The Waste Land is interesting to read, but frankly most of the literary, cultural and biblical referenBarely understood what most of the poems meant.
The Waste Land is interesting to read, but frankly most of the literary, cultural and biblical references crammed into the poem flew over my head (it didn't help either that the notes at the back of the poem showing where all the references came from where all in their respective languages, meaning it was utterly useless for me to look at).
Its also VERY religious. For instance, the poem Ash Wednesday, having given the monologue of a crazed man repeating the words "I do not hope the to turn again" and constant vague decelerations of his sinfulness and unworthiness, ends with "Even among these rock,/Our Peace in His will/And even among these rocks/Sister, mother/And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea/Suffer me not to be separated/And let my cry come unto thee". In "Two Choruses from 'The Rock'", it ends with ends with "O Light Invisible, we give Thee thanks for Thy great/gloy!" Ugh. I really don't care to be lectured with this moralising pompous trash all the time....more
Great overview. Gregor has given a detailed overview on Hitler's deranged and constant stream of nonsense that he wrote in his two shit-piles of booksGreat overview. Gregor has given a detailed overview on Hitler's deranged and constant stream of nonsense that he wrote in his two shit-piles of books (if Mein Kampf wasn't bad enough, turns out there was a Second Book unpublished until 2006). Hitler's main preoccupations are (surprise, surprise) the Jews, of which he paradoxically can blame for both the destructive materialist tendencies of industrialised capitalism, which destroys the 'purity' of the good honest German, and also 'Judeo-Bolshevism', in which communism supposedly tries to steal the workers away from their blood-and-soil roots by deluding into believing in human equality and a unification of class overleaping racial and national lines (which of course is basically treason to Hitler). Why? 'Cus the Jews are always trying to good old White European Aryan culture and society, as he repeatedly refers to Jews as, amongst others, 'the plague of nations', 'a disease', 'tuberculosis', 'parasites', 'poison', a 'foreign virus' and a 'noxious bacillus'.
This of course leads into Hitler's belief in medical terminology being fit enough to describe countries and nations, with Germany being the 'body', the fight for racial 'struggle' as the equivalent of the body fighting anti-bodies, and obviously the Jews being the damaging viruses to the body.
The book also covers Hitler's obsession with lebesnuram, and the need for 'living space' for the burgeoning children of Germany (that mothers were encouraged to constantly have) and his views of the disabled (hint, hint, he isn't very keen on them either, for similar reasons as the Jews).
The best sections are Gregor taking to pieces Hitler's thinking and writing style. So for instance, an excerpt in which Hitler states this:
If a really vigorous people believes that it cannot conquer another with peaceful economic means, or if an economically weaker people does not wish to let itself be killed by an economically stronger one, as its ability to feed itself it slowly cut off, then in both cases the mist of peaceful economic phraseology will be suddenly torn apart and war, that is the continuation of politics by other means, steps into its place. (2B, 22-3)
Reading this hopelessly unstructured string of clauses on can picture Hitler standing, peering over the shoulders of his hapless scribe, forming sentences as ideas come into his head and inserting sub-clauses as the thoughts and associations randomly strike him. There is an unmistakeably 'stream of consciousness' quality to the writing, which does not appear to have undergone even the most basic editing, let alone anything like rigorous polishing. It also contains an almost impossibly clumsy mixed metaphor - what is the 'the mist of peaceful economic phraseology'? And how does one tear mist apart? (pg. 7)
Good stuff! And also very accurate.
The main point in reading Hitler would be too discover if Hitler's dribblings are proof of further intentions. Gregor states Mein Kampf in particular is also partly an attempt to wheedle his way in as the new leader for the German far-right. But as to whether what he did in power from 1933-1945 can be seen here in his little books, is doubtful at best. It would be stupid to suggest, as someone like Lucy Dawodowitz does, that Hitler could have planned everything that went on in the war as far back as the writings of Mein Kampf, I doubt anyone, unless they were a James Bond villain, could be assured enough that their masterplan would work out great for nearly 10 years without any sudden contextual changes in the world affecting their decisions whatsoever.
But it does not mean we should ignore it outright. Gregor logically concludes that if Hitler did define the world into medicinal terms, then this metaphor "translate(d)...back into the human world of politics...becomes chillingly clear" in what he meant when he said vague statements like "poison is countered only by an antidote" (MK 306)".
On the whole, as to the question of “should you read Hitler?” The answer is probably not. 600+ pages of the writings of a man, who these days would be probably some drunk ranting on a street corner on a cardboard box, about the “Jews” and the “communists” and all his wacky theories on race, history and how-the-world-works based on these, is not very desirable. Instead, this book is a much better substitute, being short and swift, but detailed enough to give you enough insight into Hitler’s thinking, while still, with Gregor’s commentary, anchoring you back into reality. ...more
Mostly very good. Krugman's claim at the front of the book that he intends to make it more readable to the wider non-economic savvy public doesn't reaMostly very good. Krugman's claim at the front of the book that he intends to make it more readable to the wider non-economic savvy public doesn't really hold up by the end sadly. There are many head-scratching paragraphs that I had to read multiple times to properly understand. Economics to me is like most sciences, I'm sorry, but no matter what people say, they are the sort of subjects that can never be fully accessible to the average Joe. The very nature of their subject requires jargon, near impenetrable concepts and a hefty dose of a good Maths background to properly appreciate.
Still, Krugman is better than most, and has some very funny turns of phrases here and there. His baby co-op metaphor at the beginning of the book for the way the housing market was treated by banks was particular inspired, and an excellent way to clarify the complex clusteruck of CDOs, sub-prime mortgages, derivatives and others that lead to the crash.
Overall, his analysis is one I agree with. Unregulated banking, along with their wanton stupidity and their ever increasing, never ending demand for more money (that all capitalists share alike) led to the collapse. Not, as the pernicious, worthless, dishonest little scum in the UK Conservative Party have managed to suggest, because of Labour's spending (A ludicrous claim. How does a spending deficit cause a banking collapse?)
Krugman provides a clear, insightful, hugely detailed outline of how things went wrong, and subsequently gives an informative plan for a global recovery. Sadly, the book, being published in 2009, now seems a disappointingly lost cry, as his plans for a worldwide economic recovery (V.Keynesian spending and growth increases) have not been pursued. In actuality, we have the perverse situation in which a neo-liberal free market capitalist failure is trying to be resuscitated with a neo-liberal, free-market capitalist solution. In continental Europe it's been an absolute disaster, with mass unemployment and huge political and economic unrest stemming as a result of it. In the UK it would seem to be on the surface doing much better (high employment, low inflation etc.) which is a shallow cover for a deeply flaky recovery, with jobs being self-employed, very low paid until very recently, on zero-hour contracts, and with no chance of it being a long-term secure recovery. It may well be shown to be made of sand when the winds of another economic judder (which under neo-liberal free-capitalism is almost certain) possibly putting people’s lives at risk again.
Also, the wider and more crucial point to make is that austerity, if not an economic red herring based on shaky and ill-founded principles (the report George Osbourne used to justify his austerity plans were subsequently proven to be dogshit, which numerous data errors in it), has utterly failed on a moral level. It is an absolute obscenity to humanity.
It has produced a destroyed NHS health care system, which (as Noam Chomsky has so astutely identified) is a classic case of stealth privatisation, where you defund something to the point of collapse, look at the numerous failings, let the media go "look! See! Public services don't work!” and then usher in for the private vultures to come and feast on it.
The benefit social security system has ripped to pieces, with the mass majority of people who need benefits to, you know, live, being cruelly stripped off it, leaving them starving and reduced to poverty because of the fanatical determination of the Conservatives to stamp out the minuscule crime of benefit fraud (which counts for something like 3.0% of benefit spending). Disabled people have suffered even worse through the social cleansing programmes, being chucked out of their wheelchairs in order to be shunted back to work, and sometimes actually killing themselves out of despair. For the youth of today, they have seen public education struggle, their EMA cut, and higher tuition fees.
For women, lack of money into the police force they are failing to record 800,000 crimes a year, including one in four sex offences in the UK. Also, 74% of austerity money grabbing has come from women's pockets, with women now being the majority of low-paid workers. Women are left caring for both small children and the elderly as their childcare services are cut. Funding for refuges and rape crisis centres has also been cut.
At local levels, councils have essentially become a pointless club where councillors and local MPs meet to sit around twiddling their funds, as local government money have been so slashed it has left services such as local NHS hospitals in dreadful states, and libraries constantly under threat of closure, and with little to no power left to them.
I could go on. There is a litany of abuses and abominations committed under the guise of a rational "technocrat" way of dealing with the economy. It is of course, not technocratic, but deeply ideological. The right wing have always hated the concept of the state. They've always hated social democracy. They've always hated the idea of helping the poor and protecting the weak. They've always sneered and spat on the concept of a society worthy of being called one, where the poor, the working, women, ethnic and racial minorities, the disabled and the young are treated equally and with fairness and decency. They've harboured these hatreds since the end of WW2, but put on a brave face and pretended to go along with the enormous social and economic changes produced after WW2. Thanks economic crash, it has given the Right the chance to utterly and finally destroy the state, and drag us all back to their utopia of the 1930s reborn. Their decades long plan to get rid of all that “universal suffrage bullshit” (in the words of fanatical Right-winger and hack blogger Paul Staines) is nearly complete.
I feel glad that people like Paul Krugman are around to constantly poke holes and demonstrate the lies and idiocy surrounding right-wing neo-liberal thinking. I only wish more people had listened to him. The three stars is because although very detailed, and containing a vast knowledge of economic catastrophes of roughly the past 30 years, it’s still quite dry. It acts more like a textbook sometimes than a work of political theory (which is probably what it was meant to roughly be :/). But it is still very erudite, and a great educational tool for understanding the mess we're in now.
In conclusion, when reading Krugman's account of the myriad of economic recessions and crashes from the 80s onwards, finally ending in its tragic crescendo with the 2008/09 crash, never before have Marx's words about how under the constant insatiability of capitalism "All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned" seemed so apt. ...more
Some good stuff in here, but alot of them are unbelievably dense and penetrating to read. It's almost as if some of the writers were consciously tryinSome good stuff in here, but alot of them are unbelievably dense and penetrating to read. It's almost as if some of the writers were consciously trying to make themselves sound like the worst kind of arty-farty pretentious intellectual, using all manner of unbelievably obtuse and complicated language to make his/her point. Alot of the time you sit there and dribble at what you've just read.
Katy Manning does a good job recreating the voices of the characters, particularly those of Jon Pertwee and the Brigadier (the bit when theyThoughts:
Katy Manning does a good job recreating the voices of the characters, particularly those of Jon Pertwee and the Brigadier (the bit when they are arguing in the Doctor's lab is spot on). Her own voice however is quite obviously noticeable older an huskier than when it was in the 70s, which makes listening to her as "young Joe" a bit odd. But other than that she does an excellent job.
Some of it's genuinely a bit creepy, which the repeated "mamas" that occur occasionally throughout the first part being very eerie.
The idea of a backwards universe in which our past is their future is a really clever and intriguing one (even if it is kinda sorta ripped off from a Red Dwarf episode, but ah well), and along with elements like the weird blue-glowing, eyeless dogs and HannaH's soul being trapped inside a doll, it makes for a very visually rich (ironic considering it's an audio) and pleasingly surreal story.
The plot is...confusing, let's say. I normally like to egotistically pride myself on "getting" stories that most people find mind-boggling (in most media, not just Doctor Who). But really, towards the end, I have no idea what's going on. So they sort of transport into the backwards universe, and then see themsleves going back out of a room, and then they try and get to UNIT headquarters, and the Doctor jumps through a crack in time, and then they end up back into the museum office, where they were at the beginning...and then...uhhh... :S
I think in some ways this story suffers being an audio, as I found many times it was hard to visualise dogs running backwards through a wall (how do you do that?) or an un-explosion (an explosion that falls back on itself after having exploded, but then explodes outward again anyway. But if this was a backwards world, why would it then explode outward having just imploded inward, as everything is meant to go backwards, apparently apart from this though?). Perhaps if I actually saw it there happening, I would find it easier to understand.
So, not the best, but still with some very strong and commendable moments that make this story very enjoyable. ...more
+ Dialogue in this book is fantastic. Some really funny and smart lines:
Kipling: "What are you a Doctor of?" The Doctor: "This and that. ThatThoughts:
+ Dialogue in this book is fantastic. Some really funny and smart lines:
Kipling: "What are you a Doctor of?" The Doctor: "This and that. That and this. Mostly that."
The Doctor: He peered at Ross. "Ah, you must be the mad scientist, I assume"".
The Doctor: 'When have I ever let you down?' Sarah: 'Too many times.' The Doctor: 'That was in the past. And we've definitely passed through those times.'
+ Also of note is Peel's characterisation of the Doctor and Sarah Jane, which he gets to a tee. The brilliant chemistry between them two during Baker's early years is captured extremely well in this book, and the humour between them as well.
+ I think the ideas of this book are brilliant. The images of shark-like seals, mer-children, and monstrous hounds make for some great visual imagery for your head, giving it a really unique feel Also, the plot of animal-hybridisation using an alien substance is particularly interesting and disturbing.
+ The additions of Kipling and Conan Doyle are a nice touch. Not really needed, and the story would have worked fine even if they weren't there, but it's good that Peel manages to ground the story to some sense of reality.
- Have to say though, although most of the characters involved are expertly written, some of the characterisation is a tad weak. The villains particular suffer abit from this. Percival Ross falls into the "mad scientists will create a new world for his creations" cliché, and Breckenridge falls into "oh-so polite magnificent bastard" type villain. Although these are small and hardly dent the overall quality of the book, they are slightly disappointing.
+ Period setting is used well, and the book does actually use it to good use. Talk of the progress of industrial technology, as well as using on the tropes of Gothic horror (hound on the moors, which is implied to be the inspiration to Doyle's Hound of the Baskervilles).
Overall, this book is a "good yarn" as my dad used to say, but nothing more than that. It's hardly the most intellectual, challenging or ground-breaking Doctor Who book ever written, but it works on it's own as a neat little, exciting romp. ...more
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and and Mr. Hyde read. Thoughts:
* First of all starts with very thick, heavy, elaborate writing. At first very hard toThe Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and and Mr. Hyde read. Thoughts:
* First of all starts with very thick, heavy, elaborate writing. At first very hard to comprehend and frequently felt like a slog to get through.
* In some ways the story doesn't really work nowadays. Pretty much everyone knows that Hyde is Jeyll, so the build up and the speculation surrounding it is kind of lost from the beginning. Oh well.
* Weird way of writing. Pg 35 is a good example. In speech Stevenson put parenthesis. Who the hell talks like that? It's really weird seeing a whole section of text and then "( )" in the middle of it. It doesn't really make sense either, as when you are talking, you don't stop, say the words "open parenthesis" and then "closed parenthesis" when speaking, which is what writing like this implies. Small and petty but particularly odd to me.
* Strangely little action. I don't know why I expected it to have it, but in my mind I imagined like, I dunno, a chase scene or something across smoky Victorian London. But there really isn't. Its mostly just elaborate Victorian dialogue.
* Mostly hugely underwhelming. There honestly isn't really a story. or rather there is one, but it's incredibly small.
* Ending was really bad. Builds until the reveal of Jekyll turning into Hyde, then final chapter is a long-winded, waffling, incoherent, boring, obnoxious infodump that tells us everything that we basically already knew.
* The notes page is very interesting and useful at getting a better understanding of elements of the text).
So all in all, kind of enjoyable, but disappointing.
The Body Snatcher:
* Good, spooky fun, but so short there isn't much substance to comment on.
Ollala: * As of 06/11/13, this is actually shaping out to be the best of the three. I actually think this is far superior to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The mystery is unfolding in a much more elegant way that DJMH, it's foreshadowing and gentle hints at the more sinister side to the faimly are well placed and in general it feels are far more sophisticated and intelligent than DJMH, despite being far less known.