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  What Book Are You Currently Reading?
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Author Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading?  (Read 334356 times)
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« Reply #225 on: October 08, 2011, 08:38:29 pm »

Rereading Postwar by Tony Judt.
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Averroės
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« Reply #226 on: October 08, 2011, 09:17:12 pm »

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Hollowing Out the Middle by Patrick Karr and Maria Kefalas
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Yelnoc
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« Reply #227 on: October 10, 2011, 09:31:21 pm »

Just finished...

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Marokai Backbeat
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« Reply #228 on: October 11, 2011, 09:18:06 pm »
« Edited: October 12, 2011, 12:27:09 am by Marokai Breakneck »

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Rereading this again since the first time I read it when I was just 14, I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it was the first book related to politics that I read in it's entirety, but looking back on it so many years later, I'm frightened by now much I feel like the foundation of my attitude on politics was formed by this book, as well as Truth (With Jokes) that I read a year later.

Yes, blah blah, it's Al Franken, but throughout the entire book, Franken places a very serious importance on telling the truth, on basing your arguments in fact, and responding to untruths with empirical truth. It's a very very simple concept, but it's also a very important one that our politics, especially in the last decade+ has forgotten. Politics is serious, and it matters a whole lot, and it shouldn't be treated like a game. The issues we debate are serious, and if we deserve anything, it's that the issues should be debated genuinely and honestly in good faith.

I very very strongly believe that. And it's the foundation for almost everything else that I believe in.

Near the end of the book, Franken writes this, which I think is the take-away from the book, even though it focuses on right-wing figures or particular lies from the Bush Administration:

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How do we get it back? We have to fight. But we can't fight like they do. People say that Rush, and Fox, and their ilk are entertaining. And if you can stomach that sort of stuff, I suppose they are. But a part of their entertainment value comes from their willingness to lie and distort. They fight with lies.

We can't do that. We have to fight them with the truth. Our added entertainment value will have to come from being funny and attractive. And passionate. And idealistic. But also, smart.

He's right. It only depresses me that, since writing this book 7 years ago-ish, the other side has only gone further down the rabbit hole. One side of American politics earnestly wants to govern and treat politics as a system for doing good. The other side, does not. And they do not value empirical truth the way that we do.

Those who treat politics and elections as a game are not serious people. And they should not be treated as serious people. That's essentially the message of the book. Don't lie about stuff that matters, and if someone does, go after them with everything you've got.
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Хahar 🤔
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« Reply #229 on: October 13, 2011, 02:30:45 am »

I'm getting sick of everyone hatin' on neocons!!

Hanson's argument is that freedom and free-market capitalism are why "Western civilization" (which to him encompasses everything from Greek city states to Alexander the Great to the Franks to the Holy League to 16th century Spain to Americans in Vietnam) triumphed over... well, he never really defines who they triumphed over, just everyone who didn't love freedom and capitalism enough, I guess. It's a ridiculous, ahistorical, contrived thesis, only saved by his talent at describing battles.

Exactly what you would expect from the title, isn't it?

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I think that my favorite part of that book is that the name of the hypothetical Bangladeshi child making shoes in a factory is "bad shoe" in Bengali.
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Keyboard Jacobinism
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« Reply #230 on: October 13, 2011, 09:01:37 am »

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Keyboard Jacobinism
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« Reply #231 on: October 13, 2011, 09:03:31 am »

I think that my favorite part of that book is that the name of the hypothetical Bangladeshi child making shoes in a factory is "bad shoe" in Bengali.

How to write "Xahar" in Bengali alphabet? (I'm asking because "Xahar", as transcripted, means "sister" in Farsi Tongue)
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #232 on: October 13, 2011, 02:07:54 pm »

Taking a break from the Carlyle (which is, need it be said, very entertaining) for some Houellebecq in the shape of Plateforme. The guy is such an incredible nazi, I like him very much.

The best bit so far has to be the narrator's throw-away remarl about pets on the opening page.
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Sbane
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« Reply #233 on: October 13, 2011, 09:19:09 pm »

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I think that my favorite part of that book is that the name of the hypothetical Bangladeshi child making shoes in a factory is "bad shoe" in Bengali.

Thanks for reminding me! That was hilarious. I wonder how many people who read the book actually got it.
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TJ in Oregon
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« Reply #234 on: October 13, 2011, 10:00:06 pm »

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Trying to read it at the advice of a more philosophically inclined friend... we'll see if end up finishing.
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King
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« Reply #235 on: October 14, 2011, 11:12:10 pm »

I'm currently a few chapters into Confidence Men by Ron Suskind.  Good stuff.
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minionofmidas - supplemental forum account
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« Reply #236 on: October 15, 2011, 04:00:40 am »

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Mynheer Peeperkorn
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« Reply #237 on: October 15, 2011, 05:35:24 am »

Is it legal to read Mein Kampf in Germany?
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Tetro Kornbluth
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« Reply #238 on: October 15, 2011, 05:46:22 am »

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Trying to read it at the advice of a more philosophically inclined friend... we'll see if end up finishing.

Don“t bother... MacIntyre is the very definition of self-important indulgent nonsense.
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« Reply #239 on: October 15, 2011, 07:19:16 am »

Is it legal to read Mein Kampf in Germany?
Yes... but it's illegal to publish without the consent of the copyright holder. Who happens to be the state of Bavaria, and not in the habit of consenting to anything of the sort. So you'd have to purchase used - which is perfectly legal - or have inherited some pre-45 copy. Or just import from somewhere, such as Britain or America or, well, most of the world, that doesn't recognize Bavaria's rather dubious claim to ownership of the copyright. (Turkey recognizes it, for instance... as a means to ban the book without officially banning it.) Will expire in 2016 (70 years after Hitler was officially declared dead), anyhow. What they'll do after that, I dunno.
Attempts to have the book put on the Index (which would ban any but over-the-counter sales, ostensibly to protect the youth) or declare its content seditious (and thus distribution illegal) have been made in the past and failed - the latter paragraphs are so tightly drawn that virtually nothing can be banned under them. Which I think is due to court interpretations aimed at not having to declare the law unconstitutional.
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Gustaf
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« Reply #240 on: October 18, 2011, 02:46:04 am »

Is it legal to read Mein Kampf in Germany?
Yes... but it's illegal to publish without the consent of the copyright holder. Who happens to be the state of Bavaria, and not in the habit of consenting to anything of the sort. So you'd have to purchase used - which is perfectly legal - or have inherited some pre-45 copy. Or just import from somewhere, such as Britain or America or, well, most of the world, that doesn't recognize Bavaria's rather dubious claim to ownership of the copyright. (Turkey recognizes it, for instance... as a means to ban the book without officially banning it.) Will expire in 2016 (70 years after Hitler was officially declared dead), anyhow. What they'll do after that, I dunno.
Attempts to have the book put on the Index (which would ban any but over-the-counter sales, ostensibly to protect the youth) or declare its content seditious (and thus distribution illegal) have been made in the past and failed - the latter paragraphs are so tightly drawn that virtually nothing can be banned under them. Which I think is due to court interpretations aimed at not having to declare the law unconstitutional.


I thought Mein Kampf sold pretty well in Turkey a few years back?

Anyway, I am currently reading Blood Meridian.
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Hash
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« Reply #241 on: October 18, 2011, 06:11:31 am »

Tableau politique de la France de l'Ouest sous la Troisieme Republique, the ultimate nerdy book.
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #242 on: October 18, 2011, 07:04:15 am »

Anyway, I am currently reading Blood Meridian.

Very nice, that one.
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minionofmidas - supplemental forum account
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« Reply #243 on: October 18, 2011, 11:49:04 am »


I thought Mein Kampf sold pretty well in Turkey a few years back?
It was de-facto-banned three years after the Turkish translation first appeared. It sold fairly well in the interim.
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #244 on: October 18, 2011, 04:34:33 pm »

In all fairness if an English translation were published tomorrow, and received an average degree of press coverage, it too would sell a decent number of copies. So no need to diabolize the scary muslems. (If anyone were intent on doing so.)
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Filuwaúrdjan
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« Reply #245 on: October 18, 2011, 04:58:50 pm »

And everyone who bought it would immediately regret having done so.
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The Mikado
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« Reply #246 on: October 18, 2011, 08:05:50 pm »

And everyone who bought it would immediately regret having done so.

I've only ever had to read a 9 page excerpt.

It's the equivalent of smashing a brick into your head.
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Filuwaúrdjan
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« Reply #247 on: October 18, 2011, 08:11:58 pm »

And everyone who bought it would immediately regret having done so.

I've only ever had to read a 9 page excerpt.

It's the equivalent of smashing a brick into your head.

Except that doing that would probably be more productive.
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Хahar 🤔
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« Reply #248 on: October 18, 2011, 09:29:05 pm »

And everyone who bought it would immediately regret having done so.

I have a copy. It would be charmingly strange if it weren't so horribly real.
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minionofmidas - supplemental forum account
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« Reply #249 on: October 19, 2011, 02:36:57 pm »

And everyone who bought it would immediately regret having done so.

I have a copy. It would be charmingly strange if it weren't so horribly real.
Yes, that reminds of Andreas Maier's verdict.
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