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A better Saturday than last week's

Never got the signal from P regarding breakfast this morning, and when I called her at 0900 she was already asleep. Oh well. Fared forth to DD for breakfast, Jiffy Lube for overdue maintenance on the Sportage (during which I finished Colonel Dave Grossman's On Killing), and to the library, where I paid my debt to society and picked up the second and third Takeshi Kovacs novels by Richard K. Morgan, along with Neal Stephenson's The System of the World. I then headed over to the Duncan branch, located in the Del Ray section of Alexandria, where I got John Ringo's Sister Time and Yellow Eyes. The former is excellent brain candy, carrying on the tale of the secret war between the O'Neal clan and the Darhel in a most amusing manner, especially in the scenes involving the reunion and subsequent meetings of Michelle and Cally O'Neal. What makes these especially fun is that Michelle has spent all her time off-planet among the Indowy, learning to become one of the fearsomely skilled mentats, who can, among other things, build hideously complex GalTech artifacts by manipulating nanites through a form of meditation and telepathy. Very much a study in opposites, these two, and the argument ensuing from the climax of events is FABULOUS.

Interesting argument being made therein, that's what. Grossman argues that man does not naturally kill (except for the 2-3% that enjoy it, not all of whom are sociopaths) and in fact the act of killing causes psychological damage, which needs to be dealt with unless you want to have battle-fatigued/PTSD-shocked veterans all over the place. Grossman's main thesis is that the damage caused to Vietnam veterans wasn't properly dealt with by society and in fact was aggravated by the actions of many anti-war activists; his secondary thesis is that we are, as a society, replicating the desensitization processes the Army and Marines have used to improve the rate of soldiers who fire their weapons. He criticizes Hollywood and Silicon Valley both for slasher movies and violent video games, positing (imnsho) that these have helped drive up the rates of violent crime in America, along with the decrease in solid families and other societal structures that remind us that violence is reserved for particular instances, not for general use in daily life. Some of the material was familiar to me from Charles Gabriel's No More Heroes, which restricted itself to the effects of military training, but there was a lot of new & interesting material drawn from extensive interviews with veterans of WW2, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf Wars. Worth reading.

Spent the rest of the day reading, playing Civ, and keeping cool.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
edwarddain
Jun. 29th, 2008 04:17 am (UTC)
Yeah, I read Grossman's book years ago and still have it on the shelf. Excellent, excellent work. He was interviewed on NPR within the last 3-4 years as well, unfortunately can't remember when exactly.
wombat_socho
Jun. 29th, 2008 04:20 am (UTC)
Unfortunately it's a message nobody among the elites particularly wants to hear, while in the ranks I think it's pretty much common knowledge.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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