Quoting from a Jeffrey Kluger article in Time:
“This increasingly common trope has an easy, fill-in-the-blank quality to it that allows us to affect a bit of purloined heroism, put it on the credit card of someone else, and feel pretty darned good about ourselves in the bargain,” he writes.
A disturbing variant of this is the “I am x,” or “I am x’s y.” It’s a way of attaching oneself to a tragic event by way of casual tautology:
But it’s not always employed with lethal, negative events. The LL post links to a post by David Simon, written after Obama’s re-election*. The acrobatic bootlicking he does in the name of collectivism is astounding and confusing:
Regardless of what happens with his second term, Barack Obama’s great victory has already been won: We are all the other now, in some sense. Special interests? That term has no more meaning in the New America. We are all — all of us, every last American, even the whitest of white guys — special interests.
Couldn’t he at least ask my permission before including me?
At what threshold does this random self-identification with people you’ve never met or with inanimate objects become absurd to most people? Because it’s already past that point for me.
* Obama’s re-election (or any Head Bureaucrat’s election/re-election) is lethal (for foreign brown children in the path of drone missiles) and tragic, but I didn’t want to split hairs.
The links are to free copies online where available, otherwise it’s an Amazon link. E-books in reality are inferior to print because, as I’ve said before, they will disappear after the dolphin apocalypse. But for now they are fine.
Your favorite novel isn’t on here because it sucks, but make sure you scroll down to the end of the list before airing a complaint.
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
The Grapes of Wrath
The House of the Seven Gables
The Red Badge of Courage
The Pilgrim’s Progress
Lord of the Flies
The Sound and the Fury
Love in the Time of Cholera
The Secret Garden
The Prose Edda
Crash: A Novel
The Velveteen Rabbit
The Divine Comedy
Pride and Prejudice
The Satanic Verses
The Canterbury Tales
The Heart of Darkness
On the Road
The Scarlet Letter
A Tale of Two Cities
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
The Time Machine
Crime and Punishment
The Great Divorce
A Christmas Carol
To Kill A Mockingbird
Far From the Madding Crowd
Jude the Obscure
As a mandatory bonus, read these non-fiction books. They will give you a sliver-sized sampling of what and how people throughout history have thought, and knowing how people think is a good idea if you’re going to write about them.
The Summa Theologica
Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects
The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson & Henry David Thoreau
Apology, Crito, and Phaedo of Socrates
You’ve all of read those like I told you, and you’ve written your first novel. The bad news is that you’ll have to throw that first manuscript away because it will be nigh unreadable. The good news is that you’ll never write something so horrible again.
This is the best way to get all the kinks out. Now read these 50 books, then go write your real first novel.
The Poetic Edda
The Chronicles of Narnia
Thus Spake Zarathustra
All Quiet on the Western Front
A Prayer for Owen Meany
The Great Gatsby
The Pickwick Papers
The Invisible Man
Flowers for Algernon
The Dark Knight Returns
H.P. Lovecraft The Complete Collection
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Count of Monte Cristo
Tess of the d’Urbervilles
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
A Confederacy of Dunces
Catcher in the Rye
The Old Man and the Sea
Stranger in a Strange Land
Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
Brave New World
War of the Worlds
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Lord of the Rings
The Man Who Was Thursday
Photo by Bravo_Zulu_.
If I can offer an uneducated answer: the reason nations don’t “do” libertarianism is because politicians are dis-incentivized from doing so, as it puts their wealth/power/status in jeopardy. Small/no government means less/no livelihood for those in positions of power; their whole socio-economic circle disappears, and it’s rather unreasonable to expect ethical behavior from a politician.
But not only are politicians dis-incentivized towards libertarianism, they are also have the means to ignore it*. Since politicians are the ones in control of the sanctioned use of force, they can structure the political environment as they see fit. They can essentially dictate the terms of their employment. This is a semi-fancy rephrasing of “politicians have guns so they can do what they want.”
For some reason, the finger-waggers at Salon think they’ve got us stumped with this one: “If your approach is so great, why hasn’t any country in the world ever tried it?”
So this is the unanswerable question? What’s supposed to be so hard about it? Ninety percent of what libertarians write about answers it at least implicitly.
Let’s reword the question slightly, in order to draw out the answer. You’ll note that when stated correctly, the question contains an implicit non sequitur.
* This point is so important that I bolded, underlined, and italicized it. I can be incentivized to have $1 million in my savings account but it doesn’t mean much if I don’t have the means to fulfill or even reasonably pursue that incentive.
Medieval Iceland image stolen from Wikipedia.
The immediate conclusion is that kids aren’t as easily attentive to words on a page as they are to whatever shiny device is eating their free time up like so many Pringles, so they aren’t able to process longer, more complex sentences.
But that only tells part of the story. Older books needed longer, more descriptive sentences because mass-distributed images and video were not around or not as common. So things had to be described in terms most people could process. That would increase sentence size and, consequently, book length.
Another thing to note is that complex sentence structure doesn’t always compel complex thematic or allegorical structures. Newer. smaller books may have the upperhand in that area. The Media Bistro post quotes something (not sure of the source) that implies that.
Image stolen from Scientopa.
Aaaand I wanted a good excuse to use jQuery’s Colorbox functionality.
Image stolen from e-strategyblog.com.
I rewatched this movie last night on the Crunchyroll channel, but it’s also on Youtube for free in its entirety (see above), in decent quality.
It’s worth watching, even if anime isn’t your thing, because it has the sense of a semi-sci-fi movie from a Western producer…but animated. It helps to think of it as a Studio Ghibli film but more geared towards adult sensibilities and pacing. Many typical anime plot elements are here: American imperialism, the “large explosion” typology/legend, science-and-mysticism*, and schoolkids doing odd things in their spare time.
And even if that doesn’t appeal to you, there’s some excellent background scene art.
* If you think of the tower much like Clarke’s/Kubrick’s monolith from the 2001 universe, you’ll be on the right track.
Here we have Vengeance Rising’s Destruction Comes, released in 1991, with the cover as it should be on the left, and the bowdlerized cover (looks like a cassette) on the right. As you can see the art on the left, in the style of thrash bands of the day, has a clear, thematic meaning to it. The art on the right just looks like a children’s book from the bargain bin.
Some backstory from nolifetilmetal.com:
The original CD pressing of “Destruction Comes” featured a cool package with a sticker of a body builder on the jewel case covering a partially disemboweled body builder on the cover. The sticker was obviously intended to hide the “offending” cover art so that conservative stores wouldn’t refuse to carry the CD. In 2011, Intense Millennium Record re-released the album with the original cover art. They included a sticker reproduction of the original sticker from the original pressing.
3. The original cover on “Destruction Comes” was censored so that you could not see the partially decaying body builder. On the outside of the jewel case there was a sticker placed of the same body builder with all his parts in tact. See photo above.
The sticker was on top of the wrapping but not on the actual inserts themselves. So there’s some saving grace.
Fun side fact: vocalist/guitarist Roger Martinez became an atheist/Satanist while some past members formed a band called Die Happy.
It was the day of all days. I planned on finally exerting some of my blossoming masculinity on the two callow lads that were a year my minor. I was picturing how awesome I looked in my “confidence headband” when I slipped on that damned log and fell.
They ran away, but I found a sword jabbed into a stone at the bottom of the waterfall—a not-subtle phallic invitation to a rite of passage. I didn’t know it would activate the 16-bit critters that explode or instantly reduce themselves to bones upon death. They barely pose a threat to anyone, really, but John gave me the boot and stood guard at the entrance like he would get laid for it. It’s alright. I hate that guy’s mustache anyways.
After I finish my quest in a few days’ worth of hours I’m going to go sword-broadside on those two towheaded bastards.
Banish image graciously stolen from trapword.com.