Sunday, May 27, 2007

Copying Colbert

After Head Dude's recent touting of "Seven Seconds of Less," I feel somewhat less daring in writing the second and third edition of DudeSpin's yet-to-be-determined part series - "Better Know a Book or Movie!"

The book on my list is Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion." Dawkins' prose does a terrific job of explaining the roots and rationale of the atheist belief without the rage of Christopher Hitchens or the fanaticism of Sam Harris. After reading the book, I thought why practitioners of so many religions proselytize to save another from eternal banishment to hell, yet virtually no atheists ever "proselytize" to save another from an entire life believing in a lie (as an atheist would believe).

The movie on my list is Daniel Gordon's outstanding documentary "A State of Mind." On a surface level, Gordon profiles two North Korean gymnasts preparing for the Mass Games; but what permeates the entire movie is the Orwellian construct of contemporary North Korea society. As a person whose entire Netflix que is taken up by documentaries, "A State of Mind" is the best one I've seen in quite some time. I'd actually recommend that Undude show the film to his class if/when the class reads 1984. I wouldn't make the same suggestion for "The God Delusion" - I just don't see rural North Carolinians being ready for that book.

On that vein, I'd be interested to hear what the other Dudes and DudeSpin readers are reading/watching presently. I'm currently reading Jonothan Kozol's "The Shame of a Nation" and an uninspiring work about minor league baseball - Brett Mandel's "Minor Players, Major Dreams"


Head Dude said...

During my first trip abroad in March I read Ishmael Baeh's "A Long Way Gone," an autobiography about a boy soldier's experience fighting in the civil war in Sierra Leone in the 90s. It's fantastic and I highly recommend. Then I read a book by Daniel Batstone on the current slave trade in the world, namely cheap labor and women forced into prostitution. It was enlightening but got a little redundant.

When we go to Africa, I plan to finally read David Fromkin's A Peace to End All Peace, which traces the modern history of the Middle East to the post WWI era when Europe haphazardly and without much thought drew up the current borders. Not many realize how careless the process really was.

And I should make a clarification on Seven Secords or Less. The first few chapters were a lot of fun, and that's probably the point when I recommended it. I thought it got a little dull as it went, and didn't give as much insight as you'd expect given how much access McCallum had. Plus, outside of Nash, Barbosa, and one of the assistant coaches I frankly didn't find the team very likeable.

ThadisRad said...

How appropriate that two dudes come with recommendations of international tales, while two nights ago I finished Nathanial Philbrick's "Mayflower." A WASP through and through... I think what was interesting is that in school you learn Pilgrims arrive in 1620, then 120 years later, Brits start passing unfair laws. This book helps fill in some of the missing pieces, and a lot of it is very interesting. It mostly focuses on relations with Indians, and while it dragged a bit for me at the end, overall it was very good.

Still, Philbrick's earlier book, "In the Heart of the Sea" remains one of the best non-fiction adventure stories I've ever read. It's about the sinking of the Essex (the event that inspired Moby Dick) and was very interesting if you like that sort of thing.

In film, I don't know if the dudes usually like the genre of magical realism, but Pan's Labyrinth is new to DVD, and probably the best movie I saw last year.

The Dude said...

The Baeh book was highly touted by both the NYT and the Daily Show (the interview with Baeh was one of the few ever conducted on the Show in sincerity throughout). I've read an excerpt in the NYT Magazine. I would recommend the book as well.

ThadisRad said...

I just realized that head dude slyly dropped "when we go to Africa" in his first post... Will you be taking the yacht or just flying first class with tickets paid for by the sweat of a Wal-Mart stockroom worker?

Head Dude said...

Undude, you seem to be showing quite a bit of hostility towards me the last few days.
First you go on the offensive against the Rangers when I've never spoken out against your teams.
And now you return to familiar corporate turf.
Dude, I think that's your cue -- we've been too tame the past week and Undude was just trying to fill the void.

ThadisRad said...

In fairness, the Dude was the one who encouraged me to write about the sweep and include a pic of the alamo.

He's always behind the hostilities...

Head Dude said...

Wait a second? So you won't rub in the Rockets going down in flames, in spite of the Dude calling you while Wakefield's knuckle ball floated towards home plate, but you'll instead listen to the Dude when he tells you to make fun of the hapless Rangers, when I've never come out against any of your teams?
This is shameful!