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September 13, 2015

Sunday Morning Book Thread 09-13-2015: Forgetting 9/11 [OregonMuse]


Peace-of-Mind-Bookstore-in-Tulsa.jpg
Peace of Mind Bookstore, Tulsa, OK


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 Sunday Morning Book Thread is the only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Or kilts. Also, assless chaps don't count. Serious you guys. Kilts are OK, though. But not tutus. Unless you're a girl.


Life is too short to read books that I'm not enjoying.
-Melissa Marr

Heh. A woman after my own heart.


TRIGGER WARNING this week for laughing at the international conspiracy masterminded by Jews (9/11 was a master plot, concocted by a handful of Israelis and dual passport Americans and carried out by the resources of the Mossad.)

Oh, those crafty Jooos. I'll bet they used their unholy and perverse shapeshifting skillz to pull it off.

[*snort!*]


Civilization And Its Malcontents

Searching Amazon for books on 9/11 gets you a whole lot of crazy. You'll find good stuff, too, of course, but the number of "inside job" books that the tinfoil hatters have been cranking out is quite depressing (but this site is an oasis of sanity).

In the art thread yesterday, commenter 'Mortimer' provided the following quote:

Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe.
...
They forget, in short, that there has ever been a category of human experience called the Enemy. And that, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the Enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary. An enemy was just a friend we hadn't done enough for - yet. Or perhaps there had been a misunderstanding, or an oversight on our part - something that we could correct. And this means that that our first task is that we must try to grasp what the concept of the Enemy really means.

That quote is from Civilization and Its Enemies: The Next Stage of History by Lee Harris.

I'll add this: "After 9/11, America woke up, hit the snooze button, and went back to sleep." This was said by Bill Maher a few years ago, if you can believe that, although I'm recalling what I heard from memory and was unable to google up his exact words. And while no doubt he followed it up with something stupid, it's a perfect description of the mindset that started to develop in America after a few months following the WTC terrorist attacks.

"Forgetting" is a major theme of Harris' book.

We, as Americans, have collectively forgotten where we have come from, how we got here, and what it takes to maintain civilization. Paradoxically, a big reason for this is our civilization's success, that has produced a standard of living unequaled in human history. Add to this the progressive poison that civilization is something that just sort of springs up naturally, no matter what you do or how you live, and the only reason it hasn't is because it is deliberately being thwarted by evil white guys who want to hog all of the resources, and you have a recipe for decadence and decay.

Forgetting shows up again in his follow-up book, The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam's Threat to the West:

Whether by choice or not, the West finds itself in a low-grade yet bitter war with Islamic fanaticism. It is a war the West is singularly ill-equipped to fight. The foe is resistant to any of the normal methods of conflict resolution such as negotiation, economic sanctions, or conventional armed confrontation. Since the Enlightenment, the West has forgotten how to oppose fanaticism, and it is Lee Harris' goal to remind us what we are up against.

And speaking of the progressive poison, The Devil's Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West by Michael Walsh has been mentioned by several morons on recent book threads.

It's all about "critical theory" and the Frankfurt School:

At once overly intellectualized and emotionally juvenile, Critical Theory - like Pandora’s Box - released a horde of demons into the American psyche. When everything could be questioned, nothing could be real, and the muscular, confident empiricism that had just won the war gave way, in less than a generation, to a central-European nihilism celebrated on college campuses across the United States. Seizing the high ground of academe and the arts, the New Nihilists set about dissolving the bedrock of the country, from patriotism to marriage to the family to military service; they have sown (as Cardinal Bergoglio – now Pope Francis – once wrote of the Devil) “destruction, division, hatred, and calumny” – and all disguised as the search for truth.

C.S. Lewis just e-mailed and said "What have I been telling you?"

The Other McCain blog has a good, detailed review here.


Pulp!

Over at Sarah Hoyt's blog, there's a guest post by one of her artist friends who put on display a few examples from her extensive collection of pulp magazine and book covers. Mild warning for PG-13ish nudity.

The commentary is pretty funny.


Oh Noes!

SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police by Vox Day is currently listed as an Amazon #1 best-seller in the "Political Philosophy" category.

I can already hear the SJW heads exploding.

I like the description of Vox Day in this review:

I doubt that anyone since George W. Bush has caused so many on the Left to completely lose their shit, and W was nowhere near as successful at getting his hapless enemies to do EXACTLY WHAT HE WANTED.

VD carries the impressive title "Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil" and is described by Black Gate magazine and The Wall Street Journal as the most hated man in science fiction.

His book is a demonstration of 3 laws concerning SJWs that appear to be inviolable:

1. SJWs always lie.
2. SJWs always double down.
3. SJWs always project.

To this I would add "4. SJWs always overreach", but that's probably a subset of #2.

OK, this made me laugh out loud: When I was looking at Day's book on Amazon, the following suggestions appeared in the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" section down at the bottom of the screen:

John Scalzi Banned This Book But He Can Never Ban My Burning Love: A Pretty, Pretty Girl Dreams of Her Beloved While Pondering Gender Identity, Social Justice, and Body Dysmorphia by "Alexa Eren", a book that was

...banned by John Scalzi, despite Ms. Eren being a huge Scalzi fan and an unemployed transgendered up-and-coming romance author who needed the money so xe could one day buy xerself a big, beautiful lawn of xer own. Soon to be nominated for the Hugo, don't miss the story of a love so bold it broke the Internet!

#lovewins

#bannedbooksmatter

This, uh, "book" is only 21 pages long, but the Kindle file size is nearly 1.5 megabytes. This suggests there's lots of pictures in it, which is good news for you morons who have trouble with the big words.

Amazon also showed me SJWs Never Lie: Censorship is Tolerance! Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! by a collection of illustrious authors, including "Brianna Scalzi" and "George R. R. Moretons", which is a ringing defense of, well, SJWs, obviously.

I'll give you one more: John Scalzi is Not a Rapist: A Respected Grand Master of Science Fiction Refutes Certain Allegations Made by a Devoted but Mistaken Fan by "Richard Milhous Scalzi". Apparently, there have been rumors swirling around about this for years and Mr. Scalzi wants to set the record straight.

And, of course, the SJWs responded with anti-parody parodies such as John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular: How SJWs Always Lie About Our Comparative Popularity Levels by "Theophilus Pratt."

This John Scalzi fellow is nothing if not inspirational.


Interview With A Manly Man

Here are a couple of excerpts from a recent American Spectator interview with conservative author Brad Thor. After saying that we need to go out of our way to support (by paying for) conservative efforts in books and movies, he says:

It’s still a meritocracy, but we need to ask ourselves — before we hand over a single dollar for a movie ticket or a novel — am I helping further the career of someone whose ideas I believe in and agree with, or not?

Too many of us are contributing to the bank accounts of figures in the popular culture whose worldviews are completely at odds with our own. We’re building silos of wealth for them, which they in turn use to help elect politicians and fund campaigns directly opposed to what we know is best for the country.

Earlier in the interview, he touched upon his responsibilities as a writer:

I am positive my publisher would rather I kept my politics and my patriotism to myself. Who knows how many more books I could sell if I wasn’t constantly calling out the failures of the progressive policies and their Utopian, big government vision? But I am an American, a steward of the Republic before I am anything else. People before me didn’t bleed and die so that I could remain silent in order to sell more books. They fought to help protect my freedoms. What kind of man would I be if I didn’t strive to live up to their sacrifices?

I'm not so sure he'd sell more books if he toned down the politics. I think that any gain would be more than offset by the loss of disappointed conservative readers. But that's just my opinion.

There's a photo of BT that accompanies the interview, and the phrase "boyish good looks" comes to mind. I can see how Mr. Thor would be very appealing to the 'ettes.


Strays

I was cleaning out the AoSHQ mailbag earlier this week and several items that had been in there for a while shook loose that might be of interest.

From veteran commenter Mike Hammer, here are 66 Book Stores on Route 66, from where I stole the book thread photo. The Peace of Mind Bookstore is described as "one of America’s largest collections of occult, New Age and metaphysical books." It also carries "herbs, stones, crystals, incense, runes and tarot cards." None of that stuff is of interest to me, so I probably would never go there, should I ever find myself in Tulsa. But I have to admit, it does look like a nice place to sit down and read a book.

One of you morons, I forget who, sorry, brought to my attention The Neglected Books Page. This is a blog that is dedicated to books that have been mostly forgotten, but are still worth reading. Some of the books are available for free on Gutenberg or other text achive sites, or in used editions via Amazon or ABE Books, and some are simply out of print and hard or impossible to find anywhere. I have bookmarked this site and suggest you all do the same. There are a crap ton of book suggestions contained therein, and even if you can't find something you like now, you should refer back to it periodically and who knows, you'll probably find something you'd like to read for low cost, or maybe even free.

Lastly, my mentioning of the passing of the great Soviet history chronicler Robert Conquest prompted an e-mail from commenter Gene, who told me the following anecdote: When a revised edition of Conquest's The Great Terror was going to be published in 1990, the British author Kingsley Amis suggested that it get a new title. Conquest replied, "How about 'I Told You So, You F***ing Fools'"?


What I'm Reading

Last week, Sabrina Chase told us of one of her book discoveries:

...a highly entertaining YA series by Phillip Reeve, Larklight and sequels. Set in a world where the British Empire never died, it just went into space in aether-ships. Features moon mushrooms, young space pirates, a floating mansion (Larklight of the title) which has a cranky old gravity engine and an ancient secret, (TRIGGER WARNING FOR ATC) evil giant spiders wearing bowler hats, and extremely subtle and funny homages to "War of the Worlds" only from a human perspective. Extremely fun and highly recommended to the Horde.

So I went out and got it, but never got to it, because along the way, I got sidetracked by Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan, which is also a cyberpunk YA novel:

It is the cusp of World War I. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ genetically fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksandar Ferdinand is one of the teen-aged protaganists and his father the Archduke has been murdered in Sarajevo (WWI,remember?) at the beginning of the book, and Deryn Sharp, an English lass, has disuised herself as a boy to enlist in the British Air Service as a midshipman. They'll eventually meet and then, as they say, zany hijinks will ensue.

There are two sequels, Behemoth, and the third book in the series, Goliath.

But getting back to Sabrina's recommendations, Larklight: A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space by Philip Reeve is the first book, there are two others, Starcross: A Stirring Adventure of Spies, Time Travel and Curious Hats which is followed by Mothstorm: The Horror from Beyond Uranus Georgium Sidus!.

They sound like fun books, just like Sabrina said.


___________

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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