Thursday, May 17, 2007
Just finished another excellent book from the "Politically Incorrect Guide" series. This one was especially dear to my heart, since I am an avid reader, and overwhelming percentage of what I enjoy reading is British. The woman who wrote it sounds like a very enjoyable college professor of English literature with a great sense of humor and totally in love with her subject.
Actually, I had a professor like this. I loved her and took all my English prereqs with her. There was only one problem with good dear Dr. E.: she always assigned the most depressing reading imaginable; either a piece that was written by an author who was slightly deranged, or, if we were studying a particular author, she would invariably pick up his or hers most depressing work. Aside from that regrettable tendency, Dr. E. was a great prof.
She had a saying: "The best way to kill a book is to give it for an assignment in school". I tend to agree with her there for a number of reasons: first of all, you have to be in a mood to read something. The book may be the greatest in the world, but your mind has to be tuned to appreciate it, otherwise, it is just a waste of time. Plus, I never enjoyed all the dissecting done in classes. "The country was going thorough a war, and you can clearly see it in this piece." "The author was going through financial problems, and the hero of the story reflects this." "This work is imbued with revolutionary pathos!" I always had one question for all this nonsense: "How do you know that?" Unless you have a telepathic connection with the author (usually deceased), you have no idea what he or she was thinking or feeling at the time, and how exactly it is reflected in the writing, no matter how great an expert you are on the biography. Unless a letter or a journal survived that clearly indicates the connection between the writer's life and his or her writing, all the rest is just a guesswork and a matter of personal perception. So, yes, giving out a literary piece for an assignment in school is a very sure way to kill the true appreciation for it.
Or so I thought till I read Elizabeth Kantor's PI Guide. As much as I heard and read about the loony left's taking over of the colleges, nothing paints the exact horror as specific pictures. Apparently, students now a days either are not required at all to take English Lit as a prereq., or they are required and offered courses in English Lit., but only to teach them the horrors of Western Civilization, and the racism, misogyny, and the hatred of the homosexuals inherent in the above mentioned Civilization. Kantor makes a very good observation: professors who used to teach garbage like Marxism are not needed that much anymore. So, where could they transfer to? They can't teach science or math, so they somehow end up the literature department and continue to teach their miasma under the guise of English Lit.
Kantor gives a whole bunch of examples of loony teachings, saying that "English professors are so politically correct they're beyond parody." Here are some courses offered as "English": Comparative Cross Dressing; Gender Relations in the 19th Century Romantic Ballet: Sex, Drugs and Crime; Latino/a Popular Culture; Sex Outside the City; The Bourgeois; Race and Ethnicity in the Caribbean. She also gives some specific examples of PC language imposed in classes: subject instead of human being or person, the literary production instead of the work of literature, binaries instead of truth and falsehood, Marxist instead on Communist, priveleges instead of benefits, and so on. Suffice it to say that the blood boils from such garbage.
Most of the book is dedicated to basically going over the greatest English writers and their major work, touching on the main biographical points and explaining why all these works are classics and what we can learn from them (aside from supposed "priveleging" of white males to the detriment of everyone else). Despite the fact that I do not necessarily see all of these literary works in the same light (like nothing will convince me that I will enjoy The Taming of the Shrew), her sheer enthusiasm and obvious love for her subject was very contagious.
She concludes the book by offering the ways of teaching English Lit to yourself. I found that especially delightful: finally somebody tells me that it's OK to think of the literary characters as somebody real and argue with them. Plus, she suggest starting an amateur production of Shakespeare with your friends and relatives. What a grand idea! (Moish, how about you as MacDuff)?
As much as I enjoyed Kantor's witticism, the sad conclusion is inevitable. Long gone are the days when the worst what could have happened to you while studying English Lit. was somebody with Dr. E.' propensity for assigning depressing works. Now the wide-eyed college freshmen are subjected to English professors like Grover Furr, credited with saying: "This article outlines Joseph Stalin's attempts, from the 1930s until his death, to democratize the government of the Soviet Union", and instructors teaching "theory", "meaning Marxism, feminism, deconstruction, bashing of dead white males" and general "resistance to literature". Let us also not forget that a lot of it is done using our tax dollars. Great!
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
The name of that edifying chapter was "J.K. Rowling, Dirty Harry Potter, and the Gobletygook of Gold". That alone basically tells us the gist of the story. Huberman starts by flirtatiously demurring: 'They said I was mad. Attack the Harry Potter books..?" Then he continues: "Why am I growling at Rowling? For starters, the sheer scale of her success is unforgivable.." Thanks for making it clear for us, dude.
Then he goes on to profess the desire to read a book, and not be "a part in a cult phenom", and "further confesses" the prejudice against "fantasy/sword-and-sorcery genres", compounding it by calling the Lord of the Rings "basically a comic book." For the record, oh educated genius, Bush-bashing is "a part of cult phenom" of the "educated" left, and the dude who wrote "basically a comic book" was a Professor of Anglo-Saxon literature at Oxford, never mind the fact that the descriptions of the battle scenes came from his personal experiences as a solder (but why bother with facts).
Then he boldly goes on to inform us exactly where J.K. got her ideas for Harry. The list ranges from Japanese comic book, loops to "Moses, Oedipus, and Hamlet but also Spiderman, Batman, and Superman", and somehow ends up with Star Wars. I think his (Huberman's that is) parents refused to buy him comics, and he developed an unnatural hate of comic heroes; plus, some hard-core Star Wars fans had probably beat him up but good one time: "Both Georges, Lucas and Bush, must be stopped!" Such sane guy! Of course, the best sentence is this: "Who here hasn't had it with Forces of fucking Good and Evil?" Sorry for the profanity; just wanted to give the direct quote.
He continues with some more murky analogies, then goes on to ask "how badly, really, do kids still need lessons in the toleration of diversity - the Potter books' principle claim to moral and social value?" Kids are stuffed with lessons of diversity ad nauseum, so that they definitely do not need; but that is by far not the principle lesson of these books.
Then Huberman goes on to accuse the books of being "packed with morals, character, and, if you scrape a bit, political lessons on which George Dumbledore Bush would gladly stamp his great seal of presidential approval"; then goes the whole discussion about Harry and his friends disregarding authority and fighting the Ministry of Magic that somehow translates into free enterprise initiative and Newt Gingrich. "In short", goes a wise conclusion, "if kids really need more role models for contempt toward rules and regs - and by extension, toward government, the Constitution, and international law - can't we just direct their attention to the Bush administration?" How is it that the story of a fifteen year old orphan courageously standing up to the corrupt and cowardly government, often at the big expense to himself, is not morally appropriate for the children? Never mind that that pronouncement is made by a talentless, green with jealousy writer, whose only claim to fame is speaking up against the government in the freest country of the world. How about he moves to China or North Korea and then starts moralizing and protecting human rights there?
Then Mr. Huberidiot goes on to pontificate that kids grow up "deeply literate" in mythologies", but ignorant of history, geography, science. Well, re-writing of history and teaching deliberate historical lies has been one of the main mission statements of his left "intellectual" friends. As for teaching of science, and not just Darwinism, that was attempted by the Kansas State Board of Education, which this hypocrite also included in this volume of America's "screwers".
Then he progresses to compare the world of Harry Potter with popular TV, lists all the movies and popular TV shows dealing with magic and supernatural, which he hates for whatever reason. Then goes the quote belonging to "TV critic Lee Siegel" : "So, ...thanks a lot, Al Qaeda...We now share with Islamic fanatics an all-consuming desire to escape into fantastical imaginings of the Beyond". On behalf of my fellow Americans, thanks a heap, guys! What Islamic "warriors" have is not fantastical imaginings, it is "absurdly childish masturbatory fantasy" about 72 virgins (Yashiko Sagamori, 2004, "De Profundis"). For that fantasy they are willing to kill themselves any time, providing they will take with them as many infidels (and possibly infidel structures) as they can. Nice parallels between these fanatical murderers and Americans addicted to fantasy in movies and on TV.
Finally, he mentions a 2004 Gallup poll, according to which, 78 percent of Americans believe in angels (oh horror!). "Only 40 percent, another poll found , believed in evolution..." Thanks for being clear on this, bud, because believe is what it is, since Darwin's theory was never proven.
"'Narr' is German for "fool." Well, welcome to Narrnia.'" Of course, my German is pretty rusty, but I believe German for fool is another word entirely; but never mind that. On the other hand, accusing people of being idiots because they enjoy fantasy books is in itself idiotic.
Finally, here comes this masterpiece of a conclusion: "All I'm suggesting is a fifty-to-seventy-five-year moratorium...on ghosts, angels, hobbits, witches, wizards... Eventually, we may even be able to distinguish political fact from fiction again." Wow!!!! Moratorium on people's imagination! Not only is he mortally jealous of a single mother on welfare who became a billionaires due to her imagination and talent, he is basically proposing a form of though police!
Congratulations, Comrade Huberman! Comrades Lenin, Stalin, and Brezhnev, along with Parteigenosse Goebbels salute you from their graves!
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
At a certain point in my life I have discovered political non-fiction. Now, one of my friends declared that to him it is a waste of time, because he either reads something at which he feels like spitting, and that is a total, well, waste of time, or reads something with which he agrees anyway, and he does not need that. I look at it a little differently. First of all, it is always advisable to have at least a general idea of what the enemy is up to, and the modern left is definitely the worst inside enemy of this country today; so, as much as I feel like spitting at or burning the despicable trash they call books, I always find it advisable to at least skim through them.
On the other hand we have all the books that are labeled "conservative" or "far right", even though a lot of them are neither. The people who write them come from very different backgrounds, political camps, or schools of thought. What unites them is one thing and one thing only: they refuse to toe the general party line set up by parteigenossen of what is ironically called "intellectual elite" (or, as Ann Coulter aptly called "the treason lobby").
One phenomenon I observed is that for every "right" book that comes out, there are on average at least two or three books from the "other" side shrieking denunciations (Ann Coulter usually garners at least five books calling her a bitch, but that's Ann). So, it came at no particular surprise to me that a little while after Bernard Goldberg's "100 People Who Are Screwing up America" came about I accidentally stumbled on the one called "101 People Who are Really Screwing America" by Jack Huberman. Yep, another observation is that the Shriekers do not usually bother much with creativity, but that's another story.
The blurb on the back of that literary masterpiece calls Goldberg's book "unforgivably successful" and attributes to the current author such wonderful works of courageous, almost life-threatening political dissent as "Bush-Haters Handbook" and 'Bushit!" The general format of the book also follows Goldberg's book: listing the offenders in descending numerical order, from bad to "badder" to "baddest". Yours truly was duly curious. If this book was a "shriek" response to Goldberg, who is actually more centrist than right, who are the offenders now?
I opened the book to satisfy my curiosity. Of course, I have found the "usual suspects": AIPAC, Linda Chavez, Regnery Publishing, Halliburton, SUV Buyers, The Wall Street Journal, The Discovery Institute and The Kansas State Board of Education (may G-d give them strength, but that is a different story), James Inhofe, Ann Coulter, David Horowitz, Fox News, Bill O'Reilly, The Federalist Society, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, the current President and the Vice President of the United States, and even "GOD" (coming up at #77). Again, that list was not surprising. What really floored me was # 96 on this hit list. Can you guess who it was? Three tries? You are wrong. It was ... Ready? J.K. Rowling!!
Now, just for fun, I have read a lot of anti-Rowling tripe, ranging from "fundamentalist" Christians to self-proclaimed book critics. But this was the absolute corker. What had she done that was terrible enough to put her on that list? So, yours truly decided to find out, and here we are. ( to be continued)
A Chinese dude on the subway using a roll of toilet paper as a tissue box.
A prime parking spot off Lexington Avenue occupied by two motorcycles.
A teenager who rides to school every day with a denim bag with a cartoon of a cute little girl on it with gigantic balloon "I hate people".
A husband and wife riding to work together: husband reading Dr. Laura's "Proper Feeding of a Husband" and wife just looking at him indulgently.
An un-named musician who keeps playing Saint-Saens' "The Swan" every single morning.
A construction worker who has put down his cup of Starbucks (minus the lid) to cool down on the subway floor during the rush hour.
A persistent dude who kept transporting his shiny hog from Prospect Park to 34th Street every single morning during the rush hour for about a year.
Street vendors with sun glasses who magically grew up on every corner overnight.
A hapless traffic cop in Times Square, who, unable to control the steady stream of pedestrians crossing on the red light, just stepped away, put down his hands and waived at the cars in despair: "Just run them over, they don't want to live!"
New Yorkers finally abandoning their uniform black for rainbow of colors.
Ice cream trucks got resurrected from last fall.
Tourists finally enjoying the top of the double-decker buses.
Flowers and fresh grass all over the "stone sack".
Two sprigs of crocuses that I have discovered on the way to my sister's house. They came out at the first hint of warmth, and had survived the worst rainstorm in thirty years and two consequent cold blasts.
To new beginnings!
Monday, May 07, 2007
As I grew older, the usual questions and re-evaluations followed. Yes, we can not dedicate only one day to give thanks to our Creator and his partners, our parents, but taking one day to make it extra special: what harm in that? The older I get, the more I realize how blessed my life is, and one of the biggest blessings are my parents. I can never thank them enough or come even close to giving them back all they have given me; never the less I try to do something sweet and special for them on Mother's and Father's Day respectively. As for Thanksgiving, it became my special day to give extra thanks for this wonderful country (without traditional dinner, since I hate turkey and sweet potatoes).
A few days ago I was browsing the net for something totally unrelated, but somehow stumbled on an interesting website. The site is called Thegratitudefund.org, and it is created by one of the former Soviet dissidents with a specific purpose to collect funds in order to assist other dissidents who are languishing in poverty in Russia. The site also has sort of a Memorial Wall, listing all the names of deceased dissidents; it also tells when and how they died. As I was reading this list, I got tears in my eyes and shivers down my spine. All those names leaping up at me! The days of my childhood when I used to hear those names on the garbled transmissions from Radio Svoboda! Then my eyes turned to the "death" column. My goodness! How many of them have died in jail or forced labor camps!
As I kept reading and re-reading this Memorial, my thoughts kept turning to two things: my love and unending gratitude for this country and the definition of a hero. These people were definitely not normal when you look at it logically. They lacked something which is inherent to all humans: the instinct for self-preservation. They may have been idealists, but they were definitely not blind or mis-informed. They knew the risks involved; that did not stop them from going against the biggest and the most horrendous suppression machine in the history of mankind, slowly, but successfully eroding this machine in the process. I also kept thinking how wonderful my life is, and how grateful I am that my family escaped when we did without experiencing the most tender mercies of the Soviet regime.
So, in my mind, I raise the biggest glass of the best wine and say this: Thank you, G-d, for this great and wonderful country, for your protection in our darkest hours, and for allowing us to escape with our lives and health intact. Please protect this country from her external enemies and all the traitors and useful idiots who are trying to destroy it from within! Thank You for all the "lunatics" who do not cower in darkness but have the courage to protest the tyranny and fight for every human's right to be free! Please continue to protect them and to protect USA!
Friday, May 04, 2007
1. With all due respect to the police officers, their job usually ends up being investigating the crimes or dealing with the aftermath of those crimes, but not preventing them. The mass shooting at Virginia Tech was a prime example of that.
2. The idea of allowing college students to parade around the campus with guns may not sound very bright, but (forgive me for being crude) neither is the idea of those same kids having indiscriminate sex a la March hares, getting drunk all the time, or using drugs (and if you do not perceive all those things as having the same degree of danger, allow me to politely disagree). It all boils down to one thing: were those kids raised to be responsible, moral human beings or not.
3. If I am not mistaken, the original mission of the much maligned NRA was to teach people how to operate guns, and only much later were they forced into defending the right to own gun, not just teaching to operate it. It is a simple logic and common sense that if a person owns a gun, he or she have to know how to operate it and take care of it.
4. And last, but most important: it is a Constitutional Right of every American Citizen to own a gun! Just because some people do not like it, or disagree with it, or feel threatened by it, it does not give them the right to dictate to the rest of the country! I may not like it when an anti-Israel crowd is marching across the Brooklyn bridge; more than that, I would have been overjoyed had the bridge collapsed, and they all drowned. Actually, scratch that: not very hygienic, plus I would feel bad for the bridge. Let us say, if they all magically disappeared forever, I would be thrilled. But as much as I hate those people and everything they stand for, I have no right to deprive them of their First Amendment rights! So who the hell are the Brady lobby, Michael Moore, and the rest of that stinking crown to deprive American citizens of their Constitutional Right?! Who gave them the right to deprive us of our right to choose to own or not to own a gun?
As per statistics and legal jargon, below is the link to an article written by David B. Kopel, who was an ADA in Manhattan. The article is entitled "Trust the People". I think that says it all. On this happy note I personally close this discussion for now; not because I want to follow in the illustrious steps of the Darwinists who claim that there is no need for discussion because the topic was proven irrefutably, but because I can not say it better or clearer or with better examples than this dude. Here we go: