Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Bite book reviews 

I am on travel the next few days, and so will wait for the end of the week to provide two book reviews--the first on "Guantánamo" in which I will show why, even if we were winning the war in Iraq in magnificant fashion (we are not), the torture that we have systematized removes forever any precept of the USA having moral high-ground (and is something US citizens at home and abroad will pay for in decades to come). I will argue that this is, in fact, the most immoral government the US has ever had.

As a follow-up to this book review, I will explain why so many Americans "think" the rapture is about to come. It is, I will argue, a subconscious acknowledgement of the unsustainability of their current actions and "morals".

Speaking of subconsciousness: Second, I will review "The Wimp Factor" in which the mental etiology and consequences of "faux macho" are explored.


Guantánamo: What the World Should Know teams human rights lawyer Michael Ratner with political journalist Ellen Ray to reveal the truth about Guantánamo Bay Naval Station and the creation of a new network of U.S. detention camps around the world.

As president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Ratner is at the center of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Rasul v. Bush. This case will help to decide the future for thousands of people being held in U.S. detention centers—without charge or any hope of trial. The U.S. administration insists that these prisoners have no rights, and that President Bush has unlimited power to designate anyone—including American citizens—as "enemy combatants" who can be held and interrogated for as long, and as intensively, as their captors wish.

Gathered together for the first time, Guantánamo also includes the governmental memoranda and orders that led to this system of detention without accountability, a letter from two recently released Guantánamo detainees, and excerpts from the Geneva Convention.

Ratner and Ray give a definitive account of what Guantánamo means for the rule of law, for liberty, democracy, and the right to dissent.

The Wimp Factor:

A landmark exploration of how male anxiety has come to define our political culture

What is the link between wimp factors, gender gaps, and holy wars—three recognizable political phenomena of the twenty-first century? In this eye-opening book on how male anxiety has come to shape political thinking and behavior, Dr. Stephen Ducat argues that there is a direct association between the magnitude of a man"s femiphobia and his tendency to embrace right-wing political opinions. Dr. Ducat shows how anxious masculinity has been a discernible subtext in politics throughout the history of Western culture—from the political campaigns of ancient Greece to the current contest for the presidency, and including everything in between, like cartoons of George H. W. Bush exposing his "wimp factor," the demonization of Hillary Clinton, and the recent war in Iraq. He also explores why and how political issues—such as environmental protection, support for war, welfare reform, immigration, and crime and punishment—get gendered.

Analyzing various aspects of popular culture, such as editorial cartoons, political advertisements, and Freudian slips made by politicians—and drawing on his own pioneering research on the gender gap—Ducat illustrates how men"s fear of the feminine has been a powerful, if subterranean, force. Unexpectedly revealing, The Wimp Factor is a fascinating exposé that will alter our understanding of contemporary politics.


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