Children of Dune:

Children of Dune:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Remarks onThe Shock Doctrine: Part 2

The book has been out for a while. It is no longer news.

My first impression of The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein was a lack of common ground. She faces the past when she writes, and so forensic methods are quite valid. It has always seemed that when Lawyers advocate, they stipulate the areas of agreement. And there was a lack of this common ground on reading. She assumes this common ground and so never establishes it.

People raised in New Orleans know that the Big Easy is below sea level for the most part, and the city is dangerous when the water rises. There are old folk songs and old stories about old people and relatives. I now have a mental image; an internal tableau. There was a city. There was a catastrophe. A Shock. There were people whose lives had been disrupted, hungry and feeling abandoned and disrespected. There was a woman from Canada who had gone to New Orleans to get the point of view of these people. There were "grinning" Scientologists feeding the hungry people. The book doesn't say, but it sounds like they had made their way to Baton Rouge, the capitol of Louisiana.

Many people made their way to New Orleans as they escaped. The US Navy went to to supply food and emergency services, People went down to help as church or other groups, or as individuals.
Laborers, many of them Latino, headed straight for New Orleans looking for construction work. Entire companies went. Some wanted to help, and some went because they knew that heavy dirty work pays well. They didn't get interviewed.

I begin to have a sense the problem: My heart was with the "grinning Scientologists", and the reason for that is that Naomi and I lack some important common ground.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Remarks onThe Shock Doctrine: Part 1

One can trip over Natalie Klein while using Google to find Milton Friedman engaged in debate, which viewing is a personal favorite pastime. The video title was misleading because there was only Natalie; no Milton Friedman. I watched for a while. Perhaps she is having a bad day was my thought at the time.

The video crossed my mind later, perhaps while staring at my toes in a dentists office. Perhaps the thing had been miss-cut...

My interest was renewed on seeing a young man who was studying karate with my son was seen with a copy of the The Shock Doctrine. The pages had the silky look of a book which has been read slowly. A book dealer might refer to the condition of the volume as well read and in good condition. It was a paperback, and the cover showed the curliness of wear. He saw me looking at the book.
"This is a great book" he said, if I remember correctly.
"I saw her on Utube, she struck me as a twitchy lefty" He jerked visibly. "Perhaps she was having a bad day, I'll read the book" So I did.

I was bothered by the first paragraph. Disturbed by the tone. "Dinner was being doled out by grinning young Scientologists"... That could be written in a number of ways. At a minimum, this exposition is unfair to young people who are giving their time and effort to feed the hungry while she is busily collecting material for a piece of muckraking which will give her a payday that by far the best part of the hungry people in the line will never see.