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Baker is a fine writer, but he seems to have let emotion get the better of him here, because this book is nothing but useless polemic There was no attempt to persuade the reader with any well thought examples and counterexamples, out of which some sort of synthesis might occur Rather, there was just one guy, who was a pretty obviously a complete nutjob and not someone anyone would be inclined to pay much attention to, yelling at another guy who doesn t say anything much other than, Well, that sounds like a crummy idea Are you crazy As such, it came across as not as a piece of persuasive writing so much as a 120 page long list of harsh criticisms about the current administration GW Bush, for those of you reading this in 2009 or later, after Bush and his minions are thankfully long gone , all of which you ve either heard before or could think of yourself There was no illumination, just the feeling that Baker was vomiting onto the page In short, pretty much a waste of time. The book you probably heard about being about the assassination of George W Bush which is about assassinating George W Bush.The thing is, it s about assassinating George W Bush as much as Anna Karenina is about emotional Russian people.Not to compare in quality, you see, its just that pigeonholing it is totally missing the point.What it sabout is a certain kind of political frustration, the kind most people nowadays likely have when the Shrub s ugly mug pops onto the tube And how your political opponents drive you so mad that you justwannapop em one.But you don t The would be Hinkley here is an obvious psychotic and fool and his interlocutor is reasoned and sympathetic but ultimately urbane and decently rational in his audience.It really isabout action than it is about spite The whole point of the book is that its NOT about politics as much as it is getting PAST politics the english teacher character advises the sociopath and his readers that when they read something in the news that pisses them off, to grab a favorite book off the shelf and copy it out, longhand, word for word, until you get sick of it It s like running a comb through your mind Bravo for that.It totally is, isn t it Redemption and ease through beauty That s what keeps you sane And it might be, that s just what the loudmouth dbags on the other side of the aisle are just missing out on Maybe Nonetheless, killing the president is not the right way to go seems silly to have to write that, but after all he is infuriating and turning back into the calmer relatively speaking world of books and culture is the way to heal yourself of these ills.A shame that most reviewers seemed to miss the point COMPLETELY Assuming I ve gotten it right, which, well, you never know But still.it s a good thing to take away. @READ DOWNLOAD ê Checkpoint ä Check Point Software The World S Leading Check Point Infinity Architecture Delivers Consolidated Gen V Cyber Security Across Networks, Cloud, And Mobile Environments 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Anglais Signifiant Point De Contrle Le Mot Checkpoint Peut Galement Dsigner Poste Frontire, Lieu De Franchissement Contrl D Une Frontire Checkpoint is not a call to arms but rather against radical action It seems a reasonable, almost laudable conclusion, but only because Baker has taken the most outrageous of actions assassination made all thereal because, at the time the book was published the target, the junior Bush, was still in office which is per se beyond the pale The solution offered here embrace passivity, crawl into your shell, don t worry too much about what those big, bad politicians are doing is entirely insupportable, and yet Baker makes it look like a happy end The biggest weakness of Checkpoint is that Jay is so much on the fringes of society He is clearly mentally unstable not necessarily nuts, but so far outside the norm that he can be dismissed as a kook or as Ben says, completely misguided Checkpoint is a book that toys with extremes Ben s complete passivity and Jay s threats of unacceptable action but, of course, Jay s threats area cry for help than real threats The psychological approach to addressing political problems at least on the individual level there doesn t seem to be a couch involved, but there might as well be is also an unsatisfactory one The message of this novel is an ugly one though entirely different from the widely held pre publication concerns , but it s cleverly presented and quite artfully done It s a very short book standard play length,or less but Baker paces it quite well, and there is a decent narrative arc The conversation sounds fairly realistic the familiar banter of old friends is especially well captured , and it would probably play reasonably well on the stage Significant issues are raised, in particular how average citizens deal with the horrible events of the past years and the actions of many of those elected and appointed to the highest offices in the land the weight and guilt of being an American in the contemporary world comparable to being a German after World War II Murder is, of course, not a solution, but Baker disappointingly offers no alternatives except the most radical complete withdrawal Checkpoint is ultimately truly a small novel despite ostensibly being about changing the course of history it is solely about the redemption of the individual with the help of some amateur psychotherapy Society at large is only the concern of the mad, and once they ve been cured well, apparently society can just go screw itself. Novel in dialogue Jay is conservative he also goes on an anti abortion rant , but is troubled by the war in Iraq and plans to kill George W Bush His friend Ben comes to see him and tries to talk him out of it.Should be updated for the Trump era. It is a slender book, an angry book, and a deeply disturbing book, and I have to say up front that I did not like it very much not nearly as much as I ve liked Nicholson Baker s other work Checkpoint is written as the transcript of an audio recording made in a Washington, D.C., hotel room, in which two men referred to only as Ben and Jay discuss the assassination of the President of the United States Which probably seemed like, if not a good idea, at least a talking point, at a time when the sitting president was an aggressively incompetent Republican surrounded by sinister cronies, all of whom seemed actively engaged in demolishing both domestic tranquility and international relations.Jay is the man with the plan Ben tries to talk him out of going through with the act The ensuing discussion is not so much about strategies as it is about reasons, and consequences Baker names names and pulls events from the news of the day as well as from history to justify both Ben s and Jay s positions The transcript ends as they leave the hotel room, a decision made The nature of that decision well, by the end of their meeting, what Jay and Ben are going to do is no longer in doubt.This slim volume slipped by me, somehow, upon its publication in 2004 However, the accumulation of a little historical perspective may have been a good thing this time Getting through this Checkpoint today wasn t easy, but back then it would have been even harder. Checkpoint transports us back to a time when George Bush was committing crimes against humanity instead of painting kittens, and Circuit City was still in business Published in 2004, it distills the anger and frustration of that time period into a conversation between two people one man who wants to assassinate the president, and the other who tries to talk him out of it.To keep from getting too grim and to keep the FBI off his ass Baker makes Jay, the would be assassin, into a bit of a crack pot He has remote controlled razor sharp CDs, a remote controlled boulder to squash the president It s made of depleted uranium and it s a hundred tons of metal that just rolls, baby , or homing bullets Everything is remote controlled He also thinks about just storming the White House through the fence because the chances that somebody is going to be running toward the White House at any given moment is zero Crazy, right Ben, the sane friend, tries to talk Jay out of it by getting him to see context For Ben, it s not Bush s fault Well, it s not only Bush s fault History leads up to this They go back and discuss and dissect prior presidencies and conflicts It s important to have context At one point, Jay rails, We don t know the first thing about the countries we re dealing with Ben responds, Generally we know the first thing, but not the second and third Finding out the second and third things are important But where do you stop If you keep researching the past, you find out the second thing, the third thing, the fourth thing, the fifty seventh thing, until either you re just as crazy as Jay or you re dead from exhaustion old age Where is the balance between anger at the now and trying to understand the then At first, I thought this was an unusual Nicholson Baker novel But I quickly realized this fits right in with one of his recurring motifs people talking about and analyzing their own fantasies Instead of describing a chain of men masturbating on forklifts in Vox or stopping time and writing porn The Fermata or having sex with a body without a head House of Holes it s a fantasy of a different type a power fantasy Killing the president saving the world Aren t all fantasies about power in some way These three men Baker included come to no conclusion about how to achieve this kind of power, but add context through interesting tangents Their discussion on the hypocrisy of pro life and pro choice will probably always be relevant How can you be pro life yet support a war How can you be pro choice and be against it And they also worry about the homogenization of America Why the heck is anyone bothering to drive anywhere in this country Ben asks Wherever you go, it s the same This book has been around for eleven years, and we can still have the same discussions Just replace some of the names. Baker taps into a collective desire to see W and his cohorts pay for the monstrous crimes against humanity that they re guilty of and those transgressions are obviously pretty monstrous to compel such a humane and determined pacifist like Nicholson Baker to contemplate the assassination of anyone Still, the drama like structure of two lifelong friends working this all out on tape feels contrived and lifeless it seems Baker was aspiring for a Beckett like piece but it readslike an X files rejected t.v script But Baker is a fine writer and every once in a while that flashes through for example, after a long rant against abortion by one of the speakers, his friend says boy, you must really make friends at parties And there is an undeniable cathartic quality upon reading this book when you truly contemplate the egregiously evil things W and his crew have done in the world I want the man to crawl on his hands and knees down the streets of Baghdad saying, I am so sorry, folks I am so sorry that I put you through this Just because I m a reformed alcoholic and I needed a little war buzz, I destroyed your country, and I killed your families And I am so fucking profoundly sorry for that Really, is that too much to ask true repentance For sharing that vision of justice alone, I will give this book two stars. I decided to read some lovely short books this weekend, among them this strange little Iraq war polemic I liked Baker s The Mezzanine, though confess to finding the last third a slog is the footnote dead Discuss No such problem here, as this all dialogue number serves us quick and chin stroking content from cover to cover Two friends gather to discuss the ramifications of assassinating George W Bush and talk tangentially about their lives This book makes brevity a narrative strategy it s too short to be about one thing in particular, to carry a political message To me, it articulates that cloud of confusion when war was declared, when outrage swept across the world and most right minded people wanted Bush s head on a spike Towards the end, the book argues against anger itself, dejectedly suggesting we should shake our heads and move on, being powerless to stop things And, alas, it d be right Sad, funny, wacky, and deeply serious Bravo. At 115 pages long and by Nicholson Baker, you don t really have an excuse to not read this book It ll take you like 2 hours, and he s fantastic.I loved the format two guys meet in a hotel room and record their conversation about assassinating the president that d be George W on tape You don t get any description of the environment or the characters beyond what is in their dialogue, and yet you get a real sense of where they are and what they sound like It s practically written to become a radio drama.Baker doesn t assume his readers are dummies this book is riddled with casual references to American war history and politics all you ll get will be the name of a country, or a person, or even it s like that guy, with the prisoners in 19XX Unfortunately for me, I am a dummy, and I think that really detracted from my experience of the book I felt like I needed a Checkpoint References Guide.So likely, had I paid attention in high school classes and watched the news and read the papers, this would be a five star book for me Unfortunately I was spending too much time crafting paper airplanes with will u go to the prom w me y n scrawled inside, and thus was incapable of appreciating this book beyond 4 stars.