I recently wrote about this book.
After finding this review by Stan Persky I’m glad I didn’t buy the book. Persky points out a trait I think I have been suffering from. From being Psychiatrically tortured, to watching the War in Iraq, to reading the Whole Brain Catalog Asbusters issue, to, wel,l Hedges shows the same trait here …
“porn reflects the endemic cruelty of our society. This is a society that does not blink when the industrial slaughter unleashed by the United States and its allies kills hundreds of civilians in Gaza or hundreds of thousands of innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
I’ve been descending into that hate and cruelty, not the cruelty of war, but the cruelty that comes from the place Hedges is writing from. Hating his own kind. I’ve been turning into a misanthrope. As Michael Frianti once said (Spearhead/The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy) when he sang about making assumptions about violence … “you have to be more sublime than that”.
Hedges has written for the New York Times and writes about how war has become good for us. But his writing is very seductive and has more than a little of the tinge of “you see, you should have listened to the Eugenicists”. It IS people hating.
As much as we do really have big problems to solve that should not be an argument for condemning mall kids or “stupid people”. Yes, parts of the West are corrupt in some ways. I can see how much English speaking intellectual thought and works, like the book by Hedges, are very Western centric. They ignore what is going in in Latin America or the Indian subcontinent. And there are also shifts going on that will never be shown on TV. I can’t look into people’s minds or really know where things are heading. I’m aware that I’ve been mistreated and that does colour how I see the world in many ways even to the point of psychological transference. But what I don’t need is the very intense people hating attitude that drags one in to it’s misanthropy (and I recently left a few social groups to get away from that).
“It’s everyone elses fault”. It says.
“You messed it up”.
But it has little understanding of the nuances and complexities, like …
“Yes, yes, but this isn’t what all of life is about or how I experience it.” At least in some monastic corners of the world, the kid who’s playing Modern Warfare is also reading Italo Calvino’s Mr. Palomar. That Hedges thinks bleak catastrophe is indeed the whole of contemporary life appears to be Hedges’ own illusion.“
The world does indeed move in mysterious ways. I think I just forgot that for a few months. Welcome me back.