I listened to the audio book. It is interesting. Christopher Hayes sounds as if he has sucked Obama's jizz and is enraptured by the former President Obama and places Obama on a God-like pedestal. With this out of the way let's dissect this book and its arguments.
Hayes argues that Meritocracy is Oligarchy as another writer or Politician or visionary has said. Hayes uses MLB, the Hunter College High School where he was schooled, Wall Street, and The Ivy Leagues and maybe a few others I am forgetting to show that Meritocracy is flawed and does more harm to society than not. I tend to agree with these arguments, especially given the college test prep industry that has sprung up as well as the test prep industry for the Hunter College High School Hayes describes. This can be summed up as "money talks and bullshit walks."
Hays talked about the Occupy Wall Street/99% movement and how are current Institution of Government is failing or has failed the people of The United States. I tend to agree with the latter part of this too.
Hayes also says that things like Pilots licences, doctors credentials/certificates should not follow a meritocratic distribution because there are some that already hold these that should not be pilots or practicing physicians and handing them out meritocratically would just be follly and put lives in danger. I agree with this too.
Hayes also quotes the belief that power is corrupting and absolute power corrupts absolutely and I agree with this too.
In the final chapter Hayes' solution to Meritocracy which leads to Oligarchy is redistribution of wealth by taxing the rich and having the government re-distribute that wealth to the poor and this will end the problem.
The problem I see with this is that the Ruling Political Class which controls the Government of the United States will spend any tax revenues they collect and money will not be re-distributed to the poor. We have seen this with Social Security and Medicaid and instead it will likely be spent on foreign wars, foreign aid, the CIA, and the Military Industrial Complex. Secondly, Robin Hood has already tried this and as long as the Meritocracy, Oligarch, and Plutocrats are in power I don't believe many or most of them are altruistic enough to do the right thing rather than pocket the money to make themselves richer and further rig the system in their favor.
A good book which was written and published in 2012 so it's a little dated though worth the listen or read.
So, for the last week I've been at the mercy of someone else's library. We've all been there: You're on vacation, staying with friends and you forgot your eReader, you didn't bring print because... You get it.
Anyway, spent a lot of time reading over the last week, and little of what I read would have been on my list. (It wasn't all bad though; any week where I read six Tor shorts and a Dick Francis is a success.) And I spent a bit of that time reading best-sellers, as you do, specifically books by James Patterson and Dan Brown.
And I almost enjoyed it.
Look, this is not my first go round with either of these authors (I was young, they were popular...) and I'm not trying to attack them or question the tastes of the public that has made these men millions of dollars. Instead, I'm going to try to explain it (to myself, more than anything, so you can skip this if you've an excuse from your mum).
Dan Brown makes relatively simple puzzle thrillers, often historic and/or artistic twists to them. They are flawed, sure, but Brown does a few things brilliantly: He uses patterns to help is readers solve the puzzles with his characters; he foreshadows his twists enough so they're comfortable, but doesn't spoil them; and he expertly uses controversy when it rears it's head.
I'm going to focus on the puzzles. What Brown does is give you a very difficult puzzle to start, then walk you through it, step by step. Then, later, he'll give you a simpler variation on the same puzzle, then a harder one, slowly escalating until you're solving problems at the same time and skill as Langdon himself. It's rewarding and addictive, and makes the reader feel good about his books. Hence, repeat sales.
James Patterson is another author who gets tons of sales and no respect (except from Larry King), but he also has a few awesome tricks up his sleeves: Short chapters and paragraphs, leading to a constant sense of accomplishment; constant cliffhangers and foreshadowing, to keep you reading; and a lot of twists, so you don't get bored. Ever.
That's the big one, because most people think of reading as either work or boring. If you can get around that, people will love you for it.
Cracked.com talked about this in their Ninja Turtles episode of After Hours, oddly enough. Lots of talk, something resembling empowerment, and just enough sexuality to make you feel happily naughty. (Don't worry, I didn't actually read this one, which is why I refuse to mock it... except for the sparkles. Fuck that shit.)
The success of this series has been debated all over the place, but it's not complicated: Everybody wants to get off; everybody likes feeling superior (speaking here of the grammar and spelling errors); and everybody wants to win the lottery (or have a rich, gorgeous person pop in out of the blue and say, "Fuck me right, and you'll be well-compensated," except, you know, suave).
Nothing wrong with that.
I haven't seen Twilight Zone, so that might be one of the reasons why I believed this comic to be so confusing, and frankly not very good.
I didn't like the story, and most of it was so weird, that about halfway through, I just lost interest. It was really not for me, but perhaps there are others who will get what I assume are references or inside jokes and will appreciate it a lot more than I did.
It just wasn't for me.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!