Friday, May 25, 2012

Edible Secrets

More stuff from Lee.  While Henry And Glenn Forever was amusing, this is a polemic that's trying to be funny and failing. 

The premise of the book is that declassified documents can be funny because of their pedestrian references to food in the midst of reports about international and domestic affairs.  And that can be pretty funny, because when you get right down to it, most classified documents are boring and meaningless.  Documents are over classified as secret and contain really pedestrian affairs far more than anything of significance to the government collecting the information.  Hell, most often they events chronicled aren't significant to the people performing them.

The problem with this book is that its an utter fail.  If humor was its aim, it misses the entire firing range, let alone the mark.  Ok, there's the unintentional funny of it.  In this era of right wing conspiracy being primary (mostly about the Kenyan radical Muslim/Communist/Facist/traitor President) it's funny to see a left wing conspiracy book.  Takes me back to a course in law school that I took called Race, Racism and Radical Legal Thinking.  Man, was that ever full of unfounded assertions.  So's this.

Much of its problem is that it takes the assertions of subjects of the classified documents at face value and dismisses the investigations of the government as automatically baseless.  That may be so, but there's no evidence presented.  There's also an automatic presumption that capitalism is a bad thing.  Unfettered, I'd agree, but that's not the case, particularly in the time of a lot of these documents.  Before Reagan, capitalism in the US was a lot more restricted than it is now.

Here's a brief quote from the book.  I'm pretty sure it'll tell you whether this is your cup of tea.

"We must rember that while accusing the innocent marks everyone as a potential target, attacking actual Leftists unmakes political activity and intellectualism, sewing seeds of fear and distrust into Leftist communities.  The louder the government spoke against communism, the more difficult - or risky - it became for citizens to speak.

To say the 1950s were quiet years lacking in dissent would be a mischaracerization, falling prey to mediated images of nuclear families and uncomfortable marriages.  The Left was alive, it always is.  Resistance is ever present.  But the climate of fear and the publicity of punishment surrounding the Rosenbergs' trial and executino froze the Left out of political life."

Um, yeah.  'Cause there were no Democrats in the 1950s.  Or they weren't sufficiently Left.  One of those.
To me, you could make this entire assertion, which, by the way, comes from the use of a Jell-o box in the Rosenberg case, into a cry of resistance by the Know Nothing/Tea Party of today.  Just substitute a few words and its the same kind of paranoia.

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