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December 27, 2015

Sunday Morning Book Thread 12-27-2015: Polarization [OregonMuse]


xmaslibrary 550.jpg
Hope You All Had A Merry Christmas.

(Photo stolen from the Hanna Arendt Center)

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. And when I type up the book thread, my pinkies remain elevated the whole time, that's how classy it is.

“Maybe this is why we read, and why in moments of darkness we return to books: to find words for what we already know.”
―Alberto Manguel


A week or three ago, one of you morons, I forget who it was because I can't find the comment, related how he was trying to help his son who was struggling with how to express what he felt. The moron suggested that perhaps if he had been a regular reader, he might not be so tongue-tied. Which only makes sense, and that's what I think the quote means. Books teach us how to to talk.


Of Course You Know This Means War

NRO writer and author Dinesh D'Souza may not be on Team LiB/SMoD, yet, but he may be one step closer to it.

First, the backstory: D'Souza was tried and convicted for violating campaign finance laws. He was trying to arrange donations to help one of his friend's long-shot senate campaign, but ended up going over the personally-allowed $10,000 maximum.

Normally, these sorts of minor violations are punished with a fine, but Dinesh D'Souza, author of Obama's America: Unmaking the American Dream, The Roots of Obama's Rage, and also the documentary film 2016: Obama's America, is not just some random guy. He's obviously a very loud and persistent critic of President Selfie, whose corrupt DOJ saw him as a target of opportunity and went after him like Javert on steroids. The partisan DOJ prosecutors added a bogus "false statements" charge, and then argued for the maximum 7-year prison sentence, despite the lack of any criminal record and D'Souza's exemplary citizenship.

The prosection was so egregious that even D'souza's lawyer, who is apparently a die-hard progressive, came to agree that his client was not some tinfoil-hat wearing conspiracy nut, but really was being singled out for punishment by the DOJ for political reasons.

In the end, D'Souza was sentenced to 8 months to a half-way house, doing community work during the day and hanging out with murderers, rapists, and other hardened criminals at night. This sentence is itself questionable, but D'Souza accepted the deal rather than fight on and risk getting slapped with the maximum.

Serving out his prison sentence, D'Souza's viewpoint changed:

The principal evolution in the author’s thinking involves seeing his political adversaries as, yes, enemies. And as criminals. As a conservative intellectual, D’Souza had assessed progressives as true believers in an utterly flawed ideology. He was a forceful advocate of the conservative counter-case: liberty, limited government, human fallibility, the wisdom undergirding our traditions. Yet implicit in his arguments was the sense of engagement in a real battle of ideas against a bona fide political opponent.

But now, he realizes that's not it at all:

Progressives, he now perceives, are engaged in a massive scheme to “steal America,” meaning all of its wealth and traditions. Their ideas and the foibles of their interest-group politics are often incoherent because they are not actually meant to cohere. They are, instead, a Machiavellian ploy, a pretense to morality that camouflages the remorseless acquisition of power

From out of this experience with the criminal justice system came his new book, Stealing America: What My Experience with Criminal Gangs Taught Me about Obama, Hillary, and the Democratic Party, in which he explains how

America flourished because it was an anti-theft society: freedom inextricably linked to the protection of private property, unleashing creativity, entrepreneurship, and unprecedented prosperity. The progressive critique of that society is not advanced in good faith; it is, as D’Souza portrays it, a “con.” Its purpose — not its unintended consequence but its aim — is to seize the wealth and power of achievers. The con is systematized by the Democratic party now under Obama’s leadership, with Hillary waiting in the wings.

So, to recap what D'Souza learned:

1. Progressives don't care about ideas but only the acquisition of power
2. Progressives never argue in good faith
3. Progressives (and the Democratic Party in particular) are just another criminal gang

Heh. Welcome to the party, pal. And is it just me, or is this starting to sound an awful lot like Vox Day?

And this, by the way, is exactly why Andrew Breitbart said "F*** you. War."

I'm curious to see how this polarization of D'Souza's viewpoint will affect his writing. Up until this point, he has been pretty much an establishment Republican tyoe guy, but if he has indeed concluded that progressives can't be reasoned with, how long will it be before he takes the next step and he notices the utter uselessness, fecklessness and out-and-out betrayal of the GOPe?


All I Want For Christmas

So, did you morons get anything good this Christmas in the way of books or reading devices? I'll go first: Muse son #2 took advantage of a Black Friday deal at Amazon and got me a 7-inch Kindle Fire for $35, which is almost a steal. I've just got it set up and haven't used it much, so I don't have enough experience with it to post a review, but I eventually will.

And the Fire is currently selling for $49.99, so that's still a pretty good price for an e-reader.

So that's what I got. what did you all get?


It's Baaaa-aaack...

The Germans are getting wee-wee'd up over an upcoming publication of Mein Kampf:

The 70-year copyright on the text, written by Hitler between 1924-1926 and banned by the Allies at the end of World War Two, expires at the end of the year, opening the way for a critical edition with explanatory sections and some 3,500 annotations.

In January the 2,000 page, two-volume work will go on sale after about three years of labor by scholars at Munich's Institute for Contemporary History.

What do the morons think of Mein Kampf? Well, let's take a look:

"It's incomprehensible word salad reminiscent of Mooch's dissertation." --The Great White Snark

"Pretty much unreadable. In its day, it was a coffee-table book - a book that one wanted to be seen to own, not a book to be read." --Alberta Oil Peon

And chique d'afrique has an interesting observation about Germany's priorities: "By the way, Germany's like, let's ban an inanimate object that rails against Jews and advocates their destruction while importing loads of live people who feel the same way. Brilliant."

So the lesson here is, if you want to kill it, just make sure everyone can see it, then they'll know how crappy it is.

Although that hasn't stopped Mein Kampf from being a huge-best seller in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, etc. Or so I've heard.


The Dictionary Look-up

You know what the most looked up word online in 2015 is, according to Merriam-Webster?

Socialism.

“Socialism has been near the top of our online dictionary look-up list for several years,” said M-W editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski. “However, this year look-ups for socialism moved up even further, beginning with the July campaign events for Bernie "You kids get off my lawn!" Sanders, remaining high throughout the following months and spiking again after the first Democratic debate in October.”

And what do you get when you look up the word socialism? In addition to the actual definition, the editors of the dictionary decided to help out with a mini-essay on usage of the word:

Pure socialism has been seen only rarely and generally briefly in some Communist regimes, according to M-W.

“Far more common are systems of social democracy, now often referred to as ‘democratic socialism,’ in which extensive state regulation, with limited state ownership, has been employed by democratically elected governments (as in Sweden and Denmark) in the belief that it produces a fair distribution of income without impairing economic growth,” it wrote in explaining its definition.

Yes, by all means, let's make sure that socialism's good name isn't sullied.


Print: Not Dead Yet

E-book sales have remained stagnant, but print sales are up for the second year in a row:

Sales of print books have increased slightly in the United States this year...As of December, sales of paper edition books rose to 571 million units, up from 2014 when 559 million copies were sold, according to Nielsen BookScan, which follows 85 percent of the print market.
Jonathan Burnham, publisher and senior vice president of HarperCollins Publishing, pinned the change on Lee’s novel. The book was released in July. While updated sales statistics have yet to be revealed it sold four times as many hard copies as e-books.

“Possible the historic nature of the publication made people want to own a physical copy,” he told the AP.

Maybe so, but I wonder if the real reason is that hardback editions of Lee's novel sell for as low as $9.76, but the Kindle price is $12.99?.

I suspect most of us simply don't want to spend $12.99 on an e-book. I'll wait till I can buy it for $1.99 on BookBub or EReaderIQ, thank you.

Also:

Adult coloring books and books written by celebrities who made their names on YouTube have also contributed to sales, publishers told the AP...PewDiePie, Tyler Oakley, and Shane Dawson have translated a large YouTube following into bestseller status

OK, adult coloring books I know, but who the hell are PewDiePie, Tyler Oakley, and Shane Dawson?


Question For the 'Ettes

Well, 'rons, too, but maybe the 'ettes are in a better position to know. The following "megapack" type Kindle deal was offered to me earlier this week: B is For Bad Boy: A Collection of Steamy Bad Boy, Alpha and Billionaire Romance Stories by "Bella Love-Wins". Here's the blurb from thr EReaderIQ book service:

'B' is for Bad Boy is a collection of steamy romance standalone and first-in-a-series stories. Get ready to meet the bad boys, alphas and billionaires who have a way of melting our hearts as they claim the women who capture their attention. Guaranteed to leave you breathless and begging for more!

OK, so the "bad boy" thing I get and the "alpha male" thing I get, but what I don't get is, why does it have to be a "billionaire"? Many of these modern "pr0n for women" romance novels feature mysterious and dangerous billionaires, so much so that it's pretty much an entire sub-genre. And if you want to get an idea of the its extent, try doing a search on Amazon for 'billionaire' or 'billionaire romance', and you'll see what I'm talking about. Obviously, this whole concept is resonating with an emotional chord that exists deep within women's hearts.

I think this phenomenon is relatively new. Are they all just imitating 50 Shades of Grey? (now only $5.99 on Kindle!), and its love interest, kinky billionaire bad boy Christian Grey? Was he the first? My point is, I believe that one of the things women desire is security, and what they want in a man is for him to make them feel assured that they will be taken care of. So in that regard, why aren't mere millions good enough?


Book Threads 2015

What follows is a list of links to every 2015 book thread. There's a metric boatload of book recommendations in these links, so this is your easy reference point. So you won't ever have to say you have nothing to read.

Also, I would like to take the opportunity again at this year's end to thank ace for letting me do the book thread. I never asked for his permission, by the way, which, if you think about it, is quite presumptuous on my part, considering that this isn't my blog and I'm just some guy. I'm glad that ace is the generous and tolerant sort. I remember the old days when he was lucky if he could get 20-30 comments on one of his threads. It's been ace's hard work over the years that has built up the audience of the AoSHQ blog and I'm deeply grateful that he lets me borrow it every week for the book thread.

Also, a big thank you to all of you 'rons and 'ettes. It's your comments and your recommendations, your collective Horde knowledge, that make the book thread as fun and informative as it is. And speaking of comments and recommendations:

Book Thread 01-04-2015
Book Thread 01-11-2015
Book Thread 01-18-2015
Book Thread 01-25-2015
Book Thread 02-01-2015
Book Thread 02-08-2015
Book Thread 02-15-2015
Book Thread 02-22-2015
Book Thread 04-05-2015
Book Thread 04-12-2015
Book Thread 04-19-2015
Book Thread 04-26-2015
Book Thread 05-17-2015
Book Thread 05-24-2015
Book Thread 05-31-2015
Book Thread 06-07-2015
Book Thread 06-14-2015
Book Thread 06-21-2015
Book Thread 06-28-2015
Book Thread 07-05-2015
Book Thread 07-12-2015
Book Thread 07-19-2015
Book Thread 07-26-2015
Book Thread 08-02-2015
Book Thread 08-09-2015
Book Thread 08-16-2015
Book Thread 08-23-2015
Book Thread 08-30-2015
Book Thread 09-06-2015
Book Thread 09-13-2015
Book Thread 09-20-2015
Book Thread 10-04-2015
Book Thread 10-11-2015
Book Thread 10-18-2015
Book Thread 10-25-2015
Book Thread 11-01-2015
Book Thread 11-08-2015
Book Thread 11-15-2015
Book Thread 11-22-2015
Book Thread 11-29-2015
Book Thread 12-06-2015
Book Thread 12-13-2015
Book Thread 12-20-2015
Book Thread 12-27-2015


___________

Don't forget the AoSHQ reading group on Goodreads. It's meant to support horde writers and to talk about the great books that come up on the book thread. It's called AoSHQ Moron Horde and the link to it is here: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/175335-aoshq-moron-horde.

___________

I just realized I had said I was going to go over the Army's reading list this week, but apparently, I've blown it off. Dang.

Sorry. I will get to it next week.

___________

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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