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review 2017-07-04 19:46
A rallying cry towards unity, care, and humanism.
No Is Not Enough - Naomi Klein

Thanks to NetGalley and to the publisher, Penguin Books UK-Allen Lane, for providing me with an ARC e-copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

I have a long list of books to read and I am trying to organise it somehow, mostly in order of acquisition, but this book arrived just as I had finished reading another book and it stuck in my mind. It is a very current and momentous book, so it was for the best that I read it promptly.

I am familiar with the name of Naomi Klein and I have seen many of her books and read about her and her ideas, but this is the first book I have read by her (I have read some short articles but although I kept seeing books by her that sounded interesting, it was usually when I was doing research on an unrelated topic or at a time when I could not read them and this time I grabbed the opportunity).

The book builds on much of her previous work, particularly on the issue of brands and how they have come to dominate our lives (the subject of No Logo) and also how politics and politicians exploit any disasters and shocks to impose ever harsher neo-liberal economic policies (that she discusses in The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism) and applies it to the current situation, particularly to Trump’s election and his policies since.

I started highlighting text through the book, to the point that sometimes I would be doing something and listening to the text to speech version and would have to stop to highlight something. This happened very often and I realised Klein was saying many of the things I had been thinking and some that I had not thought of but I recognised and agreed with as I read them. Her reflections about Trump as a brand and his presidency as the latest feather to add to this brand made sense (I learned new things about him and was reminded of others that had long forgotten but helped to build up a clear picture). It was curious that she referred to his time in the Apprentice and his appearances in WWE (televised professional wrestling) as (in a certain way) training for what was to come. She noted that some of his behaviours during the campaign were very similar to those of the fighters in WWE. And lo and behold, a few hours after I had read that part of the book, Trump tweeted the doctored video of one of his appearances in the WWE putting the CNN logo instead of the head of Vince McMahon, whom he was pretending to punch. And if I had already thought that was a very convincing comparison when I read it, even more so now.

The book is well-written, easy to read (well, or not, depending on what your point of view and your political leanings are), and develops the thesis that although many are shocked by Trump’s rise to power (and Brexit), it was not a total surprise, and there are people, organisations, and even whole countries who have resisted the move towards materialism and brands where only things, money, and profits matter, and where fingers are pointed at sectors of the population (immigrants, asylum seekers, ethnic minorities, women, environmentalists…)  who become the scapegoats for a situation they are the victims of. Klein looks at many of these groups and populations and how they have resisted the situation and taken a stand but she also notes that something else is required. Resisting and saying no is important, and it does not matter how big or small we are, we can all do it, but we need to find something to aim for, something that can unite us and something we can fight together for.

She discusses in detail the importance of trying to find common ground, rather than working for small goals, and states that the way the political centre has tried to introduce minor changes will not suffice. As an example of what could be done she focuses on the meeting that took place in Canada, bringing many groups together (unions, environmentalists, indigenous people, women’s groups, groups working towards racial equality…) and that produced the Leap Manifesto, because they think a leap is required to truly change things. We must leap towards hope and dare to embrace a revolutionary way of changing the world.

She notices the rise of dystopian fiction (and films) and the ever growing popularity of some classics (Orwell’s 1984) that she observes are a warning (not necessarily a prediction) and says we need more utopias; we need to be able to think of a better future. And she writes (and as she quotes a big favourite of mine, Oscar Wilde, I could not resist sharing it):

Because, as Oscar Wilde wrote in 1891, “a map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail.”

I read some of the comments on the book, and they are separated along ideological lines. I agree that perhaps she uses examples that might not be as simply black or white as she makes them sound, and I also agree (and thought the same as I read it), that perhaps the Leap Manifesto falls short of going as far as it should (as it offers and statement of good intentions but not much in the way of implementation) although it is an attempt at reaching an agreement and a compromise between very different groups, so it is not surprising that it is not all that radical. I must clarify that I read an ARC copy and therefore did not have access to what I have read are very extensive notes at the end of the final version of the book. Without the notes, it is not a very long book.

The book made me think of an essay we had to write, when I was studying American Literature at the University of Sussex, discussing what could have been done, or rather, what could be done in the present, to somehow repair the gap between whites and African Americans in the US that comes from the time of slavery and was discussed after the Civil War and the freeing of all slaves, a gap that has never been fully resolved (as we all know). At the time of the Reconstruction, the suggestion had been that each freed slave be given 40 acres of land (therefore redistributing the slave owners’ property) and a mule (if you’ve ever wondered why Spike Lee’s production company is called that and never checked, now you know) so they could build up a life for themselves. Of course, that did not happen (or only in few cases) but I remember that after talking to the professor I did write a somewhat utopic essay that he could not fault for its reach, although he could not see how any government would go down that route. (I’ve been looking for it but I think it must have been in one of the floppy disks that disintegrated, although I might have a paper copy. I’ll investigate).  It also made me think about how much emphasis on brands is made, even in the world of writing, and how a lot of the advice to sell anything (a physical product or anything else) is to create a brand and market yourself (rather than the product). As she notes, if you are swimming in the world of media, in whatever capacity, it is very difficult not to be swamped by the allure of branding and its fraught logic. This is something that I have been thinking more and more about recently, and something that I care for less and less. Yes, perhaps this book arrives at the right moment, at least for me, but hopefully for many others too.

As I said, I highlighted a lot of content, and of course, I cannot share it all. But I could not resist and had to share a few bits.

First, one that shows her wit (and that made me write: olé! as a comment)

The truth, which doesn’t sound nearly as glamorous, is that the Trump brand stands for wealth itself or, to put it more crassly, money. That’s why its aesthetics are Dynasty-meets-Louis XIV. It’s why Trump’s relationship to gold is the inverse of Superman’s relationship to kryptonite: Trump crumples when he is more than three feet away from something big and shiny.

This one I think will give you an idea of what the book is about, in her own words:

We have to question not only Trump but the stories that ineluctably produced him. It’s not enough to superficially challenge him as an individual, foul and alarmingly ignorant though he may be. We have to confront the deep-seated trends that rewarded him and exalted him until he became the most powerful person in the world.  The values that have been sold to us through reality TV, get-rich-quick books, billionaire saviors, philanthrocapitalists. The same values that have been playing out in destroyed safety nets, exploding prison numbers, normalized rape culture, democracy-destroying trade deals, rising seas and privatized disaster response, and in a world of Green Zones and Red Zones.

And I love the way she ends the book (do not worry, it is not a spoiler):

 My deepest thanks are for patient little Toma, who missed his mom over these last months, but feels strongly that, “Donald Trump is too rude to be president.

This book is not for everybody and if you really like Trump and what he stands for, or do not care about climate change and other issues such as the rights of women, equality, diversity, the rights of indigenous people… I’d advise you not to read it. If you don’t, I’d recommend you check a sample of the writing and see if it speaks to you. I now know why she is so well-known and respected. A compelling writer, whatever one’s political views.


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text 2017-06-02 06:07
Covfefe books
Pounded In The Butt By Covfefe - Chuck Tingle
Mein Covfefe - Courtney Driver,Courtney Driver,Courtney Driver
Donald Trump’s Best covfefe Moments: Quotes By Donald ‘Covfefe’ Trump - John Citizen
COVFEFE - PRINCE OF WORDS: A History Of The Most Important Lexical Advance Of Our Time - Breaking Burgh
Covfefe: A word by any other name... - Sage Smith
Covfefe!: Donald Trump's Craziest Tweets - Al Freedman
Covfefe: A "Coffee Table" Book - Anon
Various Things That Are NOT COVFEFE - D. D. C. Books

And already available wre:


Source: www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=Covfefe
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review 2017-05-13 04:30
A piece of trash, like its subject
Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success - Ivanka Trump

No word. Horrible book. Wasted trees. 


For more details. Read Moonlight Reader's post. 



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text 2017-05-12 19:47
Who spends their days white-knighting Ivanka Trump?
Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success - Ivanka Trump

I posted a "review" of this nonsense on GR (and I suppose that reposting it here is probably a good idea, since it is possible that GR could delete it as violating their reviews must be about the book not the author "rule").


This is really nothing more than my unedited ramblings that someone like Ivanka Trump had the temerity to publish a book called "Rewriting the Rules for Success."

Honey, you didn't "rewrite" anything. In order to need to rewrite the rules for success, that would imply that some sort of rules actually applied to you. Au contraire - you've never been subject to "rules" in your entire life. A better title for this book would be "Billionaire Daughters Who Benefit: Suspending, Evading and Transcending The Rules Via Nepotism, Entitlement and Privilege."

There can be nothing that this woman could possibly say that would be relevant to anyone other than herself, or possibly the other gilded daughters born of platinum vaginas into unimaginable privilege.

It's genuinely hard to be a woman who works. Hell, it's hard to be a person who works. Our society isn't great at supporting families. Ivanka Trump's despicable father and the rest of the Republican leadership is trying to make this worse. That makes the publication of this book an even greater affront to women who work. And women who don't work. And men. Human beings, actually.

Ivanka Trump is the diet coke member of the Trump family - she's sparkly, full of fake sugar and empty calories and is attractively packaged. Fundamentally, though, she is entirely substance free.


And now I have some useful idiot claiming that I've personally diminished the integrity of the site, and am not participating properly. Lol.




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review 2017-04-17 01:42
This is truly an important book to read
Trump and Me - Mark Singer

Much as Assholes: A Theory of Donald Trump felt important, so too does this book.   Assholes felt a little more gleefully malicious in its humor: the argument, for example, about whether he was an asshole or an assclown.   Don't get me wrong: the author nailed Trump, and did so backing up his argument with facts and clear definitions of the two words.   But again, as much as he protested that he wanted to bring people together, well, it felt too happy to viciously mock Trump to be that kind of book.   (It was, in fact, a book I would consider for anyone who doesn't like Trump.   If they do, this book will only make them this the author is a hater and that he had a grudge against Trump and all those ways that Trump gaslights people into living in his own alternate reality full of alternative facts.)


This book feels a little more even handed.   Yes, the author is wary of - and weary of - Trump, and a little bit of cynicism  seeps through.   Yes, he does make fun of Trump.   Yes, he's disgusted by Trump's attitude towards women and minorities.   However, what Mark Singer has done is spend time with Trump and then researched Trump, and then written a book about Trump.   He's seen it firsthand, read it and believed all these things to be true based on his own experiences with Trump.   Trump would argue, and have you believe, that Mark Singer is out to make him look bad.   Instead, it is Trump that makes himself look bad.   Mark Singer is a believer in truth, and yes, of skewering the rich and powerful who are full of themselves.   What I mean is: he'd be far less successful in his skewering of Trump had The Donald not given him so much rich material to work with.    I can't help but being reminded of the Saturday Night Live skit in which Alex Baldwin's Trump pouts that the media is making him look bad.   (He's in a debate with Kate McKinnon's Clinton.)   When the moderator asks him how they're doing this, he retorts that it's by taking the things he does and says and putting them on TV and in the newspapers.   Singer does just this: he simply reports what is.   His bias is clear, and he does poke at Trump throughout the book.   He doesn't seem to take the same glee that James does in adding to the walking dumpster fire that is Trump, however.  


And I don't want you to get me wrong: I did like Assholes: A Theory of Donald Trump very much.  I was feeling more vicious then myself, my pain at Trump's presidency too raw to do anything but snicker at James' clever barbs.   I wasn't in the mood this time, though, and so this book just hit the spot.   Much like Assholes, this book is small, and not just in page size.   It's more of a hardcover in a mass market size, which means it's not only slim, it's extremely short on word count.   (Possibly one of the things that keeps them from being malicious.   Assholes, as I remember, was slightly longer.)  I wanted facts.  I wanted to read something that I knew Trump disapproved of, because I have not only free speech, but the freedom to read what I want.   (With some exceptions in both case: as Trump is finding out, free speech doesn't mean the right to incite violence at, say, rallies.  In much the same way, the written word shouldn't incite violence or place people in danger.)   It was a balm, a reminder of how many people are out there, who put themselves in danger by speaking out against Trump.   (Singer recounts one woman reporter who calls him a thousandaire, and in response Trump sent back one of her columns, having scrawled Face of a Dog across her photograph.   Another estimated his worth  - and it did not please Trump that he felt lowballed by this guess.   He sued the author of that book.)


It was a quick read, well written, plainly spoken, and all the more starkly honest in the way that it exposed Trump's lies.   I wouldn't so much call it a pleasant read as one necessary for me: I was feeling a little depressed, and I wanted to read something of great import.   This fit that bill.   And it has motivated me to be more active, reading, instead of playing games and feeling crappy about not doing much today.  I did my makeup, cut my nails, and painted them.  (I have Mystique themed nail polish by my favorite person who does fandom and Jewish related polishes.   I love FedoraHarp so much, and after half of this book and her nail polish, I was feeling far, far more chipper!)


This is the good thing I did for myself today: I read this book.  I fought against Trump by becoming more knowledgeable about how works, and how he thinks, and I fought against him by not allowing him to gaslight me because I know now.   This was a must read - for me.   I would never suggest that anyone who is against Trump must read any books about him.   For me, knowledge is one of my main ways to fight against something sometimes, and in this case, it's one of the ways that I've chosen to fight his brand of fascism.   I needed to do something about it today and I did.   Yay me!  (Partly for all those reasons, partly for recognizing what I needed and giving myself what I needed to feel better about myself.  It's not something I'm normally good at.)


Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some Aquaman and the first in Danielewski's The Familiars series.  I think I'm gonna indulge me some in that.

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