Daily Archives: June 29, 2013

The Return Of The Jungle

Jurgis could see all the truth now — could see himself, through the whole long course of events, the victim of ravenous vultures that had torn into his vitals and devoured him; of fiends that had racked and tortured him, mocking him, meantime, jeering in his face. Ah, God, the horror of it, the monstrous, hideous, demoniacal wickedness of it! He and his family, helpless women and children, struggling to live, ignorant and defenceless and forlorn as they were — and the enemies that had been lurking for them, crouching upon their trail and thirsting for their blood! That first lying circular, that smooth-tongued slippery agent! That trap of the extra payments, the interest, and all the other charges that they had not the means to pay, and would never have attempted to pay! And then all the tricks of the packers, their masters, the tyrants who ruled them, —the shutdowns and the scarcity of work, the irregular hours and the cruel speeding-up, the lowering of wages, the raising of prices! The mercilessness of nature about them, of heat and cold, rain and snow; the mercilessness of the city, of the country in which they lived, of its laws and customs that they did not understand! All of these things had worked together for the company that had marked them for its prey and was waiting for its chance. And now, with this last hideous injustice, its time had come, and it had turned them out bag and baggage, and taken their house and sold it again! And they could do nothing, they were tied hand and foot — the law was against them, the whole machinery of society was at their oppressors’ command! If Jurgis so much as raised a hand against them, back he would go into that wild-beast pen from which he had just escaped!

The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair

Available free at Google Books (download as PDF under the gear icon).

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Our Jules Verne Ant-Like Future

Sean’s Screed

Our whole nation has gone practical. Can you tell me where practical fits in with Bob Dylan or Alice Cooper or Joni Mitchell or even Sofia Coppola?

The book everyone must read (and, dammit, it’s available only in print): Paris in the Twentieth Century by Jules Verne.

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Not Books — Knowledge

Fighting The Pointless Fight: Books Come Back And Hit You, You Know

They say when you have a baby – when you hold it in your hands and feel how tiny and fragile it is — certain feelings well up in you that you have never felt before, which change you forever. I say when you look at a dumpster full of ancient books, you can’t possibly come away the same person. I have stood in front of mountains of discarded clothing higher than my head; I have seen warehouses of food sloughed off by supermarkets to go to food pantries; I have eaten freegan bagels and revived dumpstered computers; and I was not prepared for this.

Today I held a book in my hands from 1829 that was bound in leather – in actual dead animals. Its cover was scarcely bigger than my hands. The grain of the leather was so fine and soft. Its spine was torn away, leaving a mass like the inside of a squash. I opened it and could barely turn the pages out of fear I would kill its ideas with my clumsy futuristic hands.

I’m a digital book/eBook militant. But seeing books — knowledge! — discarded like that does drive me crazy.

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