James M. Scott W. W. Norton & Company
A brand new book, Rampage, details the absolutely barbaric behavior by the Japanese during the World War Two battles for control of the Philippines. Don’t read it unless you have a strong stomach for barbarity against civilians. Which brings us to a couple questions. First of all, how can a culture that is thousands of years old change so quickly? We’ve lived in Japan, and, even a generation ago, even their biggest cities like Tokyo were, and are, super safe. It’s impossible to imagine the white collared salarymen of Japan engaging in violence. Japan is now a country with a diminishing birthrate, in part because the people seem more interested in porn than actual sex. Japanese men now seem most interested in getting drunk with their office workers, reading comic books, and maybe groping a woman on the subway. But just a few generations ago Japanese soldiers were barbaric, engaging in gruesome violence and rape. This occurred not just in the Philippines, but even more notably in the Rape of Nanking. Have the Japanese people changed at some fundamental level as a result of their defeat in World War Two and the complete dismemberment of their society? Or are all the changes a result of changed circumstance? Interesting questions explored in this book, but with more of a commercial angle. Secondly, there is an almost endless stream of American books and movies about the evils and barbarities of Nazism during World War Two, but far fewer about the equally savage activities of the Japanese. Why?(View More...)
Skip Castro Publisher
I spent a college weekend at UVA, and had great fun dancing to the local band. Amazingly enough, these guys are still together 40 years later, and still playing a kind of joyous boogie-woogie that you won’t find on the radio or TV.(View More...)
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The great art museum is like Brazil itself – beautiful, vast, mired in scandal and tragedy. The vision of an eccentric entrepreneur, Bernardo de Mello Paz, it has 500 contemporary artworks spread amid hundreds of acres of gardens with 5,000 plant species. A truly amazing place. But the entrepreneur has been arrested, and the recent hotel housing Imhotin’s guests have been flattened by the tragic dam burst at a nearby mine, which killed hundreds.View all Art
Sometimes you don’t need to be enlightened, just entertained. And this book is very entertaining. Ignore the title, which could apply to a million books or movies. This is a true story of love, murder, and revenge. Based in Houston, which was emerging as a major American city, sort of the Miami of the 1950s and 60s. Lots of flash, lots of violence. All of the basic human emotions at fever pitch; love, lust, greed, hatred. Reading this book won’t make you a better person, but you won’t be able to put it down. P.S Go with the Kindle edition if possible.View all Books
Are you a smooth operator? Not only is this a great song, but it speaks to a type of elegance that seems long gone. Sade Adu was one of the great beauties of her time, and her albums were international hits, but she didn’t seek publicity, and she only released an album when she felt like it – which wasn’t often.View all Music
This TV series from Netflix is a perfect, and practical, way to get your new year off to a good start. Is your house a mess? Would you like to be more organized? Does all your stuff bring you joy? Or just get in the way? First of all, you need to understand that Marie Kindo is a superstar in Japan; just think about that; becoming a rock star based on coming up with a clever way to clean out your house. There are a lot of paths to fame and fortune, and this woman found such a path based on something as dull as cleaning up. It doesn’t hurt that she’s pretty and charming; She’s also a bit of a nut – she talks to the clothes. But charming all the same. How big a star is she? Netflix paid her to do a Programme for Americans - and she doesn't speak English. The couple in the first episode is stressed out over the normal stuff that stresses people out; working, raising kids, trying to have a life. This is a loving couple, just trying to make their life less chaotic. Follow the path to joy and sanity.View all Television
The top politicians in Virginia, all Democrats, are under siege - and Republicans should rally to their aide. At their best, Republicans and Conservatives are supporters of due process and the rule of law against the enemy of mob rule. This is far more important than any individual policy battle. The fundamental principle of American justice is that a person accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Throughout 2018 we saw a tsunami of instances where men were fired from their jobs based on accusations, often accusations from many years ago, without any chance to defend themselves in a court of law. It's gotten to the point that men can be fired over an anonymous accusation delivered via email. A lynch mob has assembled to convict Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax over rape accusations surfaced from years ago. Based on these allegations, there is a rabble of calls for his immediate resignation, and threats of impeachment if he doesn't resign. Most prominent among those voices are the rabble-rousers running for president who built their careers on appealing to voter's lowest, basest desires; people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Rape is a terrible crime, and should be punished harshly - but punished only in the way any other crime should be punished, giving the accused the right to defend themselves in court. If Republicans ignore due process just for some short term political gains, you can be absolutely sure that the same rush to judgment will be used against them when the next set of allegations arises. There are basically two classes of people that the liberal mob seeks to treat as untouchable; women and blacks. Accusations of sexual harassment or racism no longer have to be proved; simply asserted, for them to destroy men's lives. When in conflict - such as when the black lieutenant governor is accused of rape - women win. Despite the fact that feminist theology represents women as being strong and more than capable of taking care of themselves in any situation, they seem to revert to Victorian ideas of vulnerability when it comes to rape. Elizabeth Warren refers to the two accusers of the lieutenant governor as "brave women" - but not apparently brave enough to report the alleged rapes when they actually occurred. Two white men are also under attack in Virginia for racism; both the governor and attorney general - for tasteless jokes many years ago. In a world with real problems - where mad dictators control nuclear weapons, millions of people go hungry every day, millions are refugees without a way to survive - these are trivial incidents, blown out of proportion by people who have nothing better to do. If you don't want to vote for someone who wore blackface a couple decades ago, then don't - that's your right. But having worn blackface serves as a distraction for the things that people should really be Outraged about, like this same group of politicians approving billions in subsidies for Amazon to set up headquarters in Virginia - now that's a crime.View all Web