Petra X's Reviews > Them: Adventures with Extremists

Them by Jon Ronson
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May 05, 15

bookshelves: popculture-anthropology, humour
Read from August 06 to 15, 2010

This is real gonzo journalism, Jon got in there and got down and dirty and didn't always reveal that he was Jewish. (Most extremists and conspiracy theorists have a strong hatred and fear of Jews or 12' shape-shifting lizards - which are possibly the same thing). The book is a little uneven and some of his adventures are more interesting than others. I suspect some of his columns have been added in to pad out the book.

What is quite interesting is that there is some truth in all the conspiracy theories but the extremists are so off-base they miss it completely. For example, the Bilderberg group who are supposed to be a bunch of Jews secretly running the world was founded by a group of people in 1954, none of them Jewish and one of them German royalty and a member of the Nazi party!

It is a cliche to say that you can't judge a book by its cover, but we all do. First impressions count tremendously. However, some of the people with the nastiest philosophies in the book are, otherwise, quite nice people, and others, perhaps more harmless or perhaps seemingly genial and helpful to the author, are real low-down, sly and skunky assholes.

If you've ever wanted to know about conspiracy theories, if you want to know if there really is a ruling elite and if you wonder that my comment about 12' shape-shifting lizards was a bit off-base, then get hold of the book and read the last few chapters. Shape-shifting lizards have nothing on the reality of those who cross-dress, sacrifice to giant owls, pee ritually in public and are certainly the ruling elite of the US. And its all on video. Mind-boggling.

Recommended to anyone wanting to understand American and global politics and anyone who has ever wondered about conspiracy theories and who wants to be amazed, amused and perhaps even a little worried too.
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08/08/2010 "I haven't started this yet. Just added it to my currently reading list."

Comments (showing 1-27 of 27) (27 new)

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Petra X Thank you Sid. I'd better correct all the grammar now.


Smellsofbikes well after a review like that I *must* read it.


message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert What is a 9/11 Truther?


message 4: by Robert (new)

Robert Hmmm...that would make it like every other "official" story, then?


Petra X Interesting. I've followed all the links and its given me much to think over. I hadn't ever really questioned it before.


Petra X I agree. But also - as you referred to before - if you try and question something that is the accepted version, you get labelled a crackpot, conspiracy theorist or a type of fifth columnist and then no-one takes you seriously. Its difficult to reopen old wounds and investigations, I wonder if this one ever will be?


Petra X Yes... Those who attempted a revision of history have then, to some extent, succeeded.


message 8: by Alex (new)

Alex >Petra X wrote: "Yes... Those who attempted a revision >of history have then, to some extent, succeeded."

Sorry for "cutting in" - very well said !
Let me return to my "theme De Jour" - the legacy of crimes (Holocaust included), which Germany committed during WW2. Now it is fashionable to believe that Hitler alone is individually responsible for those crimes.
In truth, German people overall deserve to be forever blamed for bringing Nazis to power
It is necessary to note that unfortunately and to the shame of German people, Hitler came to power through the democratic election process on 07/31/1932 via popular support.


message 9: by Alex (last edited May 20, 2011 10:42AM) (new)

Alex Their fault and failure was complacency, that they did not try widely staged "civil disobedience" - that is what even Middle East / North Africa countries population are doing now ...

You also might find the below Der Spiegel article interesting. It details how ordinary Germans killed concentration camp survivors near the end of WWII. This disproves the assertion by many Germans that they played no part in the killing.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/g...


message 10: by Terence (new)

Terence Brian wrote: "Alex wrote: "In truth, German people overall deserve to be forever blamed for bringing Nazis to power. It is necessary to note that unfortunately and to the shame of German people, Hitler came to p..."

Hate to be the historical nitpicker here but the Nazis never enjoyed an electoral majority (in fact, if I remember aright, they actually lost seats in the 1932 elections). Hitler slid into the driver's seat in a coalition government with the conservative parties who thought they could harness the Nazis to oppose the Left wing parties.


message 11: by Alex (last edited May 20, 2011 11:25AM) (new)

Alex Below is the extract from Wikipedia
German federal election, July 1932
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_f...

"The German parliamentary election of 31 July 1932, saw great gains by the Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers Party, NSDAP ), which for the first time became the largest party in parliament


Petra X 37.8% is still a minority. It might have been the largest single party, but gaining just over one-third of the votes is not a mandate to rule by the majority. The second largest party, Social Democratic Party of Germany, with 21.9% of the vote was actually banned by the Nazis leaving a plethora of smaller parties which couldn't (or didn't, maybe didn't even try) raise any unified opposition to Hitler.


message 13: by Alex (new)

Alex Brian said:
>One of the problems with nonparliamentary democracy
Petra X said:
>37.8% is still a minority

Germany at the time was true parliamentary multi-party democracy
In a multi-party democracy system the LARGEST vote of 37.8% DOES legitimately allow to the leader of that party to attempt to form the government.
That is what Hitler did by request of then German's president Paul von Hindenburg.
Don't be confused with essentially two-party systems in both USA and GB where indeed 37.8% would not be enough to be a majority ....


message 14: by Petra X (last edited May 20, 2011 01:20PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Petra X My remark about not enjoying a mandate from the populace was saying, if you like, that despite parliamentary rules, that there was not a majority of Germans supporting the Nazi party.

Me, a European Jew, who lost countless family in the Holocaust, defending Germans!


message 15: by Alex (last edited May 20, 2011 02:10PM) (new)

Alex >that there was not a majority of Germans supporting >the Nazi party.

They got enough support to form the Government and that is what counts in the annals of history.
>Me, a European Jew, who lost countless family in
>the Holocaust, defending Germans!
Me, Russian (and now USA American) Jew, who had quite a few family members lost during Jews extermination by Germans (yes Germans, NOT just Nazis) during WW2 says in a friendly reply : "Shame on you ! Why, we, Jews always defend our torturers ?" ;-)

Cheers,
Alex


message 16: by Alex (last edited May 20, 2011 02:24PM) (new)

Alex It is not modern German generation's fault but the historical shame, which Germany as a country brought on itself, CAN NOT BE ERASED - it is a shame, which will last FOREVER.


message 17: by Petra X (last edited May 20, 2011 02:29PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Petra X Brian wrote: "The German people were not unique in not having the stomach to stand up to a dictator. "

Not too long ago I read The Forger, a fantastic book showing the other side of at least some Germans who used their Church to help Jews, and not only by finding them safe shelters. I think there were many righteous gentiles in Germany but the small acts of ordinary people get lost beneath the major events of the times and, in any case, the years have swept away all trace of them and their good deeds.


message 18: by Alex (new)

Alex Brian said:
>The German people were not unique in not having the
>stomach to stand up to a dictator.

Hitler was not a dictator - he had a lot of popular support in a country, which had by that time at least fourteen years of democratic experience - see Weimar Republic
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weimar_Republic
Nazism was a very popular German mass movement at that time.


message 19: by Alex (new)

Alex Not "that every German in Germany is/was personally responsible for Nazi atrocities" individually.
But at the level of the country as an entity - GERMANY
is historically responsible as a whole ....


message 20: by Terence (new)

Terence Alex wrote: "Below is the extract from Wikipedia
German federal election, July 1932
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_f...

"The German parliamentary election of 31 July 1932, saw great..."


I was thinking 1928 - which makes more sense since that was before the Depression. They polled less than 3% and lost seats in the Reichstag.

But even in 1932, at the height of economic disaster, a majority of the German electorate rejected the Nazis. It was still a backroom deal (arguably a failure of the system and a lack of moral clarity) that brought them to power.

And I still think you're being extraordinarily unfair to "GERMANY AS AN ENTITY" in terms of grappling with what was done 1933-1945. I think they've shown a remarkable ability to come to terms with their guilt (despite many instances of denial - I'm thinking of the Gunther Grasse controversy a couple of years ago). They've certainly done a better job of dealing with collective guilt than Americans have done with acknowledging slavery or Native American genocide (we can't even admit that images of our current president photoshopped onto a chimp's body are racist).

Neither we nor Germany (nor the world) should ever forget what Hitler and his thugs carried out but the Nazis are in "good" company with a lot of other tyrants and ideologies that have demonized the Other and (unfortunately) have been in positions to carry out their bloody agendas.


message 21: by Miriam (new)

Miriam I completely agree, Brian. I also think it is interesting how strong the idea of national identity is in this discussion, given that up to a couple hundred years ago most people were hardly aware of it and self-identified in terms of smaller regional identity or familial group.


message 22: by Alex (new)

Alex Nothing that happened in the World history could compare to Holocaust - 6 millions innocent Jewish lives was taken by German nationals !!!!
Therefore I firmly believe that the historical shame, which Germany as a country brought on itself, CAN NOT BE ERASED - it is a shame, which will last FOREVER.


Petra X I don't think the way forward lies in isolating incidents of history that are the expression of the same state of mind. All slavery and genocide is because someone, whether an individual or a collective, thinks that they have the right to dispose of the lives of a group of people as they choose, because they feel themselves innately superior. What is the saying? That until we understand history we are doomed to repeat it, or something like that. Until we have a unified approach to teaching this special kind of evil, it remains a divide and conquer issue. 'It happened to us' (ie. we are somehow more special than another group). So everything you say, Brian, I agree with. But also, I agree totally with Alex's belief too.


message 24: by Alex (new)

Alex Devoted to the Holocaust Day

When I hear the story of Janusz Korczak leading his Jewish orphan children to the hell of extermination camp
Don't talk to me about the triumph of humanity !
When I see the uprising Warsaw's Jewish ghetto being burned by Gestapo SS troops in front of giggling and cheering Poles
Don't talk to me about human kindness and compassion !
When I think of the last gasp of Jews being killed in Gas chambers of Treblinka
Don't tell me of human dignity and respect of life !
When I see the pile of Jewish bodies towering on me as a mountain of grief
Don't tell me that this will never happen again !


Petra X Alex wrote: "Devoted to the Holocaust Day

When I hear the story of Janusz Korczak leading his Jewish orphan children to the hell of extermination camp
Don't talk to me about the triumph of humanity !
When I se..."


I've just seen this Alex. It's quite moving. Did you write it?


Petra X Someone called Sid has deleted all their comments and this discussion is slightly off balance because of it. I wonder who Sid was?


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

Undoubtedly a government stooge.


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