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Posts Tagged ‘Weak Recommendation’

Thus Spoke Zarathustra” — book review
Today’s review is for the book: “Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and for No One” (1883-1885), written by: Friedrich Nietzsche (this version (2012 ©) is a translation to English by: Thomas Common and was originally published in 1909).  Nietzsche was a trained “philogist”.  Basically, he studied classic languages (Greek and Latin) and in particular their literature.  Nietzsche became a philosopher and is considered one of the “great” philosophers of the 19th century.  He considered this work to be his greatest achievement.  The book was written in four main pieces and published over several years.
The main character (Zarathustra) is based on a semi-mythological Indo-Iranian religious figure named Zoroaster, who started his own religion and which “may have” influenced some current day including Islam and the Bahá’í Faith.  Anyway, in the story, Zarathustra is a hermit who lives in a cave for some period of years and then goes down from his mountain home to visit and teach the natives.
The book appears to be both a work of philosophy and a story book. Kind of like the Bible (allegory and parables), but with philosophy overlaid where “god” would normally appear.  As near as I can tell, the main gist of the work is that the traditional “god” is dead and that mankind is merely a bridge between the animals and a future superior species (Übermensch) which I believe translates to “over-man”, but which generally translated as “superman”.  We regular humans will recognize these coming supermen by their differing (self-created and self-benefiting) “values” which Nietzsche calls their “will to power”.
What did I think? BORING!!  A few good bits, but mostly just boring.
I think I may be too hard on the work because Nietzsche was a poet / philogist / and philosopher.  I am none of those and therefore am certainly not qualified to provide an in-depth analysis / critique of the ideas or how they are expressed.  My reaction is to the mixed styles of writing, the verbose language, the poorly explained (mostly unexplained) allegories / metaphors.  So, “God” is a creation of primitive man.  Man is no longer primitive, and so, no longer needs the “God” we created.  Man, in raising himself above the baser creatures should shrug off the superstition and create himself in the image of a new and superior man without the values imposed by prior civilization.  We should create our own value system and impose it on lesser men who will want to retain their older values.
Or, as near as I can tell: “Thus spoke Zarathustra”…
Seriously, this work is considered one of the classics of Western (European) philosophy and it was on my “bucket-list” of books to read to consider myself “educated”.  Am I now better educated?  NO.  Wider read, but not better educated.
Final recommendation: weak to moderate recommendation.  I read this in chunks of 10 to 20 pages at a time over the course of almost a month.  Perhaps I should have ploughed through it more quickly and decisively…  Perhaps I should read a different version – maybe something with more annotations.  Maybe it’s far better in the original German…  I don’t know.  I do know I’m not going to learn German just to try to get more out of this work.  Anyway, if it’s on your personal bucket list, read this translation as I’m informed it is one of the “better” ones.  If it’s not on your list, I think you’ll get more out of reading about this book, the author and Zoroaster on Wikipedia.  In fairness, there were some interesting bits and some flowery prose. I just don’t know if they (the good bits) were from the original or from the translation / translator.  I already have multiple Nietzsche quotes on my blog and I’m sure I add some from this book…  Perhaps they will pique my readers’ interests and you’ll find a copy to read.  Hopefully, you’ll gain more insight than I have.
Midnight has passed and there is no new day.  Thus passed Zarathustra…
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On This Day In:
2019 Enjoy!
2018 Happy Birthday, Bro!
2017 Love Can Change The World In A Minute
2016 60, Little Bro!
2015 Vision and Courage
2014 58 – Little Bro
2013 New Adventures And Old Hopes
Caving In
2012 Bits And Bobs And Birthdays
Always Hope
2011 Wet Snow And Long Hills

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And yet another comic book collection from my son, James.  This one is titled: “The Flash: Omnibus“, (2011©).
I have very mixed feelings about this book – and at over 430 pages and hard-bound, this is definitely a book!  I liked the character of the Flash when I was growing up.  Marvel Comics didn’t really have the same  kind of super-powered hero.  They had fast heroes, but nothing like the Flash.  But, in the DC universe, the Flash was still a 2nd / 3rd tier hero to me.  Well behind Batman and Superman (1st tier) and many others (like Green Lantern) (2nd tier).
Anyway, in this story we have the creation arch for the re-boot of the whole of the DC universe.  The Flash breaks the dimensional barrier and splits the universe into 52 different versions.  This means the DC universe has a virtually unlimited number of options in re-writing all of its heroes with new endings to all of the old stories.  While I don’t think this is actually “practical”, it is theoretically possible with an internally consistent universe logic.
Now, why MY mixed feelings?  Mostly because the book is divided up by two artists, one of whom I like (about 1/3rd of the book) and one I don’t really care for (the other 2/3rd).   Had I paid the full, retail price for this book, I would not have been a happy camper.   Between the bad drawing and the jumping around in the story (kind of embedded universes), the story suffers and I was left feeling, who are these people and why should I care about them?  In the end, I didn’t really, which was too bad.
Will I keep reading The Flash?  Yeah, as long as they’re being supplied by my son for free, but I don’t think I’d ever actually pay for them – particularly if the book has the bad artist.
Bottom line: weak recommendation.
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This is another of the comics from my son, James.  In this one, “The Flash: Rebirth“, (2010©), the main character (hero) is The Flash, who’s super-power is speed.  As a youth, I enjoyed The Flash, but he was never one of my favorites.  Basically, I knew him from a few of his own issues and from his participation in the Justice League of America.
With the passage of time, most of these characters have been “reborn” either by retiring or somehow otherwise transitioning (dying) into a new mortal / human who gains the super power.  This is one of those stories.  Basically, the story brings back all of the “Flashes” from 1940-ish onwards and throws them together for this series (book form).  The story line is rather disjointed due to poor character introductions and was difficult for me to follow.  Fortunately, there is a story arch summary at the end of the book which explains what was supposed to be happening in the book.  I think it’s an indictment of the comic when it has to be explained in text form at the end of the book.  Oh, well…
I liked the art work a lot – dramatic (which suits my taste).  The writing, so-so…   Weak recommendation.
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This review is for the book: “Napalm & SillyPutty“, by George Carlin (2001©).   Way back when I was a youth, I heard the “Seven Words You Can’t Say On TV” and “The Hippy-Dippy Weather Man” skits, and I was hooked as a Carlin fan.  Carlin passed away a couple of years ago (2008) now, but he remains in my mind as a “definer” – a dictionary – of words, pre- and post-PC (politically correct).  Carlin was an atheist who railed against BIG (organized) religion and unwilling to trust government at any level.
This book is NOT his best stuff.  Most of it seems to be re-hashes of things he said on TV or in magazine interviews.  Still, some of it is pretty funny.  George can make you laugh, he can make you cry and he could make me laugh until I cried.  Often imitated, and rarely equaled, we are unlikely to see his like again anytime soon.  RIP, George.
I got this book on clearance at Half-Price Books for $2.00 and it was worth that just to remind me of the old days.  If you can get it cheap or at a library (free), it’s worth reading.  Otherwise, just YouTube George Carlin and watch him do his thing.  You’ll probably get more out of it.  Sorry, George – weak recommendation…
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