Book Thread

non-fiction edition

Apologies for last week’s absence; RL … *sigh*

I’m still plowing through G.R.R. Martin’s potboiler Thrones series. Partly because, though potboiler it is, it is a good one. Partly because, in my naiveté I cannot imagine writing all those words without A Point so I’m on the hunt for it. Admittedly, I’m reading for distraction of late, so it may have sailed o’er my head like a raven on the wing.

Lemme toss out a couple of titles for your consideration.

The Forgotten Man — Amity Shales

Campaign 2008 is in its way a campaign of despair, at least when it comes to domestic policy. Democrat or Republican, candidates must address the same problem: on the one hand, voters have enormous faith in the private sector; on the other, they expect government to provide them with ever more generous entitlements. In The Forgotten Man, Amity Shlaes takes us back to show us how the roots of our disillusionment can be found in a single election year, 1936. In that year, Franklin Roosevelt systematically established the modern political constituency, from unions to artists, to senior citizens. Roosevelt’s solution was to spend for these groups, so extensively that federal spending that year outpaced state and local spending, for the first time ever in peacetime. The consequence was the Roosevelt landslide of 1936 –but also the modern entitlement trap. …

The Forgotten Man being that poor sucker who has to pay for it all. The book also has a lot to say about how the US continued in The Great Depression years longer than the rest of the world.

Oddly, that idea seems to have led directly to this one:

There’s also a little book [literally - 130p] called The coming Insurrection. Written by “The Invisible Committee in 2007 it concerns the …unrest in France and the rest of EUrope. Remember AdBusters? — quite supportive of the #Occupy thang* worldwide, they publish articles like What can Occupy learn from Greece? and Could Occupy catalyze a wildcat consumer revolt in May? [2012] Here’s what AdBusters had to say about it.

So, what do these fires really illuminate?

We might first try to imagine the perpetrators, the arsonists, as they retreat into the night. Individuals have been arrested but the campaign has continued unabated, demonstrating that the arsonists are legion … they are many. Emerging from the city’s prominent autonomist movement, they form what we might call an invisible community: a network of loosely affiliated individuals who have refused both communication and accountability with the state. To comprehend their actions, we might think back to the lesson of The Coming Insurrection: We are right to be angry, we are even right to act upon that anger, but the important thing is to organize our anger. As the Invisible Committee put it, “People can burn cars because they are pissed off, but to keep the riots going for a month, while keeping the police in check – to do that you have to know how to organize, you have to establish complicities, you have to know the terrain perfectly and share a common language and a common enemy.” In the arson campaign’s dogged persistence, in its wildcat spread and in its unapologetic assault on liberal values, we can recognize a well-formulated and well-organized transformation of spontaneous rejection into tactical resistance. We see, in short, the work of a community.

It’s a bit of a slog, being translated from the French, and being a cross-cultural work. But it’s short and it’s to the point. And it’s being sold at WalMart fercrapsake. Hiding in plain sight. Kinda like the global carbon tax

So there’s a couple of issues to toss about.

Happy Easter!

Finish your assignment! »



  1. DougM (jackassophobe)
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 9:33 am |

  2. Colonel Jerry USMC
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 10:26 am |

    The OCCUPYShits will go away but probably not until after the election. They started with an “Out of Airspeed and Ideas” philosophy and maintain it. They are the refuse of a Education System completely dominated by Liberal/Progressive Bots. They weren`t taught Reading, Writing, Arithmetic or History and Humanities. Now they are young adults who bring little or nothing to an employer`s business! Presently they are fat, healthy and financed with money, not their own.

    I wonder what will become of them when they can see their own ribs, are sick and have no money. The only thing I am sure of is that they will never blame themselves…..NEVER!

  3. Ironic in Denver
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 8:51 pm |

    Think I’ll take The Forgotten Man out of the middle of my “to read” stack and put it closer to the top.

  4. dick, not quite dead white guy
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 10:21 pm |

    “The Forgotten Man” out of the middle of my “to read” stack and put it closer to the top.
    IID – put in on the top.
    Reader’s viewpoint is often that of a fly on the wall; much of the book is from correspondence and notes of people who were there. A fascinating and sobering read about a vain, sometimes indecisive man who had the gall to experiment (his words) with American lives and the Constitution, a man who used the full power of his office and the weight of the Federal government to ride roughshod over private citizens, businesses and the Constitution.
    Don’t wait – read it and you’ll see why Ubama says FDR is one of his favorite presidents and understand more clearly why Captain Bullshit thinks he can pull the stunts he does.

  5. Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:09 am |

    Distraction? This is why I have to watch Top Gear endlessly

  6. Ironic in Denver
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 11:18 am |

    Thanks, Dick. I may do that. Got to think.

    My next nonfiction was to be a variety of readings on the Harding administration. Interesting parallels: a stunningly unqualified presided, elected because “he looked presidential;” an administration riddled with corruption. The similarities begin to fail after that, but I thought it might still make instructive reading before I began on the FDR era.

    Also, I have The Strong House, The Looming Tower, and How Civilizations Die (all uplifting reading, I’m sure) on my “read soon” list. I could probably put off the The Looming Tower until a little later….

  7. Ironic in Denver
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 11:26 am |

    Claire, I have gotten the first season of Game of Thrones on DVD, thinking it would somehow make reading Martin more palatable.

    “…I cannot imagine writing all those words without A Point…”

    Er… consider The X-Files. Wildly popular, no discernible point. I hear it might have been much the same with Lost. Lots of mystification, very loose plotting, wandering around, and… no point.

    I’m not saying that’s true for Martin. How would I know? But in dealing with fiction that is extremely popular with modern audiences, looking for meaning may be little more than a literary snipe hunt.

    (It will be interesting to keep an eye out for any when I start reading it myself. Hope there’s the compensation of lots of base excitement anyway.)

  8. DougM (jackassophobe)
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 7:54 pm |

    By the way, Claire.
    I adore that picture.
    I don’t know if it’s the girl’s outfit or the warm colors,
    but it makes me want to put on a smoking jacket, light my pipe, and swirl my cognac while sitting in a tufted-leather chair saying, “My dear” a lot.

    Okay, you caught me. That’s not the first thing I thought of.