Books from the Weekend

As mentioned previously, last night’s posting got buggered so I’m doing the only natural thing possible, I walked to the neighborhood dive, ordered a shot of Jack Daniels, and am rewriting that entry (at least the bits about the books I purchased this weekend).

Without further ado, the books I purchased this weekend:

How Fascism Works by Jason Stanley – Okay, okay, I feel like I’ve pretty much read more than any single human being should regarding fascism and how in particular it shaped the world of the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. When I first saw this book I thought, “Yeah but nah.” But I kept seeing the book in the shop then decided, given it was on sale for only $10 bucks, I might as well get it. Hell, there might be something in there I don’t know (and so far it has). Actually, it’s my hope, given how short the book is, that I can suggest it to people (particularly Americans of the MAGA persuation) who apparently (and obviously) don’t have the slightest idea what fascism is (something indicated by the regularly calling out people like AOC and Biden as “fascists”–which they aren’t, unless you’re making up your own English language v2.0).

Mentors: How to Help and Be Helped by Others by Russell Brand – I’ve had a long time respect for Mr. Brand. I’ve always known him from all things British, but my wife likes him so I’ve spent more and more time listening and watching things he’s done. He is, by all accounts, and amazing human being with some incredible perspectives on life. I picked this book largely because I’ve been interested in a lot of biographies and autobiographies as of late, interested largely in learning about people’s particular takes on this so called life. I wouldn’t normally be pulled into reading something by him, but the title caught my attention. As I’ve come to realize I’m a high functioning autist, and given the challenges imposed by social distancing due to COVID including me working from home, I’m become more and more–well, how do I put it–socially peculiar. I don’t really have friends, at least in the normal sense, and even interacting with my wife has become a pure challenge. Could Russel have something to teach me? We’ll find out!

Soild Doves: Prostitutes of the Early West by Anne Seagraves – Found this little gem at the antique store and it pulled me in right away. Part of that pull was my recent interest in the America’s in the late 1800’s, a result of me rewatching the Little House on the Prairie TV series for the first time since I was a child, as well as reading all the autobiographies from actors on the program that I could get my hands on. Also–and this will be an unpopular opinion–but I believe prostitutes are human beings, that prostitution should be legalized, taxed, and regulated, and that we should apply scientific principals to our perception of prostitution (including the idea that government does not have the right to tell anyone what they can do with their bodies). I know that opinion will offend most Americans, but, to be frank, I don’t give a flying fuck. I decided to return to blogging to share one person’s 100% honest reality, not cow-tow to what people expect of me (and what I will or won’t say because I’m caged by other people’s potential perceptions of me).

Death on the Prairie: The Thiry Years’ Struggle for the Western Plains by Paul I. Wellman – I’m currently reading a non-fiction book titled Prarie Fires: Ther American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser. Obviously, this is a reference to my previous interest in Little House on the Prarie. I wanted to know what really happened. And it’s opened a whole new can of worms, at least in terms of my interest in American history. Early in the book there’s a reference to the largest biggest Indian uprising of American History. It happened about a decade before the Ingles family moved to the now famous community of Walnut Grove and resulted in the deaths of thousands of settlers (or more accurately, invaders) within a couple of days. It was a series of massacers that were much larger in area and population that the defeat of General Custer and his army years later. So I put a flag in my head: pickup the next book you find that has historically accurate information about that event, so when I saw this at the antique store it was a no brainer. Granted, I have some concerns about the accuracy and bias of the tome given the name of the book (in particular that bit about “Struggle for the Western Plains,” which implies that manifest destiny was anything but a rationalization for genocide and exploitation). We’ll see.

Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New faces of Neurodiversity by Devon Price, PhD. – As I’ve come to see myself as a high functioning autistic person–instead of half-vulcan, half-human–I’ve been gobbling up every book I can get my hands on about autism such as Temple Grandin’s most recent book Visual Thinking, which I’ve been reading on books on tape while running on the treadmill in the afternoons (love the local library’s program allowing me to borrow books on my iPhone!). It’s hit home how much different my life would have been if our view of autism might have different in the 1970’s, when I was a little kid. I probably wouldn’t have been teased or critisized as much. Certainly, that lady who loved the color yellow (which I hated) wouldn’t have constantly critisized me for not smiling (I tried explaining to her it takes absolutely no muscles to have a straight face, something she didn’t understand, listen to, or respect, but a statement that would, these days at least, be taken by many from a six or ten year old as a possible indication that they just, maybe, might be autistic). And masking? Don’t get me started. It’s a term that describes a defense mechanism autistic folks impose on themselves to deal with “normal” people (otherwise known as neurotypicals) and is a trait I’ve had most of my life. And you know what? I hate masking. It’s the source of a substantial amount of psychological pain I’ve experienced in this life and continues to be a modern source of consternation to this day (something my wife hardly understands about me, even). It’s my hope that in reading this book I’ll learn more about myself. Oh, and yeah, one of the reason I decided to start blogging again is I need on place in the universe I can un-mask. I mean, that was part of the reason d’etre of my previous blog/site, The Temple of the Green Pygmies, but I’ve come to realize that regardless of the consequences, I really need to unmask to find any joy in my life again before I kick this mortal coil.

The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920’s and the American Political Tradition by Linda Gordon – I recently watched a documentary on Oregon Experience about the KKK in oregon in the 1920’s. Compared to most American’s I know a shit-ton more about the KKK in the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s (see previous reference to my studies on fascism in the 20’th century), but I still have gaps in my knowledge. After a back and forth with someone on Facebook that seems to believe I am a hateful person for learning, exploring, and pointing out our racism past, I felt I had no choice but purchase this book. There are many gaps in my knowledge. A select group of Americans may not care to fill those gaps, but I don’t share that sympathy. So I bought this book and am going to read it. It could be that I get unfriended by someone on Facebook again, but I don’t really care. I’ve had a number of people on FB that don’t agree with me, including one I was very close friends with from Vancouver, Washington, who was a member of the Proud Boys well before the Capitol 6th insurrection (he unfriended me not because we had differing views, but because of peer pressure from his “friends” who didn’t like the fact that we regularly and publically had extremely respectful differences of opinion).

Okay, so those are the books I purchased this weekend.

What are you reading?

Now that I’m caught up on re-writing what I lost last night due to my own eagerness in cleaning my hard drive this afternoon, I just wanted to share something else. Writing is hard for me (now). I used to write for any number of reasons, but it was in large part easy because I was nearly constantly in a state of social isolation and I needed to unmask after full days working a job in the office where I was forced to interact with neurotypicals. I felt semi-comfortable with my ability to write. Now, for a number of reasons, including some I don’t feel comfortable with sharing with anyone just yet, that’s simply not how it is. I’m having to force myself to write, just like I have to force myself to undress and redress myself to go to the gym and work out for thirty minutes or more thirty plus minutes every day. It’s not easy for me any more. I wonder if it’s a complete waste of time and anyone will care. I think maybe, the audience I’m trying to reach, maybe they’re really human beings a thousand years from now–but how the fuck do I have a blog hosted in a room of my house that will be available to anyone in a thousand years unless I win the lottery and have it written in stone and burried somewhere? What’s the point? What’s the goddamn point? Even my wife brought up her lack of understanding for why anyone would want to blog yesterday when we were out in the sunshine ordering food. And what does that say of me, choosing someone to marry for ten years who doesn’t understand why I blog when, at the time, I had ten or so years of journals posted online which she never took the time to read. What does that say of me and my understanding of reality?

Okay, that’s my last shot of Jack for the night. I’m going to save this, go home, and start up some rice to mix with my left over Indian food.

Subnote: They’re playing Pink Floyd’s The Wall at the bar tonight. Really odd to me how I’m not having a negative (or any) reaction to it now (besides commenting on it here). If anything, I’m a reflective drunk. More on that another time (and likely more and me typing, “More on that another time,” another time).

Your two cents

%d bloggers like this: