Category Archives: Literature

PUA/Game: Women Love Writers

Yes, women (and girls) love to fuck writers. Bukowski said that, but he was not the first. We are romantics, you know. Artist types are romantic and romantic artist types set off the romantic drive that underlies the love instinct in females. Thing is you have to be good. Yes, women love writers, but my observation is that the only writers I have known who got women from their writing were damn good.

And they were usually writing some sort of literary type writing, either novels, short stories, poetry or literary nonfiction. Even a good journalist can get women if your prose really sings, say a music reviewer. If you are a writer but you don’t write well, I don’t think you will get women from your writing. It’s probably like that with any art. Yes, musicians, artists, writers, etc. can all get women, but only if they are damn good. If you are creative but you are not damn good, I don’t think it works to get women.

PS, when a woman tells a writer, “Oh! I love the way you write!” Um, that usually means she wants you. She’s in love with you or she wants to fuck you. Pretty much always. It doesn’t matter which because those two things are all jumbled up in females anyway.

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Filed under Art, Gender Studies, Literature, Man World, Psychology, Romantic Relationships, Writing

Theological Question

Is redemption possible in Hell?

Standard Christian doctrine would say no. When you’re in Hell,  there’s no hope. The Catholics devised Purgatory, but that was for people like me who were not quite bad enough for Hell but were definitely not Heaven-bound. In Purgatory, it’s like an exercise regimen for that roll of flab around your belly – you’ve got to work it off. Sure, the tortures are horrible, but if you survive then, you get the Manna. Plus as awful as Purgatory is, it pales compared to the never-ending horror movie you will be starring in in Hell.

How about some radical Christian thinkers?

If you read enough Dostoevsky, he believes redemption is possible in Hell, and that’s just one of the great things about him. For instance, see Grushenka’s tale to Aloysha in The Brothers Karamazov (p. 340) when she tells the story of the woman in Hell who was offered an onion by her Guardian Angel as a ticket out of Hell. This is similar to Ivan’s tale of Mary’s visit to Hell, where Hell can abide both mercy and punishment.

In a conversation between Ivan and Aloysha (p. 259), the two discuss whether there is forgiveness for the worst of men, the torturer. Both agree that if there is universal harmony, then there will be forgiveness for the worst of men. However, Ivan says that there shall be no forgiveness for the torturer and therefore this is no universal harmony. Instead of agreeing with him, Aloysha says that “Christ can forgive everything, all and for all, for he gave his universal blood for all and everything.” In other words, the Kingdom of God is not complete until there is forgiveness for all, including torturers. Aloysha believes that no one is outside of redemption. Obviously, this must include people in Hell.

This doctrine is clearly absent from the OT and NT, but if you make your way through the wondrous Apocrypha, you will stumble upon. The little known Gospel of Peter is quite clear that there can be redemption in Hell. It’s a lot clearer about it than Dostoevsky. That’s what I love about the Apocrypha. Such wild and near-fantastic tales and even doctrine in there. The Apocrypha seem to be stretching Christian theology to its very limits or even beyond, but that’s part of why they are great. It’s almost as if they are applying a nascent scientific method to the Bible, to figure out what’s really lurking back there behind it all. It’s Fringe Theology, but the fringe is OK. Many of the finest discoveries in science came from Fringe Science and were derided as pseudoscientific at the time.

In any process of discovery of knowledge, from the prosaic to the sublime, the best results are found by pushing your inquiry to the absolute limits or beyond. The only real limit in any exploratory inquiry is the limit of your own imagination.

Why be rigid? Rocks are rigid. If you are rigid, you are basically a rock. And once you decide to go rigid, you are locked in ore forever more, and for what purpose? Peace of mind? How weak. That’s no way to be an ubermensch. Go up and beyond. Rise above. Transcend. The sky’s the limit.

References

Connolly, Julian W. 2013. Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

Gibson, Andrew Boyce. 2016. The Religion of Dostoevsky. Wipf and Stock Publishers.

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Filed under Catholicism, Christianity, Literature, Novel, Philosophy, Religion, Science

Excellent Proof of the Aryan Invasion Theory

From here.

Aryan invasion

Around 1500 BC, the Indus civilization came, after 2,000 years of prosperity, to a comparatively abrupt end. Conclusive evidence shows that the reason for this decline, in fact the sole reason for it, was an invasion by highly barbaric Aryans. They invaded, destroying the Indus cities and exterminating the native peoples.

1. Archaeological Evidence

1.1 Thick Ash Layers

Thick ash layers occur in the upper strata of many Indus cities. At Nal the last phase of the Zhob-ware was burnt down so much that the mound is known as the Sohr Damb, or the Red Mound, from the reddening of fire. At Dabar Kot the upper 6 feet show 4 thick ash layers that indicate repeated destruction by conflagration and the layers were is associated with the last settlements of Harappa [Piggott 215].

At the Rana Ghundai Mound everywhere overlying the foundation level of the RG IIIc phase there are pockets of ash. Above the RG IIIc phase the pottery is a markedly different from the preceding type, the RG IV phase pottery being painted with coarse bands. RG IV was again destroyed by fire, and the RG V phase is marked by another change in pottery. The RG V pottery is unpainted and contains patterns in relief [Piggott p. 214].

1.2 Fractured Skulls

At Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Chanhu-daro, skeletons/fragments of skeletons indicate violent massacres in the final stages of the cities’ histories. Huddled skeletons of persons murdered in the streets indicate that the mass deaths were not due to poisonings etc. but were violent [Piggott p. 145].

1.3 Aryan Weaponry

Copper ax-adzes are intrusive at Harappan sites (Harappa, Shahi-tump and Chanhu-daro) but are similar to those found at North Persian sites (Hissar III, Shah Tepe, Turang Tepe) and Akkadian sites. At Assur Sialk B cemetery, the specimens are probably from as late as the 9th century BC) [Piggott p.228].

Swords 1.5 foot long and strengthened at the mid-rib are non-Harappan and are found only in the later strata of the cities. These swords at Mohenjo-daro have a tang and rivet to hold the handle exactly as found in Palestine, where such implements are associated with the Hyksos 1800-1500 BC [Piggott p. 229].

Copper harpoons found in the Indus Valley are similar to those found in Europe and elsewhere in Asia [Piggott p. 237].

1.4 Flooding by Aryan Destruction of Indus Dams

Signs of flooding were discovered in the Indus cities, mainly in the form of silt deposits. It was considered that this flooding could explain the fall of the Indus cities and this was considered the most viable alternative to Aryan Invasion. It was subsequently discovered, however, that flooding had been pinpointed as an alternative explanation to the Aryan Invasion Theory several decades before the actual discovery of the flooding. It is now accepted that the flooding was caused by the Aryans’ destruction of the Indus dam and irrigation system and was merely another aspect of the genocide.

+ He smote Vrtra who encompassed the waters [RgV VI.20.2].

+ He smote Vrtra who enclosed the waters, like a tree with the bolt [RgV II.14.2].

+ He is referred to as `conquering the waters’ (apsujit), which is his prime attribute.

+ Indra let loose the streams after slaying Vrtra [RgV IV.19.8].

+ He cleaves the mountain, making the streams flow [RgV I.57.6; X.89.7], even with the sound of his bolt [RgV VI.27; VI.57.6; II.14.2; IV.19.8; VI.20.2; VI.27.1; X.89.7. ST 368].

In Sanskrit, `vrtra’ is an `obstacle’, and denotes a barrage or blockage [ISISH 70-71]. It is thus a word for `dam’. Dams now called Gebr-band are found on many watercourses of the western parts of the Indus region. Aryans shattered the dam system of the Indus, leading to silt deposits in Mohenjo-daro [S & T 369].

+ When he [Indra] laid open the great mountain, he let loose the torrents and slew the Danava, he set free the pent up springs, the udder of the mountain. [RgV V.32.1-2].

+ He slew the Danava, shattered the great mountain, broke open the well, set free the pent up waters. [RgV I.57.6; V.33.1].

+ He releases the streams which are like imprisoned cows [RgV I.61.10].

+ He won the cows and soma and made the 7 rivers flow. [RgV I.32.12; II.12.12].

+ He releases the imprisoned waters [RgV I.57.6; I.103.2].

+ He dug out channels for the streams with his bolt [RgV II.15.3], let the flood of waters flow into the sea. [RgV II.19.3].

+ He caused the waters pent up by Vrtra to flow [RgV III.26.6; IV.17.1; McDonnell; S & T 368-9 quoting McDonnell].

Another verse explicitly mentions him as a destroyer of dams: rinag rodhamsi krtrimani = “he removed artificial barriers” [RgV 2.15.8].

Now, rodhas = “dam” elsewhere in the Rig Veda and in later Sanskrit [S & T 369]. The above evidence taken directly from the Rig Veda and not from any secondary source is sufficient to implicate the Aryans as the destroyers of the dam systems of the ancient Indus.

1.5 Aryan Settlements

Aryan settlements occur atop the destroyed cities towards the end of the civilization. They are primitive brick structures made of material taken from the ruins of the preceding towns.

1.3 Aryan Weaponry

Aryan weaponry, including the horse and chariot, occur towards the end of the Indus cities’ history.

2. Anthropological

2.1 Northern Dravidians

Several Dravidian tribes still inhabit isolated parts of northern India. The Brahui inhabit parts of Baluchistan and still speak a Dravidian language. The Bhils inhabit parts of southern Rajasthan. The black Gonds inhabit parts of central India about the Vindhyans.

2.2 The Black Sudroids ; Dravidians

The Aryans and Dravidians today still retain by and large their original features. The Aryans have fair-pale skin, leptorrhine (thin) noses and straight hair. The Dravidians have broad noses, curly-wavy hair and dark-black skin. [Winters;* Risley].

2.3 White Indo-Aryan Caucasoids

The Indo-Aryans belong to the Caucasoid or white race and are very similar to Latins. The Indo-Aryan languages belong to the Indo-European family of languages. Racially the Indo-Aryans possess white to fair skin, thin noses and lips and straight hair.

3. Literary

3.1 Sanskrit Literature

References to an Aryan invasion abound in Sanskrit literature.

The ancient singer praises the god who “destroyed the Dasyans and protected the Aryan color” [Rg.V. III.34.9; Ann. 114] and “the thunderer who bestowed on his white friends the fields, bestowed the sun, bestowed the waters” [Rg.V. I.100.18; Ann. 114].

There are numerous references to “the black skin” Krishnam Vacham [Rg.V. IX.41.1, Sama Veda I.491, II.242; Ann. 114] which is mentioned with abhorrence. Again “stormy gods who rush on like furious bulls and scatter the black skin” [Rg.V. IX.73.5]. The singers mention “the black skin, the hated of Indra”, being swept out of heaven [RgV. IX.73.5]: “Indra protected in battle the Aryan worshiper, he subdued the lawless for Manu, he conquered the black skin” [Rg.V. I.130.8; Ann.114].

The sacrificer poured out thanks to his god for “scattering the slave bands of black descent”, and for stamping out ” the vile Dasyan color” [Rg.V. II.20.7, II.12.4; Ann. 115]. See Dasam varnam adharam [Rg.V. II.12.4; Muir part I, p.43, II, p.284, 323 etc.; Ann. 114 ff].

Rakshas are aboriginals

  • Ravana = Rakshasendra [Ann. 111].
  • Rakshas = Ceylon aborigines according to Chinese travelers and Singhalese chronicles – Rakko or Yakko in the vernacular [An. 111].

Destruction of Cities

The Aryan gods are proudly presented by the Vedic “sages” as the destroyers of cities. Of these Indra, later considered an incarnation of the God Vishnu, is the prime culprit. Indra is called Puroha or Purandhara, `sacker of cities’ [S & T 366]. Indra overthrew 100 Puras made of stone (asmanmayi) for his worshiper Divodasa [RgV 4.30.20], evidently belonging to Sambara who is a Dasa (non-Aryan/demon) of the mountain [RgV 6.26.5] [Chanda; S & T p.364]

No regard was shown to the life of non-Aryans.

An Aryan poet says:

Ye mighty ones [Asvins]: what do you do there; why do you stay there among the people who are held in high esteem through not offering sacrifices; ignore them, destroy the life of the Panis [RgV I.83.3; S & T 365].

Indra’s Destruction of Harappa: The Vedic Harappa Hymn

The famous Harappa hymn of the Rig Veda describes with praise Indra’s destruction of Harappa:

“In aid of Abhyavartin Cayamana, Indra destroyed the seed of Virasakha. At Hariyupiyah he smote the vanguard of the Vrcivans, and the rear fled frighted” [Rg.V. XXVII.5].

This Hariyupiyah is likely to be the Harappa of the Indus Valley.

3.2 Dravidian Literature

The date of 1500 BC corresponds to the end of a sangam period when invasions by barbarians occurred.

4. Sociological

4.1 Caste System

The caste system is another`fossil’ of the Aryan Conquest, with the lower and exterior castes representing the aboriginal inhabitants that managed to survive the Aryan slaughter. Exactly the same occurred in other parts of the world where one race has subjugated others, e.g.. Latin America (Iberians conquered Aboriginals ), USA (Anglo-Saxons ruling over Hispanics and Afro-Americans), etc. These include the Adivasis (aboriginal tribals), the Dalits ( semi-settled aboriginals ), and the Sudras (the lowest caste). However, some of the Sudras were imported under Muslim rule from Southern India.

The caste system consists of several different “varnas” (Sans. “colors”), three of which are Aryan. The lowest caste, the Shudra, consists of aboriginals, as well as the exterior untouchable castes.

4.2 Sati and Child Marriage

The Aryans introduced tremendous restrictions on the life of women, including sati and child marriage. According to Aryan “Hindu” (i.e.. Vaishnavite) scriptures, a man must marry a maiden one-third his age.

4.3 Cow-Worship

Cow-worship is another feature introduced by the Aryans. This probably arose because the Aryans were nomads and hence required the cow.

5. Theological

5.1 Shiva and Shakti

Siva is the god of the Dravidians. Vishnu is the god of the Aryans. The star-calendar used by the Aryan-Vaishnavites today was adopted from the Semito-Dravidian Indus Valley civilization, since it is not referred to in the Rig Veda or Avesta. It was compiled when the Indus Valley was at its peak, before the Aryans came to India [Parpola].

The Indus people practiced astronomy because the streets are oriented towards the cardinal directions, presupposing the use of the sun-stick. A seal from Mohenjo-daro depicts an Indus deity with a star on either side of his head in the fashion of the Near East. Inanna-Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, for example, was associated with the planet Venus [Parpola]. This may have led to the cult of worshiping the planets, the astral religion of India.

5.2 Fire Altars

Fire altars occur late towards the Indus cities’ histories. They are primitive in nature, constructed from material from the destroyed Indus cities.

6. Global Aryan Invasions

Aryans invaded several parts of the world, putting an end to various brilliant civilizations. Babylonia was destroyed by Kassites, Hittites and Mittani, Egypt was devastated by the Hyksos, and Minoan culture by the Dorians.

7. Rival Theories

Several other explanations have been put forth to explain the demise of the Indus Civilization besides the Aryan invasion.

These are:

Environmental catastrophes – these include:

  • Comet impact
  • Flooding

Internal Decline – These claim that slavery or some other revolt destroyed the Indus Civilization.

All of these have severe problems, however.

Comet Impact. The problems with this theory are:

  • No crater/craters have been found with an age matching 1500 BC, nor of the requisite size. The size is narrowly constrained, for if the impact was too large, catastrophe would have been global, while if it were too small, the effect would have been negligible.
  • No iridium anomaly, the characteristic of all impacts from the mammoth K/T Chiczulub Crater [Alvarez] to the Sudbury Intrusive, has been found in the Indus valley of the required age.
  • No shocked glasses or tektites with the requisite shock deformation features have been found anywhere near the Indus Valley.

Thus, although a comet explanation for the extinction has been found in Comet Enke, this is a far-fetched theory to say the least. The destruction of several civilizations simultaneously requires a global catastrophe. But some civilizations, e.g.. in Central and South America, and China, survived the 1500 BC discontinuity. Asteroidal impacts tend to leave larger craters and more iridium, so the arguments against this theory apply more forcefully.

Flooding. Undisputed evidence of flooding has been found in the form of silt deposits and a barrage system erected as a defensive measure. Flooding thus remained a serious candidate until it was pointed out that several Vedic scholars noted that the Aryans had destroyed the irrigation and dam system of the Indus. Thus flooding is a natural consequence of Aryan invasion and not an independent mechanism.

Internal Decline

  1. To suppose that after two millennia of stability some internal revolt was the cause behind the downfall is stretching the imagination.
  2. No evidence has been found for this, and when indisputable evidence of violence perpetrated with new weapons exists, this theory disregards excellent evidence.

Other Opponents

Although the following may seem rather harsh, it is necessary to expose the real designs of some of the opponents of one of the most well-established theories of all time.

The opponents of the concept of Aryan invasion fall into two categories:

  1. Aryan Hindu Fanatics
  2. Neo-Nazis

These mostly have ulterior motives. The former oppose any vilification of their “gods” who are implicated in the worst massacres and atrocities recorded in history. They wish to see the Vedas, in actuality the songs of primitive cow-herders, as the repository of all science. The latter do not want to accept that their ancestors perpetrated such crimes. One religious fanatic who opposed the notion of Aryan Invasion during its infancy was Narendra Nath Datta, later known as Vivekananda. All he could do was to vilify honest scholars:

“And what your European pandits say about the Aryan’s sweeping from some foreign land, snatching away the lands of the aboriginals and settling India by exterminating them, is all pure nonsense, foolish talk. Strange, that our Indian scholars too say amen to them, and all these monstrous lies are taught to our boys. This is very bad indeed. In what Veda, in what Sukta, so you find that the Aryans came to India from a foreign country? Where do you get the idea that they slaughtered the wild aborigines? What do you gain by talking such nonsense?” [`Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda’, 1963, p.534-535] [Panda 70].

Another fundamentalist who opposed the notion of Aryan Invasions is Srivastava, who apparently conducted all of his research solely to prove the innocence of the Aryan gods:

Indra, therefore stands completely exonerated.

– Srivastava 441

Later, lacking any scientific evidence whatsoever, he degenerates into vilifying Wheeler himself:

“.. we see him as a brigadier in the British army during WW II, we feel he could not interpret the dubious evidence of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa in any other manner.”

– Srivas 442

A. K. Pateria writes:

“Both Dayananda and Aurobindo refuted in clear terms the historical doctrines of Aryan invasion and struggle of Aryans with Dravidian, which was originated by the Westerners and has even been popularized among a large section of the Indian Historians.” [A.K. Pateria, `Modern Commentators of the Veda’, p.63; Panda 70]

Who this Dayananda was must be fully exposed.

In terms of barbarism, the Aryans were so barbaric that they did not even have a word for brick in Sanskrit [S & T 372; Woolley].

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Soft Rock from the 1970’s: Terry Jacks, “Seasons in the Sun”

Terry Jacks from 1974. Actually the song had a much longer history dating all the way back to 1961 when it was written by a French poetger. It was later translated by Rod McKuen, the famous popular poet who many thought was a hack. The Kingston Trio recorded it in 1963 and later it was recorded by the Fortunes in 1968 and Pearls Before Swine in 1970. The Beach Boys recorded the song but never released it. Jacks was actually at that session and he encouraged the Beach Boys to perform the song. None of these versions ever took off until it was recorded by Jacks in 1974 when it became a smash hit in Europe and the US.

It was heavily derided at the time as Bubblegum and an example of what crap popular music was back then. However, I even love Bubblegum junk music, the musical equivalent of cult B-movie hits. The song had and still has many fans. It’s about a man who is dying, which I never knew in all those years I listened to it!

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Pio Baroja

Where’s this guy been all my life? The name sounds familiar, but I didn’t really know anything about him. Another Generation of ’98 writer who barely made it through the Spanish Civil War.

Federico Garcia Lorca, the doomed gay poet, one of the finest poets of the 20th Century, of course was assassinated in this war, but he was from the next generation of Spanish writers, the Generation of ’27. They were much more avant garde than the ’98’ers.

The Generation of ’98 were a whole new crop of Spanish writers who popped up at the turn of the century in Spain. Spain was still a monarchy back then and these were times of fervent. The monarchy was trying to balance between the desire of the people to modernize the humanize their country and the desires of the Church conservatives to keep things as static as they were.

At the same time, in 1898, Spain was reeling from its defeat in several wars around the globe. Thousands of Spaniards were dead, and Spain lost all of its colonies. This was a time of great upheaval in Spain. The ’98’ers attacked traditional culture and the monarchy which they say as conformist and undemocratic. In this sense, they were like the liberal protest movements that arose in Germany after World War 1 who attacked German culture and ways of thinking in the light of their painful defeat in the war.

These liberal movements were met with a conservative backlash or mostly demobbed soldiers who formed gangs called the Brownshirts who fought socialists and communists in the streets of Germany. These conservatives felt that the liberals had “stabbed the country in the back” and been traitorous during the war, leading to the nation’s defeat. One of these demobbed soldiers was an angry, wounded soldier named Adolf Hitler and it was from this Right vs Left firestorm in the streets that the Nazi God of Destruction arose a decade later. The Phoenix rising from the ashes, the regeneration of the illustrious nation of blood and soul, which is fascism in a nutshell. Fascism can best be seen as palingetic revolution of the Right. The word palingetic brings to mind the Phoenix rises to glory from the ashes of defeat.

Baroja was a liberal like most of that generation. He grew up in the Basque Country. He wrote a number of trilogies, including The Sea, The Cities, The Struggle for Life, The Basque Country and a few others. The Struggle for Life is a gritty, harsh trilogy about life in the slums of Madrid. John Dos Passos was very fond of this series. Probably his most famous book is The Tree of Knowledge. Baroja was a pessimist and a nihilist who soured on life at a young age.

I do not mind reading downbeat authors though, even if I am an optimist. Really the optimistic and pessimistic views of life are both true and equally valid.

Baroja was influenced by Nietzsche, but below almost looks like Heidegger. I like the elaborate, ornate, very descriptive prose of the 19th Century. I love the long, fancy sentences where the tail of the sentence almost seems to be the head. I don’t mind getting to the end of a Henry James sentence, commas and all, and then wondering what the start of the sentence was about. It’s fun to decipher fancy writing. People don’t write like this much anymore as it is considered to be too elaborate and difficult for its own sake. I believe some of the finest writing in English was done in the 19th Century though. I can’t get enough of those $64,000 sentences. They’re so good you could almost take them to the bank.

Most of Baroja has not yet been translated into English, though he has been famous in Spain for a century.  Hemingway was heavily influenced by Baroja, although this fact is little known.

Isn’t that some fine writing?

The individual is the only real thing in nature and in life. Neither the species, the genus, nor the race, actually exists; they are abstractions, terminologies, scientific devices, useful as syntheses but not entirely exact. By means of these devices we can discuss and compare; they constitute a measure for our minds to use, but have no external reality. Only the individual exists through himself and for himself. I am, I live, is the sole thing a man can affirm.

The categories and divisions arranged for classification are like the series of squares an artist places over a drawing to copy it by. The lines of the squares may cut the lines of the sketch; but they will cut them, not in reality but only in the artist’s eye. In humanity, as in all of nature, the individual is the one thing. Only individuality exists in the realm of life and in the realm of spirit.

Pio Baroja, Caesar or Nothing, 1903

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Reading List (Anyone Else Read Like This)?

I am a voracious reader, and lately at least, I am often reading between 20-40 books all at once. I pick up one, read 20 pages or so, and put it down. Then I pick up another one, read another 20 pages or so, and put it down too. It’s not really a problem for most nonfiction books and it works fine for books of essays and short stories. The poetry I read is often long narrative poetry where you have a single poem that goes on for an entire book of 200-300 pages. This method works well for these poetry books.

It is a bit of a problem with novels. I will admit it. You do tend to lose your place a bit and sometimes I just have to go back and start all the way over again. I think I am going to need to restart War and Peace and the Brothers Karamazov because I forgot what I read.

I do not know if this way of reading is stupid and sensible. It’s just the way I do it. It’s actually rather fun to read this way.

The list:

Total

  1. 33 books

Novels

  1. Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
  2. Feodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
  3. Robert Stone, A Flag for Sunrise
  4. Joyce Carol Oates, Because It Is Bitter and Because It Is My Heart
  5. Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
  6. Tom Robbins, Still Live with Woodpecker
  7. John Rechy, Bodies and Souls
  8. John Updike, Until the End of Time
  9. Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim
  10. Herman Melville, Moby Dick
  11.  Chuck Pahalunik, Invisible Monsters
  12.  Franz Kafka, The Trial
  13. John Irving, Son of the Circus
  14. James Joyce, Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man

Short Stories

  1.  Joyce Carol Oates, Night-Side
  2.  Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness
  3.  Ernest Hemingway, The Complete Stories of Ernest Hemingway
  4. Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories
  5. Daniel Francis Howard, The Western Tradition: An Anthology of Short Stories

Poetry

  1. John Milton, Paradise Lost
  2. Steven St. Vincent Benet, Western Star

Essays

  1. Loren Eisley, Night Country (science)
  2. Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire (nature)
  3. Edward Abbey, Down the River (nature)
  4. Adam Gopnik, Paris to the Moon
  5. Barbara Kingsolver, High Tide in Tuscon
  6. Doug Peacock, Grizzly Years (nature)
  7. Malcolm Gladwell, Blink (cognitive science)

Unclassified Nonfiction

  1. Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or (philosophy)
  2. Showan Khurshid, Knowledge Processing, Creativity and Politics (political science)
  3. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy (philosophy)
  4. John Colapinto, As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl (gender studies)
  5. John C. Greene, The Death of Adam: Evolution and Its Impact on Western Thought (science)

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Books All White Men Own

Books all White men own.

I read 29 of 79, which 38%, or more than a third of them. If you include the ones where I saw the movie or read another book of the author’s, it’s up to 44 or 57%, more than half. All told I have read 89 books by the 78 authors below.

See how many of these you have read. 

If you are a white man and you think you do not own one of these books, try looking under your bed, it’s probably there.

1. Shogun, James Clavell NO, but saw the movie

2. Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut YES, and also read Player Piano; The Sirens of Titan; Mother Night; Cat’s Cradle; Breakfast of Champions; God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater; Slapstick; Welcome to the Monkey House; Happy Birthday, Wanda June; and Wampeters, Foma and Grandfalloons.

3. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole YES

4. Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace NO

5. A collection of John Lennon’s drawings. NO

6. A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway YES, and also read The Sun Also Rises, The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories, The Green Hills of Africa, In Our Time, Men without Women, A Moveable Feast, For Whom the Bell Tolls, To Have and Have Not, Across the River and into the Trees, The Old Man and the Sea, and Death in the Afternoon.

7. The first two volumes of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin NO

8. God Is Not Great, Christopher Hitchens NO

9. Catch-22, Joseph Heller YES, and also read Something Happened.

10. I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, Tucker Max NO

11. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand NO, and never will!

12. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, Oliver Sacks YES

13. The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger YES, and also read Franny and Zooey, Nine Stories, and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters.

14. The Godfather, Mario Puzo YES

15. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald YES

16. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov YES, and also read Bend Sinister

17. Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk NO, but read another one, Invisible Monsters.

18. The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov NO

19. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown NO, and never will.

20. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck YES, and also read Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat.

21. The Stand, Stephen King NO

22. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson NO

23. The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer NO, but read An American Dream, The Armies of the Night, Of a Fire on the Moon, and The White Negro.

24. Tuesdays With Morrie, Mitch Albom NO

25. It’s Not About the Bike, Lance Armstrong (definitely under the bed) NO

26. Who Moved My Cheese?, Spencer Johnson NO

27. Portnoy’s Complaint, Philip Roth YES, and also read Goodbye Colombus.

28. Seabiscuit, Laura Hillenbrand NO

29. John Adams, David McCullough NO

30. Ragtime, E. L. Doctorow YES

31. Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis YES

32. America: The Book, Jon Stewart NO

33. The World Is Flat, Thomas Friedman NO, and never will! But read From Beirut to Jerusalem.

34. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell YES

35. The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time, Mark Haddon NO

36. Exodus, Leon Uris (if Jewish) NO

37. Trinity, Leon Uris (if Irish-American) NO

38. The Road, Cormac McCarthy NO, but own All the Pretty Horses.

39. Marley & Me, John Grogan NO

40. Freakonomics, Steven D. Levitt YES

41. The Rainmaker, John Grisham NO

42. Patriot Games, Tom Clancy NO, and never will.

43. Dragon, Clive Cussler NO, never will.

44. Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond NO

45. The Agony and the Ecstasy, Irving Stone NO

46. The 9/11 Commission Report NO

47. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, John le Carre NO, but read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

48. Rising Sun, Michael Crichton NO, but saw Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain.

49. A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson NO, but read Made in America.

50. Airport, Arthur Hailey NO

51. Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki NO, but saw the movie.

52. Burr, Gore Vidal NO

53. Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt NO

54. The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan NO

55. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer NO

56. Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer NO

57. Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson NO, and never will!

58. Godel, Escher, Bach, Douglas Hofstadter NO

59. The World According to Garp, John Irving YES, and also read Setting Free the Bears and A Son of the Circus.

60. A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking NO

61. The Tin Drum, Gunter Grass No, but saw the movie and read Dog Soldiers.

62. On the Road, Jack Kerouac YES, and also read Visions of Gerard.

63. Lord of the Flies, William Golding YES

64. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien YES

65. The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe NO, but read The Hells Angels, The Electric Koolaid Acid Test, The Painted Word, The Right Stuff, Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, The Candy-Colored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby.

66. Beowulf, the Seamus Heaney translation NO

67. Rabbit, Run, John Updike NO, but read Toward the End of Time and Hugging the Shore.

68. The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie YES

69. The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle NO

70. The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler NO, but read The Maltese Falcon.

71. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey NO, but saw the movie, and read The Demon Box.

72. A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess YES

73. House of Leaves, Mark Danielewski NO

74. The Call of the Wild, Jack London NO

75. Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon YES, and also read The Crying of Lot 49, V., Vineland, and Slow Learner.

76. I, Claudius, Robert Graves NO

77. The Civil War: A Narrative, Shelby Foote NO

78. American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis NO

79. Life, Keith Richards NO

14 Comments

Filed under Humor, Literature, Novel, Race/Ethnicity, Whites

Please Don’t Be an Insufferable Ass

Are you insufferable, Bob ?

Santoculto perfectly fit this definition.

I agree that Santoculto could definitely be an insufferable ass. But he also had some nice, concise and brilliant views on a lot of things, particularly human psychology.

Recall that he is gay. Gay Politics won’t let us talk about this, but many gay men are narcissistic. That is one of the reasons they used to think it is a mental illness. No one quite knows why they are like that. If you think about the very shallow gay male scene in the US with its emphasis like good looks, youth, polymorphous perversion, out of control promiscuity, endless brief, near anonymous and loveless relationships, you can see how it would create a lot of narcissists. Of course it’s horribly homophobic to bring this up,  so I guess I will be a big fat homophobe and share this with you all right now.

The gay novelist John Rechy is profoundly narcissistic.

Novelists Jerzy Kozhinski and Philip Roth are notoriously narcissistic. Kozhinski actually made a vast phony history for himself full of many things that never happened. He didn’t get called out on it for a long time, and when he finally was, he simply denied it. His books are good, but he is a bit of a literary fraud as he plagiarized and made up lies about his life. In fact, his entire life could be accurately described as a gigantic fraud.

VS Naipaul in a recent biography comes across extremely narcissistic and it is generally agreed that he was a perfectly awful person.

Kiss frontman Gene Simmons is one of the most insufferable narcissistic asses in all rock and roll, and he has a lot of competition. He is probably one of the most hated people in rock music and for very good reason. Salvador Dali was extremely narcissistic, but he was so weird that it never bothered anyone. Pablo Picasso was a huge asshole, whether he was a narcissist I am not sure, but he probably was. He had a massive ego and treated a lot of his female models like crap. He had a habit of screwing his young female models, making babies with them and abandoning the girl. He did this over and over. He was a great painter, but a lot of people who knew him well said he was an awful human being.

Many actors are narcissistic. If you think about it all of the performing arts, especially film, lend themselves to narcissism. They attract narcissists and then the nature of being a performer on a stage of some sort in and of itself drives a lot more narcissism. If they get famous, that drives even more narcissism. At some point it is probably an endless feedback loop. My mother said all actors are narcissists and she said you have to be narcissistic to be an actor. There is an old joke where the journalist has been interviewing the actor. It has gone on for 45 minutes of the actor going and on about himself enjoying the sound of his own voice. At some point, he realizes his violation and tries to rectify it.

After 45 minutes:

“But anyway, enough about me. Let’s talk about you now. What did you think of my latest movie?”

Get it?

Am I insufferable? God no! I am not an NPD! I don’t even think I am all that narcissistic. I cannot stand pathological narcissists. The idea that I might be one of these people I hate so much pisses me off. I have a not of problems, but that ain’t one of them. Nobody calls me that. I used to get called arrogant, but I have been working on that one really hard. I have to work on that a part of the time when I am around people, but I cannot manage it pretty well by faking it and getting underneath people.

I do not have a lot of disdain for the people I meet in day to day stuff. Most of them seem like decent enough people even if I do not wish to make personal friends of them. There are some lowlife ghetto types around here who I dislike, but they deserve to be hated, and I do not waste time thinking about them anyway.

I have been called a lot of things, but insufferable is not one of them. However, people do remark that I have a big ego, that I have have some egotism, etc. I have had some complaints that I am vain, conceited, self-impressed, etc., but that is just a vibe you will get from my mind. You will not find me talking like that because I am not a braggart and a showoff and I hate people like that. If I do have some impressive accomplishment I wish to divulge, I have the art of false modesty down to a T, so I can relate things that would normally seem like bragging, but nobody gets upset because it seems like I am embarrassed or ashamed of this accomplishment of mine. It’s an act, but so what?

I do not care if people dislike the vain, conceited, self-impressed vibes I give off. As far as I am concerned, they should feel that way too! Everyone should think they’re great! Start being great today! What are you waiting for?

I hate insufferable people. They are often quite impressed with the sound of their own voices too and they can be downright soporific when they go on one of their endless narcissistic monologues. It’s all just too much, the whole thing. It’s way over the top and typically even offensive. You often want to leave the room when they are going on and on. Of course they cannot see anything wrong with their behavior and they will barely even notice if you walk out. You’re not part of the Me Show anyway. You’re the audience. Some of the audience is leaving before the performance is over. No big, this happens all the time. They have for all intents and purposes little to no insight into their behavior.

I think narcissism is a tendency a lot of us have to watch out for. Just go look at some pathological narcissists, figure out why you can’t stand them and use that as a model for how not to be. Watch yourself on a regular basis to make sure you are not falling into that lousy mindset. Narcissists suck, and a lot of people hate them for good reason. Do you want to suck? Do you want to be widely hated for being an insufferable ass? That’s terrible! I would be ashamed and embarrassed if I acted like that.

24 Comments

Filed under Art, Celebrities, Cinema, Homosexuality, Literature, Music, Narcissism, Novel, Personality, Psychology, Rock, Sex

Bob Dylan, “Rainy Day Women # 12 and 35”

In honor of Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first time a singer-songwriter even won this literary award normally given to literary authors of poetry and prose, especially novels and short stories. This decision was controversial, but I agree with it.

Blonde on Blonde, double album, 1966. Possibly his best album ever.

One of the greatest stoner songs ever.

Thank you Robert Zimmerman!

2 Comments

Filed under Literature, Music, Rock

Love and Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy of course is the great Victorian novelist, short story writer and lately appreciated poet. Many of his works deal with men and women and their love affairs. If you have never checked him out, I urge you to do so. He is well worth it. He was admired by writers like D. H. Lawrence (who wrote a book about it), the great John Cowper Powys, W.Somerset Maugham, and the great misanthropic poet Philip Larkin. He was a follower of the Naturalist School made famous by Emile Zola.

The Naturalists were a follow-on to the Realists such as Gustave Flaubert (proto-realist) and Anthony Trollope (classic realist). It was supposed to be an improvement upon realism, but I am not sure how. Both of these were reactions against the overly florid, unrealistic and overwrought stories of the time. Zola in particular sought to be almost scientific in his descriptions of the people in his books. Both sought to simply portray characters, humans and scenes as they actually are and let readers draw their own didactic or moralistic conclusions if they so wished.

As far as Hardy himself in love, he was famously married a couple of times. He was described as an unhappy husband. When his second wife died in 1912 after they were estranged for over 20 years, nevertheless, Hardy become a distraught widower and produced some of his finest poetry in Satires of Circumstance published two years later. These are considered to be some of the saddest, most powerful and finest poems about death ever written in English.

And so we have Thomas Hardy:

  • Unhappy husband, and then
  • Distraught widower

He was miserable while he was married to her, but he was even more miserable when she was dead. There is a lesson in here somewhere, maybe:

  • The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, or simply
  • People are never happy

I prefer the latter.

5 Comments

Filed under Literature, Novel, Poetry, Psychology, Romantic Relationships