logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: social-critique
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-05-17 00:23
Incoming Rant
The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway

You know, I'd read in some posh literary review that Jake and Brett were two of Hemingway's most lovable characters, but I really can't see how that could be. I get he was painting an era, but I had the same difficulties I had with Fitzgerald's "Great Gatsby": I was bored by the characters misery (first world high class problems, people, that's what you have!); and I was enraged by the chaos and destruction they sowed all around themselves with their callow carelessness. Stupid egotistical brats.

And that's the other thing: they ARE reacting like brats. "Our parent's culture and ideology crumbled down and betrayed us! Let's rage and get drunk, and screw everyone around!" Except, you know, they are in their middle thirties. I don't say you have to have your shit together by that time or any other, God knows you never really do, and life has a marvelous way of sucker punch you when you think you have it balanced, but the over the top woe-is-me shit you are supposed to learn to manage after the hormones of puberty stabilize.

Every generation has challenges, and I reckon those that were born around the turn of the 20th century had a suck-fest of a raw deal, but what I saw inside this book was not just depression and insecurity over lost direction and of self, but a total lack of care for other people. I saw the phrase "moral bankruptcy" around, and I think that's and exact description, but it was treated as an excuse for how these particular characters act, because apparently it was a pervasive thing all around. News-flash: if everyone is a terrible person, and you act like everyone, you are still a terrible person.

 

So no, I have no love for these characters. Now, do I have any use for this book? *sigh* Thorny issue. If it was an accurate representation of the generation, I have to loose any surprise at seeing them fall right back into war; they all felt suicidal to me, and self-centered enough to blow up the world along with themselves.

 

So here's what I think: maybe it's useful, but I did not like it.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-05-03 13:23
Measuring humanity
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick,Robert Zelazny

I don't know whether to be hopeful or depressed. I think I'm a good deal of both, plus amazed, and horror stricken. There is a lot of the Sisyphean in this, which I guess is on purpose, given all the Mercer stuff (which on the last pages got trippy as fuck, of the religious hallucination variety).

 

And it makes a good job of running through many questions regarding empathy, psychological manipulation, human's social animal condition, loneliness, plus whatever I didn't get, inside few pages on an action packed day for a bounty-hunter.


Really intense little book.

 

Rachel hates him because he recognized her even while she couldn't recognize herself? (I'm unsure on this, she must have known to sleep with other bounty-hunters) Or maybe she hates him because it's another failure to fool a human, and can't understand where the failing lies.

She goes for the goat. But in the end, maybe his wife was more important. She actually cares and.. well, it felt hopeful to me. No pet, but why should you feel bereft if you can care for another person... which is a bit messed up and might be the reason Deckard is so messed up: HE doesn't care for HER.

Cyborgs are really terrifying because it's clear by the end that they are absolutely psychopathic. The spider makes you understand what the fact that they truly can't empathize really means. All the fripperies that have you in doubt make it even scarier. Of course, you have Irmgand so who knows?

(spoiler show)
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-30 18:24
Run! It's too late after you embark
Moby-Dick - Andrew Delbanco, Tom Quirk,Herman Melville

It's not often lately that I find a read that threatens to leave me clueless as to what I'm reading. I'm not talking content here (I'll get to that later), but sheer language. Between the heavy intertextuallity, the word usage and sentences structure, I found myself having no idea what the last paragraph or three meant, and have to backtrack, more than I liked. I though I was over that shit. Conceit corrected.

 

Next, the characters feel like ghosts. Even the narrator sometimes loses substance, becoming something airlike and almost omniscient. They are Ahab's crew. If you want to get all metaphysical, traits of humanity that are driven by one over-consuming. It goes just as well as you could expect.


Last, the story. The thing itself could be spun in a third of the length without loosing anything from the plot. But, and here is where the ambitious bastard trips you, most of the meaning, theme and depth is stored in the fat. All those hazed-eyes inducing chapters? They actually have a point. Damned all those lit analysis classes, much of an overarching understanding of the novel hinges on the Jonah's sermon and the whiteness chapters.

So, is it worth it? Hell if I know. I powered through the thing, even liked it to some extent, and I'm still unconvinced. There is a certain brilliance in what it attempts. To me, the whole idea (and what it feels like to read it) can be encompassed in one passage in ch16: Ishmael goes to Peleg to ask to go whaling for a "desire to see the world" and Peleg tells him to look across the bow of the docked ship. There is nothing but water, says Ishamel, and Peleg answers that's the world he'll see a whaling. You can read a summary of the book as you can see the sea from the shore.The wisdom of going whaling is seriously challenged after all.

 

But it's not the same.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-26 02:34
Some Family
The Godfather - Peter Bart,Robert Thompson,Mario Puzo

Do I even need to explain what this one is about? Epic spanning a whole Mafia family sprawled across a decade. Onto review:

 

Like I said in the first comment, the thing that pulls you in immediately is the perfect setting up of the magnetism, the why clans work. The comfort of belonging, the empowerment of feeling backed up by your people. And of course, the unsubstantiated but very present sense of menace when you skirt it's edges.

I don't know that those are very clear to someone born to privilege. I think it's possible for many to read this book and get horrified "in a straight manner", by the violence and the getting away with it. Personally, much of my horror while reading was the realization that I was doubtful about how far was too far.

To explain: law, while a laudable thing that one ought to strive to follow, is not the same as justice. It's supposed to strive to be, but then, it is forged by people with the power to forge it. Humans, supposed to be working for the good of the many, but always with personal views of what that is. And that's with the best possible setting. Government, law enforcement, all the political and economical structure, also follow the same path. Made by people for the people. Which people?.

So when you are part of the demographic that is not the controlling one, or live in a country with a government you distrust, the rounding-of-the-carts  family first, then friends, then we'll see thing seems the safe way to go. I started to have all this thoughts about how far I'd be willing to go, how much I'd flaut the law for my borther, or my best fried, or my child... Let me tell you, it is scary to realize while reading a book that your moral center is not a fixed thing. That's where the mind-screw tag gets deserved.

As for particulars, I have to toast the verisimilitude. No Sicilian's in my tree, but enough Italian blood to recognize many traits that resonated. The appearance of self-deprecating nature that is really pride, the cheerfulness that barely conceals the deep-well of potential violence, the strange to me (since I'm a couple generations removed) highly passionate, forever contentious marital relations, where the man rules, sometimes violently, often unfaithfully, but the woman might stick a knife in his groin. And they'd remain happily married for a couple more decades... yeah, actually, that comedy was my grandparents life. We can laugh about it with mom now, some days.

As for the vengefulness, that's an epic I have nothing in my life to make a parallel, because damn.

By the way, I started to read a bit about Sicily and wiki-walked to the Sicilian Opening stub. I'm so sure the man that named it was being facetious. I mean, really, a very agresive response that does not directly menace an opponent's piece?

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-05 14:01
Reconciled with Wells
The Time Machine - H.G. Wells

I was plesantly surprised. I did not enjoy War of the Worlds when I was a teen (I was bored to tears, actually), but I might have to revisit it given how much I liked this one.

 

It was bittersweet and evocative. Hamy in the social commentary too, but on those I still liked one passage:

 

And here I must admit that I learned very little of drains and bells and modes of conveyance, and the like conveniences, during my time in this real future. In some of these visions of Utopias and coming times which I have read, there is a vast amount of detail about building, and social arrangements, and so forth. But while such details are easy enough to obtain when the whole world is contained in one's imagination, they are altogether inaccessible to a real traveller amid such realities as I found here. Conceive the tale of London which a negro, fresh from Central Africa, would take back to his tribe!

 

 

I liked this idea of the unfathomability of far future. And out of it's gruesome context, and despite the MC rejection, this comment:

 

Man had been content to live in ease and delight upon the labours of his fellow-man, had taken Necessity as his watchword and excuse, and in the fullness of time Necessity had come home to him.>

 

There is a wealth of vengefulness there. A race's history measure of it. And pity, defeat, sadness.

 

For a short read, it got me thinking. A beautiful picture that gets pretty grim when you start digging. Talk about parallel between theme and content.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?