(PDF FREE) [American Rococo] Þ Isham Cook

  • Paperback
  • 240
  • American Rococo
  • Isham Cook
  • en
  • 09 May 2018
  • 9780986293498

Isham Cook ✓ 8 review

characters æ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ✓ Isham Cook American Rococo review ✓ 108 Kespeare and the textbook industry conspired to turn our language's history into agitprop What is the single most dangerous sexual idea that even the liberated can't handle Ranging across centuries and continents Isham Cook's far flung essays whether disc. The works of Isham Cook will be familiar to regular readers of my blog Isham by his own account appears to be an American former academic now based in China whose range of interests cover everything from massage coffee and the old canal system of Beijing I described his collection of short stories The Exact Unknown as a voice outside the stereotypes and one of the rare works on China written with such truth wit and honesty After reading his short stories I went on to read his other works that I also reviewed for the viewing public My favourite remains At The Teahouse Cafe a wonderful collection of thoughts and ruminations on all things China with an insight that could only come from somebody who has been in the country for over two decades Massage and the Writer took the same idea of having a compilation of related essays but took the theme of massage rather than China Again I found it to be insightful thought provoking and smoothly written Finally I found Isham s experimental novel Lust and Philosophy to be challenging and intellectually stimulating though I appear to be in the minority in that view Other reviews on described it as rape literature with one reviewer Lloyd Lofthouse even claiming it is obvious that Isham is mentally damaged So it was with great anticipation that I cracked open Isham s latest work American Rococo Like At The Teahouse Cafe this is a collection of essays that have previously been featured on Isham s blog but this time he directs his observant eye to American society rather than China s Well at least that is what I was expecting from the book s title and the first few chapters The name American Rococo conjured up images of a series of cutting essays on the current situation and trends within the United States a occidental companion to his China focused At The Teahouse Cafe A 21st century euivalent of Dickens American Notes Instead American Rococo seems to have no overarching theme other than Isham s own personal interests which is perhaps the greatest weakness of the book Much so than his previous work your mileage will vary considerably depending on how interesting you find that topics that Isham decides to coverAnd what a range a topics there are The erudite Mr Cook seems to have an encyclopaedic knowledge on religion Japanese theatre Elizabethan chamber music and the roots of the English language When my interests coincided with the author s I raced through the pages eager to understand his conclusions and memorise any tidbits of information that had previously escaped me His descriptions of life in South London during Shakespeare s time were engrossing and I caught myself nodding along to his literary theories on Kafka In fact I will be forever mindful of American Rococo for introducing me to the idea that Kafka s unfinished novels are better novels for the precise fact that they are unfinished The idea of an unfinished novel that strays outside the narrative and never reaches its final destination had never occured to me as a perfect vehicle for the themes of helplessness and oppressive bureaucracy that Kafka obsesses overThere is nothing wrong with a series of unrelated essays As the author highlighted in his correspondence with me the idea of centering a book of essays around a theme is a fairly recent phenomenon in contemporary publishing Essays by Montaigne Bacon Emerson and others were never thematically unified The same holds true with fiction One of my most treasured books is a collection of all of Arthur Conan Doyle s non Sherlock short stories The stories range from tales of colonial derring do proto science fiction medicine and that dreadful time when Conan Doyle began dabbling in Spiritualism The whole point is the style the uality of the writing and if the essays maintain a singular world viewHowever I am only human and I m sure that most of the other readers of American Rococo are too uite simply there were several chapters where I just did not share the same interest as the author The articles that interested me will be completely different to those that may interest any other reader but it is inevitable with a myriad of topics that each individual will find their own hits and misses I had to skim read through the to me long dry and boring essays on the intricacies of lute craftsmanship in the Middle Ages or rather scholarly paragraphs on clause differences between old English and Danish that should remain in the debating halls of a university English Language department There is also a tendency within the author to slip occasionally into the dry style of academic writing It is obvious that Isham self publishing under his own Magic Theatre label and not beholden to the whims of big media writes primarily for himself rather than for a defined audience There is absolutely nothing wrong with this as genius stems from the individual rather than committee but it does mean that appreciation of his writing depends greatly on your own interest in his chosen topicsReview over Is that all Well if American Rococo was just a collection of essays on music and literature I would probably draw the review to a conclusion right now Yet amidst the ink spilled on Philip Glass and Beowulf there are other essays which are focused on Isham s personal philosophy rather than dissections of music and literature It is these essays that provoked my strongest reactions to the book and not always in a positive wayA picture forms of Isham Cook after reading even just two or three sentences from any of his books Libertine sexually open promiscuous obsessive in fact the author himself did a decent job of outlining some of these ualities in his semi autobiographical novel Lust and Philosophy Isham regularly recounts his joy in delving into the fleshy pleasures of life He delights in the excessive the sensuous and the extravagant The title of the book American Rococo takes its name from the titular essay where Isham expands on his love of American excessiveness To him the rolling curves of the obese are beautiful not disgusting The inflated gibberish of street graffiti eye catching rather than an eye sore Isham is a true child of his generation In several chapters he promotes the wonders and delights of drug use and free love His embrace of free love wild extravagance LSD trips and happy communal living seems firmly rooted in the 1960s and 70s which is when I presume Isham went through his formative yearsThis utopian vision is repeated time and time again with an evangelical fervour worthy of the Christians and modern Atheists that he dissects in his chapter on modern atheism To the libertine author it is not enough that atheists have discarded traditional conservative beliefs when they still cling to outdated concepts like monogamy To Isham monogamy is a religion that in his position of Prophet must be destroyed and replaced with free love if we are ever to move forward as a speciesI use the word Prophet deliberately I m an advocate of Fourth Turning theory and when reading American Rococo found it very much to fit within the thinking of what The Fourth Turning described as a Prophet mentality To those unfamiliar with The Fourth Turning it was a landmark work written in the late 1990s by William Strauss and Neil Howe where they linked historical change to generational change that repeats itself in a never ending cycle Within their theory certain time periods correspond almost to the seasons of the year typically history is a cycle of Crisis war famine revolution a High the post war peace when society operates on shared principals and vision Awakening when a younger generation who are unaware of the horrors of war begin to rebel against the conformity of a peaceful but uniform society Unravelling when society begins to break down institutions are attacked and become weak individualism is strong and back to Crisis The mood and values of the generations born within those different times correspond accordinglyWith his mantra of free love and LSD for all Isham epitomises the Prophet mindset of those born within the awakening time of the 60s and 70s The Prophet sees it upon themselves to destroy the old establishment and create a new society based on new values You can see this in the mentality of most baby boomers and their unparalleled success of completely transforming society in their image over the last sixty or so years In his final essay Advanced Love Isham describes how he has stood at the front of the classroom in the image of the Prophet exhorting his students to embrace polyamory and communal living as his so called most advanced form of love Reading this part I wondered if Isham realised he came across just as evangelical as those Christian teachers who arrive in China and try to surreptitiously convert their students over to Jesus by sprinkling Bible uotes into their lesson planI agree with a lot of what Isham Cook has to say I also enjoy freedom and liberty and actually agree with almost all of his conclusions on the progression of society it is the results that I disagree with As a member of a younger generation than Isham s I have seen the end destination of many of his utopian beliefs For his American Rococo generations afterwards must suffer an American Hangover After the Prophets have completed their great task of destroying the old there is nothing left for the following generation but to wander through the ruins like nomadsDuring the writing of this review I exchanged some emails with Isham about his views on polyamory In one email he writesOn polyamory this word is not to be confused with polygamy polygyny or polyandry I have no interest in traditional polygyny still practiced by some Mormons in the US in parts of Africa and the Middle East etc the keeping of than one wife not always with their full consent That s a kind of slavery and is deplorable and sexist Polyamory is simply the freedom to let people choose how they wish to organize a family and under what terms This could be triads 2 males1 female or 2 females1 male dual couples or group or communal families Children could be raised in common or raised exclusively by their biological parents Sexual sharing may be allowed or not There are no top down rules Each family unit decides their own rules and what kind of relationships they are willing to entertain with others Ideally there is no oppression coercion brainwashing or cult like behaviourI m actually familiar with polyamory and aware of the distinctions between polyamory polygamy and polyandry However I do not share Isham s rosy view of its benefits In my opinion polyamory cannot and does not work in practice because of basic human nature Both genders are naturally promiscuous but in different ways Whereas a male will wish to copulate with as many different females as possible since sperm is plentiful in comparison to eggs females are likely to gravitate towards the higher status males even if that means sharing access and child paternity with the alpha male with other women in a kind of uasi concubinage This is called hypergamy and there are very good biological reasons why it exists If you were a cavewoman in primitive times it made sense to bear the children of the male with access to the most resources One astonishing statistic is that before the dawn of civilisation seventeen women reproduced for every one manHence it is my belief that the nature of hypergamy means that the ideal of polyamory will always devolve into the nightmarish reality of polygamy Isham writes emphasis mine Ideally there is no oppression coercion brainwashing or cult like behaviour For me that is the killer The ideal may be freedom but look at any social circle structure organisation or company that you have encountered in real life The inevitable result is always hierarchy and power plays If the group is lucky it just dissolves when the members gradually exit if not the end result is normally conflictDestroying traditional family structures doesn t result in a hippy communal paradise it results in atomised and rootless individuals and a society drowning in anomie the same atomised individuals that Isham describes in his essay on Airbnb hosts Taking responsibility from biological parents for their children s upbringing doesn t result in everybody helping each other out at the top of Plato s ladder of love it results in broken homes and state intervention Isham argues for a polyamorous society my rebuttal would be to look at polyamorous societies throughout history and really see how successful they are They went extinct I can agree that monogamy is a kind of religion and a kind of female enslavement but it s eually a kind of male enslavement It s the promise of a wife to call one s own and the chance to spread one s genes into the next generation that is the basis of all true civilisation Polyamory does not end in a loving free for all female hypergamy ensures that it results in a small number of alpha males with large concubines and armies of disenfranchised men underneath That s not utopia that s a slave society At times I wondered how much Isham really understands about the nature of women despite the considerable amount of time he devotes to them To put it in even blunter and cruder terms there was than one moment when I wanted to throw the book into the bin and I caught myself muttering it was people like you who fucked up the world Note if any reader wishes to read something which also discusses polyamory but comes to similar negative conclusions as the ones I have raised here I would recommend any of Michel Houellebec s booksIf the preceding paragraph sounds angry and disdainful you re right I did experience those feelings constantly throughout the essays where Isham expands on his utopian vision However let s not let my opposition to Isham s views colour a potential reader s opinion of American Rococo There is much to like here and I would still recommend it to anybody interested in good writing and intellectual debate Just look at the passion it has invoked in me while writing the above paragraphs As I noted in one of my previous reviews of Isham s books the role of a true teacher is to provoke reactions within his students and guide them into thoughts and viewpoints that they may not have considered before In this Isham succeeds once again The two or three essays discussing his polyamorist ideal have probably given me to ponder than anything else I ve read this yearSo go and read American Rococo You ll learn a few things that you didn t know before on a wide range of topics that may even engage a new found passion within you It will also challenge your notions of freedom and independence I disagreed with nearly everything Isham had to say but I had a great time doing so Unlimited freedom has conseuences Unlimited freedom has a price In the case of American Rococo that price is about 10 if you buy direct from

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American Rococo

characters æ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ✓ Isham Cook American Rococo review ✓ 108 Oursing on the most radical or homespun of topics are guided by the notion of the edge The edge represents the limits of conventional understanding the zone beyond stereotypes and groupthink; it is where received ideas are recast in fresh and striking way. I received the book for free from the authorBooktasters Non Fiction on Twitter for an honest reviewWhat can I say about these essays They are the the perfect blend of facts and experience I think my favourite essay was American Talisman looking into smartphone usage and how disastrous it can be if not used wisely I found his views on textingsexting particularly interesting and simultaneously horrifying as the mother of a pre teen girl who wants a smartphone It has definitely given me food for thought in how I approach her getting a phone and how I will teach her about security and conseuences In actual fact every essay seemed to be of the same vein sparking curiosity for unknown topics and a rethink of topics I was familiar with Cook takes your hand guiding you to delve into the depths of the topics and yet still leaving you to garner your own conclusion From the aforementioned smartphones to Shakespeare to hot springs and even Walmart he presents stark reality while exposing the hidden beauty and complexity of things we don t really give a second thought Cooks voice really spoke to me it felt like an older uncle telling you a story while peppering in life lessons which made for a very relaxing read despite the weight of some of the topics discussed Overall I would give this collection of essays a 455 and I look forward to joining Cook on other forays into society

characters æ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ✓ Isham Cook

characters æ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ✓ Isham Cook American Rococo review ✓ 108 What do seashells obesity graffiti and the American ghetto have in common Nude hot springs and the Japanese theater Atheists and family values conservatives Why do atheists go on religious pilgrimages How have schools infantilized our understanding of Sha. A talisman has appeared in twenty first century America one with astounding magical powers Fitting in the palm like a mini crystal ball it can bring people to life on its screen To young kids submerged in the dreamy developmental phase of childhood this glass amulet must seem utterly bewitching and miraculous a veritable Wonderland of miniature toy stores and colorful games With parent s permission it even sends real toys and snacks to one s homeEver open up a book and become immediately enraptured with it to the point where you find yourself reading it at a time you were not planning to read it Such was the case with this collection of essays I started reading the above passage from the book s first essay entitled An American Talisman and found myself immediately hooked I have often wondered what an outside observer would think about our fascination with our smart phones so this essay really spoke to me But besides waxing on about a subjects that we are already familiar with and have given thought to the mark of a great essay collection is to introduce foreign concepts and ideas This essay collection did a very good job at that Don t let the title fool you these essays are not all about Americana or necessarily have anything to do with the US There is an essay about Japanese mixed bathing springs one about English chamber music and a Van Gogh piece There are also universal topics discussed such as atheism breasts and monogamy It was a uite an interesting kebab