Buying a new Bad Religion album meant two things: Peaks and valleys punk rock, especially in the mid 90s at their established "low point", and needingBuying a new Bad Religion album meant two things: Peaks and valleys punk rock, especially in the mid 90s at their established "low point", and needing to sit their with the linear notes open pouring over a dictionary to find out what all these words meant. For many years, even after admonishing such behavior in No Direction on 1992's The Grey Race, I used Greg Graffin as starting point to unraveling important issues with politics and society. I used to reflect on each album by saying "Man, Greg needs to write a book."
As Bad Religion started hitting it's stride as a band, Graffin started publishing books on topics ranging from Naturalism and debating the existence of god. Mostly sticking to the theme, Graffin published in 2010 Anarchy Evolution, a combination guide to post-Origin of Species evolutionary theory as well as a biography that correlates his interest in the exploding California punk scene in the 1980s with his interest in science.
Graffin's biography is an interesting tale, spanning from his youth in the American Midwest to the circumstances that would put him in front of a microphone for one of the world's biggest punk bands and his long road to becoming a professor at UCLA teaching life sciences. I enjoyed it, although I felt like it was very tacked on. Nothing about a biography is suggested by anything on the jacket and, in case you were wondering, it's not a punk rock "tell-all". So much of Graffin's music is autobiographical that a physical biography felt extraneous.
The part that really had me reeling was the science. I had a glimmer from reading Origin of Species that we weren't done with evolutionary theory and Graffin's exploration of the climb from single-celled organism to the complex creatures we are today. What I liked best about these chapters is how Graffin writes the story of evolution, it reads like any narrative and it made the information a lot easier for me to comprehend.
Why only four stars than? I liked the biography and I feel like he should have saved it for another book. Looking forward to Graffin's next offering The Population Wars (Prodigal Son reference, Greg?), due sometime this year. ...more
A friend argued for the "this post-Umair Haque mindset where I want to see new ideas for our social/political/economic system, not established things.A friend argued for the "this post-Umair Haque mindset where I want to see new ideas for our social/political/economic system, not established things." I liked Betterness. I think Umair really dropped the ball on addressing the patriarchal superstructure of capitalism. His analysis assumes that everybody's already equal and that's what stuff like the PSL 10-point plan address: The complete lack of equity. I agree that it would be cool to see new ideas in regards to society, politics, and economics when we have something resembling a level playing field.
It's all the Francis Fukuyama "HAHAHA Socialism? Nah son, we just need to redesign capitalism!" as if it's exploitative nature is some kind of mistake. It urks me. I know I'm paraphrasing somebody, but it's the endless - EFFING ENDLESS - posturing as realistic, logical, etc when capitalism is just crass utopianianism....more
Short and sweet: I didn't give this book a one star because I identify as a leftist. I am myself disgusted with liberalism, something Jason Mattera diShort and sweet: I didn't give this book a one star because I identify as a leftist. I am myself disgusted with liberalism, something Jason Mattera displays in only the fashion Republican youth are capable of. The pop-culture monster that helped get Barack Obama elected *is* something to be studied and discussed, but to suggest that whatever the youth of the United States felt toward the now President was completely manufactured is the weakest analysis. How dare you discount the feelings of a nation because they're not yours. No one has the right to tell anyone else how to feel.
Lastly, I bet the only hip-hop Jason Mattera listens to is Eminem. What a chump....more
I got five or six chapters in, our Colonel Brandon's intentions for Miss Marianne are revealed, and I just stopped giving a shit. I almost preferred JI got five or six chapters in, our Colonel Brandon's intentions for Miss Marianne are revealed, and I just stopped giving a shit. I almost preferred Jane Aust...I mean, The Lady's....more
I'm having a hard time putting into world what I thought about Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin. The thing I liked best about it was ShrivI'm having a hard time putting into world what I thought about Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin. The thing I liked best about it was Shriver's narration device, similar to what Chuck Palahniuk would be doing around the same time with Diary: A woman's letters to a seemingly estranged husband. These letters chronicle the events that would explode into "Thursday", when their son commits a Columbine-style massacre at his high school.
Eva Khatchadourian, Kevin's mother, is a conflicted figure who cycles in and out of blaming herself for what happened on "Thursday". It was hard to stay mad at her, even when she was being her most selfish, while she was baring her soul to someone who cared so deeply for and whom I found myself begging for a respond throughout the book. The silence from her husband, Franklin, even a "Fuck off" would have been something, made me feel worse for Eva. "Christ," I found myself thinking, "what did she do to him that made him hate her so much?"
The climax is a doozy and the rising action of "Thursday" into the last portion of the book completely enveloped me. I wasn't left with the kind of resolution I was hoping for, but I have no idea what I would have preferred.
Why not five stars? Because now I'm afraid I'm going to raise a sociopath. That ain't cool, Lionel.