My 2019 Reading List

31/12/2019

Admittedly, I thought I had read more books than the ones on this list, but alas it is much smaller than anticipated when I compiled it. I wasn’t expecting anything huge, and 16 books is still a reasonable feat, in my view, but I can’t help but feel a tinge of disappointment that I didn’t get through more. I would, however, suggest that finishing university and keeping up with news events and analysis probably makes up for that. Nevertheless, these are the books I read this past year, with a few thoughts looking back on them and links to piece that refer to them.

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Biases in Journalism and in History

28/12/2019

I have written before about E. H. Carr’s ideas of the “historian and his facts”, of how history can never be “objective” because there are always things that will influence even the most aware observers. I would put forward that this concept also applies to journalists, who are, in a sense, historians of the moment in which they report.

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Oh, The Guardian…

13/12/2019

There is really no nice way to put this. There are only two words that sum up my response to how the Guardian has carried itself in relation to the Labour Party, specifically Jeremy Corbyn, over the past few years, and in the immediate aftermath of the election results. They are simply: get fucked.

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Religious Discrimination Bill Is Just Hypocrisy and Contradiction

14/12/2019

Having read the latest draft of the Religious Discrimination Bill, the Amendments made since the first draft, and rights groups/media reports on it, it is safe to say that the intent of this Bill is not to defend religious people against discrimination. Instead, it is a Bill designed to defend religious individuals and bodies in their own discrimination against others, using religion as a shield to do so. I will refer to Christianity/Catholicism in most examples, given they are the majority and are certainly the intended beneficiaries of this Bill.

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Rethinking the Definition of Radical

11/12/2019

Whenever the word radical is used in any context, it almost always has a relatively negative overtone. The word, like many in political discourse, arguably has no legitimate definition anymore. Synonymous with disorder, dramatic change, intense, etc. we allocate it to people and events that don’t fit the current norm. I contend that it should be the opposite, and that what we have considered the “norm” throughout time is what’s really been radical.

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Divided Opinion: Postnatal Depression

09/12/2019

EDIT: I mixed up the wording – I had put “neonatal” instead of postnatal depression. This has now been corrected, so thank you to the friend who pointed it out to me.

I don’t often do so, but here I feel it prudent preface this piece by acknowledging the fact I am a male, and in this case also childless – hence I would defer any and all serious discussion on this topic to females, particularly mothers, and especially those who have experienced postnatal depression. I observed a conversation a few of my friend’s family members (all female) had, which was quite tense, relating to a family friend who took custody of a child due to the mother having had postnatal depression. I’ll leave out most of the details and stick to the relevant ones for this piece – spoiler alert, the man was entirely in the wrong here.

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Labor and Greens Divide Is Petty Factionalism

04/12/2019

Hell hath no fury like a Labor supporter who cannot handle even the slightest criticism of their party or who has an aneurism every time someone mentions the Greens. I’ve been at the receiving end of some rather defensive and dismissive statements for daring to suggest Labor still has much to improve upon, or that there are alternatives. Greens voters aren’t faultless either, being unable to view Labor as a viable option against the Coalition given the sad reality of politics in this country. What we end up with is… nothing, the Coalition keeps winning.

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What School History Doesn’t Teach: The Vietnam War

29/11/2019

I never took modern history in high school, but from what we were taught in the junior years and from what friends who did take that subject told me, what we learned was an extremely watered down and pretty much propagandistically pro-West depiction. I can’t speak for the US education system, but I can only assume that US exceptionalism is a fundamental part of any history taught in school. There are a few examples one could use, but the Vietnam War is probably the most damning.

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Private Property: Housing

25/11/2019

One of the few things I’m currently in uncertain disagreement with regarding anarchism is the idea of private property. In many cases, it is quite simple, but in others, like housing, and data, there are some discrepancies that it would be wrong to not address. Seeing as I have probably written more about anarchism in the past few days than I have since I started the site, now seems to be a good time to discuss them.

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Free Speech, Understanding, and Growth: Anarchism and Feminism

24/11/2019

I finished two books today. The first was The ABC of Anarchism by Alexander Berkman, which I’ve referenced in a few of my recent posts – well worth reading if you want to understand anarchist (specifically communist anarchism) ideas. The second, which was half the size and a much quicker read – hence finishing it within a few hours of the day – was Why I Am Not A Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto by Jessa Crispin. The title intrigued me, and rightfully so – it was also fascinating, although I admit it threw me in the deep end on feminist writing and thought. Both books had some rather similar suggestions and themes, which I thought were worth discussing.

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