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Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
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Book Of the Month Discussion > May 2014 -- Dalrymple -- Life At The Bottom

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Mary Catelli | 2114 comments Mod
As this book doesn't have a plot, we shall have one topic without fear of spoilers.


Mary Catelli | 2114 comments Mod
Indeed, he opens with the main themes of his book -- starting with his experience working with the underclass, and in the Third World.


message 3: by Cyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cyn Bagley (cynbagley) | 21 comments Mary-- I still need to get the book. I'll be doing that today. And I'll be better at coming here this month.


Mary Catelli | 2114 comments Mod
Glad to have you!


message 5: by Cyn (last edited May 02, 2014 05:41PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cyn Bagley (cynbagley) | 21 comments I found it interesting that the underclass was using Marxism to justify a type of lifestyle that was bad for them and for their children. I noticed that the academics who espoused those views were not raising their children that way.


Mary Catelli | 2114 comments Mod
Oh, yes.

I read the first two essays and notice that both suicides and criminals use the same sort of logic.

This is why I recommend this book to aspiring writers: to provide source material for villains.


message 7: by mobius (new)

mobius wolf (mobiuswolf) | 75 comments Read it free here:
http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/20...

Sort of.


Mary Catelli | 2114 comments Mod
Oh yes.

there is, of course, the danger that you will be drawn in and find yourself reading all his City Journal essays.


message 9: by mobius (new)

mobius wolf (mobiuswolf) | 75 comments I was in the middle of Rose Martin's 'Fabian Highway' when I saw your post and switched books. It seems she has provided the plot for Dalrymple's climax. So to speak.


message 10: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 2114 comments Mod
I suspect that they both derived from a common source: real life.


message 11: by Cyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cyn Bagley (cynbagley) | 21 comments I'll read the second chapter today-- and yes, I think that reading this book at least will make my villains more mundane and more chilling because of it.


message 12: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 2114 comments Mod
Read essays on forced marriages among Indians, domestic violence, tattooing, and nightclubs -- with the last one being as dreary as the rest.


message 13: by mobius (new)

mobius wolf (mobiuswolf) | 75 comments Makes you want to move to GB, doesn't it?

We're not far behind.


message 14: by Cyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cyn Bagley (cynbagley) | 21 comments Mary wrote: "Read essays on forced marriages among Indians, domestic violence, tattooing, and nightclubs -- with the last one being as dreary as the rest."

I read this too-- Ten years ago some of these women were helped to get out of these situations. It seems to be getting worse and worse on the bottom.


message 15: by Cyn (last edited May 08, 2014 09:57AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cyn Bagley (cynbagley) | 21 comments I finished reading the essay on the tattoo virus. I do remember the first time I read that essay, I think Mary introduced it on Sarah's blog. I first had a good laugh and then wondered if he had a good correlation there. This time reading it, I laughed as well. I like how he presses the idea to its limit. But, less a correlation and more a symptom in my humble opinion.


message 16: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 2114 comments Mod
Tattooing is one of the lighter sides of slum life.


message 17: by Cyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cyn Bagley (cynbagley) | 21 comments If I didn't know he was a doctor, I would think this was fiction-- some of it is so amazing that people would want to live that way with no ambition except drinking, drugs, or sex. I finished the education essay and was astounded. I remember how I fought to get an education-- geez.


message 18: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 2114 comments Mod
yeah, well, they know their lives will be sustainable with no effort on their part. . . so no effort is put in. . .

"Choosing to Fail" shows what a choice it is -- there are those in the worst circumstance who choose to succeed.


message 19: by Cyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cyn Bagley (cynbagley) | 21 comments Just finished reading about the new Indian underclass. I saw that happen in my own family. Most of us have succeeded somewhat, but I have one sister that bought the idea that society owes her a living. She has been on some type of welfare for years. Interesting essay.


message 20: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 2114 comments Mod
Yeah. I keep on running into a woman who blathers that surrounded by people who do not succeed, they have NO role models so it's not their fault.

Those from good families give it away.


message 21: by mobius (new)

mobius wolf (mobiuswolf) | 75 comments It's a manufactured class. The 'supports socialism for their daily bread' class. Augmented by the 'gov workers for more gov' class.


message 22: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 2114 comments Mod
How true. "What is Poverty" shows it most clearly but the whole discussion of administration shows the extent of the problem.


message 23: by Cyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cyn Bagley (cynbagley) | 21 comments mobius wrote: "It's a manufactured class. "
Absolutely-- I am having a hard time reading the chapter about how his father was able to get out of his class because of his abilities. If class was a hard structure in the US today, I would have never gotten out of the farm class ..l and we even dropped to the mobile home category.


message 24: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 2114 comments Mod
Yeah -- that's a painful chapter. All that suffering.


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Zachary (madpoet) | 33 comments Mod
And it's all a choice. This is one of the most depressing things I've read in a long time, and the fact that so much of this is so avoidable just makes it all the more horrifying as a possibility.


message 26: by Cyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cyn Bagley (cynbagley) | 21 comments I finished this book today and I am still trying to get over the last essay-- horrifying is the nicest way to describe a police force that refuses to do their job because it is "just" domestic violence or "just" burglary. Unfortunately I have seen this attitude in the police in my area.


message 27: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 2114 comments Mod
He's quite right that the second section is even grimmer theory than the grim practice.


message 28: by Cyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cyn Bagley (cynbagley) | 21 comments I am not sure I can read a dystopia after reading this one-- so I might back out for the next book of the month-- but I will keep talking about a few of the books I read already as topics on the reading discussion here.


message 29: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 2114 comments Mod
Yeah. Dalrymple can weigh you down.


message 30: by mobius (new)

mobius wolf (mobiuswolf) | 75 comments "What liberals object to in their hearts, therefore, is not this system of criminal justice but any system of criminal justice."

I disagree! They want to decide what is criminal and who gets charged. The justice system is just another tool for creating utopia, as long as the right people control it.


message 31: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Catelli | 2114 comments Mod
That's not a system, that's a whimsical course of events.


message 32: by mobius (new)

mobius wolf (mobiuswolf) | 75 comments They're not whimsical, they're expurts!


message 33: by mobius (new)

mobius wolf (mobiuswolf) | 75 comments The criminology feedback loop rings true. (speaking of expurtss)


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