Caligula Gets Reviews

Behold, snippets.

While it isn’t all the way factual, it does provide you with enough historical detail to satisfy pretty much all interested parties. There is plenty of name dropping to keep it interesting

A look at the life of Caligula, maybe… -mint tea

The meditations of Cauis Caligula is a short book written in a poetic style of literature

 short historical book -S.J. Main

I thought that, based on what I already knew, it was extremely accurate and I really enjoyed getting to read this book.

 Such an enjoyable book -Jesse Pesgraves

It did not really feel like a story of redemption, at least not to me, and not even justification. The author kind of leaves that to the reader, which I think makes sense. 

 I liked it -Jose Popoff

Andrew J Patrick is able to recreate the infamous emperor and offer variations on themes of how Caligula related to Rome and Rome to him. It makes for a fascinating and entertaining – and thought provoking – book. Highly recommended for history lovers.

‘What every ruler of note ought to do: offer himself to his people” – revisiting Roman history -Grady Harp

That’s a pretty round collection of impressed readers, all of whom – sight unseen – grasped the main points of what I was trying to do. This is a tonic to the creative soul. If I can turn it into an effective ad, I’ll be getting somewhere.

If you haven’t read it, the link’s in the sidebar. Support me as I out-do Gore Vidal. Or click here.

Finally, Some Good News: A Brutal Destruction of the Modern Age by Delicious Tacos

It’s the ending, really. I did not see that ending coming. I should have: it’s on theme. This wasn’t going to be an upbeat ending. That’s not what DT does. Still, though. It was a bit like a mallet to the face. I cannot recommend this book to anyone who has a sunny, cheerful worldview. You will not like it. Also anyone who enjoys daytime television or has a long career of corporate success. You will feel seen.

One does not write a book like this, in which nuclear devestation snaps civilization in two, and celebrates the freedom of it, without having some very real things to say about the post-human tsunami currently riding over us. In the end, Los Angeles suffers nuclear attack not because terrorists want to hurt us (such is always the case), but because our world is too compromised, too absorbed in nonsense, to defend itself. We have branded ourselves to death. Those that pushed us to this precipice: who have rendered every thought, creation, or need into “branded content”, cannot be allowed to have a place in the restoration, such as it is. Civilization must be less civilized if it is to have the animus to survive.

This novel goes forward in a Bukowskian mode, dry and unromantic, finding poetry in the cruelty of life. It is also told in a somewhat non-linear fashion, although things settle down for the third act. Much of its beginning reads very like the slice-of-life tales/lamentations that inhabit The Savage Spear of the Unicorn (which is also worth reading, as its humor is blacker than the bottom of a sewer):

He was eligible for a 401(k). He read up. You can retire comfortably at 65 if you start saving at 23, said Forbes.com. Even with a relatively low yield of 6%. Every 401(k) he’d had earned 1%, lost 2.5% in fees. As for saving at 23: median household pre-tax income is $51,989 per year. Who saves on 40 grand net with a kid. It costs twice that for a school where gas huffing sasquatches don’t commit Rwandan machete genocide. Nobody has money. Nobody gets returns. We’ll all work till we’re dead. Eating shit, having to smile about it.

If I was married– if my wife could work part time. Cover rent. That’d be something. But there aren’t wives now.

Delicious Tacos “Finally Some Good News, Chapter 2

And at first I thought it was going to continue in that vein, more of the “corporate wage slave experiences tfw no gf* in Los Angeles”. A literary Office Space, updated for the new century. But then the bombs drop, and everything stupid and false is wiped away. It’s not a lamentation, it’s a consummation, devoutly to be wished, on the order of Tom Waits’ “Make it Rain.” Society can only get so absurd before it becomes dysgenic, whereupon the Gods of the Copybook Headings get mightily insistent.

The great question I have when reading Taco’s work is why he picked so glaringly obvious a Pseudonym. On the one hand, the ridiculousness of it is a joke itself, an obvious late-night idea thrown off the wall of the mind that somehow stuck. A more believable, more standard nom de plume wouldn’t frame the oevre in the same way. On the other hand, shoving your nose in the realitythat a significant writer, whose work sells well on Amazon, has to hide his identity in order to keep the wolf from the door speaks loud volumes about the world we live in, and who benefits from it.

That ending though. It’s almost too rough to be funny.

*The Feels When no GirlFriend

Caring About Jonathan Franzen

Stacey McCain is nothing if not fair-minded. He will lambaste someone six ways to Sunday, but then he will offer, dispassionately, praise. And not even backhanded praise.

Damn his atheist soul, but Barrett Brown is an excellent writer.

This links to Brown’s recent prison-penned review of Jonathan Franzen’s Purity, posted on The Intercept_ (the underline space is not a typo). McCain advises everyone to read it, and I admit it has a nice full does of snark, but I found it irritating for a couple of reasons.

  1. It is expressed (with a certain degree of irony, but still expressed) that Franzen is the representative of White Male Hegemony, that he is “the Great King of the Honkies”. While I don’t doubt that the SJW’s sneer most sneeringly every time he jumps to the top of the bestseller list, I don’t see why we have to nod to it when reviewing the work. Jonathan Franzen does not speak for me (or Barret Brown, or McCain) just because we’re both caucasoids with Y chromosomes. No one thinks that he does. So why do we have to credit this reduction of Franzen to his DNA? I keep hearing that that’s a bad thing, so why do we keep doing it?
  2. No doubt related to this is the recurrent meme of Franzen’s misogyny. Now, I’ve not read Purity, so I don’t know if there is a current of misogyny running through it, but what I do know is that Brown doesn’t bother to provide evidence for the assertion. It is simply assumed as true. There’s a reference to psychotic mothers, and one or two other asides, indicating that female characters are shown with flaws and dark sides (the male characters must lack these), but I can’t find anything indicating a thoroughgoing hatred of women qua women. I know that Brown is of the left, and I guess that means he just accepts the construction that a male cannot criticise a female absent a deep-seated hostility to people-with-ovaries as such. But that doesn’t mean I have to be impressed with it.

I do share some of Brown’s antipathy for lit-fic. Franzen writes the kind of books that one admires rather than enjoys, serious books for serious people to have serious thoughts about. I read Freedom in a rare decision to accept what the chattering classes considered significant literature. I liked it fine as I was reading it, but have felt no need to revisit it. There’s too much agonistes and not much action.

So I doubt very much that I’ll be reading Purity, as I find little edification and less entertainment in novels about upper-middle-class anxiety. There’s a place where Brown and I agree with that, at least.