Reader Reactions & Anecdotes


11 October 2008

My Two Newest Readers are James Bond Types — For Real!

While surfing the internet this week I came upon a remarkable piece of news. According to the wire services, MI-5 and MI-6, which together compose the British intelligence and counter-intelligence apparatus, have begun to read and evaluate every one of the millions of e-mails — literally! — sent and received in the UK. And, since my blog is e-mailed to scads of readers in the UK, I must assume that this very message is being scrutinized by impassive men in dark suits hunched at computers in the bowels of Scotland Yard, or Harry’s Pub, or whatever.

To them I extend a hearty welcome and the hopes that they will find nothing sinister in my correspondence. While I admit to being of Irish derivation myself and a thoroughly committed and loving fan of Ireland and its wonderful people, I’m also very much an Anglophile, thanks to the smarts and courage among those Brits I worked beside in World War II. So it’s a source of great pleasure for me to learn through my hit-monitoring service that I have readers who tune in regularly from London (32 at this moment), and many other UK locales, including one of my favorites, Pontypool, a tiny village in County Torfaen, where, believe it or not, 17 residents are regular readers, never failing to click in week by week, bless their li’l horts.

I’m troubled, though, by the idea of those hunched dark suits finding nothing to fret about here. It seems such a waste of time and intellect. So I hereby make them an offer: As a novelist who has written a number of espionage thrillers, I’d be happy to make up all sorts of weird and ominous and suspicious stuff so that when you do a deep-dish investigation and eventually are compelled to report to your case officers that it’s all a bunch of baloney, you’ll be promoted for your diligence and awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) to wear when you escort Miss Moneypenny to the next tea dance at Buckingham Palace. I’ll have honed my novelist’s skills and you will stand proud and tall for having done your best for Queen and Country. What say?

But for all of that, there are even more puzzling questions. My monitoring service reveals that I have four readers in Yekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk, in the Russian Federation, and three in Moscow itself. I find it quite difficult to believe that Putin’s intelligence apparatus has the slightest interest in the ruminations and art work of an 87-year-old klutz in St. Augustine, Florida, but who other than secret agents would tune in from those vast and gloomy climes? I don’t know a soul east of the Tyrol, so what am I doing or writing that attracts the attention of dark suits in the bowels of the Kremlin? It’s enough to make one downright paranoid. The Brits tend to have a great sense of humor. But you won’t catch me putting out any jokey stuff among the Russian agents. I can’t imagine any Bertie Wooster types in their ranks. No sir-ee.

So I rid myself of the gathering chill by going over my reader locations once again. It cheers me greatly to see that the tens of hundreds who check in regularly every week are living in huge cities — New York, Los Angeles, London, Dublin, Paris, Munich, Hong Kong, Singapore — and in tiny hamlets in Peru and Bulgaria and Iceland and Hawaii and Israel and Saudi Arabia and New Zealand and you name it. At the risk of sounding icky, I want to say right here and now that it thrills me and humbles me to know that you and you and you and you — all of you — find some kind of enjoyment in this thing, some reason to listen in and often to contribute to the fare.

And that goes for you MI-5 and MI-6 guys, too. I know you’re reading this because it’s your job to do so, but I hope that it proves to be one of the less onerous among your many tasks. Glad to have you aboard, chaps!

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YouTube Video

If you click on the the “About Hunter” link at the top of this page, you’ll note that the page now offers a YouTube moom pitchah featuring your sometimes genial, sometimes acerbic host and his receipt of the first-ever citation as a Florida Literary Legend. Despite the urging of my sometimes genial, sometimes acerbic web master, Jonni Anderson, I’ve been reluctant to include this video in my blog.

Reason: I’ve all along entertained the idea that my readers, not knowing what I really look like, might envision me as a tall, dark, handsome dude in the Tom Selleck mode, and this has always served to salve my cantanker. With this movie, though, I’m cruelly exposed as the poor man’s Charles Laughton. [Editor’s Note from Jonni: Don’t believe it. The truth is he’s just plain modest. I haven’t yet convinced him he’s a world-renowned author.]

Now, I have nothing but admiration for the late Mr. Laughton — not only was he a Brit but also an incredibly talented one — but he would have been the first to admit that he was not exactly the romantic lead type, the hunk who rides into Dodge and mows down all the baddies who are holding Greer Garson hostage. And when I look at this YouTube movie I realize that not only could I never climb aboard a horse for a ride into Dodge, I’d also have trouble holding a map long enough to discover just where the hell Dodge is.

But Jonni and I have an understanding: She goes her way, and I go her way.

So herewith the movie:


Produced by Vic DiGenti
      for Florida Heritage Book Festival
Videography by WTLV-TV
Post-production by
      WJCT CreativeWorx

Copyright © 2008 by Jack D. Hunter.  All rights reserved.  No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.