Stewie Griffin Depicts the Winter of Spenglers Discontent


Oswald Spengler predicted a protracted winter in The Decline of The West. Spengler wasn't alone in his depiction of a distopian society where fashion reigns over utility, luck is dominant, bureaucracy squelches progress and the rich have a firm hold on the reigns of an incipient global culture. Spengler was one of the first to be taken seriously.

Stewie's Guide to WORLD DOMINATION [sic] is a ray of sunshine for a winter day of our decline. In Spengler's seasonal taxonomy of decline, winter is the final phase. Spengler writes that one cue of a culture in winter is an increasingly authoritative government. In an authoritarian government, clearly stating your perception is not a fiscally sustainable option.

"?if I were to confess to knowing that the entire enterprise is a sham, then that delicious stream of cold, hard cash that appears under my pillow following the loss of a tooth gets suddenly cut off, doesn't it?" --Stewie Griffin Transcribed by Steve Callaghan

Spengler separates culture from civilization. Yes, the two are intertwined, but culture reflects the people while civilization reflects the aspirations of global domination, requiring increasingly authoritarian leaders who represent power rather than being powerful on their own. A culture of war masks itself in fashion and subverts education into specialized academic philosophy with obvious discrepancies from reality.

Stewie calls out that the basis of American education, the three Rs doesn't represent three Rs: Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic. Stewie suggests that we might be better served by the acronym W.A.R.

"There's no country that likes 'W.A.R. more than our own?blame the Boss Hoggs of the world who got the whole enterprise off on the wrong foot with this 'thre Rs' nonsense." --Stewie Griffin

Spengler predicted a focus on lavish sport entertainment as the final cues of the closing of culture and the domination of civilization, where work looses meaning for the affluent as sports becomes the substitute for meaning in one's life. Stewie deftly reveals both of these cues at once as he discusses a typical civilization workplace.

"you are rotting your brain?find yourself having to alternately ask and then answer the terribly probing and provocative question, 'Did you have a nice weekend?' forty-seven different times. And let's face it: Despite the fact that most of the replies should fall along the lines of, 'Well, I spent most of Saturday and Sunday trying to ignore the loveless marriage and spoiled brats I've surrounded myself with while being tranquilized by the narcotic of back-to-back-to-back NFL football in order to keep myself from pondering the very real possibility that I might be gay.'" --Stewie Griffin

Stewie is a ray of light, warming our winter day. Spengler holds that winter is devoid of symbolic art. In a civilization's winter art is replaced by a meaningless fashion dialogue. Stewie staves off the meaninglessness of our encroaching civilization by disseminating symbolic art about our civilization in Stewie's Guide to WORLD DOMINATION, Helped into print by Steve Callaghan; Perennial Currents, 2006.

Howard Campbell is host of the Poker Without Cards coversation at www.intellishit.com">http://www.intellishit.com


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King County (WA) Library System, the nation's top digital-circulating library has said it will stop buying new release Macmillan e-books once the publishers' two-month embargo begins next month.

In her note, executive director Lisa Rosenblum said King County's decision was ultimately driven by two reasons: one "pragmatic" and the other "principled." ...

As for the pragmatic side, Rosenblum explained that King County has pledged to readers to limit the wait time for any title to around 3 months. "Not allowing us to purchase multiple copies of an e-book for two months artificially lengthens the queue, triggering more of the same title to be purchased than would have occurred if we had been allowed to buy for the first two months," ...

The "principled" argument, Rosenblum says, is to send a message to other publishers that public libraries cannot accept limits on basic access. To do so, she writes, would "profoundly" change the public library.

By any measure in publishing, cartoonist Dav Pilkey is a rock star. The children's author created his characters Captain Underpants (a superhero for grade-schoolers) and Dog Man (a hound-supercop) while an Ohio second-grader, sitting alone in the hall during class as a result of his ADHD.

Now Pilkey is 53, and "Dog Man" — a franchise that has sold millions — is perched atop the New York Times bestsellers list for children's series, while "Captain Underpants" is at No. 8 (both books have sat on the list for years)....

The judges of this year's Booker prize have "explicitly flouted" the rules of the august literary award to choose the first joint winners in almost 30 years: Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo.

The chair of judges, Peter Florence, emerged after more than five hours with the jury to reveal that the group of five had been unable to pick a single winner from their shortlist of six. Instead, despite being told repeatedly by the prize's literary director, Gaby Wood, that they were not allowed to split the £50,000 award, they chose two novels: Atwood's The Testaments, a follow-up to her dystopian The Handmaid's Tale, and Evaristo's Girl, Woman, Other, which is told in the voices of 12 different characters, mostly black women.

Harold Bloom, the eminent critic and Yale professor whose seminal The Anxiety of Influence and melancholy regard for literature's old masters made him a popular author and standard-bearer of Western civilization amid modern trends, died Monday at age 89.

In response to Jennine Capó Crucet's talk on the Statesboro, Ga., campus Wednesday, where she focused her discussion on white privilege, students gathered at a grill and torched her novel "Make Your Home Among Strangers" — about a first-generation Cuban American woman struggling to navigate a mostly white elite college.

Yesterday, The Nobel committee announced the winners of both the 2018 and 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature. The 2018 prize having been canceled last year due to controversy. Over to Ron Charles at The Washington Post to explain:

...Two years ago, the husband of one of the academy's members was accused of multiple counts of sexual assault and eventually convicted of rape. The ensuing scandal tore apart the committee, exposing a history of lax regulation, a deep well of bad judgment and a vein of misogyny. Some members resigned, others refused to participate. The Nobel Foundation, which funds the award, raised serious concerns about the committee's governance. The future of the literature prize seemed imperiled...

And then came Thursday's announcement of the winners of the 2018 and 2019 Nobel Prizes in literature. The big test: an opportunity to show that the committee members could, in fact, carry on Alfred Nobel's vague instructions to select "the most outstanding work in an idealistic direction."

First, the 2018 prize was awarded to Polish author Olga Tokarczuk for what the judges praised as "a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life."

But then the other shoe — or jackboot — dropped, and any celebration of Tokarczuk's work was hijacked by a fresh controversy: The Swedish Academy awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in literature to Peter Handke. He's a controversial Austrian writer known for his sympathy for the late Yugoslavia leader Slobodan Milosevic, who was accused of genocide. Handke not only attended that butcher's funeral, he delivered a eulogy...

... This is no way to demonstrate good judgment or to regain trust. It's just another tone-deaf stunt by a group of Swedish snobs who command a disproportionate and undeserved wedge of the world's attention.

Update 10/17: Writing an opinion piece in the New York Times, Bret Stephens argues that "we live in an age that is losing the capacity to distinguish art from ideology and artists from politics."

The Swedish Academy announced this morning two winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature: Peter Handke, the Austrian author, playwright and translator, wins the 2019 prize, and Olga Tokarczuk, the Polish novelist and poet, wins the 2018 prize, which was not bestowed last year because of a scandal involving sexual assault allegations and financial impropriety involving the Academy.

Handke was cited by the Swedish Academy for "an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience."

Tokarczuk was cited for "a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life."

Controversy over Handke's award immediately broke out. See 10/11 news post for more on this.

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The New York Times has just published a powerful article on how governments across the globe are spending a remarkable amount of resources attacking books. Because this is an important article and many BookBrowse readers may be blocked from reading the full piece by the newspaper's paywall, here are four of the most salient paragraphs:

…Regimes are expending so much energy attacking books because their supposed limitations have begun to look like strengths: With online surveillance, digital reading carries with it great risks and semi-permanent footprints; a physical book, however, cannot monitor what you are reading and when, cannot track which words you mark or highlight, does not secretly scan your face, and cannot know when you are sharing it with others….

…During the Cold War that followed, the federal government established a network of 181 libraries and reading rooms in over 80 countries. In 1955, specially-made lightweight copies of Animal Farm were flown from West Germany into Poland by balloon. The unifying principle — despite the terrible hypocrisy of Jim Crow — was that freedom of thought abroad would ultimately favor the spread of tolerant, free liberal democracies…

…The tepid response of the Trump administration to the murder and dismemberment of the Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi is just the most egregious example of why the global defense of freedom of the press and speech is no longer an American priority. The State Department has made barely a peep about any of this. Perhaps it should come as no surprise coming from a president who is almost comically boastful about his antipathy to reading…

The consequences of America standing by apathetically could be disastrous — particularly if Mr. Trump and his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, remain in power for another four years. In classic dystopian novels of the near-future — Brave New World, 1984, Fahrenheit 451 — the digital world is ubiquitous. The ghostly absence of books, and the freethinking they seed, is the nightmare. For much of the world, it's not an impossible fate

Penguin Random House Audio has released a free, 30-minute audio reading of The Whistle-Blower Complaint. It was recorded by Saskia Maarleveld, a professional audiobook narrator.

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