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January 17, 2016

Sunday Morning Book Thread 01-17-2016: Return Of The Natives [OregonMuse]


Walker Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota.jpg
Walker Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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. I've even hosed down the latrines.


Hemingway hated me. I sold 200 million books, and he didn't. Of course most of mine sold for 25 cents, but still... you look at all this stuff with a grain of salt.
Mickey Spillane


The Noble Savage

According to comments in this thread earlier this week, the still-traumatized actor Leonardo DiCaprio made the following silly remark during his Golden Globe Award acceptance speech:

I want to share this award with all the First Nations people represented in this film and all the Indigenous communities around the world. It is time that we recognized your history and that we protect your indigenous lands from corporate interests and people that are out there to exploit them. It is time that we heard your voice and protected this planet for future generations.

Doubtless, Mr. DiCaprio is still suffering from the effects of recent unfortunate events. Either that, or he's been huffing bear pee again. But whatever the case, he can perhaps be excused from knowing that the peoples of the "First Nations" aren't really 'first' -- they got where they are mainly by booting other 'first' nations the hell out, only we don't know much about these other 'first' nations because the present collections of 'first' nations KILLED THEM ALL. So those other guys are in no position to tell us how they felt about being driven out of their homes and massacred by newbie interlopers such as the Aztecs, Sioux, Comanches, etc., what with being massacred and all.

This brought on some interesting comments, particularly about the Comanches, who weren't exactly pacificist hippies living at one with the earth. For example, Cicero commented:

337 DiCaprio should read a little about the Comanches and see whether they fit the Noble Savage leftard dipshit mythology.

...and then recommended the book Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S. C. Gwynne. According to the Amazon blurb for this book, the Comanches were complete badasses:

[I]t was...the legendary fighting ability of the Comanches that determined just how and when the American West opened up. Comanche boys became adept bareback riders by age six; full Comanche braves were considered the best horsemen who ever rode. They were so masterful at war and so skillful with their arrows and lances that they stopped the northern drive of colonial Spain from Mexico and halted the French expansion westward from Louisiana. White settlers arriving in Texas from the eastern United States were surprised to find the frontier being rolled backward by Comanches incensed by the invasion of their tribal lands. So effective were the Comanches that they forced the creation of the Texas Rangers and account for the advent of the new weapon specifically designed to fight them: the six-gun.

They ain't pacifist hippies. They sound more like Klingons. Just give them phasers and warp drive and watch the fun.

The war against the Comanches lasted for forty years.

Someone should write an "alt-history" novel wherein Genghis Khan's Mongol Horde somehow comes into contact with the Comanches, and the epic war that would result.

Meremortal recommends The Comanches: Lords of the South Plains by Ernest Wallace and E. Adamson Hoebel, which details how

For more than a century and a half, since they had first moved into the Southwest from the north, the Comanches raided and pillaged and repelled all efforts to encroach on their hunting grounds. They decimated the pueblo of Pecos, within thirty miles of Santa Fé. The Spanish frontier settlements of New Mexico were happy enough to let the raiding Comanches pass without hindrance to carry their terrorizing forays into Old Mexico, a thousand miles down to Durango. The Comanches fought the Texans, made off with their cattle, burned their homes, and effectively made their own lands unsafe for the white settlers. They fought and defeated at one time or another the Utes, Pawnees, Osages, Tonkawas, Apaches, and Navahos.

Finally, a book that has been sitting in my wish list a long time, The Comanche Empire by Pekka Hämäläinen, an historical account which claims to

...uncover the lost story of the Comanches. It is a story that challenges the idea of indigenous peoples as victims of European expansion and offers a new model for the history of colonial expansion, colonial frontiers, and Native-European relations in North America and elsewhere.

This Comanche empire

...eclipsed its various European rivals in military prowess, political prestige, economic power, commercial reach, and cultural influence. Yet, until now, the Comanche empire has gone unrecognized in American history.

Unrecognized, at least, by modern day American actors.

And you know this whole bear rape thing has gotten out of hand when a lurking 'ette sends me a link to her pr0n parody of Leonardo's night of savage love (link is to an NSFW short story).


Open Question For the Horde

This Forbes piece, 4 Books That Will Help Change Your Life, got me thinking about, well, books that change people's lives. So now I'm curious, and I ask you all this question: is there a book that changed your life? It could be any book, not necessarily the Bible or any religious text, it could even be something like The Reloader's Bible: The Complete Guide to Making Ammunition at Home. The point is, I'm looking for the books that fundamentally altered the way you view the world, so you can divide your life into a 'before' and 'after' period from the time you first read it.

As I said, it could be any book. One of the items from the Forbes piece is the Harry Potter series. Not one that I would ever think would be 'life-changing', but there you are.

I'll go first. The book that really opened my eyes was C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. The way he explained theology and the necessity of an absolute moral order was so clear and compelling, even for a new Christian like myself, reading it for the first time over 30 years ago, that even today it remains with me.

So what about you?


Shut Up, He Explained

If there's any public intellectual who so stereotypically reflects the common wisdom of the world as seen by liberals, it is probably newpaper columnist E J Dionne. From his perch high atop the NY Times Washington Post, he has been dispensing stock-in-trade liberal bromides for 25 years.

Dionne is a "sensible" liberal who desires the country to be run "sensibly", by which he means, an ever -expanding welfare state and an ever-increasing federal budget. Perhaps not by a great deal, but, you know, incremental increases, year by year, not enough to awaken the frog that's being boiled, but enough to fund the ever-increasing list of tasks that any "sensible" liberal believes falls within the purview of the federal government. That's what Dionne wants, permanently and forever.

And he just can't understand why anyone would object to such a status quo.

Which is why he wrote his soon-to-be-released book, Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism - From Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond. Because he is confused and frightened by those who think the Federal government should operate within its constitutionally prescribed limits and that unlimited deficit spending is a formula for financial disaster.

In a glowing review of Dionne's book, he identifies the evil troublemakers who are causing him such peptic distress:

Though Boehner went along with this brinksmanship, shutting down the government, sending shockwaves through global stock markets and instigating a historic downgrade of the Treasury's creditworthiness, his willingness to risk the nation's economic welfare in a game of chicken with the president didn't satisfy the very tea party legislators pressing him to keep fighting.

It's those evil conservatives! So, in other words, decades of profligate spending which pushed the national debt to absurd levels wasn't what was responsible for the reduction of the Treasury rating. It was those who objected to the profligate spending that are the problem.

It is an article of faith among the cognoscenti such as E J Dionnne that liberals who fight against any reduction in government spending are never "intransigent". That word is only used for conservatives who want to fight against it.

It's infuriating to read crap like this:

At heart, Dionne is an empiricist, and his solutions reflect this worldview. He calls for a break with the cycle of false conservative hope followed by disappointment within the party. This transformation would require an ideological shift back toward the center, including GOP acceptance of the market's drawbacks, seeing a role for the government in the modern economy, and a reversal on a broad range of issues, including taxes, healthcare and environmental regulation.

Let me translate this:

At heart, Dionne is an empiricist liberal, and his liberal solutions reflect this liberal worldview. He calls for a break with the cycle of false conservative hope followed by disappointment within the party conservatives to shut up and bend over. This transformation would require an ideological shift back toward the center, including GOP acceptance of the market's drawbacks, seeing a role for the government in the modern economy, and a reversal on a broad range of issues, including taxes, healthcare and environmental regulation Republicans to pretty much think, talk and act like Democrats. Hell, they might as well just give up being Republicans, join the Democratic Party, and turn the country into a one-party state, where there's always room for more government spending, increases in the marginal tax rates, and no backtalk.

But lest he be accused of being a shill for the Democrats, Dionne offers criticizes of them, too:

The Democrats also deserve some blame for the GOP's rightward progression. Bill Clinton's move to the right — announcing that the "era of big government is over" — engineered his presidential victories, yet conceded the nation's ideological bearing to the GOP.

In other words, Bill's problem was that he was too gosh-darned conservative. Alrighty, then.

Dionne desperately wants conservatives, with their silly ideas of small government, to give up and shut up. He's obviously pining for the good old days before Reagan when conservatives politely kept their place at the back of the bus. His idea of a "good" Republican is probably somebody like Bob Michel, who was the Republican Minority Leader of the House of Representatives before Newt Gingrich. Michel never put up much of a fight over anything the Democrats wanted to do, and was generally content with the status of the Republicans as a permanent minority party.

This reminds of me of when liberals complain the "loss of civility" in public discourse. Because what that boils down to is: you conservatives shut up and let us do the talking.


Artistes At Play

Moron commenter Mike Hammer sent me a link to a review of Mickey Spillane's potboiler One Lonely Night, which is in the form of an imagined conversation between Spillane, Earnest Hemingway and Ayn Rand, cobbled together from actual quotes made by each. It's pretty funny, but I'm curious about this bit:

Mickey: Now what happened with Ernest was that he wrote this nasty piece about me. I never say anything bad about a writer. Some are better than others, that’s all. And some make more money. But anyway, I got aggravated at him writing that piece about me, cause none of it was true. So I was on a show in Chicago, a live TV show. It was in a big theatre and there was a stage audience, and the guy who was interviewing me said, “Did you read that piece that Hemingway wrote about you?” And I said, “Hemingway who?” It brought the house down, but he hated my guts after that.

Does anyone know what he's talking about, this piece Hemingway supposedly wrote about Spillane? I Googled around a bit, but couldn't find it.


Bookstore Contest

Recommend your favorite bookstore and win money:

Vote for your favorite bookstore and you could win a $50 gift card. We’ll also award the winning bookstore with a $3,000 prize, so make sure to ask your fellow bookloving friends in your community to vote.

The sweepstakes closes on Friday, February 19th, so get your entry in quickly!


Books By Morons

Armageddon Is Here And It's Here To Staaaaay: Moron author Dave Dubrow has just released the second book of his "Armageddon" series: The Nephilim and the False Prophet (Armageddon Book 2) is available now on Kindle for the low price of $2.99.

And it looks like Armageddon is breaking out all over:

Fueled by brutal, random violence and a worldwide leprosy epidemic, the Earth descends into chaos. Preparing for Armageddon, Hell plans an atrocity called The Slaughter of the Innocents while Heaven’s scattered agents fight a cold war against superstar evangelist Kyle Loubet, who they believe is the False Prophet foretold in the Bible...Caught in the middle, Hector, Ozzie, and Siobhan face terrible dangers from all sides. Now free from their infernal prison, what are the Watcher angels planning? With only days before the Apocalypse, can humanity be saved?

This is the sequel to The Blessed Man and the Witch (Armageddon Book 1), which I've mentioned a couple of times before in previous book threads.

This one is also available for $2.99 on Kindle, but here is an offer from the author:

I'm happy to give out free copies of this book and The Blessed Man and the Witch in exchange for reviews on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Please email me at davedauthor at gmail dot com and I'll send a PDF or .MOBI, whichever is preferred.


___________

The Art of the Short Short Story: Moronette 'Krukke1' was pixy-banned a few years ago, so she's been reducing to monitoring status. However, she has published a short story collection, Glimpse. She tells me "Even though they are about females, the male reviewers seem to love the abrupt, to-the-point-style", which she self-describes as "Poe on meth":

Forty imagined scenes from forty imagined lives. Glimpse is a different kind of short story collection, highlighting scenes or short “glimpses” into the lives of the characters. Cry with a Goth rocker in London in one scene, then blink and travel to heaven with an angel in another. Laugh with a middle aged woman on a crowded bus, then flip to another scene and soar with a seagull in search of Cheetos. Some scenes are poignant; some hilarious, some sad, some ironic.
Just like life.

To this I would add, some are edifying, some will perhaps remind you of The Twilight Zone, and some will punch you in the face. I know, because I've read a few of them. Each story is only a page long, and I kept interrupting Mrs. Muse with "oh, oh, I have to read you this one" and "oh come on, just one more - this is the best one yet."

Available on Kindle for $3.99.


___________

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.

___________

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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