<em>The Rebel Sell: Why The Culture Can't Be Jammed</em> by Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter

This book should be subtitled "Everything You Thought You Knew Is Wrong", especially if you are or have had any contact with "radicals" or "non-conformists" or "progressives", if you think everyone (else) is walking around in a corporate-induced stupor of materialism, or if you have ever read Adbusters and felt smug and superior to everyone who wasn't reading Adbusters.

Since that describes pretty much everyone I know, including myself, I should say this book was a bit of an eye-opener. I have to admit that when I went around reading Adbusters and all that stuff, it didn't really ring true to me. I went along with it because it seemed like everyone else thought it was true, and I wasn't confident enough in my own good sense to go against the crowd.

This book, however, does ring true; it has the unmistakable stench of common sense about it. Heath and Potter argue that the counter-culture revolutionary types are basically screwing themselves (and the rest of us) because they refuse to accept incremental changes to our society (like, say, minimum wage laws); they think that our society is so profoundly screwed up that nothing short of a complete overhaul, a revolution, will fix it. Accepting incremental changes would imply that society is generally okay and just needs a few tweaks. Heath and Potter call bullshit and explain why in fairly convincing, and amusing, terms. Also they smack down Naomi Klein and Kalle Lasn pretty good, which is fun.

Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond

In this book Diamond attempts to explain why Eurasians have so much cargo (you know, the stuff we're all brainwashed into wanting by evil corporations) and why they (we) basically stomp over every other culture we come into contact with. It's because we have the guns, the germs, and the steel. But why? Diamond knows.

This book ends up being a history of the world, and the most interesting one I have ever read. I am much smarter now that I have read this. You should read it too (except you probably already have; I am kind of behind the curve here.)


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