The closer you look, the more is revealed in Ware's honest and realistic depiction of growing up (or do we?, can we?) in "everyday" America. P.S. ThisThe closer you look, the more is revealed in Ware's honest and realistic depiction of growing up (or do we?, can we?) in "everyday" America. P.S. This book is commonly referred to as "Rusty Brown."...more
Some of the essays written for this book are *excellent.* Others are weaker, but none are not worth reading. The line that divides the excellent essaySome of the essays written for this book are *excellent.* Others are weaker, but none are not worth reading. The line that divides the excellent essays from the others often has to do with the salience and staying power of the topic (the first publication was approx. 1993, and so a few pieces will seem old hat). The tone of the book ranges, but for the most part it moves between personal reflections, academic writing (citations included), and activism.
If you think you don't have to read this book because you've seen/read The Vagina Monologues, give it another thought. If I had to summarize the difference: The Vagina Monologues are great for raising awareness and eliciting emotion, but Transforming a Rape Culture does all that AND substantially digs into the psychological, historical, and philosophical roots of sexual violence; moreover it presents alternative social/interpersonal schemas. The personal reflections are not written by your average joe/josie selected off the street (as in the Vagina Monologues); they are profound, insightful and interspersed with cultural examination, written by those who deal with these issues in some aspect of their professional lives. In other words, they're more like guides or maps than personal reflections.
Another thing I like about this book is that you can read it in bits at a time. The writing is meaningful, direct and transformative, so it's best to absorb it in bits. You can read an essay a day, like a meditation, without having to devote long periods of time to it. I dog-eared a number of pieces to revisit after finishing the whole book, which turned out to be a good idea.
A final note: some of the best essays in this book were written by men.
My favorite essays ( *** ~ capital-F Favorites):
***Religion and Violence: The Persistence of Ambivalence (Joan H. Timmerman) Outside In: A Man in the Movement (Richard S. Orton) ***The Lie of Entitlement (Terrence Crowley) ***Seduced By Violence No More (bell hooks) Radical Heterosexuality (Naomi Wolf) ******In Praise of Insubordination (Inés Hernandez-Avila) A Woman With a Sword (D.A. Clarke) ***Up From Brutality (W. J. Musa Moore-Foster) Whose Body Is It, Anyway? (Pamela R. Fletcher)...more
I loved this book. My only criticism is that it has a political bias (but so does much of hip hop culture, so in some ways, it's appropriate).
Things II loved this book. My only criticism is that it has a political bias (but so does much of hip hop culture, so in some ways, it's appropriate).
Things I praise in this book: -The volume, depth and scope of the author's research -The mix of many angles from which he writes history, going from biography/storytelling to economic/political history to cultural history to material culture to musical analysis - Chang demands your sustained attention by presenting a unique challenge to merely keep up with him (in keeping with hip hop, to be sure, and with the book's title). There's never a dull moment. -The yin/yang feeling of this book - for example, on the subject of drug use in the Bronx ghetto, Chang plays the roles of apologist and detractor alike. (Maybe some people would find this annoying, but I liked it. I thought it added psychological depth.) -Chang's clear love for hip hop culture and its "four legs": music (beats), dance (breakdance), art (grafitti), and narrative (lyricism).
On second thought, I have another criticism. I wish the book had included a glossary of hip hop terminology. It made the first half of the book "challenging" in parts - in a bad way. Bumpin' it down a star...... ...more
Favorites are Bernice Bobs Her Hair, The Ice Palace, The Diamond as Big as the Ritz, The Captured Shadow, At Your Age, and Babylon Revisited. Not oneFavorites are Bernice Bobs Her Hair, The Ice Palace, The Diamond as Big as the Ritz, The Captured Shadow, At Your Age, and Babylon Revisited. Not one of my very favorite books, but I would recommend it to anyone. ...more