2 Book Rants

via Daily Prompt: Enroll

Word count = 896 / Reading time = 3 minutes, 35 seconds

I’m not feeling very creative today, y’all.  Figuring out how to fit these two rants into a post in response to “enroll” is about the extent of my creative ability right now.  In fact, I’m feeling kind of existentially angsty, partially induced by having recently finished two simultaneous reads that left me feeling sad and disturbed about the current state of my society and culture.  Although I’m not fully enrolled in the “Post-A-Day” curriculum, I recognize the value of the Daily Post forum for meeting new & interesting Bloggers, seeing what others have to say, and spreading my own good, if sometimes depressing or distressing, words.  Forgive me if it seems like I’ve betrayed the spirit of the idea today.  Also forgive me for the length of this post; it’s considerably longer than what I usually post and certainly much longer the kinds of posts I prefer to read given my limited amount of free time.  My only excuse is that I need some uplift, encouragement, and good cheer today.  Listen to me, I sound like a snivelling, self-pitying fool.  This post isn’t worth your time.  I won’t be offended if you don’t read, like, or comment upon it.  Honest I won’t.

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Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine

by Joe Hagan, audiobook narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris.

I rated this 3 of 5 stars on Goodreads.  You can read the synopsis here.

Sticky Fingers probably deserves 4 stars for its technical aspects. It’s extremely well-researched, cogently presented, and appears to be both accurate and fair to Jann Wenner, a man who has lived a reckless and ridiculously self-centered life. Joe Hagan deserves kudos for this remarkable work of history and biography not just because it’s his first published book but because he writes so clearly and in great detail. Dennis Boutsikaris is a solid narrator and does a good job here. Sadly, the book ends up revealing an awful lot of what’s wrong with our culture today.

I rated the book 3 stars because by the time I was only a quarter of the way finished, I was tired of listening to the exploits of so many reckless, profligate, drug-soaked, indsicriminately-fucking, spoiled, entitled, selfish, self-centered, nauseatingly wealthy, petty, self-important pricks and assholes who make up nearly the entire cast of characters. And that behavior just goes on and on and on throughout the entire audiobook, approximately 20 hours of it. Given that the story is about the very people who comprise the whole of our celebrity-besotted, rock & roll, pop culture and entertainment industry, I shouldn’t have been surprised that there would be so very much sex, drugs, and reprehensible treatment of fellow human beings. I’m certainly no prude, but as I have aged, I’ve noticed that those kinds of stories just don’t entertain me anymore. The people in Sticky Fingers exercise no restraint in their lives at all, and they think nothing of doing great harm to other people and their reputations. It just makes me very sad.

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Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby

by Candid R. Moss and Joel S. Baden

I rated this 3 of 5 stars on Goodreads.  You can read the synopsis here.

As with Sticky Fingers, I rated Bible Nation one star less than it probably deserves not because of the quality of the book but because its content so disturbs me.

Scholars Candida Moss and Joel Baden deserve 4 stars for the depth and quality of their research and their even-handed treatment of the Green family, whom the authors appear to admire for their sincerely held religious beliefs and convictions while simultaneously being dismayed by their misguided attempts to influence public education at all levels as well as public opinion through their vehicles of traveling exhibits, the Museum of the Bible, and sponsored (and highly troubling) research initiatives in the academy.

I rated the book 3 stars instead of 4 because I am tired of and sickened by the willfully ignorant but increasingly widespread revisionist-history, ‘Biblical worldview’ narrative propounded by American evangelical conservative Protestants (and now, it seems, some Catholics as well). When I’m attending a church service where that outlook is vividly on display, I become uncomfortable.  It made me physically ill to read about a family who conforms to that outlook, works so hard to spread it, and is so ridiculously wealthy that they are able to influence every aspect of our society, even jurisprudence and legislation at the national level, and to dictate the meaning of and denigrate the quality of scholarly product in the academy.

I complained in my review of Sticky Fingers that the aspect of our culture on display there is one of the major problems of American society today. The aspect of our culture represented in Bible Nation, the rapidly-growing number of evangelical conservative Protestants who propound a ‘Biblical worldview’, is another major problem. What’s worse, this group sincerely believes that theirs is the only correct answer to the problems we face, and they honestly and sincerely believe that God is on their side. That scares me. And the solutions to our country’s problems have to lie somewhere between these mutual tensions.

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Pretty pathetic, right?  So come on.  I pity anyone who took the time to slog through this drivel, but if you did, you can see I’m suffering right?  While I’m opening a fresh box of Kleenex, maybe some sympathetic soul out there will reach out to cheer me up, maybe offer me some encouragement that there is yet hope for America…  Is there?

15 thoughts on “2 Book Rants

  1. Oh,come on! We all have such days when nothing seems to be going right.
    But keep the faith. There is definitely hope for America as long as there are people like you.
    Cheer up.👍

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with your assessment althought these two books I’ve not read. I have, however, read others that in a nutshell comprise the whole outlook it seems of a nation so self-serving that they forget the big picture or that others exist. It’s writers and readers like you who do make a difference. You gave kudos where kudos were due, but also spoke the truth. That is an invaluable commodity in today’s society where people are so self-involved they can’t or won’t look beyond their own four walls to realize the totality of what is happening around them, in their culture, nature and the world. You give hope! Hope that through your words others will wake up and realize the futility of the life-style they are living whether it be 16 year olds 20 or 30 or even 40 year olds who need a kick in the pants to get them breathing the same air the rest of us breath. Kudos! to you indeed!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. We paid for the domain name and rented a host so I’m self hosting. My son is an expert at this stuff so he’s done all of it for me. I can post you tube no problem. I just can’t get it from FB well, I don’t know how I cut copied and pasted but I wasn’t sure it would work. It did, I tried it out on my site then posted the you tube vid to be sure lol.

        Liked by 1 person

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