Monday, May 08, 2006

Non-review rant

The stack of books by the bed is shrinking a little faster than I thought it would. Part of that reason is because I am returning The Great Stink by Clare Clark unread. I was so repulsed by the graphic violence in the first twenty-five pages in this book, that I couldn't read any farther. I am not a prude; I read Patricia Cornwell and many other contemporary mystery authors who use violence as part of their writing style. But Clark writes so lingeringly and lovingly about her violence with extra attention to detail, it was too much for me to take. There's a reason I don't watch CSI and all of its imitators either. The camera lingers over every drop of blood and sweeps slowly over each wound, making sure we haven't missed a centimeter. Is this what our society is coming to? We have denigrated the human body through pornography so that there is nothing sacred or beautiful about sex anymore. There are no more secrets about the most intimate of acts, so now we prove that there is nothing sacred about the body itself. By zooming in on the saw as it enters the brain or the tweezers as they pull tissue from the bone, are we saying: Look, there's nothing here but flesh and bone, nothing sacred here. The envelope is constantly being pushed, and our standards for viewing are being pushed back. Back until it seems that we have none. When NYPD Blue first came out, there was much discussion over the amount of naked flesh being shown, but soon that was old news as other shows jumped on the bandwagon. Now we glorify the wounds that people inflict on each other and reduce the victim to a heap of flesh and bone to be cut up and joked over. Where do we go from here? How much lower can we go?

I do have a couple of book reviews today. Shut Up and Sing by Laura Ingraham is an insightful look into not only the liberal elite but how conservatives view them. Ingraham's book is similar to Ann Coulter's Slander and Women Who Make the World Worse by Kate O'Beirne, but better in that she explains things with so much more detail. It does seem that the same stories about unhinged liberals seem to circulate from book to book. I've read the same crazy stories in all three of these books, plus a few that were in Michael Savage's The Enemy Within. I would have to place this book near the top of the heap of this kind of writing. Ingraham doesn't engage in name-calling and backs up her writing with lots of source material. Her voice in writing is straight-forward without the histrionics that make up so much conservative writing. My one complaint is that she seems to see Communism everywhere. Maybe I'm naive, but I thought that The Red Scare was over. Not according to Ingraham, and she doesn't come off as a quack, she's got the sources to back herself up. Scary reading.

Women Who Make the World Worse by Kate O'Beirne isn't quite as good. I learned a great deal about Title IX and how college sports are suffering from the quota system, but it's not surprising, everything suffers from the quota system. O'Beirne suffers from the occasional name-calling, but for the most part her book is solid. It'll make you frustrated with these women, but not angry enough to do anything about it. She brings up some good points about equal salary information, but much of this info can be found in other books. Instead, read Shut Up and Sing by Laura Ingraham.

I'm finally reading that book about the history of the Pony Express and anxiously waiting for the next Yada Yada Prayer Group books to come in at the library. I'm working my way through Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, what an amazing book. Every time I read a new chapter I find myself jotting down notes. It's funny how some writing never ages and other writing is out of style before it gets published.

And for my last thought of the day. Can someone explain to me why if David Blaine is holding his breath for nine minutes underwater tonight, his special has to be two hours long?