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It would be unfair of me to review a book when I haven't even read 20% of it yet. However, with the rise in its popularity and my reliance on librarieIt would be unfair of me to review a book when I haven't even read 20% of it yet. However, with the rise in its popularity and my reliance on libraries, it may take me quite some time to complete it. I therefore offer in the meantime "Why Arendt Matters: Revisiting The Origins of Totalitarianism" from the 18 March 2017 edition of the Los Angeles Review of Books, written by Roger Berkowitz, Academic Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities, and Associate Professor of Politics, Human Rights, and Philosophy at Bard College, where Arendt is buried and her personal library and literary effects are housed. This serves as a thorough summary of and introduction to what may be the most relevant of Arendt's works for our time, clearly addressing its application to the rise of Trump and his coterie in the U.S. If you are not going to read the book itself, I heartily recommend reading the lengthy essay at least....more
Details a very useful categorization scheme for analyzing the challenges and outcomes of U.S. Presidential administrations in the context of overarchiDetails a very useful categorization scheme for analyzing the challenges and outcomes of U.S. Presidential administrations in the context of overarching political themes across eras. Specifically, Skowronek sees Presidents Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Reagan as "reconstructive" in the sense of establishing a new model of presidential politics in the wake of the "disjunction" of their immediate predecessors and the concomitant discrediting of the former ideological era. He further defines two additional stylistic categories: the "articulative," in which presidents generally sharing the party of the former reconstructor attempt (and generally must fail) to articulate a continuation of the existing policy (e.g., both Bush presidencies in Reagan's wake), and the "preemptive," in which a president of the opposing party must rule within a contrary political environment and must therefore lay claim to some of the policy positions of the controlling culture, which is detailed only in the example of Clinton in the "Afterword" in this second edition.
The text is a bit dense, so this is neither an easy nor a quick read (unless maybe you're a presidential history buff or a political science major). Skowronek uses numerous examples from history to illustrate his points, but at the same time he seems to presume a familiarity with U.S. history that is perhaps a bit more detailed than the casual reader is likely to possess unless they just got done with a good college-level class on the subject, so be prepared to supplement with some web searches or just keep Wikipedia handy while you go. Or, if you like being more of a completist, the references are rather thorough, so you could simply go to primary and secondary sources if you have a good political and historical library handy—but I suspect you'd need a college library, not your local public branch, to find most of this stuff. The whole strikes me as pretty solidly targeted to grad students and up, though I am not in that demographic either and I made it through in about nine months....more
I rather enjoyed this despite—or perhaps because of—the fact that it rather amounts to a screed against much with which I am personally involved, andI rather enjoyed this despite—or perhaps because of—the fact that it rather amounts to a screed against much with which I am personally involved, and in the end serves an arguably self-serving end for an artist-magician, which Moore is well known to be. But if one is going to rant at such length, at least rant entertainingly and floridly, and boy does he ever! I particularly enjoyed such cutting remarks as, "Or there’s Alex Crowley, tiresomely attempting to persuade his school-chums to refer to him as Shelley’s Alastor, like some self-conscious Goth from Nottingham called Dave insisting that his vampire name is Armand."
Its critique, which is IMO somewhat overwrought and perhaps even bitter (making wine out of sour grapes much, Alan?), is nevertheless well worth keeping in mind for those who pursue the admittedly somewhat ridiculous and hoary path of the "ancient" occult orders, which frankly rarely date back to within even a century of their claimed origins. And yet, I cannot help but feel that it smacks somewhat, in its prescriptivist language, of the common failing of the vast majority of prophets and religious icons (and yoga instructors and workshop leaders and technology evangelists, and...), which Crowley himself decried and (wrongly) thought that Thelema might destroy once and for all: having discovered one's True Path and best way forward, mistaking it for the only viable Path for all and sundry hereafter. That is the crapulous creed on which I find that I must spit. Speak your truth and I shall read it; speak it well and I shall enjoy it; demand that I uphold it myself and I shall, at best, flap my wings in your face, and laugh along with hell's own worm. Still, I enjoy a good laugh....more
In comparing to the Smeaton edition, this edition appears to retain the full text, but to have significantly abridged the footnotes. Smeaton, rather,In comparing to the Smeaton edition, this edition appears to retain the full text, but to have significantly abridged the footnotes. Smeaton, rather, has expanded them in a critical edition, and so I will switch over to that, as it better fits my needs, even if this edition is far more esthetically pleasing in its illustrations, typeface, binding, and size....more
The three movies—and the hours of extra footage, interviews, commentary, and assorted bonus features—of course speak for themselves, and this is not aThe three movies—and the hours of extra footage, interviews, commentary, and assorted bonus features—of course speak for themselves, and this is not a film review site. The included 40-page glossy color booklet adds little. Broken into three parts, tracking the cinematic trilogy, it is mostly cobbled together from snippets of press coverage: music and film trade magazines, entertainment rags, and newspapers large and small. In the end, it reads rather like a medium-form advertisement for the box set itself, which is rather unfortunate since you have to have it already before you can read it. I recommend that anyone coming into the package for the first time, on reputation alone and sight unseen, start with the booklet rather than wrapping with it, to get a bit of an advance grip on just what they've gotten themselves into. ...more