September 19th, 2008

breaking bad

International talk like a Pirate's prisoner day

"Ere we were two days old
at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave us
chase. Finding ourselves too slow of sail, we put on
a compelled valour, and in the grapple I boarded
them: on the instant they got clear of our ship; so
I alone became their prisoner. They have dealt with
me like thieves of mercy: but they knew what they
did; I am to do a good turn for them..."
breaking bad

Chips down

It makes me bloody laugh. People spouting for years on the Internet about Socialism is Evil. About they would rather die (and certainly rather kill) than accept social ownership of anything. And my reply is always 'Capitalism needs some social ownership to work'. But apparently it's not an economic alternative, it's the soul-killer or something.

And now - ha ha - their own beloved government has undertaken the largest nationalisation in human history. I assume then that they will be taking to the streets, killing and being killed in their millions, to defend their economic system against this incursion? Just like they said on the Internet all those times?

Not that we socialists are much better. Did we look forward to the death of capitalism? Well, it's dying now - how keen are we on the actual process?

Now if thou wouldst, when all have given him over,
From death to life thou mightst him yet recover.
breaking bad

The worst book of all time

Today Slacktivist concluded his epic five year blog-deconstruction of the novel Left Behind. A remarkable sustained achievement, making perfect use of the technology. A book of the same content wouldn't have been anything like this. It concludes thus

Left Behind fails as a novel for many, many reasons... the odious lack of empathy it holds up as a moral example... its perverse misogyny, its plodding pace, its wooden dialogue, it fetishistic obsession with telephones, its nonexistent characterization, its use and misuse of cliches, its irrelevant tangents, deplorable politics, confused theology, unintentional hilarities, hideous sentences, contempt for craft, factual mistakes, continuity errors ... its squandering of every interesting premise and its overwhelming, relentless and mind-numbing dullness...

The presence of all of those faults -- in a single book and in such concentrated form -- is more than enough to secure its place on a list of the Worst Books of All Time. ... (but)Left Behind's forceful refutation of its own premise, is what earns this book my vote as the Worst Book of All Time.

It makes me think hard about the relationship between bad writing and bad thinking.