Matt Taibbi pulls together a narrative that manages to always skirt along the edge of depressing. Thoroughly engaging, The Divide explores a flaw in o...moreMatt Taibbi pulls together a narrative that manages to always skirt along the edge of depressing. Thoroughly engaging, The Divide explores a flaw in our system that has the capacity to decay the rule of law and lose us any sense of justice. This book will make your blood boil.
The divide of which he speaks is that between how the poor and the rich get treated by our justice system.
For example the divide between an individual charged with welfare fraud (even in cases of clerical errors) and those charged with corporate fraud. One of which has their life destroyed and will likely see jail time, while the other pays a fine that is a small percentage of their overall profit. Ironically the harms incurred by both are as disparate as the punishment. The magnitude of less than $1,000 lost to state/local government vs billions lost to nearly everyone (including state and local pensions).
This divide is not only a threat to our justice system, but also a threat to our banking/financial/insurance systems and our own personal security. Wall-street firms have incentives to lie and cheat which weakens the American financial system and can lead to crisis (hello 2008). As the nets get cast wider and wider for criminals to fill prisons and local coffers, more and more of us will be identified as targets.
We have grown a divide in our thinking that has permeated our government; cultivated a mentality that poverty itself is a crime and the wealthy are above reproach. It will only get worse so long as money equals speech in our politics and American citizens don't raise their voices above the din.
Read this book. Get angry. Get engaged in making a change. (less)
This dark tale, seeped in magical realism, has the feel of a great dystopian young adult novel. What strikes me as unique, however, is that the whole...moreThis dark tale, seeped in magical realism, has the feel of a great dystopian young adult novel. What strikes me as unique, however, is that the whole society that this story is set in is not a dystopian one. Most people within the society go about their lives with little awareness about the fate their governments draconian policies are inflicting upon the minority population. In creating a dystopia in and among every day life, Sabrina Vourvoulias has created an engaging love story/ war epic that deeply explores the concept of privilege.
The immigrant population in this society (which seems otherwise indistinguishable from modern U.S.)are "inked" or tattooed with identifying bar codes that track their immigration status. We enter the story at a point in which the policy had already taken hold and it's consequences began to spin out. Those marked became even easier to discriminate against. Fear, hatred, racism; the focal point for all became anyone who was "other-ed" in this way. Volunteer border patrol agents would take the law into their own hands... law enforcement agents would see color as a mark of criminal intent... ultimately marginalization wouldn't satisfy and things got increasingly worse. The consequences are laid out in manner similar to what we have witnessed throughout history.
Though dark and realistic, the story is threaded through with hope, passion, love and magic. Vourvoulias incorporated some of the more mystical aspects of Latin American culture into the lives of her characters. Magic was used as a natural tool of survival and a deep well of emotional strength.
Her characters loved deeply and in realistically flawed ways. Not every love story had its "happily ever after," making each more precious for the time it had in this world.
I read Ink obsessively and was sad to have to leave the world and vibrant characters Vourvoulias had developed.(less)
As with most of Gladwell's books, this was interesting and thought provoking but lacked substance. I feel like his books are exercises in mind expansi...moreAs with most of Gladwell's books, this was interesting and thought provoking but lacked substance. I feel like his books are exercises in mind expansion rather than statistical analysis or reflections of universal truths. That isn't by any means a bad thing. (less)