Book Review: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974)

An inquiry into values
by Robert Pirsig

Zen1974, Bantam Books (1984 edition), 380 pages w/afterword

This book was a staple of my college days, not among the Left—the Left in those days seemed to be as incapable of thinking for themselves as what we see in much of the Right today—but among more the more technical, individualistic reader types.

Pirsig, a technical writer for IBM with a genius-level IQ, recounts his journey on a motorcycle (he doesn’t mention the brand; Wikipedia says it’s a 1964 Honda Superhawk CB77) with his boy, Chris.  They head out across the high plains thru Montana, then down the Oregon-California coast. Continue reading

Movie Review: American Beauty (1999)

On reflection, testifying to the inner reality

American_Beauty“It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing and there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was, like, dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. And that’s the day I knew there was this entire life behind things, and… this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video’s a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember… and I need to remember… Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart’s going to cave in.” — Ricky Fitts

This year’s (2008’s) crop of Oscar nominated movies seemed to lack in the way of uplift: the Academy deemed the best movies for 2007 to be 1) No Country for Old Men (winner… but a complete downer, violent, too), 2) There Will Be Blood (Daniel Day Lewis plays a psycho oil baron with a father disorder), 3) Atonement (a love story, but with false accusations of rape), 4) Michael Clayton (depressing indictment of corporate man… and woman), 5) Juno (this is the cheerful one, and it’s about teenage pregnancy!). Continue reading