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A Review, by the staff of Wikiality.com
Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories from History and the Arts by Clive James
What this book lacks in pompous self-aggrandizement, it makes up for with "hubris, audacity, and over-weening pride."
James believes that all the world's ills can be attributed to a single source: Leftie, especially Commie, Intellectuals. Now this is clearly the truth, so we're not disputing James's unassailable logic, nor the fact that he uses no logic to assail his constant target of intellectual derision (e.g., those derelict pinko intellectuals). What is problematic, however, is the fact that James is such an elitist, anti-intellectual, point-missing, intellectual snob. He accuses everyone whose aesthetics and/or politics he doesn't understand of being ruined by the restriction of their thinking by adherence to a dogma, yet fails to see the ridiculously ham-handed, hackneyed application of his own restricted, dogmatic reading to every single situation, artist, thinker, or piece of work he encounters.
Again, that would normally be something we might embrace here at the Wikiality.com tubes. After all, irony is On Notice, so self-reflection isn't necessarily something we're keen to expect in public figures. But in someone who puts himself forward as a model of anti-"anti-intellectualism," it's just unacceptable to act like a big, fat, bloviating, pompous idiot.
Unless you're wicked funny. Clive-O isn't, but thinks he is. That's probably why it took him forty years to write a book that is only slightly more eloquent than something Rush could have spewed out in four minutes. But again, Clive's position is one that sets itself against Rush, and claims to be a "critique" of the very behavior it is enacting.
If you really want to understand "cultural amnesia," go read the Commie, Nazi-victim, Jew-boy Walter Benjamin. As for Clive's book: Forget about it.
: This book pissed me off more than I could have guessed. There's just something infuriating about trying to follow a pompous, anti-intellectual windbag through his moralizing judgments about how anti-intellectual society has become, all while he points out what was wrong with any thinker or artist who ever disagreed with him ideologically and tries to pretend that he's really making an aesthetic critique. Hypocrisy is ugly, boring, and bearish. I'm sure this book will be a best-seller.
: Nice art direction. The premise of the book is not flawed, entirely. It is good to remember things. Like car keys. Phone numbers. And maybe even some history. Most importantly, not to ever read anything by Clive James again.
Please Note: This review of Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories from History and the Arts was brought to you by Report Books Book Reports