Straw Dogs are from Mercury?

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I get so confused now I am in my dotage.

Come back from CeBIT blurry-eyed and bamboozled, only to fire up Bloglines and find that John Gray – author of the laser-guided mememissiles “Straw Dogs” and “Al Queda and what it means to be modern” is also the author of cheesy self-help tome: “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus” and the centre of a controversy.

From The Guardian’s review of “Straw Dogs”:

“John Gray’s political vision has been steadily darkening. Once a swashbuckling free-marketeer, he has, in his recent studies, become increasingly despondent about the state of the world. With the crankish, unbalanced Straw Dogs, he emerges as a full-blooded apocalyptic nihilist. He has passed from Thatcherite zest to virulent misanthropy.

Not that nihilism is a term he would endorse. His book is so remorselessly, monotonously negative that even nihilism implies too much hope. Nihilism for Gray suggests the world needs to be redeemed from meaninglessness, a claim he regards as meaningless. Instead, we must just accept that progress is a myth, freedom a fantasy, selfhood a delusion, morality a kind of sickness, justice a mere matter of custom and illusion our natural condition. Technology cannot be controlled, and human beings are entirely helpless. Political tyrannies will be the norm for the future, if we have any future at all.”

Or if you prefer:

“This powerful and brilliant book is an essential guide to the new Millennium. Straw Dogs challenges all our assumptions about what it is to be human, and convincingly shows that most of them are delusions
— J.G.Ballard”

Not exactly self-help. Or maybe the best type of all if you’re of a gnostic persuasion…

Anyway.

I have had it explained to me that people can have the same name and be completely different people.

Like Donna Summer, for instance.

0 comments
  1. Matt said:

    Tell me about it. For many years I wondered why, when people talked about directory John Carpenter, they never mentioned that thing with Bob Crane. It should be like AOL where if your parents give you the same name as someone else they have to put a number at the end of it. JohnCarpenter4625 is not the same person as JohnCarpenter9793.

  2. azeem said:

    Well exactly.

    Can I also suggest John Gray’s “False Dawn”, which I just started.

    One thing I’d add is that I’m not sure that I know what Gray stands for right now. He certainly is an adept critic of humanism but I am not sure if his last two books (Al-Qaeda and Straw Dogs) point to a rounded political theory rather than food for thought.

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