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(Huffington Post)   The author of the book Romney cited as the source for his comment about Israel's cultural superiority, says "That is so different from what my book actually says that I have to doubt whether Mr. Romney read it"   (huffingtonpost.com) divider line 88
    More: Amusing, Jared Diamond, Mitt Romney, Saeb Erekat, Newspaper Association of America, obama, The Villages, Economy of metropolitan Detroit, palestinian president  
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2043 clicks; posted to Politics » on 02 Aug 2012 at 2:45 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-02 01:05:58 PM  
Romney: "tl;dr"
 
2012-08-02 01:18:57 PM  
Is your name Jared Diamond?

No, mine's Clarence.
 
2012-08-02 01:27:02 PM  
You never paid any attention in English class, did you subby? See, I know you didn't, because if you did, you'd know that literature has what educated people call "ambiguity" built into it. See, a poet can write a 3-line poem that's about, say, a red wheelbarrow and chickens and a light glaze of rain, and some people will read that poem and think that it's just a stupid quick scene written by some so-called "artiste" who's trying to be edgy. And others will read it and think that, no, it's actually a very focused and beautifully minimalist work that captures not just a visual moment in time, but also a certain emotion as well, an anticipation, so to speak. And others will read that poem and think of the time they visited Aunt Maude's farm for the weekend, that hot weekend in the late summer of '83 or thereabouts; they will remember that one afternoon spent playing up in the hayloft as stormclouds rolled in from the distant green hills. They will remember looking out through the discovered knothole in that one pine board and noticing that, across the dusty yard, Aunt Maude's bedroom curtains were open. That through the glass they could see her lying naked in the bed, her eyes closed, her mouth open in a silent scream, her pale, heavy breasts heaving, her fingers wrapped around a thick rubbery shaft half-buried in the thicket of black hair between her legs. They would remember this scene and then remember, too, as they unzipped their pants, how, yes, there was a wheelbarrow in the yard. How, yes, there were chickens. How, yes, there were those first splattering drops of rain.

One poem, three different meanings. It's that ambiguity that makes literature great, subby. And here's something else to keep in mind: books are nothing more than longer poems. It's all the same idea, it's all just words. It's our experience that creates the meaning. So don't blame Romney for interpreting literature. That's what he's supposed to do. That's what all readers are supposed to do. If there was a misunderstanding or misinterpretation, the only person to blame is the author himself, for not making his meaning more clear.
 
2012-08-02 02:00:27 PM  
Newsflash: he didn't read it. Neither did his advisor that told him about it.
 
2012-08-02 02:04:24 PM  

vernonFL: Is your name Jared Diamond?

No, mine's Clarence.


"Running from the law, the press and the parents" is not totally inapropos of Romney...
 
2012-08-02 02:14:10 PM  
If he had read the book, he would have mentioned acorns and almonds instead of iron, because there's a whole goddamn chapter with graphs about them. I love that book, but it's like a slower Moby Dick without the narrative to help keep you focused.
 
2012-08-02 02:29:06 PM  
Dude does give the world a eurocentric view- at least the wiki page says he does.

Anyone read the book?

I know there is a lot of debate about this, but Romney'd be a fool if this was his conclusion that he bases his world view on.
 
2012-08-02 02:39:33 PM  

Nadie_AZ: Dude does give the world a eurocentric view- at least the wiki page says he does.

Anyone read the book?

I know there is a lot of debate about this, but Romney'd be a fool if this was his conclusion that he bases his world view on.


No, but I did watch the PBS series on the book. And it's available on Netflix. It's a good watch.
 
2012-08-02 02:46:13 PM  

Nadie_AZ: Anyone read the book?


I've read it a couple of times. I first read it back in high school when it was first published. Yes, it's "eurocentric" but that's sort of his thesis from the start- why did the Europeans manage to colonize the entire globe?

His core argument was definitely a repudiation of "because they're better people with a better culture." It came down to certain almost-random advances in technologies that snowballed into an expansionist powerhouse. Things like almond trees being easier to cultivate versus oak trees, despite them both having edible nuts. I swear I'll never forget that freaking chapter.
 
2012-08-02 02:48:36 PM  
So, look at the past month's performance...showing an open ignorance and disdain for Muslims, blacks and Europeans, not reading...my god, he's really trying to rally the base, isn't he? When will it be revealed through some leak from the Romney campaign that Ann's his first cousin?
 
2012-08-02 02:48:39 PM  
"Jared Diamond" seems about as much of a fake name as "Wolf Blitzer".
 
2012-08-02 02:51:30 PM  
But... Um, all of them?
 
2012-08-02 02:52:05 PM  

Pocket Ninja: You never paid any attention in English class, did you subby? See, I know you didn't, because if you did, you'd know that literature has what educated people call "ambiguity" built into it. See, a poet can write a 3-line poem that's about, say, a red wheelbarrow and chickens and a light glaze of rain, and some people will read that poem and think that it's just a stupid quick scene written by some so-called "artiste" who's trying to be edgy. And others will read it and think that, no, it's actually a very focused and beautifully minimalist work that captures not just a visual moment in time, but also a certain emotion as well, an anticipation, so to speak. And others will read that poem and think of the time they visited Aunt Maude's farm for the weekend, that hot weekend in the late summer of '83 or thereabouts; they will remember that one afternoon spent playing up in the hayloft as stormclouds rolled in from the distant green hills. They will remember looking out through the discovered knothole in that one pine board and noticing that, across the dusty yard, Aunt Maude's bedroom curtains were open. That through the glass they could see her lying naked in the bed, her eyes closed, her mouth open in a silent scream, her pale, heavy breasts heaving, her fingers wrapped around a thick rubbery shaft half-buried in the thicket of black hair between her legs. They would remember this scene and then remember, too, as they unzipped their pants, how, yes, there was a wheelbarrow in the yard. How, yes, there were chickens. How, yes, there were those first splattering drops of rain.

One poem, three different meanings. It's that ambiguity that makes literature great, subby. And here's something else to keep in mind: books are nothing more than longer poems. It's all the same idea, it's all just words. It's our experience that creates the meaning. So don't blame Romney for interpreting literature. That's what he's supposed to do. That's what all readers are supposed to do. If ...


Given who you are, congratulating you on how fantastically epic this is seems almost redundant. It's not like you don't know. Anyway, +1
 
2012-08-02 02:52:14 PM  

palladiate: Nadie_AZ: Anyone read the book?

I've read it a couple of times. I first read it back in high school when it was first published. Yes, it's "eurocentric" but that's sort of his thesis from the start- why did the Europeans manage to colonize the entire globe?

His core argument was definitely a repudiation of "because they're better people with a better culture." It came down to certain almost-random advances in technologies that snowballed into an expansionist powerhouse. Things like almond trees being easier to cultivate versus oak trees, despite them both having edible nuts. I swear I'll never forget that freaking chapter.


So ... geography.
 
2012-08-02 02:53:42 PM  

Nadie_AZ: palladiate: Nadie_AZ: Anyone read the book?

I've read it a couple of times. I first read it back in high school when it was first published. Yes, it's "eurocentric" but that's sort of his thesis from the start- why did the Europeans manage to colonize the entire globe?

His core argument was definitely a repudiation of "because they're better people with a better culture." It came down to certain almost-random advances in technologies that snowballed into an expansionist powerhouse. Things like almond trees being easier to cultivate versus oak trees, despite them both having edible nuts. I swear I'll never forget that freaking chapter.

So ... geography.


Geography played a part, yes.
 
2012-08-02 02:54:52 PM  
fairuselab.net
 
2012-08-02 02:54:59 PM  
 
2012-08-02 02:55:15 PM  
Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, called his statement "racist," and added, "it seems to me this man lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people."

OK, so why did this dude skip from talking about Israel to talking about the US?
 
2012-08-02 02:55:58 PM  
Seven seconds. Nice. Very nice.
 
2012-08-02 02:56:19 PM  

Nadie_AZ:
Anyone read the book?


Good news - today you're one of the lucky ten thousand! Go read that book. It is completely worth it. Probably the best thing written in that entire decade. It deserved its Pulitzer.
 
2012-08-02 02:56:52 PM  
Of course the land matters. That's why the Israelis take all the good land and herd the Palestinians onto all the bad land.
 
2012-08-02 02:57:18 PM  

palladiate: His core argument was definitely a repudiation of "because they're better people with a better culture." It came down to certain almost-random advances in technologies that snowballed into an expansionist powerhouse. Things like almond trees being easier to cultivate versus oak trees, despite them both having edible nuts. I swear I'll never forget that freaking chapter.


Was he really saying "better people with a better culture", or was he saying that the benefits they had due to geography allowed them to expand while other cultures were still working out some of the stuff that just 'happened' for Europe? Because I can totally see that even in your statement.
 
2012-08-02 02:58:24 PM  
Exactly. It all boils down to why Europe and to a lesser degree eastern Asia conquered the rest of the world instead of the other way around. His primary thesis is that it wasn't cultural or intellectual superiority, but due to geographic luck. For example, Europe and east Asia had access to far more beasts of burden that could be domesticated versus the new world, sub-Saharan Africa, or Australasia. Europe had a more regular rainfall. Europe had more domesticatable crops and those crops were higher-yeilding and easier to cultivate. When it takes fewer man-hours to feed your civilization, you have more time for science and such.

It's an excellent read, though it can be a bit repetitious at times.

(Another interesting study I saw, outside of Guns, Germs and Steel, was that the rate of infectious diseases in a country is almost exactly correlated with average intelligence of a citizen of that country, and any remaining difference is pretty strongly correlated with iron and iodine intake as a child.)
 
2012-08-02 02:59:37 PM  

leviosaurus: Nadie_AZ:
Anyone read the book?


Good news - today you're one of the lucky ten thousand! Go read that book. It is completely worth it. Probably the best thing written in that entire decade. It deserved its Pulitzer.


If you only read one Pulitzer, read Goedel, Escher, Bach. If you read two, read that and Guns, Germs, and Steel.
 
2012-08-02 03:01:05 PM  
"it seems to me this man lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people."

FTFY.
 
2012-08-02 03:03:09 PM  

Lord Dimwit: If you read two, read that and Guns, Germs, and Steel.


I'm working on 'A People's History of the United States'. GG and G book is next. I just finished 'Why the West Rules - For Now' and 'American Nations: A History of Eleven Rival Nations'. Before that ... 'Hard Times'. Great stuffs, all of them.
 
2012-08-02 03:04:39 PM  
Romney's a businessman, businessmen don't read books. They have an executive assistant read them and then summarize them in a quick PowerPoint.

Since most executive assistants are hot marketing majors, it's no wonder that 90% of the book's argument slipped by.
 
2012-08-02 03:05:46 PM  

Lando Lincoln: Nadie_AZ: palladiate: Nadie_AZ: Anyone read the book?

I've read it a couple of times. I first read it back in high school when it was first published. Yes, it's "eurocentric" but that's sort of his thesis from the start- why did the Europeans manage to colonize the entire globe?

His core argument was definitely a repudiation of "because they're better people with a better culture." It came down to certain almost-random advances in technologies that snowballed into an expansionist powerhouse. Things like almond trees being easier to cultivate versus oak trees, despite them both having edible nuts. I swear I'll never forget that freaking chapter.

So ... geography.

Geography played a part, yes.


A part?

It was a good book, I need to re-read it. I remember it bothering me how much he romantisized "natives".
 
2012-08-02 03:05:58 PM  

Nadie_AZ: 'American Nations: A History of Eleven Rival Nations'.


On that note, I'm reading "Albion's Seed", which is pretty good, and probably a precursor to that one.
 
2012-08-02 03:11:14 PM  

Bill_Wick's_Friend: Seven seconds. Nice. Very nice.


High fives!
 
2012-08-02 03:14:20 PM  

Nadie_AZ: I'm working on 'A People's History of the United States'.


Also, what do you think about this one?

This is one of the reasons I love Fark, I get so many good reading recommendations.
 
2012-08-02 03:15:42 PM  

Pocket Ninja: You never paid any attention in English class, did you subby?


You're the best Farker who has ever lived
 
2012-08-02 03:15:49 PM  

liam76: Lando Lincoln: Nadie_AZ: palladiate: Nadie_AZ: Anyone read the book?

I've read it a couple of times. I first read it back in high school when it was first published. Yes, it's "eurocentric" but that's sort of his thesis from the start- why did the Europeans manage to colonize the entire globe?

His core argument was definitely a repudiation of "because they're better people with a better culture." It came down to certain almost-random advances in technologies that snowballed into an expansionist powerhouse. Things like almond trees being easier to cultivate versus oak trees, despite them both having edible nuts. I swear I'll never forget that freaking chapter.

So ... geography.

Geography played a part, yes.

A part?

It was a good book, I need to re-read it. I remember it bothering me how much he romantisized "natives".


I don't recall it romanticizing so much as accepting that native groups are every bit as civilized and evolved as we are, just without the benefit of 'advanced' technology.

I always loved the explanation for why zebras were never domesticated - essentially they're assholes and they bite.
 
2012-08-02 03:16:50 PM  

palladiate: Nadie_AZ: Anyone read the book?

I've read it a couple of times. I first read it back in high school when it was first published. Yes, it's "eurocentric" but that's sort of his thesis from the start- why did the Europeans manage to colonize the entire globe?

His core argument was definitely a repudiation of "because they're better people with a better culture." It came down to certain almost-random advances in technologies that snowballed into an expansionist powerhouse. Things like almond trees being easier to cultivate versus oak trees, despite them both having edible nuts. I swear I'll never forget that freaking chapter.


I thought he went overboard in trying NOT to be eurocentric in the book.
 
2012-08-02 03:19:39 PM  

theorellior: Nadie_AZ: 'American Nations: A History of Eleven Rival Nations'.

On that note, I'm reading "Albion's Seed", which is pretty good, and probably a precursor to that one.


Sounds liek a PC version of Black Rednecks and White Liberals. Wither way I have a hard time buying that relatively small grops from England are the driving force behind cultural differences in the US.
 
2012-08-02 03:19:51 PM  

pastorkius: I always loved the explanation for why zebras were never domesticated - essentially they're assholes and they bite.


And if some group in Africa had managed to domesticate hippos we'd be reading this in Maasai right now.
 
2012-08-02 03:20:01 PM  
Press: "So Mitt, which books have you read lately?"
Mitt: "All of them"
 
2012-08-02 03:21:23 PM  

Nadie_AZ: Dude does give the world a eurocentric view- at least the wiki page says he does.

Anyone read the book?

I know there is a lot of debate about this, but Romney'd be a fool if this was his conclusion that he bases his world view on.


I read it and I totally disagree. I thought he was the opposite. He bent over backwards to explain how much more difficult in other parts of the world and how Europe was really the perfect storm of luck and resources and climate. He didn't value the Europeans higher because of this.
 
2012-08-02 03:22:26 PM  

liam76: Wither way I have a hard time buying that relatively small grops from England are the driving force behind cultural differences in the US.


Founder populations set the stage for how things will work in a culture. It's pretty well researched and has a shiatload of footnotes, FWIW. And the guy who wrote it basically says its a basis for what came after, which will be discussed in later works. I haven't checked whether those later works are available, though.
 
2012-08-02 03:22:31 PM  
More directly on topic there is no fricking way Mitt read it if that is what he got out of it.
 
2012-08-02 03:22:44 PM  
It's not really up for debate that this was a briefing note led trip.

The entire British fiasco was because he was clearly reeling off the briefing bullet points about the Olympics (possible strike, G4S) etc.

The point was, those were intended to prepare him on the background should the questions be raised. They weren't "If someone says Olympics, say this". That he didn't realise it was inappropriate to reel off those briefing points voluntarily, in an interview in London, the night before a reception for him...... is worrying.
 
2012-08-02 03:26:00 PM  

theorellior: liam76: Wither way I have a hard time buying that relatively small grops from England are the driving force behind cultural differences in the US.

Founder populations set the stage for how things will work in a culture. It's pretty well researched and has a shiatload of footnotes, FWIW. And the guy who wrote it basically says its a basis for what came after, which will be discussed in later works. I haven't checked whether those later works are available, though.


I might check it out, but if it set the stage then why is "puritan" boston more liberal than the south?
 
2012-08-02 03:26:46 PM  

theorellior: Nadie_AZ: I'm working on 'A People's History of the United States'.

Also, what do you think about this one?

This is one of the reasons I love Fark, I get so many good reading recommendations.


So far so good. If you've read any newer history books that deal with colonialism and slavery, you know the struggles of the lower classes- which is what it is about. It gives a few of the history of our nation through the eyes of the people who were not in positions of power. It is a little bit dated, but a good read, so far.
 
2012-08-02 03:27:22 PM  

Sabyen91: I thought he went overboard in trying NOT to be eurocentric in the book.


It's "eurocentric" in accepting the Europeans were the great colonizers of the modern age. A lot of anti-eurocentric thought was to equate Europeans with other cultures in how valid their histories are and explain the world without European influence. Diamond doesn't even address this- he just addressed why Europeans were the ones to expand and colonize the modern western world, which is sort of plainly obvious in modern history.

Mikey1969: Was he really saying "better people with a better culture", or was he saying that the benefits they had due to geography allowed them to expand while other cultures were still working out some of the stuff that just 'happened' for Europe? Because I can totally see that even in your statement.


Yes, basically, the latter. They had a much easier time with the domestication of plants and animals, the impetus for advanced metalwork, and a really, really intimate time with disease. Diseases were one of the greatest weapons of Europeans, mostly from their contact with domesticated animals. Birds and pigs are kind of filthy with human-compatible disease, and Europeans had a bad attitude toward sanitation.

He never said anything along the lines of "they're better people." He very much said "this is how this group of people managed to do the things they did and why." Romney completely misrepresented the book and it's core thesis. If we're going to build a framework for "better culture," the Europeans would probably fail on his metrics, if only for "they had a resistance to drinking their own poop-water."
 
2012-08-02 03:28:15 PM  

Sabyen91: Nadie_AZ: Dude does give the world a eurocentric view- at least the wiki page says he does.

Anyone read the book?

I know there is a lot of debate about this, but Romney'd be a fool if this was his conclusion that he bases his world view on.

I read it and I totally disagree. I thought he was the opposite. He bent over backwards to explain how much more difficult in other parts of the world and how Europe was really the perfect storm of luck and resources and climate. He didn't value the Europeans higher because of this.


I'm glad for the input. I'll add this one to my list.

Just to toss one out there for anyone- anyone know of a good read about the Mexico-US border (Texas to California)? Not the current issues, but a history of the region.
 
2012-08-02 03:29:24 PM  
so his speech writer read a summary of a summary of a spark notes?
 
2012-08-02 03:29:37 PM  

Sabyen91: palladiate: Nadie_AZ: Anyone read the book?

I've read it a couple of times. I first read it back in high school when it was first published. Yes, it's "eurocentric" but that's sort of his thesis from the start- why did the Europeans manage to colonize the entire globe?

His core argument was definitely a repudiation of "because they're better people with a better culture." It came down to certain almost-random advances in technologies that snowballed into an expansionist powerhouse. Things like almond trees being easier to cultivate versus oak trees, despite them both having edible nuts. I swear I'll never forget that freaking chapter.

I thought he went overboard in trying NOT to be eurocentric in the book.


I guess it depends on your definition of eurocentric. If you think eurocentric means focusing primarily on Western European achievements while ignoring African, Asian, and Mesoamerican achievements since Western European culture is seen as more relevant to history, then this book isn't Eurocentric. If you mean the book has Western European culture as the primary focus but is clear that the focus isn't a value judgement on the quality of the civilization, then this book definitely eurocentric.
 
2012-08-02 03:30:50 PM  

Grungehamster: Sabyen91: palladiate: Nadie_AZ: Anyone read the book?

I've read it a couple of times. I first read it back in high school when it was first published. Yes, it's "eurocentric" but that's sort of his thesis from the start- why did the Europeans manage to colonize the entire globe?

His core argument was definitely a repudiation of "because they're better people with a better culture." It came down to certain almost-random advances in technologies that snowballed into an expansionist powerhouse. Things like almond trees being easier to cultivate versus oak trees, despite them both having edible nuts. I swear I'll never forget that freaking chapter.

I thought he went overboard in trying NOT to be eurocentric in the book.

I guess it depends on your definition of eurocentric. If you think eurocentric means focusing primarily on Western European achievements while ignoring African, Asian, and Mesoamerican achievements since Western European culture is seen as more relevant to history, then this book isn't Eurocentric. If you mean the book has Western European culture as the primary focus but is clear that the focus isn't a value judgement on the quality of the civilization, then this book definitely eurocentric.


Exactly. The book is Eurocentric in the same way Unsafe at Any Speed is carocentric.
 
2012-08-02 03:33:00 PM  

Grungehamster: If you mean the book has Western European culture as the primary focus but is clear that the focus isn't a value judgement on the quality of the civilization, then this book definitely eurocentric.


Half the book is talking about other civilizations. He explains why they weren't successful in colonization and expansion.

It could be construed as such as his thesis is to compare European civilization with every other civilization it came into contact and competition with. But you're right in that it doesn't really pass value judgments.
 
2012-08-02 03:33:38 PM  
Thank you, pocketninja
 
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