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« Overnight Open Thread (18 Jul 2015) | Main | Something Uplifting.... [CBD] »
July 19, 2015

Sunday Morning Book Thread 07-19-2015: Unnatural Acts [OregonMuse]

mad scientist 3.jpg
"When I Slip This Idiot Juice Into Their Drinks, Those ESPN Execs Will Beclown Themselves So Thoroughly That They'll Never Be Taken Seriously Ever Again! BWAHAHA!"

Good morning to all of you morons and moronettes and bartenders everywhere and all the ships at sea. Welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, internationally acclaimed and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread. The only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Or kilts. Serious you guys. Kilts are OK, too. But not tutus. Unless you're a girl.

Book thread MULTIPLE TRIGGER WARNINGS because someone may say that Emma Sulkowicz was not raped, much less Lena Dunham, that more guns equals less crime, and that the mentally ill ought not be allowed to determine public policy.

There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.
-Marcel Proust

The Mad Scientist And The Unwilling Transsexual

With all the hubbub over ESPN trying to pump up its in-the-crapper ratings by promoting the cause of a confused and pathetic female impersonator, there is another story that I think deserves our attention.

As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl by John Colapinto is the account of the tragic case of David Reimer, whose penis was destroyed in a botched circumcision and whose parents followed the advice of psychologist Dr. John Money, who assigned their son a new gender. Why did he think this would be the best course of action?

Money was a prominent proponent of the "theory of Gender Neutrality" - that gender identity developed primarily as a result of social learning from early childhood and that it could be changed with the appropriate behavioral interventions.

Which sort of has "mad scientist" written all over it, doesn't it? "Laws of nature? Ha! We'll just ignore nature, do whatever we want, and everything will be just fine." If some doctor told me that my infant son would be better off as a woman, I would think he was, well, mad. But, this was the 60s, a time when old certainties were being tossed overboard like so much useless ballast.

Money and the Hopkins team persuaded the baby's parents that sex reassignment surgery would be in Reimer's best interest. At the age of 22 months, baby Bruce underwent an orchidectomy, in which his testes were surgically removed. He was reassigned to be raised as female and given the name Brenda. Psychological support for the reassignment and surgery was provided by John Money, who continued to see Reimer annually for about a decade for consultations and to assess the outcome.

H. P. Lovecraft just e-mailed me and said "that's effed up."

For a number of years afterwards, Money reported how wonderful it all was turning out, and how "Brenda" was oh so happy wearing frilly little dresses and acting just like a little girl. It was widely reported as a huge success.

But, as it turned out, Dr. Money was, get this, lying about it. Colapinto reveals that "Brenda" never felt like a girl, was bullied at school, was extremely unhappy, and had many developmental problems.

Of course, he had to lie, in order to maintain his views on gender. Facts must never be allowed to interrupt the narrative.

When "Brenda" finally learned the truth at age 15, "she" decided to live as a male, changed her name to David, and received testosterone injections to reverse the previous gender reassignment. David eventually married, but his life did not go well for him, and then, sadly, he committed suicide in 2004.

Colapinto's book is credited with helping to accelerate the decline in gender reassignment surgeries performed on infants with congenital malformations or penile loss.

In Your Heart, You Know He's Right

Long-time moron commenter tsrblke e-mailed earlier this week and asked:

My dad is currently reading biographies. He's working through the latest Reagan Biography, and it sparked interest in Barry Goldwater. Do you think you could ask for recommendations on a good Goldwater biography in the book thread?

I am not familiar with Goldwater biographies, and so I don't know if there is a good or definitive one, so hopefully one or more of you morons can help out here. But poking around on Amazon, there appears to be two types of books about Mr. Goldwater: biographies and analyses of his thought and political impact.

First, the biographies. I was able to find two. Or maybe three:

Barry Goldwater by Robert Alan Goldberg

Flying High: Remembering Barry Goldwater by William F. Buckley Jr. which I think is more of a personal reminiscence than a biography.

Goldwater: The Man Who Made a Revolution by Lee Edwards and Phyllis Schlafly

Next are the analyses of his political impact:

Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus by Rick Perlstein. This is one I've heard of before, but have not read:

In the 1964 presidential campaign, LBJ ate Barry Goldwater for lunch and thereby, according to the pundits, stuck a fork in the heart of American conservatism. But Goldwater's politics were vindicated, Perlstein argues, by subsequent elections, especially Reagan's in 1980, and his tenets are championed today on both sides of the aisle.

Well, I don't know about that last bit, which reminds me of the idiot progs who complain that the MSM is "far right" (yes, they actually think this). Of course, Perlstein is a liberal, therefore his vision is going to be greatly impaired, but I do note this:

Liberal readers [will] either be peeved or amused by Perlstein's unabashed partisanship, perhaps best shown in his observation that LBJ's deputy Bill Moyers pioneered dirty campaign tactics: "the full-time-espionage, sabotage, and mudslinging unit."

I've always had an intense loathing for Bill "Backpfeifengesicht" Moyers, who is the epitome of the smug, arrogant, sanctimonious liberal hypocrite. Because back in the day, he was in fact, LBJ's hatchet man, and he took dirty politics and the smear campaign to a whole 'nother level.

He commissioned the first attack ad for television, which basically claimed that the only two choices in the 1964 election were (a) vote for LBJ or (b) little girls will get nuked. The ad was free of any kind of intellectual content or rational argument, but made its case on imagery and pure emotion. It was very effective, and helped LBJ win over Goldwater by a landslide. There's even a book written about it, Daisy Petals and Mushroom Clouds: LBJ, Barry Goldwater, and the Ad That Changed American Politics by Robert Mann.

You can see Moyers' original "daisy" ad here. YouTube comments are generally to be avoided, but I this one was actually pretty good:

They told me that if I voted for Barry Goldwater, we would be at war in Vietnam within a year. They were right I voted for Barry Goldwater and we were at war in Vietnam. A little later I got a draft notice courtesy of President Johnson the peace candidate and got a free plane ticket to Nam.


But getting back to third-party analyses of Goldwater, there's also A Glorious Disaster: Barry Goldwater's Presidential Campaign and the Origins of the Conservative Movement J. William Middendorf, a behind-the-scenes retelling of the 1964 presidential race by one of Goldwater's close associates.

Lastly are the books Goldwater wrote himself, the most famous one of course being Conscience of a Conservative, which is available on Kindle for 99 cents. I can do better than to quote from the book itself:

I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not pass laws, but to repeal them. it is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is "needed" before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents' "interests," I shall replay that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am dong the very best I can.

What's sad about this paragraph is that the political goals Goldwater lists therein are, in today's political climate, utterly unobtainable.

How many of you morons knew that Goldwater was apparently quite a good photographer? This is news to me. A number of his photos have been published in The Eyes of His Soul: The Visual Legacy of Barry M. Goldwater, Master Photographer by by Evelyn S. Cooper and Michael Goldwater (Barry's son). One Amazon reviewer says:

As an Arizona resident, I am especially appreciative for the lovely photographs but more than that, it is an expression of the love of our state that Barry Goldwater had. You can see it and feel it in the pictures he shot. This was such a treat to go through...

This is a book that anybody, regardless of politics, can enjoy.

Lastly there's With No Apologies: The Personal and Political Memoirs of United States Senator Barry M. Goldwater by the man himself, published in 1979. I'm just going to take the lazy way out (again) and copy-and-paste a relevant Amazon review:

As everyone sadly knows, Barry Goldwater -- never a quitter -- failed to quit while he was ahead. No one will ever know, I guess, whether he became senile in his old age; but as time progressed, the fierce champion of the Right became more and more the gadfly, happily reveling in taking abhorrent Leftist stands and letting the media use him, laughing at him all the while.

These memoirs are Goldwater before the fall, the man who gave us the modern conservative movement, still in rare form and fighting the good fight. Published in 1979, they include not only his political thoughts but his autobiography too (the book is worth buying simply for Goldwater's recounting of the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis, which have not generally been reported as this Armed Services Committee member actually witnessed them).

So, in answer to tsrblke's original request, a good biography of Barry Goldwater is probably going to be the one written by Barry Goldwater.

Nixon's The One

And speaking of political biographies, a new one of Nixon has just been released, Being Nixon: A Man Divided by former Newsweek political writer Evan Thomas, and it may be a bit controversial because, according to this review, it argues that

Nixon is much less the evil mastermind of 1970s caricature - and much more a Jekyll-and-Hyde character constantly at war with himself.

I'm old enough to remember the "1970s caricature" Nixon that the liberals created in their own minds to suit their political ends. The origins of Bush Derangement Syndrome and Reagan Derangement Syndrome can be seen here, in the granddaddy of them all, Nixon Derangement Syndrome, where there's no sin too great, and no crime more heinous that the target can't be accused of.

I like this bit:

None of this is to say Nixon was a victim. As Thomas states, and supports with analysis and detail, the Watergate burglary in 1972 that caused Nixon’s downfall was probably an act of stupidity the president never knew about before it happened. The infamous cover-ups that followed were his fault, along with what Thomas writes was Nixon’s self-created “toxic environment” encouraging dirty political tricks. “He regarded spying on opponents as normal and accepted,” Thomas reminds readers.

Yeah, well, maybe that's because it was normal and accepted - by previous Democratic administrations. The way liberals, even today, weep and wail and carry on over Watergate, you'd think everything was all polite disagreement and Marquess of Queensbury until Nixon came along.

This allows me to once again pimp one of my favorite books, sadly out of print but no less relevant today, Victor Lasky's It Didn't Start With Watergate, that details all of the dirty politics the MSM gave Democrats a pass on, but then proclaimed to be corrupt, evil and dirty during the Nixon administration.

Everything has become so politicized, it's going to take many years before honest histories will be able to be written about our time. It will be a many years before we get historians who are interested merely in facts and objective analysis without grinding their favorite political axes. If a writer from the liberal tabloid "Newsweak" can publish a book about Richard Nixon without casting him as The Worst Villain In The Universe, maybe that's a start.

Moron Recommendations

If any of you morons are interested in a Hemingway bio, a lurking moron recommended Hemingway: The 1930s by Michael Reynolds, which he describes as "an incredible account of an incredible man." This book is actually one part of a multi-volume biography. Others in the series include The Young Hemingway, Hemingway: The Paris Years, and Hemingway: The Final Years

Books By Morons

I did a bit of proofreading of the military sci-fi adventure, Outward Frontier, which has just been released. It's 2177 and the outer frontier worlds are under attack from an hitherto unknown alien race:

Follow the adventures of an untested American Army officer as he prepares for the invasion..., a Seattle based corporate mercenary who will do anything for money and power, and a New Zealand ranching family on a primitive world in the farthest reaches of space called the Outward Frontier. Their fates are woven together with one of America’s leading scientists as they scramble to execute a desperate plan for the salvation of not only the United States, but for Earth and its numerous colonies.

Available on Kindle for only $1.

What I'm Reading

'Anonymous-9', the author of the novel Hard Bite emailed me and dared me to read it. This is how she pitched to me:

Libertarian hardboiled noir interest you? I...am widely regarded as the creator of the "serial-killing monkey" genre. It reads like a thriller but it's really a cry for freedom embodied in my paraplegic protagonist, Dean Drayhart.

So, what genre is this exactly, "libertarian noir" or "serial-killing monkey"? I don't know, probably both. I do know that it's a fun, page-turning read, with a Moron™ sensibility throughout. I mean, who but a Moron could write a novel about a paraplegic vigilante with a hooker girlfriend and a bad attitude who has made it his life's mission to track down hit-and-run drivers and kill them with the help of his capuchin monkey? All that's missing is the ValuRite.

The sequel, Bite Harder is also available, and the the author has written a number of other books.


So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, bribes, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at the book thread e-mail address: aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.

What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as you all know, life is too short to be reading lousy books.

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