Aristillus

A large crater to dump my thoughts

Reading update

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Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Stephenson plays with some interesting concepts in this book. What is the next step after the internet? Does language determine the way we think or is it the other way around? How much alike are literature and code?

It is refreshing to read a book written by somebody who actually knows what hacking is and how computers work.

The underlying plot of the book is interesting, but the story is a fair bit harder to follow and less enjoyable than in some of Stephenson’s other work.

What We Are Fighting For: A Radical Collective Manifesto by various authors

This is called a Radical Collective Manifesto, but it is more like a loose collection of manifestos . The authors have all written articles related to their respective specializations, but there is not really a consistent style or view. In many chapters the language is quite woolly; some of the authors would do well to (re-)read Orwell’s “Politics and the English language”.

Almost all authors take the oversimplistic “us versus them” approach to politics. If only things were as simple as that. Left versus Right. The proletariat versus the conspiring evil power-hungry capitalist elite that have the media in their pockets. Not that I am deluded enough to consider the press accurate, but the media are sensationalist, superficial and simplistic rather than structurally trying to misinform (with some minor exceptions, perhaps).

There are some chapters that have interesting analysis or propose interesting new ideas that are worth thinking about. But no more than that; while there is a lot of rage against the excesses and problems of capitalism, liberalism and social democracy, there is hardly any attention for the issues with the suggested alternatives. Perhaps it’s a bit too dreamy and not concrete enough for my taste.

Recommended: “Why Do We Obey?”, “Post-Capitalist Desire”, “Participatory Economics from Capitalism”.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Another dystopian novel – most of what I read these days appears to be about bleak and grim societies. A good book, though it feels a bit dated – more so than e.g. 1984. I don’t think I quite agree with Rachel Bloom, but maybe The Halloween Tree will convince me.

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Written by aristillus

January 13, 2013 at 20:39

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