Here's a list that gladdens. What Youth and "7 books you will psyche on and should totally read."
I often bemoan the fact that good writing is a dying art. It ain't necessarily true but it sometimes feels that way. The yoof, it always seemed to me, could buy a Canikon for a couple hunge, flood the 'net with images, and call 'emselves artists - easy! But unlike photography there's no shortcut to good writing: no autofocus, no colour correcting software - it's hard fucken work. And the first step toward it is to read lots and lots of great writers. So yeah, glad to see the yoof - What Yoof! - spruiking seven good books. Bit limited in scope and style but a good list nonetheless.
We will probably have to disagree on the contribution of the US to peace and security freeride given that I believe pretty much the exact opposite ....... that the US has destroyed peace and security in the Middle East and Afghanistan, meddled destructively in several South American nations and was responsible for the massive escalation in nuclear weapons which, now more than ever, pose an existential threat to humanity.
Extreme neoliberalism was a choice , which our pollies gladly accepted with their billowing brown bags of cash.
Even as recently as the Olympics we were bemused by the dollar worship as practiced by the average seppo.
I don't disagree with your specific points there but it's undeniable that the American security umbrella in the west pacific post ww2 has been of great benefit to Australia.
And as China rises and that security umbrella breaks down Australia will be one of the biggest losers facing some extremely unpleasant options.
I would be interested to hear more specifics about how that umbrella benefited us freeride, I just can't seem to come with anything myself. I posted my thoughts on China earlier.
"The rise of China gives us a reason and an opportunity to develop a more independent and Asian focused foreign policy that will serve our long term interests much better than our current all the way with the USA approach. China's only territorial ambitions are Hong Kong, to which they have every legal, if not ethical, right, and Taiwan which is slowly being economically absorbed and is nit under any immediate threat. Australia also needs to recognise that the world is changing. We will need to accommodate Chinese power but the costs of this may turn out to be much less than our involvement in all those ill considered US wars."
“Xi has said the “problem” cannot be put off for another generation and has called on the military to be prepared to fight “bloody battles” for every “single inch” of its territory.”
Time for a serious rethink if you can’t see that as a literal threat. Assuming you are willing to acknowledge the facts , of course.
And with only 3 percent of Taiwanese wanting to become part of China, it plays as the most critical threat of invading a neighboring nation as you’ll ever find.
Stunnng misread of the China situation, Laurie.
If you believe that see what odds you can get on a Chinese attack on Taiwan in the next 12 months. Don't take anything less than 100/1.
You believe that putting a 12 month qualifier lends any truth whatsoever to your completely false claim ?
Loz, the success of Aus as a stable democratic middle power in SE Asia under the stability of the US security guarantee are undeniable: your whole existence is based on it.
Your thoughts on China, especially this : "We will need to accommodate Chinese power but the costs of this may turn out to be much less than our involvement in all those ill considered US wars", on the other hand are pure speculation rebuffed both by experts in foreign policy and daily events.
The denial of the realities evident in China’s actions is astounding. Reads as propaganda.
What experts? What events? freeride I keep asking for specifics and you respond with generalisations. I can understand that people are concerned that the dominant world power is no longer an English speaking country but one with an entirely different culture but, like it or not, that's the world we live in. For me the most telling statistic is to look at the pattern of behaviour. Since World War 2 China has invaded one country, Tibet. What's the US count these days? Then consider that as I type this out tens of millions of refugees are living in appalling conditions in the Middle East as a direct result of the US invasion of Iraq. Millions more died. For what? No answer to that beyond Bush's desire to get re-elected. In my opinion the US alliance was never tested in any meaningful way, nor was their security umbrella necessary anywhere outside the fantasy driven world of the Pentagon. If they were once a reliable ally, they are certainly not now. China currently poses no military threat to Australia and seems unlikely to do so for the foreseeable future. In the case of Taiwan, the rhetoric around being prepared to use force was in the context of a weapons build up in Taiwan and US naval vessels operating in the straits. The message was to reassert their claim.
Loz, I'm on school hols looking after kids so I cannot go into detail.
A smart man like you with a computer will be able to spend about 5 minutes googling to get extended essays from experts on foreign policy and the challenges of a rising Chinese power game in our region.
As Stu noted, start with Hugh White.
I do not disagree with you at all about US military overreach in the Middle East.
Enjoy the kids freeride. I have done my research and come to my conclusions.
My two cents worth.
There's no doubt that Australia's wealth and prosperity after WW2 is predicated on its relationship with the US.
The briefest look at the data on the deep and historic economic ties show that Australia has a disproportionately large trade and investment relationship with the United States, historically making the United States Australia’s most important economic partner.
But, we're paying a price for this.
As I've mentioned before, American dominance has come at the cost of tens of millions of lives and the hard and soft overthrow of the legitimate governments of scores and scores of countries.
Also, it has come at the cost of Australia's political freedom - if you think the US/CIA would allow Australia to take an economic left turn, I think you're wrong.
And then there's the dominance of US pop culture which stifles the potential to develop a healthier national identity.
As for China, yeah I'd rather be under US influence but with regards to growing authoritarian surveillance etc, I think we're heading in the same direction regardless, it's just that in the West it'll be done through corporations instead of a government, which is the way neoliberalism has evolved/been designed, and suits all the players in any case.
Same outcome with the avoidance of political responsibility.
Not a book but a wee article - just 3,100 words - about the lumbering mess that is the nation-state and how the city-state may eventually replace it.
‘Power in the 21st century belongs to the problem-solvers. National governments debate and dither. Cities act, cities do’
The “ lumbering mess “ of the nation state makes sure that when your kid is knocked off his bike whilst riding with friends somewhere , an ambulance will take him to a hospital and they’ll treat him whilst you’re being contacted.
Any porous society, such as the ones mentioned above , won’t provide such services.
Just like the city states of old , you’ll be hunkered down under his Lordship’s effluent pipe on the outer wall of the keep , hustling for remnant solids in his shit to survive if your life falls apart as there will be no community to rely on.
Cue Centrelink jokes.
That’s why tech billionaires are so keen on the idea . They want society to be free......free from someone else’s hand in their pocket trying to provide for a common good. Every man for themselves works when you’re richer than God.
Anyone read 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by 'self help guru' Jordan Peterson?
Hmmm, maybe a revised edition is in order?
Especially after this woo...
Factotum you wrote:
"Anyone read 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by 'self help guru' Jordan Peterson?
Hmmm, maybe a revised edition is in order?
Especially after this woo..."
Have you read it? I don't think it needs any revision whatsoever on the basis that the author has taken personal responsibility and done something about his addiction. In fact, I would say it strengthens the message Jordan Peterson conveys in the book.
Jordan Peterson's universal message is certainly not 'do as I do because I am a saint' its quite the opposite. Go deeper Factotum.
Peterson has set himself up as, amongst other things, an 'expert on addiction' who was able to give succour to (sucker?!) and solve other people's problems. In reality, he couldn't even solve his own. He's not just a fool but a dangerous one. Boxing up all sorts of nastiness protected by lightweight intellectual bubble wrap in a neat pretty package of 'self help n growth' for his confected 'disaffected'. A conman selling snake oil to the vulnerable.
At the very least, this may get his fans to pull their heads in when it comes to stigmatizing addiction, say. The arch stigmatizer can't be stigmatized, surely?
No thinking person would begrudge him his plight...well, except HIM (if it wasn't actually erm, him).
Lucky he's in Canada. If he was South of the Border he might have to get some crowd-funding going to cover his medical bills.
Go deeper indeed...
In my opinion its not very deep at all to lay down an opinion piece which doesn't challenge any of his actual principles, just aims to create skepticism. The piece seems very hollow to me, it reads like the reader never really grasped the fundamental concepts that are discussed by Peterson in detail, and then they pull out diagrams that don't make sense to the first time reader and use that as justification that Peterson is talking garbage. go figure.
"have you read it? or any of his lectures?" was my question to you.
Where do you get the impression that he has set himself up as an expert on addiction? He spends very little time on the whole discussing addiction and i've read/listened to a large body of his work.
He regularly talks about looking inward and asking what can be done to improve yourself, then he makes it crystal clear that he is a flawed individual and by no means has it together himself (I can think of more than 5 lectures/interviews where this is his stated position toward himself). So can I ask you in what way is he invalidated by being a flawed individual?
You may need to go deeper
But I guess you have read his opus Maps of Meaning?
That article skewers this foundation of his so-called academic firepower.
Yeah, he rabbits on about the individual and personal responsibility being above all. Sacrosanct in fact.
That's his problem. And my problem with him and his acolytes.
A smaller piece of the article to digest:
"Here is where Jordan Peterson’s self-help routine connects with his politics. Peterson seemingly discourages all serious political involvement. He says cultivating the self and reading great books is “more important than any possible political action.” Don’t focus on changing the world, focus on tidying up your life. After all, “the meaning of life is to be found in the adoption of individual responsibility” and “when you win everything, everyone around you wins too” because “it means you shine a light on the whole world…” 12 Rules For Life makes it explicit: stop questioning the social order, stop assigning blame for problems to political actors, stop trying to reorganize things.
Have you taken full advantage of the opportunities offered to you? Are you working hard on your career, or even your job, or are you letting bitterness and resentment hold you back and drag you down? Have you made peace with your brother? … Are there things that you could do, that you know you could do, that would make things around you better? Have you cleaned up your life? If the answer is no, here’s something to try: start to stop doing what you know to be wrong. Start stopping today… Don’t blame capitalism, the radical left, or the iniquity of your enemies. Don’t reorganize the state until you have ordered your own experience. Have some humility. If you cannot bring peace to your household, how dare you try to rule a city? … Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.
Note: perfect. And since one’s house can never be in perfect order, one can never criticize the world. This is, most obviously, an invitation to total depoliticization and solipsism. But it’s also a recipe for making miserable people even more miserable. Blame yourself. Why haven’t I fixed this? I suck. Well, it’s certainly possible that you suck. (Most of us do!*) But the world also does have injustices in it. A lot, in fact. Peterson speaks to disaffected millennial men, validating their prejudices about feminists and serving as a surrogate father figure. Yet he’s offering them terrible advice, because the “individual responsibility” ethic makes one feel like a failure for failing. Oh, sure, his rules about “standing up straight” and “petting a cat when you see one” are innocuous enough. But you shouldn’t tell people that their problems are their fault if you don’t actually know whether their problems are their fault. Millennials struggle in part because of a viciously competitive economy that is crushing them with debt and a lack of opportunity. Sure, Peterson might train guys to be more brutal and tough-minded, and a few of them will do better at the competition. But if you can’t pay your student loans, or your rent, and you can’t get a better job, what use is it to tell you that you should adopt a confident lobster-posture?"
Will we even know who he is in 5 years? Unless you're an academic, or a clinging-on cultist, I wager no.
That advice has worked for literally millions of people
Thanks for replying with specifics.
But I guess you have read his opus Maps of Meaning? Yes.
I believe that there's a deeper message to appreciate in his fundamental construction of why people should start to take personal responsibility before they take on the world. What I understand of the "personal responsibility" message is that we are sometimes driven by a deep resentment about something that has happened in the past. We continue to bring that resentment with us from the past and project it onto others subconsciously by applying the past to the familiar type of person or situation, regardless of whether that person or situation has any connection with your past trauma. That resentment causes us to identify a perpetrator and a victim. In that mindset we are more likely to resent and act viciously toward others we see as perpetrators, ignore the objective truth/facts of a situation, and band together with other people who fit the victim/perpetrator narrative.
The clean your room metaphor is suggesting that you will be most productive and most capable to act and make change in your life for the betterment of yourself and others if you first put yourself in order and take a deep look at what is motivating you and be very self-critical of what your own contribution is to the problem.
"12 Rules For Life makes it explicit: stop questioning the social order, stop assigning blame for problems to political actors, stop trying to reorganize things."
It actually makes explicit the opposite. In the same book as he suggests people should look inward critically, before taking on the world, he makes an extremely profound case for always speaking the truth and calling out injustice when you see it. Injustice to yourself, others including systemic & political injustices.
In many of his lectures he speaks about unionising and collective activism being necessary and extremely beneficial when the person who has called to action is doing so with great introspection to their core purpose for speaking out, engaging with humility, honesty, and an unwavering in their cause with the awareness that they might become targeted as a result.
"And since one’s house can never be in perfect order, one can never criticize the world. This is, most obviously, an invitation to total depoliticization and solipsism. "
So I disagree with the above generalisation, and its not true in my experience after reflecting upon myself critically & understanding where my resentments were hidden.
"But it’s also a recipe for making miserable people even more miserable. Blame yourself. Why haven’t I fixed this? I suck."
Again, not in my experience. I found that spending time reflecting on how I contribute to all the problems in my life extremely rewarding, life changing and empowering. Its worth giving some thought as to how that kind of response might occur. I think it's in realising that I have the capacity to change my life for the betterment of myself and others.
"But if you can’t pay your student loans, or your rent, and you can’t get a better job, what use is it to tell you that you should adopt a confident lobster-posture?"
If it was generalised like that, then no, doesn't sound like it would help to tell someone that. But in reading and understanding that chapter, the person might realise that they do have the capability to take stock of where they are in life and set their life in the best possible order so that they are more likely to be able to achieve the best possible outcome for their life they can, and pay off their debts and improve their employability, perhaps even go on to take action about the student debt crisis and be able to fund their contribution to a campaign.
So I don't understand what is wrong with all this advice. But perhaps you are more frustrated that he spends a lot of time being critical of the far left?
Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Good.
5 books for ol' Swellnetonians to absorb:
William Finnegan a must own,
Chas Smith a fucktard but good book easy reading
Mein Kampf put it in your bookshelf, just to throw people. I tried reading it did not get far, paid $5.
A guide to Victorian beaches, Its cold and full of Victorians...not going to happen
Occy... Badly written, the story of a surfing trust fund baby who has never worked a day in his life, or did anything interesting, nothing gained from my read of the library book, saw it in a book exchange and did not even get it for the collection.
The Dogs of Winter
by Kem Nunn
$2 at Crazy Clints in the 90's Hardcover
Lord Ted! And a bloody good writer is Andy Martin.
And yes, Chas Smith is a tiresome nebbish.
Statler......come back.......I like your opinions and the delivery of such.
Agreed about Chas Smith. I just don’t understand getting slapped by some fucktard and wearing it.
Perhaps it was all just another cross- pollination of surf sites . Another cul de sac Collab between brands ? I didn’t get it.
Andy Martin wrote a really good book about surfing that took pride of place on my shelves when I was a younger fella. I still remember the line “ Cheyne Horan looked like he came from a planet closer to the sun....”
It’s called Australia. Still , the line gave me pride of place and Cheyne did look like a God given reign over the watery surface of the Earth . I liked that book. Might revisit it. Can’t remember the name though.....
Walking on water by Andy Martin.
A fine book it is too. As is his other main surfing tome, Stealing the Wave, about the relationship and struggle between Bradshaw and Foo.
My favourite of his though (and non-surfing) is The Boxer and the Goalkeeper: Sartre vs Camus.
Cometh the times, cometh the philosophy!
This is a cool thread to revisit and look back on. Good lists of books to check out.
And interesting discussion too.
Craig McGregor even gets a mention (An 'Andy Martin' before Andy Martin! For concurrence, Phil Jarratt, where are ya?)...amongst other more 'interesting stuff'.
The Biggest Estate On Earth-Bill Gammage
'The Night of the Gun' - David Carr
A former addict doubts his ability to remember his own life so he interviews old acquaintances, drug buddies, dealers, girlfriends he abused verbally and physically, sixty people in total, to tell the story of his life. And it's not the life he thinks it is.
Few months back a journo I like made mention of this book so I made a mental note to buy it. Took a while to act on it, only to find out the book was out of print and no longer available in Australia, but I asked the book shop to order it in, paid a few bucks extra and waited. The wait was worth it.
Everyone has a self-censored view of themselves so when memoirs get written the unsavoury aspects get left out, sometimes deliberately but as often as not it's unconcious, so the author can tell their better story. David Carr realised the depth of his self-delusion when, two decades after his final stint in rehab, he hooked up with an old drug buddy and they exchanged war stories, like the time in the depths of addiction he crossed a line and his drug buddy pulled a gun on him.
"No," said his mate adamantly, "you pulled the gun on me."
What was a pivotal story in his life, one he'd told himself countless times, was patently wrong - he wasn't the victim, he was the bad guy.
Using his journalists tools, Carr got to work uncovering the story, his story, by reconnecting with people he hadnt seen in two decades. The result is a brutal Bukowski-style self-examination. Where he thought he was a good guy who took a bad turn - that was the story he told himself - the 'truth' as synthesised by everyone else's accounts, is that he was a charismatic but manic, and sometimes violent, guy who badgered and goded other people, and led many other people down a path of self-destruction.
HST humour abounds, tales of excess that all but the teetotallers will recognise, but they sit alongside frank recollections of, say, the time he beat up the mother of his twin daughters. If Carr wasn't a famed journo for the New York Times - his star rapidly ascended after rehab - it'd simply be a tawdry tale of excess, but The Night of the Gun is a tale of self-deception; of how we curate our own lives. For most people the self-deception is pedestrian, but for Carr, who spent a decade ram-raiding through life, the two people - the junkie, and the professional journalist and doting Dad - are harder to reconcile and far more interesting.
The Order Of Time by Carlo Rovelli
Will total change how you view time.
BTW we are all only events nothing more.
I'm not much into lists of favourite book and authors. Too definitive, the order is just as likely to change in five days or five minutes. But, forced to name my favourite living writer I'd more often than not say Andrew McGahan, though I had to put a stop to that a year ago. Nothing changed in my assessment of him, he's still my favourite writer, just that last year the poor bastard got pancreatic cancer and died. He's no longer living. Was just 52 years old.
His latest book, The Rich Man's House, is fiction, as all his books are, however in the intro he explains how he's dying, really dying, and though it's not a deliberate ploy it's the perfect way to begin a work of alternative history - grounded in reality.
In the book, Mount Everest is the world's second largest mountain with first place going to a rock formation that rises sharply out of the Southern Ocean two hours flight south of Hobart. 'The Wheel' is 45 kms wide and 25 kms high. McGahan charts its history from first sighting in the 1600s to first landing by ship, to the role it played in popular culture carrying the imaginations of kids and climbers and astronauts - the summit of The Wheel lies on the edge of space.
It ain't McGahan's best work, far from it, he even says as much in the introduction, apologising for the oversights 'cos he was...well, about to cark it, but it is a good thriller with running commentary on the hubris of the ultra-wealthy. Shame it doesn't match one of his mid-career high water marks but there are rewards for perservering, even more so for those who've read his work right through and can recognise the recurring motifs, archetypes, and scenarios.
All gone now though, and without a trace of sentiment. “I’m OK with dying. I don’t have any existential angst about it.”
did you hear that interview with him on ABC RN Stu?
No, I'll have to check it out.
Only read Praise and 1988 . Loved them back then and will now revisit and check out his other work. Cheers.
Last Drinks and The White Earth are the high water marks I refer to. Two books, two different styles, but both linked to flash points in Oz history (Fitzgerald Inquiry and Mabo), and both amazingly accomplished for a bloke who dips in and out of styles.
Like you, I dig those first two books, but I also reckon you'd love Last Drinks.
Balcony Over Jerusalem; A Middle East Memoir. By John Lyons.
Easy writing style, great insight into the politics and some of the history of the region. Good first person story telling.
The book has the flow of a good autobiography.
Australia's relationship with the area gets a good go from John. He relays experiences with politicians and leaders of factions in social settings.
Most interesting for me ~ the power and organisation of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), which is a Jewish and Israeli lobby group in Australia. He details (through his experiences and first person accounts from other journalist's) how they influence, softly harangue, and envelope journalists with their biased viewpoint. and connections to politicians. They basically groom the editors. Journalists then self censor so they can keep getting published and keep their jobs.
He also relays the difference between Israelis living in Israel and Israeli supporters living in Aus. The Aus ones are more rabid in their offence to criticism whereas the Israeli media is more critical of their own state. A lot of Israelis feel the illegal settlements they kerp building have ruined their country's character. They recognise that their country now is corrupt, immoral and hate filled. Previous generations interacted with Palestinians, while the current generation doesn't and so sees them as 'the faceless other' and now they basically live on edge in an apartheid state that they created.
The influence of the religious extreme has grown year to year. They truly think they are Harry Potter's chosen people (.... or God's... I forget which is which sometimes).
I now have more knowledge of the different factions/players/ethnic and religious groups in the Middle East.
Conversations with various leaders give a great insight into their motivations and way of thinking (or often not thinking but just repeating what's 'always' been done).
"John Lyons is one of Australia's leading journalists. A three-time Walkley winner, John is currently Associate Editor (Digital Content) at The Australian. For six years he was The Australian's Middle East correspondent, based in Jerusalem with his wife, Sylvie Le Clezio, and son, Jack. He is a former editor, and New York correspondent, of The Sydney Morning Herald and Washington correspondent for The Australian. While in Jerusalem he and Sylvie won three United Nations Human Rights Awards, and a Walkley for their contribution to 'Stone Cold Justice', a special investigative report for ABC TV's Four Corners on the children of the West Bank. John has also won the Graham Perkin Award for the Australian Journalist of the Year."
Iso = books.
Connell's always got some 'interesting stuff' to impart.
“The result is not 'Western' science, it's imperial science. “
That’s a hard pass on this recommendation.
I think this is a book for kids.
Rielly has a go.
I'd recommend this film myself.
Just ordered The night of the gun from David Carr. Stu’s review above sold me on it.
Just finished "Notes from an Apocalypse" by Irish writer and journalist Mark O'Connell.
Driven by a sense of impending doom brought on by climate change and other issues , the writer embarks on a series of journeys to confront his fears. From real estate salesmen promoting ex military bunkers in South Dakota as a means of post apocalyptic survival to the reality of The Zone at Chernobyl, O'Connell muses on his subject ,whist trying to unpack what it means for the human race and to him personally .
His observations are in insightful and the style refreshing, wry and humorous. This is seriously good writing. The biggest take away for me was his endeavor to reconcile his situation as the father of two very young children whist contemplating the future of our species.
Its a relatively short read . Highly recommended.