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January 15, 2017

Sunday Morning Book Thread 01-15-2017: Fallen Idols

Library of Skookumchuk_525.jpgLibrary of Skookumchuk

Good morning to all you 'rons, 'ettes, lurkers, and lurkettes. Welcome once again to the stately, prestigious, internationally acclaimed and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread, where men are men, all the 'ettes are hotties, safe spaces are underneath your house and are used as protection against actual dangers, like natural disasters, Russian hackers, Michael Moore at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, and somebody sneaking carrots into your chili. Also special snowflakes do not get respect, but instead, belly laughs. And unlike other AoSHQ comment threads, the Sunday Morning Book Thread is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Even if it's these pants, which should be sent back to the 1970s with extreme prejudice.

"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library"
--Jorge Luis Borges

Where's The Beef?

I have a couple of recommendations from Mary Clogginstein and all the gals down at the Brattleboro, VT, Womyn's Reproductive Health Care Clinic and Chop Shop who have been in deep mourning since November 8th as Obama is being rudely shoved out the door by that ruffian Trump.

The Meaning of Michelle: 16 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires Our Own, edited by Veronica Chambers, is a collection of 16 essays from various writers. From the blurb, it sounds like a thick, syrupy goo of hagiography and gloppy praise seldom encountered outside of third-world dictatorships:

Michelle Obama is unlike any other First Lady in American History. From her first moments on the public stage, she has challenged traditional American notions about what it means to be beautiful, to be strong, to be fashion-conscious, to be healthy, to be First Mom, to be a caretaker and hostess, and to be partner to the most powerful man in the world. What is remarkable is that, at 52, she is just getting started.

Wait, so Michelle Obama has "challenged traditional American notions about what it means to be beautiful?" That's kind of an odd thing to say. Isn't that a tacit admission that she isn't beautiful, but some people desperately need to believe that she is? And furthermore, I'd damn well better agree, or be labeled a racist? It's got a creepy, sort of North Korean personality cult vibe to it.

And we see this same sort of constipated compliment in Mrs. Chambers' introductory essay, where she writes:

But we've never had anyone like Michelle before. She wasn't a model, an actress, or a musician. She was quite simply the star of her own life -- and that was a game changer for Black women...

In other words, she hasn't really done anything particularly noteworthy in her life up to this point, except maybe marry the right guy. Any actual accomplishments would have been mentioned, and the adulation would have been fulsome. There is no real reason for any of this nauseatingly gushing praise. As a great American philosopher once asked, where's the beef?

Incidentally, marrying well seems to be Hillary's main accomplishment in life, too. Without Bill escorting her to the big dance, Hillary would probably still be shredding billing records and shaking down local businesses at some corrupt law firm somewhere. That both she and Michelle Obama are held up as feminist icons has always made me laugh.

Now, if you're Mary Clogginstein's husband, or maybe the gals down at the clinic/chop shop don't have actual husbands, but if you are, and if perhaps that thick treacly goo isn't for you, and you're yearning for something with more meat on it that you can put in your fanny pack, then you might try We Are the Change We Seek: The Speeches of Barack Obama, compiled by Washington Post op-ed columnist and long-time voice of the establishment liberal-left of both parties, E.J. Dionne Jr.

We Are the Change We Seek is a collection of Barack Obama's (snore) 26 greatest addresses: beginning with his 2002 speech opposing the Iraq War (Zzzzzz) and closing with his final speech before the United Nations in September 2016. (ssssshh!) As president, Obama's words had the power to move the country (huh?), and often the world (snort), as few presidents before him. Whether acting as Commander in Chief or Consoler in Chief (or Agitator in Chief), Obama adopted a unique rhetorical style (um, ah, er, er) that could simultaneously speak to the national mood and change the course of public events


I've heard that somewhere, I think maybe at a commie bookstore in Berkeley, you can buy a book collection of the speeches of Albanian commie thug Enver Hoxha. But why? Who would buy such a book? Who cares?

I imagine Dionne's compilation is pretty much like that.

If not that, then here's a list that will set your man bun all aquiver: 11 Books to Help Us Make It Through a Trump Presidency. I'm not going to go through what's on this list, that scarcely matters. The point is, the books on this list are comfort food for the progressive left. They're tailor-made for Mary C. sitting on her living room couch in her jammies with a pint of fudge ripple (fair trade) ice cream and Oreo cookies, trying not to think about the orange scalp weasel.

Lastly, I just don't get the gross idolatry that is painfully in evidence here. It's so over the top that it's as if any criticism, however small or trivial, is just not allowed, otherwise their whole world will simply collapse.

You can see this idolatry for yourself, documented in A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media by Bernard Goldberg, the ex-CBS News reporter who demonstrates how

...the media crossed an important line in the 2008 presidential race, moving from their usual unthinking liberal bias to crass partisanship of the crudest kind, practically acting as spin doctors for the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. In A Slobbering Love Affair, his most provocative book yet, Goldberg demonstrates how the media launched an unparalleled effort to ensure the election of the man they regarded as The One. From the thrill Obama sent up Chris Matthews' leg to the outrageously slanted "news" reports of the New York Times, Goldberg shows in exacting detail how the media, abandoning even the pretense of objectivity, moved from media bias to media activism.

Do we do this on our side of the aisle? I'd prefer to think not, but maybe I'm just tuning it out (confirmation bias and all that). I like to think that am very much aware of Trump's failures and his actions that makes him look like a egotistical buffoon. But I voted for the guy and I'd like to think I know what I'm getting. On the one hand, he sometimes acts like a buffoon. But on the other, I like his cabinet picks and I want to shout for joy at how he regularly pimp-slaps the media like a 3-dollar hooker. I have never seen any Republican beat the media again and again like Trump does, not since Reagan. I like how one of our 'ettes put it in an earlier thread:

I voted for Trump, I'm delighted he won, I expect him to do great things, and I worry about his safety - but I'm not going to worship him like the Obamabots do Barry. He's a man with plenty of flaws, not a god. Let the left idolize their politicians.

Posted by: Donna and V. (sans ampersands at the present time) at January 12, 2017 11:30 AM (ZM2xo)

One of the roots of a conservative worldview is the Biblical concept that men are sinful and fallible. It's probably the main reason why we hold that government ought to be limited, with powers specifically defined and all others proscribed. But it also helps us see our leaders for who they are, human beings prone to hubris, greed, and other sins, and not golden god-emperors above error and criticism. This is why I believe we are less susceptible to this idolatry than progressives, who really don't have much of a countervailing force against it. Yes, I know there are progressives who are Christians, but most of them seem to be weak on the whole sin business, instead redefining it as racism, sexism, homophobia, and whatever else is not in accord with the progressive issue(s) du jour.

So, as I've said, I've never seen this sort of worship coming from our side, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. All I can say is, if I ever saw a piece about Trump (or Bush, or Reagan) that matches the slobbering adoration the left gives to its leaders and heroes, I'd probably puke.


Politics is downstream from Culture
--Andrew Breitbart

While I applaud the election of Donald Trump and while I find the conniption fits and the own-foot-shootings put on by the progressive left to be greatly entertaining, I need to remember that electing a few guys to national office is not a long-term solution. Trump has a maximum of 8 years in office, but the progressives who control academia, education, entertainment and most of the media are not so constitutionally limited. So, the fight must be engaged on those fronts as well.

I thought about that last week as I was reading the comments in one of the mid-morning art threads where Muldoon mentioned that the book The Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages Art has a section on that morning's painting. Muldoon added: "He gives a deeper interpretation of all that's going on in the painting, and critiques a lefty art critic's interpretations."

This is the sort of pushback we need. That is, the progressives like to shoehorn everything into their own pet narratives. No, everything doesn't need to be about brown people being oppressed, or some sexual subtext that has somehow escaped everyone's notice for 500 years. Stuff like this:

..that Peter Paul Rubens' great painting Drunken Silenus [which was CBD's chosen painting the day this book was mentioned. --OM] is an allegory about anal rape. Or that Courbet's famous hunting pictures are psychodramas about "castration anxiety."...Or that Winslow Homer's The Gulf Stream is "a visual encoding of racism." In "The Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages Art," Kimball...describes how eight famous works of art...have been made over to fit a radical ideological fantasy. Kimball then performs a series of intellectual rescue operations, explaining how these great works should be understood through a series of illuminating readings in which art, not politics, guides the discussion.

I like the phrase "intellectual rescue operations", which is an excellent description of the work we have to do. It's a long-term task, and most of it is yet to be done. The left's "long march" through the institutions of our culture took decades. Therefore, I believe it will take at least that long to get them back.

Also, I think CBD needs this book so he can pontificate all erudite-like on the art threads.

Beta Readers Wanted

Moron author Daniel Humphreys needs beta readers for his new novel. In his e-mail, he says:

It's paranormal / urban fantasy, with the title of "Fade". I like to describe it as Harry Potter meets The Equalizer. It should be a fairly quick read and I have a number of sequels plotted out.

He's already written the back cover blurb:

"Family drama is bad enough without adding magic and human sacrifice. Ten years ago, Paxton Locke's mother killed his father in a mysterious ritual that - thankfully - went incomplete. Now, Paxton makes his living as a roving paranormal investigator, banishing spirits while Mother languishes in jail.

When a terrified ghost warms him of a dangerous, newly-freed entity, Paxton faces a fight far beyond simple exorcism. In a battle for his very soul, will he be able to endure - or just fade away?"

If this sounds like a novel you'd like to be a beta reader for, Mr. Humphreys (who is also the author of A Place Outside the Wild) can be contacted at dhumphreys5252 a-in-a-circle gee mail dot com.

Moron Recommendations

On ace's book recommendation thread back in June, a moron recommended the collection The Draco Tavern by Larry Niven:

When a tremendous spacecraft took orbit around the Earth's moon and began sending smaller landers down toward the North Pole, the newly arrived visitors quickly set up a permanent spaceport at Mount Forel in Siberia. Their presence attracted many, and a few people grew conspicuously rich from secrets they learned from talking to the aliens. One of these men, Rick Schumann established a tavern catering to all of various species of visiting aliens, a place he named the Draco Tavern.

There are 26 short stories in this book that all revolve around this tavern. Don't know if it resolves the question whether Han shot first.


Another moron, znycpeasant, recommended Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy, which has been mentioned earlier on this blog before, but not, iirc, on the book thread. Moron calls it

...Historical fiction set in 1840s Texas/Mexican American War. Seems very well researched, at least so far as I can compare with my limited knowledge of the period, mostly from Noah Smithwicks Evolution of a State (fantastic) and my other assorted mid 19th century Americana (e.g. Twain, HB Stowe etc).

But mostly beautifully written, and writing about imperfect people having to do everything just to survive in a world that not only doesn't give a damn, but is mostly, actively trying to kill you.


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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