Saturday, October 8, 2011

Reading required: Feb. 2009

As we move into the future, we hear both the death rattles of the past and the cries of the birth of the present.  We must learn from history, but remain aware of the fact that we are also forging it.

I find myself reflecting on the great literature I've read...some required and some selected.  Next trip to the library, I plan to pick up "Atlas Shrugged."  I haven't read that yet.

Great writing is great writing and sometimes people view a novel as "prophetic".  I think a prophet nowadays is not going to come right out and say they're a prophet and most of the ones who do that find themselves discredited.  I tend to view things I've read...when they contain things I don't want to think a terrible period in history, or a "utopia" that becomes a dystopia, as warning shots across the bow.

We're in a unique period of history right now.  The actors might strike.  Actors just do not make enough money, I guess.  What will we do if the actors strike?  I guess their union has the power to coerce them to strike.  Well, the library is free.  I would humbly like to suggest some good books. 

There are some observations I would also like to write about.

During Obama's address to Congress recently, he asserted that the US invented the automobile.  This was a falsehood.  I think we ARE the home to the guy who formulated a way to mass produce the auto and pay workers a living wage, but we did not invent the auto.  However, SAYING that we did can whip up the sort of nationalistic fervor needed to garner support for bailing out the auto industry again.  The facts don't's the sentiment.  In my opinion, this is far worse than Dan Quayle's "potatoe" moment, but we're being told to get over it, it was just a little petty thing.  Facts aren't that important.  It's the idea..

I think I'm going to re-peruse George Orwell's "Animal Farm"...and while I'm in the Orwell section...

Our attorney general called us a nation of "cowards" because we don't talk about race.  Our discussions about race, however, often devolve because one side or the other is "politically incorrect".  I can't call Reverend Wright a hate-monger and Black Liberation Theology racist, because I just don't understand.  I'd feel like a thought criminal because I even entertain the idea.  And England is being called an "envirocriminal" because their energy isn't sufficiently clean.

"1984" would probably be a good re-read right now, too...since we're in the Orwell section already.  It's a love story.

I talked to someone who works in a union shop before the election.  This person asked the union rep, after he'd gone to a meeting for union higher-ups, what the rep found out.  The rep said, "Well, I learned that John McCain is NO friend to the worker!"  That's right, the most important piece of information out of the Union meeting for the workers about what's important as pertains to the workers was a suggestion of who to vote for and who NOT to vote for in the national election.  But all unions are good, right?  They fight for the worker.

We are in a tense time when there are documented cases of employees VOLUNTEERING to have their hours cut instead of having their plant lay-off workers.  That's a great sentiment, but these probably are not union shops.  If the union came in there, everything would get fixed and FAST!  Why, they'd STRIKE!  They'd get MORE money for the workers.  It's really, really important for the workers that unions get a stronghold in all areas of industry and business.  It's so important that we need to do away with secret ballots in union votes. This is such a GREAT idea, that I think we ought to do it with our regular elections, too.  You shouldn't be entitled to privacy when you vote.  The secret ballot is an outdated concept!  Someone with a clipboard should just ask you who you want for congress or president or whether or not you want this or that and they can put the appropriate check next to your name and then file it.

Doing things for "the workers" is always just and right.  You're an idiot if you think the workers shouldn't be put above everything.  Socialism is terrific.  Communism is great as long as you are one of the ones who has a dacha.

Time to pick up copies of "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" and "Darkness at Noon."

We are a nation of religious diversity.  Everyone is free to be what they want to be, but not neccessarily to express it in public if it's going to offend an atheist.  I'm wondering how long it'll be legal to say "Bless You" when someone sneezes.  There's a disturbing trend of religious compounds and kinda strange versions of faith.  We are encouraged to practice our faith, but not to go too far.  And we're encouraged to ABANDON our faiths for the sake of peace.

I only half read "The Handmaid's Tale", I probably need to go back and be more thorough.  It's an upsetting book, though.

There are many scary stories about possible attacks and the form they might take.  On 9/11, America showed the world a face of bravery and compassion in the midst of disaster, tasting evil and spitting out it's foul taste.  But now, we should be kicked to the curb due to Guantanamo Bay and Iraq.  The people asserting our wrongdoing are some of the same people who stone virgins for choosing to love the wrong guy, and indoctrinate terrorists from youth.  But that's just "culture".  We have given substantial funds to alleviate the suffering of people with AIDS in Africa, but that doesn't mitigate the wrongs!  Oh no!

I wonder if Judea Pearl has written any books for me to check out?  He said that extremists are those who take a grievance and magnify it into a cosmic injustice for their own ends.  He makes sense to me.  His son had his head cut off by Muslim extremists.

I think I own a copy of Camus' "The Plague" in both English and French.
I don't believe Albert was a Christian, but we can tend to find inspiration and strength in even the oddest of contexts.  I think of Camus now, as I remember one of his famous sayings.  I love this quote:
“After all manner of professors have done their best for us, the place we are to get knowledge is in books. The true university of these days is a collection of books.” 

It has me kind of hoping that the actors really do strike.  They seem to know enough about what's good for all of us.  Tear down the rich!  Redistribute the wealth!  We need more money!  It's a great economy for a strike.  Sure, you won't know about the importance of their next project, or see what they are wearing, but who's gonna care?  We'll be tucked in with a nice cup of tea and the silence to enjoy a good book.


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