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by Nirpal Singh Dhaliwal
Edition: Paperback
70 used & new from $0.01

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A gimmicky multicultural romp, August 12, 2007
This review is from: Tourism (Paperback)
Starts seductively mild and then turns into a raunchy, nasty "memoir" with some very bright spots but mostly just angry, misanthropic sex and ethnic generalities that are mostly irritating, especially if you know folks from the ethnic groups.

Brandenburg Gate
Brandenburg Gate
by Henry Porter
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.18
84 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This gets the Soviets right as loyal socialists at their truest, August 1, 2007
This review is from: Brandenburg Gate (Paperback)
A rare novel, riveting and finally true to the socialist nature of East Germany's and the Soviets' brutality. What a breath of fresh air! No whitewashing here, none.

Blind Submission: A Novel
Blind Submission: A Novel
by Debra Ginsberg
Edition: Hardcover
115 used & new from $0.01

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Had to put it down!, August 1, 2007
After sticking with this really silly novel because I was travelling and had no other English fiction on hand, I finally gave it up at about page 150. It was just too uninteresting, with no one to like and a protagonist who was mostly remarkable for spinelessness. Left the thing in a closet in a hotel in Baku!

Nietzsche and the Nazis
Nietzsche and the Nazis
DVD ~ Stephen R.C. Hicks
4 used & new from $8.95

24 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding DVD!, June 7, 2007
This review is from: Nietzsche and the Nazis (DVD)
Last weekend I had the good fortune to watch this fascinating, informative, and very disturbing DVD.

I am an avid fan of the History Channel and other forums exploring the theme that ideas have consequences but this piece of work was better than nearly everything else along these lines I have seen.

The Nazis, who murdered roughly 12 million people -- among them the 6 million plus or minus Jews we have all heard of -- were a really vicious bunch. But what is more interesting and important is that they were not barbarians but came from Europe's most educated population, the Germans.

Their main theme was the idealization of Das Volk, "The People," not severally but collectively, as a noble tribe for the welfare and advancement of which everything could be sacrificed, especially individual liberty and independence.

Here was a group of fanatics who wholeheartedly believed in the righteousness of their own zealotry and urged it upon all their followers, of whom there were millions -- the Nazi party was voted into power several times and by the end some 90% of Germans voted for it. Hitler came to power democratically, by "the will of the people" (a phrase we have recently heard in these United States as well).

Nazism was openly in favor of irrationalism, championing instinct over reason, order over liberty, and self-sacrifice over the pursuit of happiness.

Nazis hated the classical liberal ideals represented by the United States of America; they despised free enterprise and imposed a version of socialism -- national socialism, to be precise -- wherever they could. The main difference between their version of socialism and that of the Soviet Union was that they advocated socialism for the nation, unlike the Soviets who wanted it spread internationally.

A persistent question that has bothered historians, psychologists, sociologists, and nearly anyone who has given the matter any thought is how this horrid regime could arise in the midst of a relatively civilized place like Western Europe and its crown jewel of a culture, Germany.

Many hypotheses have been advanced, including one in particular which has always been both intriguing and controversial. This is that certain ideas dominant in German culture had a great deal to do with the Nazi's rise to power. And the central figure who has been proposed as responsible for these ideas is the 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

I will not give away the story Professor Hicks tells with such clarity and subtlety but I do wish to mention that as far as I can tell -- and I have studied some of these matters over my career as a philosophy teacher -- he gives a very well balanced presentation of just why Nietzsche did in fact encourage the Nazis and in what way his views differ from theirs quite significantly.

On first inspection, for example, it is not easy to believe that the Nazi's demand for subservience and unselfishness fit well with Nietzsche's ideal of "the will to power." But if one looks deep enough one will realize that the will to power was not to be put in the service of the individual person but of the tribe or culture.

Individual flourishing didn't interest Nietzsche; collective triumph did. And on this the Nazis fully agreed with him. No wonder they invoked his legacy over and over again in their literature.

On the other hand, Nietzsche would not likely have favored the sort of politicization of the ideal of the superman that the Nazis promulgated. He would have left politics aside concerning how the future of humanity was to unfold so long as it involved a revolution in our moral values. (He deemed conventional -- especially Judeo-Christian morality -- perverse, an enemy of a fully flourishing, instinct-driven human life!)

Professor Hicks' presentation is immensely rich with facts, quotations, analysis, and insight. Especially fascinating is the list of erudite Europeans -- Noble Laureates and the like -- who eagerly supported the Nazis, as well as the beloved Nazi slogans which are often exactly what our own politicians urge us to internalize -- for example, about the superiority of the public interest over the private one.

Anyone with just an ounce of interest in recent intellectual and political history will find watching this DVD a disturbing as well as riveting experience.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 30, 2009 6:27 AM PST

I've Been Doin Some Thinkin
I've Been Doin Some Thinkin
Price: $13.09
20 used & new from $6.61

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mose, when not PC, is great, December 22, 2004
Too much of Mose Allison's lyrics are misanthopic, even when extremely clever and funny. But I love him still. Like, why does he pit justice against business? That's conventional BS. (He loves business, after all, given his prolific output on widely selling albums. But he does it all very well, too, so what's the trouble?) Anyway, I've been a Mose Allison fan since I first heard his version of "Since I Fell for You" on "Mose Alive." I've heard/seen him in person over the years, most recently at the Los Angeles Museum of Modern Art but first in Santa Barbara, the at Harry's Bar. He never disappoints. My favorite of his songs is (I think called) "Almost famous."
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 5, 2014 5:40 AM PDT

My Old Man
My Old Man
by Amy Sohn
Edition: Hardcover
48 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars May-December Stuff for the Dirt of it, November 28, 2004
This review is from: My Old Man (Hardcover)
I read this one first and liked the somewhat immature but biting writing, as well as various insights into May-December affairs. But here, too, Sohn cuts to the sex so fast so often that it becomes difficult to fathom how these folks can be so mindless in their sexual romps.

Run Catch Kiss: A Gratifying Novel
Run Catch Kiss: A Gratifying Novel
by Amy Sohn
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.41
126 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit over the top, November 28, 2004
I liked the writing and the story line is decent enough but some of the sex episodes are incredible--few folks get there so quickly and attach so little meaning to it all, with people they hardly know. Or maybe few decent folks do. It's not the action--that's good and funky, lively and thrilling--but the related choices that just don't cut it for me.

The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason
The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason
by Sam Harris
Edition: Hardcover
92 used & new from $0.73

24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truth teller with tough task, October 16, 2004
Harris has a very hard task, namely, to argue to people who rely on faith for their big ideas that such reliance is futile and will spawn bad blood all around. Such people don't much listen to reason, so why would they suddenly listen to Harris's argument? Still, for the many who hover between reason and faith (and none can dispense with reason entirely) the book should nudge them away from trusting in faith, given its clear demonstration that faith is completely unreliable as a source of truth. (Why else are there over 4000 different religions in the USA alone?)

Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault
Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault
by Stephen R. C. Hicks
Edition: Paperback
24 used & new from $10.71

72 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A badly needed expos�, July 20, 2004
This is an enthusiastic endorsement of Stephen R. C. Hicks? Explaining Postmodernism. It is some great but very scary read.

Professor Hicks has written a sweeping yet very readable explanation of why contemporary intellectuals embrace postmodernism. This is the position widely championed in academic circles?from philosophy, literature, law and the social sciences?that holds that there is no truth, no reality, no clear meaning, no understanding and, most of all, no value in relying on human reason for any purpose whatsoever.

Most folks probably heard of this movement only rarely and indirectly. They hear about multiculturalism, the view that no culture is better than any other, all viewpoints no matter where they originate are worthy of respect. They learn about it by brushing up against political correctness, which is a paradoxical aspect of postmodernism since it assumes that saying and doing certain things is wrong and ought to be avoided. But, of course, postmodernism holds that nothing can be shown to be right or wrong. So how could anything be shown to be politically correct or incorrect?

Well, just so?nothing can be so shown but those who hold political power can still insist and force the rest of us to obey. Not because they can reasonably claim that their edicts are correct, true or right but because they prefer them. Yes, that?s all there is to postmodernist views on how we should act, namely, the preferences of those who get away with running the show.

Professor Hicks? wonderful account of how we ended in this fix?whereby nothing is deemed to be true or right or good but all we have is what influential people impose on the rest of us?is a tour de force of clear historical research. The most important figures in Western intellectual history show up, for better and for worse?most for worse?and among them the greatest villain is Immanuel Kant, the 18th Century German philosopher who brought about what has been called a Copernican Revolution. The substance of this revolution is that it is not reality that gives us the contents of our minds but our minds?or some great Mind (if you listen to Hegel)?that produces reality.

Yes, you read it right?the postmodernists do not think there is a real world for us to know. Instead everything is really invented, by everyone?s?or some obscure being?s?subjective mind. So there is no right way to interpret a novel, poem or even a scientific theory. It all depends on who is doing the ?interpreting,? which is to say, who is injecting his or her creative ideas into the stream of ideas of a society. There is no reality out there, however, to show whether these ideas are good or bad, sound or unsound. And if one protests that this is nonsense, postmodernists will quickly retort that one is deluded to think that ideas must be logical, reasonable. No, that?s just a prejudice.

That is what major thinkers believe these days, all around the Western world. Stanford, Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton?you name the prestigious institution of your choice and the major figures in it, the books their presses like to publish, advocate this stuff with inordinate confidence built on absolutely nothing but thin air.

Professor Hicks? book was published in Tempe, AZ, by Scholargy Publishers, not by one of the ?important? publishing houses. This is sad but not at all surprising, considering the monumental expos? Professor Hicks manages to bring off in his work. Who would publish a book within the mainstream publishing community that shows beyond any reasonable doubt that mainstream publishing is largely complicit in perpetrating the greatest absurdity in intellectual circles when it keeps rolling out the works of such prominent figures as Richard Rorty, Jacques Derrida, Michael Foucault, Stanley Fish and others, all of whom are enamored by the likes of Hegel, Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Jean Paul Sartre and other absurdists.

One of Professor Hicks? most astute contributions is to explain why most of these absurdists are politically supportive of the Left?of socialism?even after the undeniably evident practical and theoretical demise of that political economic system. The story is brilliantly told. This read is eminently worth it and not beyond anyone?s attentive reach.

Second nature: The animal-rights controversy
Second nature: The animal-rights controversy
by Alan Herscovici
Edition: Paperback
10 used & new from $13.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better late than never, May 2, 2004
I just discovered and read this book and I am very pleased. It is an amazingly civil discussion of the many, many unfounded or badly conceived claims of antimal rights/liberation advocates, concerning the alleged mistreatments of animals in zoos, slaughterhouses, by hunters, and mink fur cultivators and many more. The stats in the book are a bit dated now but when it appeared they showed beyond any reasonable doubt that the alarmist claims of Peter Singer, PETA, the Greens, & Co. were way off. The author also takes a refreshingly unapologetic pro-human stance, quite unintimidated by the sentimentalist pleas of Singer & Co. about how speicieist and selfish it is to recognize ourselves as superior among the animals. As if other living beings didn't advance themselves by their very instincts. (So, why then should we not do it as a matter of our free choice?)
All in all this is a neglected work very much worth reading even today, nearly 20 years after its publication.

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