Thursday, October 05, 2006

Hegemony or the Rye

It was rainy yesterday at lunchtime so I thought I’d go and pick up a couple of books I’ve been meaning to read for a while. One was Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky. This is the book that Hugo Chavez recently recommended to the General Assembly of the United Nations during his address to them. I’m only on the second chapter but it’s already apparent that Chomsky’s distilled down to a concentrate what’s been laid bare since at least the time of Dean Atchison: that for decades it has been the policy of the United States to acquire and maintain a position of unassailable dominance in the world… supposedly for the world’s own good, but unquestionably for the self-interests of the United States — which is equated with “the world’s own good”. But I’m jumping ahead of the story, since, of course, I have yet to read the entire book.

The other was Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I’m probably one of the few people in the English-speaking world who’s managed to get through high school and university without having read the book, and I’ve always wondered about a piece of writing so persuasive it was instrumental in the murder of John Lennon and the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. Not that I’m reading it for that reason; just wondering what’s in it that’s that powerful. Given the theme of the book, I probably ought to have read it when I became aware of it as a boy; but given its history, perhaps it’s better I approach it now on the cusp of middle age. :) Incidentally, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that J.D. Salinger is still alive (at least at the time I write this). Born in 1919, he’d be well into his 80s at the moment. I’m always inclined to consider that an accomplishment till I remember that, if they live long enough, everyone makes it to their 80s sooner or later. Still, it’s nice to know.

2 comments:

Polt said...

Ya know, I've never read Catcher either....

perhaps I should....

Lone Primate said...

Hiya, Polt. :) I heard you were in T.O. recently and Moonspell had to bail on you. I suggested joining her to buck her up, and she considered it, but I gather in the end she just wasn't up for it. Would have been nice to meet up. Maybe next time.

Should you read Catcher in the Rye... well, I can't recommend it. I haven't read it myself, just yet. :D