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Old 09-10-2008   #11
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Re: Book Recommendations



This book is hilarious! I don't agree with her "thesis" but reading the manifesto is an experience (and very funny)
plus the italian edition is aesthetically appealing

SCUM Manifesto (Society For Cutting Up Men) is a tract written in 1968 by Valerie Solanas that calls for a violent revolution to create an all-female society by KILLING ALL MEN.

Solanas advocating the elimination of males:

"Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex."

Assertion that males are inherently inferior to females, and her account of genetic differences between males and females:

"Retaining the male has not even the dubious purpose of reproduction. The male is a biological accident: the y(male) chromosome is an incomplete x(female) chromosome, that is, has an incomplete set of chromosomes. In other words, the male is an incomplete female, a walking abortion, aborted at the gene stage. To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples."

On the role of the individual in society:

"A true community consists of individuals - not mere species members, not couples - respecting each other's individuality and privacy, at the same time interacting with each other mentally and emotionally - free spirits in free relation to each other and co-operating with each other to achieve common ends. Traditionalists say the basic unit of "society" is the family; "hippies" say the tribe; no-one says the individual."

Describing her vision of a coming revolution:

"SCUM will keep on destroying, looting, ####ing-up and killing until the money-work system no longer exists and automation is completely instituted or until enough women co-operate with SCUM to make violence unnecessary to achieve these goals."

"The sick, irrational men, those who attempt to defend themselves against their disgustingness, when they see SCUM barreling down on them, will cling in terror to Big Mama with her Big Bouncy Boobies, but Boobies won't protect them against SCUM; Big Mama will be clinging to Big Daddy, who will be in the corner ####ting in his forceful, dynamic pants. Men who are rational, however, won't kick or struggle or raise a distressing fuss, but will just sit back, relax, enjoy the show and ride the waves to their demise."

On sexuality:

"Sex is not part of a relationship: on the contrary, it is a solitary experience, non-creative, a gross waste of time. The female can easily -- far more easily than she may think -- condition away her sex drive, leaving her completely cool and cerebral and free to pursue truly worthy relationships and activities; but the male, who seems to dig women sexually and who seeks out constantly to arouse them, stimulates the highly sexed female to frenzies of lust, throwing her into a sex bag from which few women ever escape. The lecherous male excited the lustful female; he has to -- when the female transcends her body, rises above animalism, the male, whose ego consists of his penis, will disappear."

Describing her understanding of medicine and mortality:

"All diseases are curable, and the aging process and death are due to disease; it is possible, therefore, never to age and to live forever. In fact the problems of aging and death could be solved within a few years, if an all-out, massive scientific assault were made upon the problem. This, however, will not occur with the male establishment"

Asserting that all 'un-creative' labor in society could become easily automated, despite the then non-existence of sophisticated computers:

"A completely automated society can be accomplished very simply and quickly once there is a public demand for it. The blueprints for it are already in existence, and its construction will take only a few weeks with millions of people working on it. Even though off the money system, everyone will be most happy to pitch in and get the automated society built; it will mark the beginning of a fantastic new era, and there will be a celebration atmosphere accompanying the construction."

Her predictions regarding the economic basis of male-power, potential simplicity of scientific education, and the ultimate decline in heterosexuality:

"After the elimination of money there will be no further need to kill men; they will be stripped of the only power they have over psychologically independent females. They will be able to impose themselves only on the doormats, who like to be imposed on. The rest of the women will be busy solving the few remaining unsolved problems before planning their agenda for eternity and Utopia -- completely revamping educational programs so that millions of women can be trained within a few months for high level intellectual work that now requires years of training (this can be done very easily once our educational goal is to educate and not perpetuate an academic and intellectual elite); solving the problems of disease and old age and death and completely redesigning our cities and living quarters. Many women will for a while continue to think they dig men, but as they become accustomed to female society and as they become absorbed in their projects, they will eventually come to see the utter uselessness and banality of the male."

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Old 09-10-2008   #12
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Re: Book Recommendations





"The edge of a colossal jungle, so dark-green as to be almost black, fringed with white surf, ran straight, like a ruled line, far, far away along a blue sea whose glitter was blurred by a creeping mist. The sun was fierce, the land seemed to glisten and rip with steam."

Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, written in 1899 is a seminal work about the ills of colonialism, as well as a postmodern look at the subject of mankind. Conrad's book had a crucial influence on five important works of the twentieth century: J. G. Frazier's book The Golden Bough. Jessie L. Weston's book From Ritual to Romance, T. S. Elliott's poem the Waste Land and Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces.

Just a taste of the plot reels you in! Marlow, the narrator of Heart of Darkness and Conrad's alter ego, is hired by an ivory-trading company to sail a steamboat up an unnamed river whose shape on the map resembles "an immense snake uncoiled, with its head in the sea, its body at rest curving afar over a vast country and its tail lost in the depths of the land" (8). His destination is a post where the company's brilliant, ambitious star agent, Mr. Kurtz, is stationed. Kurtz has collected legendary quantities of ivory, but, Marlow learns along the way, is also rumored to have sunk into unspecified savagery. Marlow's steamer survives an attack by blacks and picks up a load of ivory and the ill Kurtz; Kurtz, talking of his grandiose plans, dies on board as they travel, downstream.

Sketched with only a few bold strokes, Kurtz's image has nonetheless remained in the memories of millions of readers: the lone white agent far up the great river, with his dreams of grandeur,his great store of precious ivory, and his fiefdom carved out of the African jungle. Perhaps more than anything, we remember Marlow, on the steamboat, looking through binoculars at what he thinks are ornamental knobs atop the fence posts in front of Kurtz's house and then finding that each is "black, dried, sunken, with closed eyelids-a head that seemed to sleep at the top of that pole, and with the shrunken dry lips showing a narrow white line of the teeth"

(Dictated while taking a stroll) I have come to realizewhat a superbly contrived marionette man is. Though without strings attached, one can strut, jump, hop and, moreover, utter words, an elaborately made puppet! Who knows? At the Bon season next year, I may be a new dead invited to the Bon festival. What an evanescent world! This truth keeps slipping off our minds.

- Tsunetomo Yamamoto, The Hagakure
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Old 09-10-2008   #13
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Re: Book Recommendations




Notes From The Underground is Dostoevsky's grand look at the human condition from the perspective of a man living on the fringes of society. The short novel provides the key to much of the author's later and more fleshed out novels.

Presented in two parts the novel tells the story of the unnamed Undergound Man who is forced into a life of inaction by the reason driven society that he finds himself in.

Part I of the novel is a long monologue to an invisible audience which explains how the Underground Man came into existence. It is a masterpiece of Existentialist fiction and has been the cornerstone for many later writers including Freud and Camus. The ideas expressed in this part of the novel deal with the character's interactions with himself. This is also the mother of all anti-hero literature. Through the Underground Man's speech we identify him as an over sensitive man of great intelligence. We begin to identify with the character and understand him. While this part of the novel is idea laden it presents one of the great characters of modern fiction.

Part II of the novel is much more accessible to today's reader. This part of the novel deals with the Underground Man's interactions with the society around him. It is in this section that we see that he incapable of reacting in a normal way with the persons that he comes into contact with. He is not the rational man of Part I but a person driven to inaction by his own personal circumstances. He is spiteful, mean spirited and incapable of giving or receiving love to or from others.

(Dictated while taking a stroll) I have come to realizewhat a superbly contrived marionette man is. Though without strings attached, one can strut, jump, hop and, moreover, utter words, an elaborately made puppet! Who knows? At the Bon season next year, I may be a new dead invited to the Bon festival. What an evanescent world! This truth keeps slipping off our minds.

- Tsunetomo Yamamoto, The Hagakure
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Old 09-10-2008   #14
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Re: Book Recommendations

Tobias recomended Céline's Journey to the end of the night
I also recomend the more controversial


(Trifles for a massacre)
Céline was accused of antisemitism during the Nazi period and subsequently lived in exile for a number of years. While he did not collaborate with the Nazis in any fashion[13], the climate of blame in the aftermath of World War II led to his imprisonment in Denmark for eighteen months from 1945-1947 with the Danes even refusing an extradition request from France citing insufficient proof that he actively collaborated with the Nazis.[14][15] During the rise of Nazi Germany, he wrote three typically cynical and misanthropic pamphlets interpreted to be antisemitic: Bagatelles pour un massacre (Trifles for a Massacre) (1937), L'École des cadavres (School of Corpses) (1938) and Les Beaux draps (The Fine Mess) (1941), the last one published during the occupation of France. These led to the widespread blame and hatred encountered and even predicted by Celine in the postwar years.[16]
The massacre that Céline had in mind when he entitled his first overtly antisemitic pamphlet Bagatelles pour un massacre was that of the "goïms," or Gentiles, who he thought would be led in slaughter once again in another great war.[17] Céline had been mobilized during the First World War where he received a serious arm injury[18] in the course of a mission for which he had volunteered. In later years he was to claim that he had undergone trepanation at the hands of army surgeons in 1915. This claim is complicated because the fictional character Robinson claims to have undergone this procedure in Journey to the End of the Night. This was a false claim invented for reasons that grew out of Céline's desire to picture himself as an unjustly persecuted loner.[19] Records from the Paul Brousse Hospital in Villejuif on the outskirts of Paris tell us that only his arm was operated on.[20]
Although Céline's political ideals here appeared to have commonalities with the Nazis, he was publicly critical of Adolf Hitler, whom he called a "Jew", and of "Aryan baloney".[21][22] His fascist views are evident in L'Ecole des cadavres where he calls for a Franco-German alliance in order to counter the alliance between British intelligence and "the international Jewish conspiracy"[23]
Céline was a friend of the German-French sculptor Arno Breker. He visited Breker last time in Germany in 1943 at Brekers Castle Jaeckelsbruch near Berlin. After the Vichy regime fell in 1944, Céline escaped judgment by fleeing to Sigmaringen, Germany, accompanying the Vichy Chief of State, Henri Phillipe Pétain, and President, Pierre Laval. For a brief time Céline acted as Laval's personal physician. A fictional account of this period can be found in Céline’s novel "D'un château l'autre" (Castle to Castle), published in 1960.
After the fall of the Nazi government Céline subsequently fled to Denmark (1945). Branded a collaborator, he was convicted in absentia (1950) in France to one year of imprisonment and declared a national disgrace. He was subsequently granted amnesty and returned to France in 1951.

(Thanks again Wiki)

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Old 09-10-2008   #15
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Re: Book Recommendations

Great thread! I love book recommendations. I am familiar with most of the books. I have even read a few of them.
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Old 09-10-2008   #16
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Re: Book Recommendations

Ilsa, an original 1938 copy of Bagatelles pour un massacre lies here in my library together with Voyage au bout de la nuit but I hesitate to read them as Céline's writing is famous for its use of "argot" making it hard to understand even for French people... I think it's worth trying reading it in French though...
In my turn I recommend:
Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima


"The spirit of an individual reaches its own absolute through incessant negation."
René Daumal
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Old 09-10-2008   #17
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Re: Book Recommendations

Thank you Neurospaston, I was beginning to wonder if anyone else here liked Mishima.
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Old 09-10-2008   #18
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Re: Book Recommendations



The story concerns young and intelligent Oxford graduate Nicholas Urfe, who takes up with Alison Kelly, an Australian girl he meets at a party in London. In order to get away from an increasingly serious relationship with her, Nicholas accepts a post teaching English at the Lord Byron School in the Greek island of Phraxos. This provides a convenient "escape" for Nicholas as the affair with Alison gets more serious than he had hoped for. Bored, depressed, disillusioned, and overwhelmed by the Mediterranean island, Nicholas contemplates suicide, then takes to long solitary walks. On one of these walks he stumbles upon the wealthy Greek recluse Maurice Conchis, who may or may not have collaborated with the Nazis during the Second World War and apparently lives alone on his island estate.

Nicholas is gradually drawn into Conchis's psychological games, his paradoxical views on life, his mysterious persona, and his eccentric masques. At first these various aspects of what the novel terms the "godgame" seem to Nicholas to be a joke, but as they grow more elaborate and intense, Nicholas's ability to determine what is real and what is not vanishes. Against his will and knowledge he becomes a performer in the godgame, and realizes that the enactments of the Nazi occupation, the absurd playlets after de Sade, and the obscene parodies of Greek myths are not about Conchis's life, but his own.

The novel presents an extraordinary series of descriptions of both places and events, and paints an unusually vivid picture of the surroundings in which the action takes place.

(Dictated while taking a stroll) I have come to realizewhat a superbly contrived marionette man is. Though without strings attached, one can strut, jump, hop and, moreover, utter words, an elaborately made puppet! Who knows? At the Bon season next year, I may be a new dead invited to the Bon festival. What an evanescent world! This truth keeps slipping off our minds.

- Tsunetomo Yamamoto, The Hagakure
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Old 09-10-2008   #19
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Re: Book Recommendations



'The Blind Owl' by Sadegh Hedayat is an overlooked classic of madness. Since my peers of age (early 20's) are quickly becoming incapable of reading anything but text messages, the only way for it to become recognized, if this is at all important, would be to have it serialized, it being such a slim novel that its every aspect is important, by a talented director like Lynch, or Polanski, or Fincher. Also seeing as how people are capable of being frightened by off-the-wall 'torture porn' as David Cronenberg refers to it (another possible candidate), like SAW or Hostel, this book being faithfully adapted by one of the mentioned artists of vision would, and could only, cause mass hysteria . . . but this will never happen.

It basically revolves around a solitary artist-by-trade who harbors an absolutely fatalistic opium addiction, and world view for that matter. In the depths of his reflections, events occuring in the present are interwoven with those of his actual, or feverishly imagined past, as he is repeatedly visited by a man enshrouded 'neath shawls and turbin, whose visible features are unmoving and mask-like, who at unprecedented moments breaks the silence with a sinister, elemental sounding laugh that seems to issue not from his lips but somewhere deep within his body. Also and angelic archetype of feminine perfection who either dies or disappears when he reaches her, an wanted wife who is both revered and despised in equal measure, and some other more so surreal and blackly humorous characters populate this book.

Anyway, Mr. Hedayat, a Persian of aristocratic birth I believe, eventually ended his life while staying in some European city, probably Paris, I just don't want to say 'I believe again, -woops never mind. By the time one finishes the book, he or she probably wouldn't be surprised. Cheers
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Old 09-10-2008   #20
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Thumbs up Re: Book Recommendations

You put 'Magus' up as I was writing the last one, and though mine was good, 'The Magus' is much better. That's a great cover as well.
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