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May 08, 2016

Sunday Morning Book Thread 05-08-2016: Peak Stupid [OregonMuse]


Professor Richard Macksey Personal Library 525.jpg
College Professor's Personal Library


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, where men are men, space isn't safe, and snowflakes will melt. The Sunday Morning Book Thread is the only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required. And if you self-identify as a daisy, your petals must be modest, and in good taste.


More on the photo:

A Personal Collection...that belongs to Professor Richard A. Macksey - Professor of Humanities and Director of the Humanities Center at Johns Hopkins University. He has one of the largest personal libraries in Maryland, with over 70,000 books, manuscripts, and art work (valued around $4 million). Word is he holds grad classes in his gorgeous library.


Have We Reached Our Limit?

According to the this article in the L.A. Times, Rachel Dolezal is going to publish a book about race.

Who cares, right? I know. But this particular sentence caused me to raise my left eyebrow and mutter "Fascinating...":

Dolezal served as the president of the Spokane, Wash., chapter of the NAACP from 2014 to 2015. She resigned after her parents revealed that she was a white woman who was pretending to be black.

Emphasis mine. I think what we have here is a cultural marker. You don't often see them. To illlustrate the boundaries now in place, compare these two sentences:

1. Racheel Dolezal is a white women pretending to be black.
2. Bruce Jenner is a man pretending to be a woman.

Both of these are sentences that a conservative (i.e. a normal person) could have written. Both are simple, declarative statements. Both are the truth. But according to the current cultural rulebook as dictated by progressives, (1) is permitted to be spoken aloud, even by the exquisitely liberal L.A. Times. (2) however, is not permitted to be spoken aloud by anyone, and heavy penalties accrue to those who would dare to do so. I can see no logical reason why these sentences should be treated differently. If we are forced to close our eyes against all biology and all science and pretend along with Mr. Jenner, then Miss Dolezal should be granted the same courtesy and assigned all the rights and privileges that pertain to her assumed identity as a black woman. It is not logically consistent that the L.A. Times newspaper should have a problem with this. If I sat down with the editors and asked them to explain the difference, they would probably be unable to do so.

So, in the progressive hierarchy of victimization, race trumps gender. Not sure why, but there it is. Some victim groups are more equal than others, I guess

Anyway, I can't wait for Dolezal's book to come out. I'm sure it will be a big hit with African Americans everywhere.

And speaking of books written by *actual* African Americans, a black journalist wrote a book that caused him to be disinvited to a speaking gig at Va. Tech, as ace discussed at length earlier this week. The only reason progressives aren't forming up into lynch mobs over this is because the journalist is conservative and because the book that so disturbed the school administrators, Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed, attacks some cherished liberal ideas. In his book, Riley

...examines how well-intentioned welfare programs are in fact holding black Americans back. Minimum-wage laws may lift earnings for people who are already employed, but they price a disproportionate number of blacks out of the labor force. Affirmative action in higher education is intended to address past discrimination, but the result is fewer black college graduates than would otherwise exist. And so it goes with everything from soft-on-crime laws, which make black neighborhoods more dangerous, to policies that limit school choice out of a mistaken belief that charter schools and voucher programs harm the traditional public schools that most low-income students attend.

My only quibble with this book is that the title Please Stop Helping Us... assumes facts not in evidence, i.e. that the intent of progressive social programs is to *help* blacks. As opposed to, say, turning African Americans into dependent, compliant voters who will help keep progressives in power (see also: immigration reform).


Correcting History

OK, pop quiz, what is the source of these quotes?

“The Negro should be accepted and not grudgingly but wholeheartedly,”

“The Negro has the right to compete in sports and who’s to say they have not?”

“No white man has the right to be less of a gentleman than a colored man. In my book, that goes not just for baseball but for all walks of life.”

a. MLK, Jr.
b. Jackie Robinson
c. Barack Obama
d. Trigglypuff
e. Ty Cobb.

The answer is, of course, e. Ty Cobb.

But hold on a minute, you say. Wasn't Cobb an evil racist? Wasn't he the most evil racist in baseball, and also in the entire United States? Doesn't everybody know this? The man was such an evil racist, he would kill black babies, cut them up into little pieces, and then sell the-- oh wait, I'm sorry, that wasn't Ty Cobb, that was *Planned Parenthood* who cut up and sold black babies. Sorry, my mistake. Anyway, as it turns out, everything you know about Ty Cobb is WRONG.

We all know that Ty Cobb was an evil racist bastard, right? We've seen that Tommy Lee Jones movie about him. He was even discussed in one of those prestigious Ken Burns documentaries on PBS. So yes, it's true: This man has no... Ty Cobb was worse than Hitler.

Except he wasn't. The case for the rehabilitation of Ty Cobb is set forth in the book Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty by Charles Leerhsen, who actually did original research, read the old newspaper accounts and interviewed as many of the relevant people as he could find.

Obviously, Cobb wasn't a saint:

He got in a lot of fights, on and off the field, and was often accused of being overly aggressive. In his day, even his supporters acknowledged that he was a fierce and fiery competitor. Because his philosophy was to “create a mental hazard for the other man,” he had his enemies, but he was also widely admired.

And that time he rushed into the stands to pound on a loudmouthed fan who had been riding him the whole game who turned out to be handicapped? That one actually happened. And then:

After his death in 1961, however, something strange happened: his reputation morphed into that of a monster—a virulent racist who also hated children and women, and was in turn hated by his peers.

There's a good piece in the March edition of Hillsdale College's Imprimis journal, where Leehrsen describes starting out with the assumption that the Cobb-is-an-evil-racist-bastard stories were basically correct, but then had his mind changed early on when he started looking at the actual evidence.

Leerhsen traces the accusations against Cobb back to one particular sportswriter who basically made stuff up about him to boost sales of the biography he had written.

So now that we know all this, what do we do?

[I]t remains to be seen how these revelations are absorbed in a culture otherwise eager to make shows of contrition for past misdeeds—at least when the targets of such compassion are politically safe. Philadelphia has formally apologized to Jackie Robinson for its racist treatment of the player when he appeared in that city. One wonders what comparable gesture could be offered to Cobb’s descendants for the calumnies that have tarred him in American memory. Perhaps Ken Burns has some ideas.

There's actually a good point behind that last bit of snark. Ken Burns added on to his original "everything is about race" baseball documentary with The Tenth Inning, which I admittedly skipped because I didn't want to be subjected to yet another pious lecture by a liberal on the evils of racism. But it seems to me that the rehabilitation of Ty Cobb would be a fantastic opportunity for Burns to correct the public record, since he was one of the ones responsible for creating the public record.

If you're interested in vintage baseball, you might want to check out The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It by Lawrence Ritter:

Shortly after the death of legendary baseball player Ty Cobb in 1961, Ritter, armed with a portable tape recorder, attempted to obtain an oral history of early-20th-century baseball from Cobb's contemporaries. The edited transcription of the interviews he obtained became a best seller and went to several editions.

For this book, Ritter was able to interview Fred Snodgrass, Sam Crawford, Hans Lobert, Rube Bressler, Chief Meyers, Davy Jones, Rube Marquard, Joe Wood, Lefty O'Doul, Jimmy Austin, Goose Goslin, and Bill Wambsganss. This book is a classic.

And I think Leehrsen's book will become *the* definitive biography of Ty Cobb. Eventually.


Cross The Streams, Earn A Little $

I would guess that when most of you morons hear the phrase "sci fi romance", you immediately think "tentacle pr0n". But there is actually a publication called "Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly" that I had never heard of until Anna Puma e-mailed me about it earlier this week. I have discerned with my vast powers of observation that it is a quarterly publication specializing in science-fiction themed stories of love and romance.

And what, exactly, is a "sci fi" romance? According to their submission guidlines:

“In a nutshell, it’s a romance that takes place in a technological setting and has an upbeat ending. Some stories have more science fictional elements and some have less, but generally the stories focus on the intersection of technology and romance.”

Intersectionality! There's NOTHING it can't do.

They're accepting submissions for issue #11. The deadline is May 15th. Yeah, I know this is short notice, but it's all Anna's fault.

The pay rate is 2.5 cents per word, up to 7,500 words. That means a maximum payment of $187.50. It's not a fortune, but it's enough to keep you in ValuRite and mesquite smoked hobo jerky for a long weekend.

All of their other requirements are listen on their submissions guidelines page.


Moron Recommendations

Years ago, I happened to catch an episode of On The Air, a short-lived TV series by David Lynch. I knew Lynch, of course, from Twin Peaks, so I was curious to see what else he was capable of. My first impression of OtA was that it was bad. Bad, bad, bad. But then I thought, wait, this is David Lynch, a reasonably competent writer and director. How can it be this bad? Maybe he's doing it on purpose. Maybe he's *intentionally* making OtA look bad as some kind of ironical artistic statement, or maybe because OtA was about a bad TV show, and Lynch was showing us how bad it was. I thought that someone else could maybe look at OtA and say, "ha ha, very clever, I get it", even though I obviously didn't. So was OtA intentionally bad, or just-plain-bad bad? I didn't hang around long enough to answer that question, as OtA was simply too unpleasant to watch.

I suspect I would have the same problem with The Illuminatus! Trilogy: The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, Leviathan by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, so I'm going to take a pass. But, as the poet says, YMMV. From the Amazon reviews, people seem to either really, really like it, or really, really hate it.

Illuminatus came to my attention as it was recommended by one of us morons:

Reading a piece of sci-fi/conspiracy theory fiction from the 70s called The Illuminatus Trilogy. Pretty damn good book. All about a shadow war between the collectivist Illuminati and their hardcore libertarian opponents (if only, right?), the Legion of Discordia. You know what they say about fiction being a superior vehicle for truth than nonfiction? Two points the authors make resonated with me:

- Identity politics can only divide
- The truth will make you laugh

Posted by: Ghost of kari - certified sidebar at May 03, 2016 09:42 AM (xuouz)

Here is a typical review from someone who hated it:

Possibly the most annoying book that I have ever plowed through...a disjointed, turgid, hack written, drug induced hodgepodge of every stupid countercultural idea expressed in the past thirty years... with the most rabid examples of establishment paranoia thrown in for leavening. Besides, the "Question Authority/Free Sex" message has worn a bit thin by now. Why question authority? Is it to find a better way, to restrain its abuse, to protect our rights? Or is it simply to be a contrarian pest? And free sex brought us first herpes, and then AIDS. Nice going guys, any more bright ideas with which to usher in the millenium? This book reads like the worst excerpts from every freshman dorm late night bull session over the past three decades. It's a bible for the fuzzy thinkers, a blueprint for the fatuous, a justification for those who cannot distinguish between fogginess and brilliance.

Emphasis mine. That was my whole problem with Lynch.

I suspect that Illuminatus is one of those highly subjective, fun-house mirror type books where what you get out of it depends on what you put into it, which in most cases is going to be a distorted reflection of yourself. Robert Anton Wilson is also responsible for The Book of the SubGenius : The Sacred Teachings of J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs, which, as far as I can tell, is just one big "in" joke dipped in nihilism and deep-fried in smug. Years ago, I used to know a Robert Anton Wilson fanboi and believe me, that whole "subgenius" schtick got old real quick.


___________

Longtime moronette Rushbabe highly recommends The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss by Dr. Jason Fung, which she says helped her tremendously with weight loss and diabetes risk. She says:

If peeps are too cheap to buy the book, he also has a six-part YouTube series that deals with weight loss. Most say it tells you everything in the book. The secret is combining low carb/high fat with IF (intermittent fasting). Taking Apple Cider Vinegar before a high-carb meal (if you MUST have one) is also recommended.

If you search for "Jason Fung" on YouTube, you'll get a lot of hits; he's got a lot of material. The six-part series mentioned by Rushbabe is called The Aetiology of Obesity and if you click on that link, which is Part 1, you will easily find Parts 2-6. The lectures are quite lengthy, and there are almost 7 hours total.

I may buy this book. I've been fasting two days per week for awhile (and by fasting, I mean restricting my caloric intake to < 600 calories per day), and while I can't say I've lost any weight, I haven't gained any, either, which is a net plus since I tend to be more sedentary than anything else. Also, I actually like having a day wherein I don't have to worry about eating, about what to eat, or when the next meal is. It's also a good opportunity to remind myself Jesus' words that "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."


Books By Morons

I've been skimming through this thread on the AoSHQ Moron Horde Goodreads group, and have been discovering lurking moron authors whom I never knew existed. Like moron T. S. O'Neil, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, who served as a Rifleman with the Marine Corps Reserve, an Officer in the Military Police Corps of the United States Army, and retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2012. He has written three books, the first is Tampa Star, which is book 1 of the Blackfox Chronicles. The main character is Char Blackfox, a Seminole Indian and former Green Beret. One 5-star Amazon review says that the novel

combines elements of Fifties detective noir with modern-day high-tech suspense...The story is appropriately divided into two parts: post-Vietnam 1974 and current-day 2004 set in a South Florida backdrop. The robbery of an off-shore gambling boat coincides with the arrival of Hurricane Gamila on Halloween 1974. It causes a shipwreck after which a million dollars of gold coins goes missing. Thirty years later, the survivors and those knowing of the incident make plans to recover the stolen loot. It sets off a series of abductions, double-crosses and murders that will leave the reader guessing to the final conclusion of this page-turner.

O'Neil has written two sequels, Starfish Prime and Mudd's Luck. Also, he's working on the fourth in the series.


___________

Moronette 'votermom' is putting together a list of moron authors over on the Goodreads site which is intended to be acessible to non-members. Here is the list she has compiled so far. Let her know if there's an author she's missing.

http://www.bookhorde.org/p/aoshq-authors.html

___________

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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