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Pick Your Battle: Your Guide to Urban Foraging, Hollywood Movies, Late Capitalism, and the Communist Alternative (a memoir) Paperback – May 11, 2011
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Douglas Lain is the editor and publisher of the philosophically-oriented Diet Soap Zine and Diet Soap Podcast, and seems to have been wrestling with philosophy his whole life. In "Pick Your Battle", he makes an effort to introduce you to some of the philosophers that he wrestles with most often in his every day life, and I felt that he did a decent job, given my lack of solid knowledge of these people and their work: Guy Debord, Immanuel Kant, Slavoj Zizek, and Henri Lefebvre, among others. Lain has a great and readable presentation style, which I was thankful for when I had to go back and re-read chunks for comprehension. The philosophy isn't just there for show. Making you think, knocking you out of your assumptions, seems to be the major purpose of this book.
But where can you go when you've examined your assumptions and found them wanting? Lain wrestles with this through two major arcs: one, his job with Comcast; and two, his attempts to forage in an urban environment through a season. He doesn't have answers, so much as Koans. This is his life, what he's thinking and doing, but if you've worked a thankless, beaurocratic 9-5, and told yourself that that didn't define you, then this might be your life as well. I was amazed, throughout, at how strongly I connected with his stories and thoughts.Read more ›
As a longtime listener of Lain's podcast, I thought I knew what to expect from this slim volume, but I was pleasantly surprised. I gave up trying to classify it when recommending it to others, though Lain's phrase "surrealist self-help book" comes close. At turns outlandish and mundane, and filled with both philosophy and meditations on pop culture, this is a book that strives to find deeper meaning in everyday life...and, for the most part, succeeds.
Critical theory is often divorced from the core of our experience, yet it describes the experiences at the core. In my experience, often people study it as grist for the mill of academic population as merely a rubric for papers in the Ideological Academic Apparatus. Lain does not do this: Instead we get his dealing with his future wife, his cubicle job, losing that job, and dealing with children to foreground the way ideology works. Often Lain does with collage elements of theory cut in and of out the text.
There are some surprising human movements in which theory weaves in and out: the way desire is defined by lack is seen through Lain's interaction with his wife, the way ideological conceptions define space, the way many of us move through periods of conspiracy thinking and frustration, through thinking we can hack it through survivalism, and then to grappling with the theory many of us were exposed to tangentially in college.
Indeed, I feel a kinship to Lain in this book as many of the developments in his life and their reflections in theory. I have also covered conspiracy thinking, post-left anarchism, and all the surrounding dross.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Doug Lain's crowd-funded demi-tome is as it says it is - both challenging an absorbing but not a struggle. Read morePublished on December 19, 2012 by Phil Cheslett
A fast, absorbing read. This book is a collage of essays. Many of the individual pieces are brilliant--and all are at least very good. Read morePublished on September 27, 2011 by Damian
I really wanted to like this book. I was one of the Kickstarter Backers who helped make it happen. I'm a regular listener to Doug Lain's podcast called "Diet Soap" which I really... Read morePublished on June 21, 2011 by Philip D. Payson
The thing about this book is that I'm not at all sure how it would seem to someone not so familiar with the ideas of Douglas Lain. Read morePublished on June 20, 2011 by L33tminion
I enjoyed the eclectic direction of the thoughts and philosophies as much as the anecdotes. It was a cover-to-cover-read-without-stopping book for me, and I will pick it up and... Read morePublished on June 15, 2011 by annie westbrook
I was worried that I would not like this book...I wanted to like it as I am fond of the Diet Soap Podcast, one of my favorite discoveries. I was worried because time is value. Read morePublished on June 13, 2011 by Algonquinn James March