at or alluded to and what the reader then had to deduce. It proved a most beguiling connection and he manipulated it with enormous skill…”

David Robinson reviewed William Boyd’s Love Is Blind (2018) at booksfromScotland.com:

“Twenty years ago, at a  New York party hosted by David Bowie, William Boyd launched his monograph Nat Tate: An American Artist 1928-60 about the abstract expressionist who destroyed 99 per cent of his work before committing suicide by jumping off the Staten Island ferry. The book appeared with a glowing tribute on the back jacket by Gore Vidal, and Picasso’s biographer, John Richardson, spoke about Tate’s friendship with both Braque and Picasso.

There was just one problem. Nat Tate never existed. All those New York art experts at the party who claimed to know his work had been well and truly fooled. April Fooled, actually, and the fact that the party took place on 1 April and the subject had the names of two London galleries (Nat being short for National, and Tate) should have been a giveaway.

But look again at that date, and you can almost – almost – feel sorry for the people who were hoaxed.  Within a few months that kind of arty leg-pull would become a lot harder. That August, Sergey Brin and Larry Page founded Google. If the Nat Tate joke was a cultural landmark of a kind, theirs was a far bigger one. Just over a decade later, Google was dealing with a billion searches every day. And that in turn has affected the way we read…”

From: Guarding the Guardians: Fictional Representation of Manipulated and Fake News in Graham Greene’s Work, by Beatriz Valverde and Marta Pérez-Escolar, in Anglia (March 2020):


Drawing upon mass communication theories, concretely Walter Lippman’s theory of stereotypes, Erving Goffman’s theory of frames, and Jean Baudrillard’s theory of simulacra and simulation, we examine the fictional representation of manipulated and fake news in three novels by Graham Greene, Stamboul Train (1932), The Quiet American (1955), and A Burnt-Out Case (1960). In this paper , within the frame of one of the key concepts in his work, the ‘virtue of disloyalty’, we argue that Greene’s fictional representation of journalism (mal)practice constitutes a piece of grit in the machinery of the western press, questioning the political and cultural dominant discourse conveyed to the public. In this line, Greene’s literary representations of the journalistic practice can be read as indicators (and, in turn, shapers) of the western culture’s prevailing perceptions of the reported news and the professionals that convey the facts to a general public. With his fictional representation of the profession of journalism, Greene makes readers aware of the way information can be manipulated and the necessity of developing a critical mind concerning the news and how they are conveyed through the media.”

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