Book Notes: Lidia Falcón’s The Rushed Life

It’s useful to be reminded that compared to how people lived only a few decades ago – and still do almost everywhere – we lead truly charmed lives. The way Lidia Falcón had to discipline her mind and body to feed her children in the 1950s Spain makes it clear that my life is that of royalty in comparison.

Falcón is a very sincere autobiographer who is at her best when she refrains from attempts at political analysis and concentrates on describing daily life. She has no insight and with an earnestness that characterizes most autobiographers advances the idea of her complete infallibility that is rivaled only by the extremely flawed nature of everybody around her. Unlike other autobiographers, however, Falcón is not a liar. It never occurs to her to conceal the details of her life that reveal her as a pretty obnoxious, deeply self-involved individual.

But that’s what makes the book fun, right? Who wants to read about perfect people who find a lesson in everything? I hate those smug bastards. Falcón is not like that. She’ll make the same mistake a million times and narrate it with zero insight but also no attempt to present a human life as an endless self-improvement project.

It’s so annoying that Michelle Obama’s autobiography is a mega bestseller when the woman faced no hardship, achieved nothing of interest, and can’t even write anything on her own. Falcón, on the other hand, is a very good writer who had a fascinating life. She overcame truly enormous challenges. She never had a man to protect her from life. She faced hunger, dictatorship, jail, amphetamine addiction, a deadbeat husband she couldn’t divorce because it wasn’t legal, and a domineering yet brilliant mother. What this woman had to undergo to get her law degree was harsh beyond words. And she writes about it in a way that keeps you glued to the page.

Yet Falcón didn’t become a bitter hag like Michelle. At the end of the 800-page autobiography in two volumes, she’s still a sunny, funny woman in love with life and the Prince Charming she finally managed to land. Compare this to the ultra-bitter and preachy Michelle who has led the life of extraordinary privilege and experienced no hardship. As a role model, Michelle offers nothing. Marry well and you’ll be fine. Yeah, huge news. Forget all that, and tell us instead how to do well if you don’t marry the future president of the United States. That’s a lot more relevant to our lives.

Sadly, this book hasn’t been translated to English. And it won’t be until American readers lose their fascination with condescending frauds like Michelle and develop an interest in real people with real problems and actual personalities.

I’m very glad that after two duds, the third book I read this year was outstanding. Things are looking up!

P.S. I only mention Michelle Obama’s autobiography on the days when somebody recommends I read it. So please no criticism on this account. I’ll cease and desist the moment people stop bringing it up.

The Algorithm

Here’s part of the trick that’s being played on us.

People are prevented from making money in the ways they are used to. Enormous numbers of small businesses are closed. Business owners fire all the workers and close the business.

What do they do next?

They move their business to Facebook. (Or LinkedIn. Or Instagram.)

Here in my small town, we had a guy who created a fitness program that was very popular (I was a member, loved it). We had a baker who started a cupcake store. They both went broke immediately after lockdowns. They are now on FB. He started an FB weight loss program which I didn’t join because eww. She’s giving cooking lessons and selling baking equipment on FB.

So here’s the algorithm:

1. Facebook bans posts questioning lockdowns and gives enormous payouts to pro-lockdown politicians.

2. Lockdowns drive businesses to Facebook. More and more people are completely dependent on Facebook for their livelihood.

3. Facebook bans politicians and ideas it doesn’t like.

4. Everybody is too terrified to object because they can’t make a living if Facebook bans them.

5. There’s never anybody elected again who isn’t to the liking of one single guy – the owner of Facebook.

Of course, now the question arises why we need to vote at all. Let Facebook appoint whomever directly. Spare us the trouble.

A Forbidden Word

Facebook rejected my sister’s ad for her new business because in the ad she’s wearing a sweatshirt with a single word in tiny letters.

Can anybody guess what that word is?

Hint: it’s not a proper name. Just in case people can’t snap out of US dramas that nobody else in the world cares about.

The Class Lens

It’s a shame that when the BLM terrorized people in residential neighborhoods at night, screaming into bullhorns this was greeted with a lot less outrage than what happened yesterday. When the BLM terrorized a mother with a small child in the backseat for fun, nobody gave it any coverage. When a crowd BLM thugs bullied and assaulted an elderly woman, nobody freaked out.

But once our lords and masters are momentarily inconvenienced, that’s a real issue. People are so subservient, it’s like an automatic reaction they don’t control. The little folk suffer – well, that’s their fate. But if the lord in the manor is displeased, oh, that’s a real outrage.

Compared to the terror, intimidation and dispossession so many experienced at the hands of the BLMing COVIDeologists, yesterday was a minor, insignificant blip.

Most people are like servants in Downton Abbey. They are so invested into the dramas of their masters that their own lives are stunted.

Book Notes: August Wilson’s Fences

Turns out this post failed to publish for some reason. Sorry for the confusion!

Fences is supposed to be Wilson’s most famous play. Or at least the most taught one. But I didn’t like it.

Compared to The Piano Lesson and Ma Rainey, Fences is a lot less about black experience in America and a lot more universal, for lack of a better word. The subject of male menopause has been done to absolute death. A man in his fifties cheats on his wife with a young girl. He is intimidated by an adolescent son and fights him for the role of the man of the house. We have only heard this story five million times.

The writing is clunky. There are long boring monologues. The ending is pompous and fake. It was all bad, especially in comparison to the brilliant stuff by this writer that I reviewed on this blog earlier. To me, Wilson is at his best when he writes about black history and not when he does a version of the supremely inane American Beauty. (I know Fences precedes American Beauty but it’s still an outdated, boring plot).

I’m going to watch the movie with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. Maybe that’s going to be better. Anything will be better than the play itself.

This is the second book I read this year, and both suck. I’m superstitious about my reading, and this doesn’t bode well.

Mystical Experiences

So N got interested in mystical experiences. I’m all for it because I’m hoping he’ll eventually stumble into the idea of an Orthodox wedding. He’s always been such a dialectical materialist but now he’s all of a sudden doing guided meditations and worrying Tibetan bowls.

In any case, he’s been trying to get the universe to show him the direction he should take in his search for personal growth. The universe responded by mailing him a book on personal growth.

Neither of us ordered the book or knew it existed. N doesn’t have book-sending friends. Or any friends. Or relatives. The book simply showed up in the mail. From Amazon so there’s no return address. I’m kind of annoyed because the universe isn’t sending me any books, and I’m the perfect target for this particular miracle.