Book Notes: Carlos Fuentes’s Achilles

“Of course some people believe that women are as human as men but still. . .”

This was the last novel written by the famous Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes and it was published posthumously. As you can guess from the preceding quote, you don’t get more typical than Fuentes. The novel is OK, he definitely tried to move past the “magical real” crapazola. In the end, Achilles does slip into the cloying magical realism type of thing but most of the novel is not useless.

What I hate about these Boom writers is not even the obsessive sexism but the desire to create the most shocking scenes of violence possible to outdo the predecessors. They pass from horrific violence to blubby sentimentalism and back and spice it all up with teary pontification about the fate of Latin America. Brrrr, they almost put me off contemporary Latin American literature altogether. I’m glad they were gone.

But all that being said, it’s not a horrible novel. It could be much worse given who Fuente was.

Russians Go to Heaven

Putin once again announced he’s ready to start a nuclear war with the West.

“But it’s ok,” he reassured his audience. “If there’s a nuclear holocaust, we, Russians, will end up in heaven. And the Westerners will go to hell.”

This is not a joke, in case you are wondering. He regularly announces he’s ready for a nuclear showdown.

Book Notes: Sarah Vaughn and Liv Constantine

Since I got no time or energy on my German trip to read anything serious, I read “middle-aged-lady lit,” which is like chick lit for women my age. This means that all the protagonists are 42 or 43. Nobody my age wants to read about youngsters because the glorification of youth gets tiresome after a while. Besides, it’s boring to read about people trying to solve problems you solved a million years ago.

The two “middle-aged-lady lit” novels I read on my trip are Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughn (bought at Heathrow) and The Last Mrs Parrish by Liv Constantine (bought on one of the transfers.) Both novels constitute a very enjoyable, undemanding, relaxing reading. Given that one is about rape and another about egregious forms of domestic abuse, it sounds very bizarre to call them relaxing. But this is the whole purpose of “middle-aged-lady lit.” It helps middle-aged ladies of enough leisure to read these books to process traumatic issues in a non-traumatic way.

If you have to choose one, I recommend Mrs Parrish. The other one had too much in the way of the British class issues and the horribleness of the British aristocrats. I’m sure they are plenty nasty but that idea, too, gets old after a while. Both novels are heavy into “the very rich and the very poor are total sociopaths” narrative.

I want to read more in this genre, so let me know if you’ve been impressed by novels with middle-aged female protagonists. I’m not picky about what these protagonists do. I just want to be entertained.

Fake Minority

I just read that Elizabeth Warren was Harvard Law’s “first woman of color.” This is beyond pathetic. God, I hope she doesn’t run.

Of all people likely to run, Joe Biden seems the most normal and promising. At least nobody can accuse him of trying to sell himself as a minority. I’m still hoping that somebody fresher will run but for now it’s what it is. I’d definitely go for Sherrod Brown but he’s not running because the PC crowd will be after him.

Non-pitiable Minorities

Of course, there were other ways of promoting Affirmative Action at Harvard that didn’t include bashing talented Asian kids. But please note how many so-called progressives eagerly defended racial discrimination against Asians without even trying to figure out what the admission process is like.

For the bizillionth time I will repeat: leftists only care about minorities they think they can patronize and despise. Minorities that don’t seem too pathetic for whatever reason receive the progressives’ wrath like nobody else.

Smart Strategy

Some journals have a very smart strategy to ensure that reviewers reject as many articles as possible. Reviewers are told that if they recommend an article for publication, they have to proofread, make sure the bibliography is in the right format, correct spelling and stylistic errors, and make the text ready for publication. Since most people write extremely carelessly, this is a mountain of work. Nobody wants to do it, so it’s easier to reject.

In short, it takes about 2,000% more time to accept than to reject.

Incompetence in Demand

It’s like they have as their goal to look like total asses:

Facebook has hired Nick Clegg, the former UK deputy prime minister, to head its global affairs and communications team as it faces escalating problems over data protection and the threat of greater government regulation.

Of course, Clegg has been flattering Zuckerberg needily and pathetically, and Zuckerberg can’t resist that.

What a bunch of bastards.