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The Great Derangement
http://www.heinleinsociety.org/thsnexus/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=263
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Author:  PeterScott [ Fri May 15, 2009 5:25 pm ]
Post subject:  The Great Derangement

Just started this book - think I saw it on The Daily Show - and I'm loving it. If you'd like to read a smartly written book about how f*cked this country is - 'scuse me, your country - well, this one too - from both ends (politicians and public), here's your stop. If you thought it wasn't possible to become more cynical about the machinations of Congress, this book may hold a few surprises for you.

Author:  BillPatterson [ Fri May 15, 2009 6:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Derangement

Peter Scott wrote:
Just started this book - think I saw it on The Daily Show - and I'm loving it. If you'd like to read a smartly written book about how f*cked this country is - 'scuse me, your country - well, this one too - from both ends (politicians and public), here's your stop. If you thought it wasn't possible to become more cynical about the machinations of Congress, this book may hold a few surprises for you.

When I saw this threat topic, I wondered if you were reading a book about the Cajuns.

Author:  PeterScott [ Tue May 26, 2009 8:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Derangement

Finished it. It is perhaps the most depressing book I've read, because of the hopeless picture it paints of the state of the country, backed up by mountains of evidence. It is, however, wildly entertaining, from the author's infiltration of a fundamentalist training camp (Texas, not Afghanistan), where they totally buy his story that his alcoholic father was an ex-clown who used to beat him with his oversized shoes, to the encounter with 9/11 conspiracy theorists picketing his office after he called them clinically insane, and demonstrating, well, clinically insane behavior.

The depressing part is how large these factions are. The reason that McCain still got 48% of the vote is because huge swathes of the country believe that the Democratic party is the tool of Satan - literally. And thirty-six percent of the population believes that 9/11 was a government plot. This book lays out how a handful of people really run the country - and are raiding it for personal gain - while the rest wallow in meaningless hate-fests.

Sigh. Even channel-surfing last week I couldn't help but see - within the one second I was paused on that channel - Fox News' contention that Adam Lambert lost American Idol because a majority of voters were "smart enough to hate gays." A news channel. Meanwhile, CNN oscillates between woman-in-peril stories and puppy-of-the-week exposés, and the only person on TV calling bullshit on them is the host of a comedy talk show. The Romans had lead in the water pipes. What's our excuse?

Author:  PeterScott [ Tue May 26, 2009 8:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Derangement

A sample of the delicious writing:
Quote:
No creature on earth is more inclined to public verbal diarrhea than a modern American [...] we live in a country where people believe implicitly in their right to bore the living shit out of absolutely everybody within haranguing distance with tales of their miserable, lonely, and inevitably self-deluding searches for personal fulfillment in the emotional desert that is our crass commercial culture.

Author:  BillPatterson [ Wed May 27, 2009 6:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Derangement

Peter Scott wrote:
A sample of the delicious writing:
Quote:
No creature on earth is more inclined to public verbal diarrhea than a modern American [...] we live in a country where people believe implicitly in their right to bore the living shit out of absolutely everybody within haranguing distance with tales of their miserable, lonely, and inevitably self-deluding searches for personal fulfillment in the emotional desert that is our crass commercial culture.

now if you want to follow it up with a REALLY depressing book, get The Next Million Years by Charles Galton Darwin. Only get an extension arm or a pair of tongs to reach up to get your socks.

Author:  JamesGifford [ Wed May 27, 2009 7:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Derangement

I think I've mentioned that I spent two years working for two Baptists, both converts, both right about my age, both intensively involved with their large and very politically active church. We were a service agency and so quite a few of their kameraden came through the doors and discussed their various business. I sat there, quiet as a church mouse, and observed things that would have made my jaw drop and my head explode had I not wrapped them in duct tape.

I don't know if this book presents this, but one of the core things I took away from my observations is that people like this - of any extreme stripe - tend to live and work in a bubble of like-minds, and easily become convinced that they are the vast majority, and that their beliefs are universal except for those few malcontents.

It was truly terrifying to see, sometimes.

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