Author Topic: Book reviews  (Read 18834 times)

Holly Stick

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6497
    • View Profile
Book reviews
« Reply #30 on: April 23, 2007, 01:08:46 PM »
She seems to have been blogging for several years. Here is one:
http://www.sismondo.blogspot.com/

and she links there to the review about Mallick.  And in "About Me" she lists several more blogs.  Maybe that's where she picked up her nastiness.
Economics is a human creation, borders are human creations and nature doesn’t give a damn about these things. - David Suzuki

jrootham

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 504
    • View Profile
Book reviews
« Reply #31 on: April 23, 2007, 09:35:47 PM »
Quote from: skdadl

I never really learned Greece historically, although I slept through some philosophy classes and enjoyed Plato (while recognizing that he was very naughty). I have noticed, though, that a lot of people who did Americanized political science have this thing about Greece. They seem to me stuck on moral puzzles that I think are either tedious in company or actively dangerous. I'm thinking of writing more about this -- I wish I knew enough to back up my thoughts, though. Leckie is certainly a help.


I just found this entry, so I am a bit slow off the mark.

"The Trial of Socrates" was the result of I. F. Stone's retirement :!:  :?: project to find the origins of democracy.  To which end he learned ancient Greek and read the survining origninal sources.  Knowing him, I assume all of them.

He winds up putting the responsobility for democracy on the Sophists, and  putting Socrates and Plato in opposition to the idea.

skdadl

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32874
    • View Profile
    • http://www.pogge.ca
Book reviews
« Reply #32 on: April 24, 2007, 08:37:06 AM »
Yes, Plato was certainly no democrat. Socrates was at least in favour of public virtue, but beyond that I find it hard to tell.

The Romans are so much easier to follow. The Romans read through the C18 are super-easy to follow.

I think there was, in the attaction of the Straussians to the Greeks, an already cynical taint. They were elitists first, and then they went ancestor-hunting. That's been done before, and it never ends well. See Aryan pseudo-mythology, swastika, fasces, etc.

belva

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1185
    • View Profile
Book reviews
« Reply #33 on: April 24, 2007, 09:14:38 AM »
Quote from: skdadl
Yes, Plato was certainly no democrat. Socrates was at least in favour of public virtue, but beyond that I find it hard to tell.
.


As one of my profs pointed out in my undergrad poli sci studies, "demos" in ancient Greek was used to mean "the mob, the rabble" & Plato, Aristotle & Socrates were none too keen on the common folk, the unwashed masses, "the mob"---this prof argued that the Greek concept of "demos kratia" [ my Greek is not up to speed--this is phonetic] was expanded by Jefferson for his political purposes, which were not very democratic in an inclusive way, and made real only by Lincoln & the Radical Republicans who mananged to have the 13th, 14th & 15th amendments added to the constitution--he was also fond of saying that the U.S. has not had a true "republican" president since Lincoln & that was in the late 1960's--still true in my opinion but I'm a life-long Democrat! :D

Croghan27

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7694
    • View Profile
Re: Book reviews
« Reply #34 on: November 10, 2008, 09:44:12 PM »
This is a review of a review. Sometimes reviewers are more interesting to read than the books/articles that is the object of their interest. This is certainly true of Terry Eagleton and several others in the LRB.

The Literary Review of Canada sent me their effort for this quarter with Michael Valpy reviewing a book called: "The Noisy Christian Right" by Michael Wagner.

An important point is that this Christian Right is a Canadian Christian Right - as opposed to the American variety. There is a difference.

I have commented here before that the Jesus loving, bible thumping evangelistic Christian I have known best was ...... well ... normal: a good guy to work with, a nice fellow for a neighbour, even if he had dangerous elbows while playing hockey.  :whis:

According to the review, my bud is an average member of this group - the assertive, in-your-face christainity of Americans (and others) is not Canadian. If fact:
Quote
We are not a godless society. Rather we are a society that, because of its history and culture, as Roger Hutchinson, principal emeritus of University of Toronto’s Emmanuel College, says, has privatized its piety.

The assertive demonstrations of opposition to Dr. Morganthaler are the acions of a fringe of the fringe - not fundamentally  ;)  a part of the Canadian Christian experience. The history of the Christian Right in Canada seems to be one of defeat.
Quote
Wagner catalogues five decades of defeat on the battlefields of feminism, the sexual revolution, abortion and homosexuality. He records how, time and again, the hopes of the Canadian Christian Right are raised only to be dashed. Conservative Brian Mulroney turns out to be as socially liberal as Pierre Trudeau. The few lower court decisions that support the Christian Right’s causes invariably get overturned on appeal. The rise of human rights commissions created by federal and provincial legislation blunt the movement’s campaign against homosexual rights. The immensely popular Charter of Rights and Freedoms enacted in 1982 turns out to be the constitutional entrenchment of the Antichrist. Preston Manning, Alberta’s founding force of the conservative Reform Party, is a disappointment. Christian social conservatives are shocked to learn that two thirds of delegates to the Reform Party’s 1992 national assembly respond to a questionnaire by saying they believe abortion is a private matter of choice between a woman and her doctor. In Stockwell Day, conservative Christians feel they have found their man but he is almost cruelly laughed out of office as leader of the Canadian Alliance. Ralph Klein lets them down by refusing to use the Charter’s notwithstanding clause to get around the Supreme Court’s decision requiring an amendment to Alberta’s human rights legislation forbidding discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Stephen Harper punishes members of his caucus who speak out against

I have, by accident, tuned into 100 Huntley Street and could see little difference, but Wagner holds that:
Quote
Wagner’s account provides solid evidence of the error in assuming American experience can be automatically replicated on this side of the border. We are a different country with a different cultural history. In fact, Wagner himself makes this point in trying to demonstrate that the Canadian Christian Right is an indigenous phenomenon and not some American branch plant,

The reason why we are not Americans is because (surprise) we are not Americans, we have privatized our piety and kept an individual God out of our government.

An interesting point he drops in this is:  
Quote
The fascinating thing about the 2003 symposium held at Waterloo’s St. Jerome’s University on the spirituality of Trudeau was the revelation of how much the former prime minister’s thinking, and that of many members of his cabinet and many leading opposition politicians at the time, had being shaped by theological teaching.

Yet another is:
Quote
We know that in Britain, from academic research done there, the exodus from the church was led by young women who found it an institutionally hostile environment.

But whether that is Valpy or Wagner is not clear.
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

skdadl

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32874
    • View Profile
    • http://www.pogge.ca
Re: Book reviews
« Reply #35 on: March 07, 2011, 08:47:18 AM »
I didn't know this: American novelist Joyce Carol Oates's husband died in 2008, and she has just published a memoir of what happened and her life since. This is a good review of what sounds like a good book, for those who are ready for it.

I've read Oates on and off over the years. No question she's a great writer, although to me she writes too much, and she always writes at length. But that's her, I guess.

lagatta

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13093
    • View Profile
Re: Book reviews
« Reply #36 on: March 07, 2011, 09:16:50 AM »
I confess I thought this was funny, in a black-humour mode: "Life goes messily on: one of her cats urinates over Ray's death certificate". Very odd that they never read each other's books.

I've always thought JCO needed a more ferocious editor. Indeed, absurdly prolix.

She has remarried, by the way.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

skdadl

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32874
    • View Profile
    • http://www.pogge.ca
Re: Book reviews
« Reply #37 on: March 07, 2011, 09:26:11 AM »
I think he was Canadian. She taught for a time at Windsor, so I guess that's where they met, and there he was, resettled at Princeton, editing the Ontario Review. And they weren't reading each other? For over forty years? Well, maybe that's what makes for a good marriage. ;)

She's certainly unflinching about the darker sides of life, always has been. She takes on subjects I wouldn't have predicted, though. She did a Marilyn book, eg, and she's a great fan of boxing/pugilism.

ETA: After finally looking him up *blush* , I see that Raymond J. Smith was actually born in Wisconsin, but the two of them came to Windsor to teach in 1968. They seemed to take to Canada well, especially in the late sixties, but I guess Princeton was an offer they couldn't refuse (a decade later).
« Last Edit: March 07, 2011, 09:47:27 AM by skdadl »

Antonia

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5009
    • View Profile
    • http://thestar.blogs.com/broadsides/
Re: Book reviews
« Reply #38 on: March 07, 2011, 05:43:37 PM »
Quote
She has remarried, by the way.

Wow. That was quick. I bought the Magical Thinking book for my sister when her husband died a few years ago.
It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity. It is when we all play safe that fatality will lead us to our doom. It is in the "dark shade of courage" alone that the spell can be broken.
-- Dag Hammarskjöld

skdadl

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32874
    • View Profile
    • http://www.pogge.ca
Re: Book reviews
« Reply #39 on: March 07, 2011, 06:03:41 PM »
Quote
She has remarried, by the way.

Wow. That was quick. I bought the Magical Thinking book for my sister when her husband died a few years ago.

My sister-in-law took me to see/hear Didion at Harbourfront when she first published Year of Magical Thinking, just a few months before Rik died. I admire Didion (and Eleanor Wachtel, who was her interviewer) and I'd read the book, but I was already in a state of semi-disconnect.

It's funny how part of your mind can work so clearly, how some senses are so heightened, and yet part of it just shuts down.

skdadl

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32874
    • View Profile
    • http://www.pogge.ca
Re: Book reviews
« Reply #40 on: March 23, 2011, 11:15:48 AM »
Heh. Somebody is turning Jane Austen novels into zombie novels. Sounds like fun.

Toedancer

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13966
    • View Profile
Re: Book reviews
« Reply #41 on: March 25, 2012, 12:54:15 PM »
Widespread ignorance bordering on idiocy is our new national goal. It’s no use pretending otherwise and telling us, as Thomas Friedman did in the Times a few days ago, that educated people are the nation’s most valuable resources. Sure, they are, but do we still want them? It doesn’t look to me as if we do. The ideal citizen of a politically corrupt state, such as the one we now have, is a gullible dolt unable to tell truth from bullshit.

http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/mar/20/age-of-ignorance/

The New York Review of Books validates depressingly what we already know.

The guy who wrote this rant is described @ Daily Kos
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/03/24/1077381/-The-U-S-Is-Trapped-in-an-Age-of-Ignorance-N-Y-Rev-of-Books-


The comments differ widely between the NYRblog and the Daily Kos, naturally. But I find the comments @ NYRblog protest a little too much, finding nitpicky ways to put the author down, as if they simply can't come to grips with the idea of just how ignorant Americans are. The Rant describes a rather large population of Canadians as well, most especially the partisan. Let's face it the majority of Canadians and Americans can't even pass the Citizenship Tests.


Our media in NA truly need 3rd party editors, because they have convinced many that obviously Corrupt gov'ts cannot be usurped because it would affect the public welfare too much. When you think about it social welfare net itself is a kind of a bribe to allow the gov't to continue its deceitful practises in areas where they know the majority would have fits, as is happening in fact. We have what I guess could be called a 'contested' gov't right now and the partisan bitterness has reached poisonous levels and it's only the politically engaged who want answers and a return to ethics. For the most part tho, most people don't give a shit.  And the gov't labels the engaged as 'extremists' with the media's help because they know the majority who don't give a shit will continue to vote against their own interests. Is that ignorance or stupidity?


P.S. I just wanted to isolate that last sentence in the quote above, because it is just so true.


The ideal citizen of a politically corrupt state, such as the one we now have, is a gullible dolt unable to tell truth from bullshit.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 01:10:14 PM by Toedancer »
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

 

Return To TAT