"Take, as an image of the good life, a jazz group. A jazz group which is improvising obviously differs from a symphony orchestra, since to a large ext...more"Take, as an image of the good life, a jazz group. A jazz group which is improvising obviously differs from a symphony orchestra, since to a large extent each member is free to express herself as she likes. But she does so with a receptive sensitivity to the self-expressive performances of the other musicians. The complex harmony they fashion comes not from playing from a collective score, but from the free musical expression of each member acting as the basis for the free expression of the others. As each player grows more musically eloquent, the others draw inspiration from this and are spurred to greater heights. There is no conflict here between freedom and the 'good of the whole', yet the image is the reverse of totalitarian.Though each performer contributes to 'the greater good of the whole', she does so not by some grim-lipped self-sacrifice but simply by expressing herself. There is self-realization, but only through a loss of self in the music as a whole. There is achievement, but it is not a question of self-aggrandizing success. instead, the achievement. Instead, the achievement - the music itself - acts a medium of relationship among the performers. There is pleasure to be reaped from this artistry, and - since there is a free fulfillment or realization of powers - there is also happiness in the sense of flourishing. Because this flourishing is reciprocal, we can even speak, remotely and analogically, of a kind of love. Once could do worse, surely, than propose such situation as the meaning of life - both in the sense that it is what makes life meaningful, and - more controversially - in the sense that when we act in this way, we realize our natures at their finest." Eagleton "The Meaning of Life" 171-173(less)
Can't recommend this one enough, and the younger you are the sooner you need to read it because you can make (and save) some *serious* coin for yourse...moreCan't recommend this one enough, and the younger you are the sooner you need to read it because you can make (and save) some *serious* coin for yourself in the next few decades if you learn some of the basic lessons that are laid out in this book.
There's nothing really groundbreaking in here (honestly, if your parents were solid with money and they passed some essentials on to you you've probably internalized most of this already) but that's sort of the point, these are everyday lessons that most people somehow, beyond all reason, fail to live by. Things like: track your spending, treat credit card debt like the devil, automate your personal financial system so you never see (and thus don't really miss) the money that should be going to bills & saving, take full advantage of your 401k as soon as you can, and invest! (because it's incredibly less complicated than you think). I'm not gonna lie, I spent way too long not doing this stuff and I'm so glad I encountered this book to kick some damn sense into my head. Read it, learn it, thank the heavens you found it, pass it on to a good friend, count money in 25 years, done.(less)
“(A parenthetical worry about the presentation of Munchkinland: is it not a mite too pretty, too kempt, too sweetly sweet for a place that was, until...more“(A parenthetical worry about the presentation of Munchkinland: is it not a mite too pretty, too kempt, too sweetly sweet for a place that was, until moments before Dorothy’s arrival, under the absolute power of the evil and dictatorial Witch of the East? How is it that this squashed Witch had no castle? How could her despotism have left so little mark upon the land? Why are the Munchkins so relatively unafraid, hiding only briefly before they emerge, and giggling while they hide? The heretical thought occurs: Maybe the Witch of the East wasn’t as bad as all that – she certainly kept the streets clean, the houses painted and in good repair, and no doubt such trains as there might be, running on time. Moreover, and again unlike her sister, she seems to have ruled without the aid of soldiers, policemen or other regiments of repression. Why, then, was she so hated? I only ask.)” (42)(less)
“In fact, there is much to suggest that in [Sir Arthur] Harris a man had risen to the head of Bomber Command who, according to Sollly Zuckerman, liked...more“In fact, there is much to suggest that in [Sir Arthur] Harris a man had risen to the head of Bomber Command who, according to Sollly Zuckerman, liked destruction for its own sake, and was thus in perfect sympathy with the innermost principle of every war, which is to aim for as wholesale an annihilation of the enemy with his dwellings, his history, and his natural environment as can possibly be achieved.” (19)
“Such is the dark backward and abysm of time. Everything lies all jumbled up in it, and when you look down you feel dizzy and afraid.” (74) (less)
A solid, fairly comprehensive bio, written in clean and fairly clinical prose. As Prince himself wasn't involved in the project it includes extensive...moreA solid, fairly comprehensive bio, written in clean and fairly clinical prose. As Prince himself wasn't involved in the project it includes extensive quotes from outside sources (other biographies, previously published articles and interviews, quotes from people Prince hasn't talked to in 20 years). If you're looking for a general biographical/artistic overview that covers everything from childhood-->the rise-->stardom-->name change-->renaissance I'd say go with this. It's basically a book length Spin article about the man, the myth, the LEGEND.
Some Choice Quotes (mostly about Rick James):
“When Prince finally performed, Rick James said, ‘I felt sorry for him.’ He was a ‘little dude’ in high heels and a trench coat, standing in one spot on stage while playing New Wave. ‘Then at the end of his set he’d take off his trench coat and he’d be wearing little girl’s bloomers.’ James laughed. Men in the audience ‘just booed this poor thing to death.’ He let Prince keep opening—but he came to regret it.” (42)
"The tour with Rick James continued, and so did the bedevilment. Eventually, James's frustrations boiled over. He told Prince's manager if he stole any more of James's moves he was off the tour. Another day, both managers and bands had a meeting. In Prince's room, James's band--tall men in braids and leather-- sat at one side, James explained, while Prince's band-- 'in eyelashes and makeup'--sat at the other looking 'very afraid.' James's band seemed ready to physically attack." (45)
“Yet, despite alleged tensions—apparently caused by James himself—James invited them all to his birthday party. Prince attended that night and sat at a table but didn’t drink. James, who loved partying almost as much as funk, claimed he then walked up, grabbed the back of Prince’s hair, and forced cognac into his mouth. ‘He spit it out like a little bitch and laughed and walked away,’ James claimed in print. He loved, James admitted, ‘fucking with him like that.” (45)
“Jackson’s Thriller continued to sell. But Warner had their own slick-haired black musician in shiny clothes.” (75)
“Before twenty thousand of his own fans in Tulsa, John Cougar ran backstage for his cassette deck, then played a tape of “Little Red Corvette” into his microphone. Cougar kept trying, unsuccessfully, to invite Prince onto his new album. (75) (less)
This is an accessible, entertaining and intelligent overview of modern (Adam Smith – the present) economics which covers the foundational ideas, major...moreThis is an accessible, entertaining and intelligent overview of modern (Adam Smith – the present) economics which covers the foundational ideas, major thinkers and pivotal events in the field over the last 300 years or so. I’d recommend it to anybody. Month to month I earn money, pay bills and *attempt* to save what little I can. Beyond that, econ is pretty damn mysterious to me. Most days I can comprehend what GDP is, but when it comes to demand curves, derivatives, and exactly what the IMF does when they twist a country’s arm I’m generally lost. And that’s why I was so appreciative of this book’s lucidity. It breaks all of those concepts (and many many more) down to a point where I can at least begin to get a handle on them and shows how they’ve been grappled with during the last few hundred years with clear prose and inventive/hilarious illustrations.
I never took an econ course, but I sure would’ve appreciated having this on the syllabus. For the first ¾ or so this is an extremely neutral historical overview. Once Goodwin begins to discuss late 20th century developments in the U.S. it becomes distinctly more ideological which…I found very welcome. Part of that of that was likely just a case of me agreeing with his politics. But more than that I think it was due to him doing such a good job showing the degree to which the decisions of congressmen & corporate board members affect the market, international relations, the environment and the daily lives of people like me around the world. This book is totally worth your time. (less)
Sobering. I highly recommend this. It's not "impartial" in the least. It's angry, it despairs, its view is grim (though not without some small hope). Y...moreSobering. I highly recommend this. It's not "impartial" in the least. It's angry, it despairs, its view is grim (though not without some small hope). You won't feel good after reading it. But I highly recommend this.
The villain in "Batman: The Long Halloween" strikes each month on a major holiday but skips MLK day in favor of a NYE/Epiphany combo?? Racist.
JK, in a...moreThe villain in "Batman: The Long Halloween" strikes each month on a major holiday but skips MLK day in favor of a NYE/Epiphany combo?? Racist.
JK, in all seriousness of one of the better Batman books I've read. Solid art and a brilliant presentation of his classic rogues gallery during the period when crime in Gotham was slipping away from traditional non-costumed mobsters & thugs and falling into their gloved hands. I love what they do with Harvey Dent's character, showing his single-minded drive to rid Gotham of its cancerous crime lords, even if it might mean crossing the line. The steel-eyed midnight conferences between Bats, Dent, & Gordon are a definite highlight of this work. I think it suffers slightly from a bit too much misdirection regarding the central mystery: who is Holiday? But that's more than made up for by the art, the examination of Dent, and the fact that we get to see almost all of Batman's greatest foes on their come-up to full super-villain status. (less)
Holy Sheeeet, Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen: This dude is my newest hero. What a book. 200+ pages of the most livid, caustic, perceptive, learned and cul...moreHoly Sheeeet, Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen: This dude is my newest hero. What a book. 200+ pages of the most livid, caustic, perceptive, learned and cultivated dude throwing absolute haymaker roundhouses at Nazis. Glorious.
He was a landowning aristocrat, a veteran, and a writer of popular fiction (mostly for children). He moved in the most influential circles, was a connoisseur of art and lit, and he knew his history. If he had bought in to the ideology of the Third Reich, or even just played along publicly, he would've coasted from 1933-45. But he was a man of integrity who saw the regime, and its leader, for what they were: a bunch of vicious, hollow, kleptomaniac, sociopathic thugs who were polluting everything worthwhile in German spirit & culture. And boy did he write about it. Reck was a diarist of the highest order, able to take at individual moments & recollections (whether from 20 years previous or the day before) and polish them into perfect gems of invective, sorrow, and foreboding. He knew, from the moment they assumed power that the rise of the Nazis meant the destruction of his beloved German as he knew it, and he knew there was nothing he personally could do about it. So he kept this diary (hidden underground outside on his property) in order to record the degradation of his country, and privately rail against it.
He has nothing but contempt for the Reich, and the worst (best?) of it is reserved for Herr Hitler whom he refers to variously as "Machiavelli for chambermaids", "Chief Eunuch of the Reich", a "stereotype of the head waiter", a "forelocked gypsy", and a mere "resident of a furnished room". His rage is so vivid, so righteous, and so artfully expressed. I also find it remarkable because, as much as that rage resonates, on a cultural/political level Reck was about as distant from me as possible. A monarchist uber-consertive who loathed democracy, modernism, technology, mass-man, the middle class (who, much more than the German workers, embraced Nazism), and urban America, I doubt he'd have much good to say about me or my milieu, but damn if I don't find that irrelevant after reading this.
I can't recommend this book enough. I feel it's something I'll have to return to periodically, and it's definitely a work I'll cherish forever. Read it yourself. You won't forget it.(less)
OK, here we have 2-3 page capsule review of every book of the Bible. The author has tried to avoid any bias or critical interpretation and simply cond...moreOK, here we have 2-3 page capsule review of every book of the Bible. The author has tried to avoid any bias or critical interpretation and simply condense what is actually found in each book and render it in simple/humorous modern language. I feel it succeeds on many points and…less than succeeds on some others.
--This book is mainly valuable as handy abbreviated reference work. Forgot what went down in the book of Nahum? Just grab this off the shelf next to the Thesaurus and you can quickly remind yourself that "Oh yeah, that's the one where the city of Nineveh fell, and there was extended lion metaphor." Boom, lots of value there. It's like a comprehensive CliffsNotes for the basic plot lines of the bible…with really good production design.
--This book tries *so* damn hard to be irreverent it's painful at times. In the foreword the author, Mark Russell, is clear that he's just rewording what's found in the actual bible. That's essentially true. He hasn't added any elements of his own, all of this really can be found between the onion-papered pages of the book the Gideons left in your motel nightstand. And if you've ever taken a stroll through the Old Testament you know that, by modern standards, a LOT of it is puzzling/shocking/outrageous/sexist/wildly violent/etc. So for Russell to present all of that is absolutely necessary for this book, and welcome. But it's the manner in which he does it. If I had to describe the tone of the book it'd be: "Your Hawaiian-shirted 'cool' uncle attempting to be edgy by telling you a street joke he heard on the Howard Stern Show while at the family barbecue." It's occasionally funny, but mostly you just roll your eyes and keep reading. Once again, I'm not faulting Russell for attempting to make light of what's in here, just for how basic much of the humor is. Warning though: If you're a deeply faithful Christian who doesn't like anyone taking the piss out of your religion, you'll probably be offend reading this. But if your faith can *actually* be threatened by this book well…I'll say no more.
Overall, a worthy read, and an even better reference. And as I said, the production design is top notch (pleather binding, gilded edges, one of those little ribbon-bookmark things sewn into the spine…solid stuff). (less)
Boo Hoo for the sad boys. I know. I know. The postwar generation of Japan. Culturally scarred by the atom bomb. Searching for an identity when the mili...moreBoo Hoo for the sad boys. I know. I know. The postwar generation of Japan. Culturally scarred by the atom bomb. Searching for an identity when the militarist/imperialist tradition has crumbled. Occupied by foreign GIs. Faced with a sexual revolution while still rooted in a resolutely patriarchal culture. Teeming cities. Yes yes yes.
All of that's here, and it's a hell of a lot to face, and I know it's the environment Tatsumi's characters find themselves in, but damn if there doesn't come a point beyond which I could no longer care and I had to judge them for what they (almost universally) are: pathetic/incapable losers wallowing in either casual or active misogyny.
Every single protagonist is either an "I'm socially crippled and I can't talk to girls" weakling chump. Or a "all women are whores" weakling chump. There are maybe 2 women in all of these stories who aren't either avaricious, spiteful, emasculators or doomed simpletons relying on the love of a man who will never be able to give it. The others are just victims or background noise. It gets tired. To be clear, I have no problem with sex, nihilism, violence or mental wastelands in art, bring 'em on. But I didn't sense that I was just being *presented* with those elements and these characters, I was being asked to *care* about them, and in this context I just couldn't.
It seems they've released additional volumes of Tatsumi's work (each one collecting stories from a different calendar year, this one being the 1st). I might very well end up skipping a few volumes ahead to see if he ever matured (or at least diversified) because there is a lot of talent/honesty here, but I won't be doing it anytime soon.(less)