There was certainly more to the month in the guise of general pop culture; there’s merit in distinguishing it.
Can I just say, I’m not a big television watcher or movie goer at all. The last movie I went to was Darkest Hour about Churchill; and it was the first I’d seen in over a year. I feel the same sentiment about website subscriptions. As much as I like the idea of zoning out and/or being engaged in something gripping, very few dramas or tv shows do it for me.
So I’m going to add what I’ve watched to what I’ve read. I frankly believe I won’t waste your time.
Cliffhanger…back to the reads
I did fully engage and complete Jonah Goldberg’s Suicide of the West, How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy. It has been a very long time since I’ve finished a book and wanted to start again from the beginning just as quickly. He has a natural cadence to the way he writes. All three of his books and his multiple platforms of weekly columns are very conversational. It makes the understanding easy. If I could sum up his book in one sentence (which every author of any book should be able to do) it would be the evolution of the enlightenment and the current regression, thus the brink on which we find ourselves currently; the potential to emotionally and intellectually regress into the Dark Ages. Though he doesn’t note, we may give ourselves over to the robot overlords if what he sees reaches its full conclusion. He actually speaks nothing of tech and a scientific future. The book is about 350 pages and apparently almost half was cut. I can sense this; I would’ve stayed the course regardless of length. I would like the cut-outs as another book! I will gladly pay the same price for it, too. Call it the Compendium Suicide of the West. The book begins by highlighting the differences between John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau; how America was founded on these ideals; original political parties; aristocracies; guilds; roots of American socialism. Brits will love this book as it pats you on the back a bit. His writing territory always covers a bit of pop culture and has a general lightheartedness to the seriousness.
One great aspect of Jonah’s books is how they’ll stand the test of time. They can be read 50, 100 years from now. As much as I understand he is documenting history here, his discussion of Trump towards the end will be dated. I’ll leave it at that.
Ok then. Back to the viewership avenues. I have been peripherally familiar with a detective show called Wallander on one of the platforms. Netflix? I actually haven’t watched any of them, but I happened upon the books in which they are based. The protagonist, Detective Wallander is set in Sweden. Per my usual, I went down the rabbit hole. Via my library app, I have now listened to three Henning Mankell novels. On hold for two more. The timing couldn’t have been better. If you’ll recall, I just finished The Almost Nearly Perfect People discussing Scandinavian culture. My taste in his books reminds me of my similar affection for Donna Leon’s detective novels set in Venice or Tana French’s set in Ireland. If I’m gonna have a cotton candy read, there better be some cultural education. I don’t say cotton candy to diminish them, but being fictional, I do classify them as junk food books. Mankell’s are the most atmospheric, Broch’s are the more gruesome, Leon’s are the more existential in thought.
The one show I did watch: Bosch via Amazon Prime. Seriously. I tried a couple times admittedly. Just wasn’t in the focus mind frame. So good. Another detective. A surface impenetrable. It grips you. 4 seasons, each focus on one main theme verses episodic. I haven’t shed a tear at the conclusion of any program in years. Worthy of your time.
For the month’s pièce de résistance: Dennis Prager has been a pseudo-mentor of mine going on 16 years! His newest book is apparently his ‘greatest work’. He is Jewish scholar of the Torah and subsequently The Talmud. To say I’ve learned exponentially from him is an understatement. The Rational Bible: Exodus This book is occupying my evenings. I’m rereading sections up to three times, so I anticipate it’ll take my month of June gladly. He is the founder of Prager University
More Mankell to come.