Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Death Of Work

Bob Black's The Abolition of Work and Other Essays is when of those books you read when you're mad as hell and you just can't take it anymore (or so they say in the movies). Inspirational. Angry. Funny. Black, who has been the target of a lot of hate (some rational, others misplaced), may not appeal to everyone but he should be read.

In the essay "Let Us Prey!," Black hits something right on the head. "The liberals and leftist in contrast are dithering, defensive conservatives -- Weimar paralytics unwilling to do unto others what's being done to them." You can easily see why he has his share of critics in the left, and with the health care debate degenerating into a gun-toting lynch mob you can just as easily see he has a point. This is why I like him. This is why you probably hate him.

Toward the end of his book there is an essay called "Anarchism and Other Impediments to Anarchy." It is one of those essays that will either have you pissed off at him or possibly even agreeing. Personally, while I think Black is often a little full of himself, I also think he brings up some good points in this essay (and many others). They are uncomfortable truths -- of that I am certain -- but they are also worth examining. I won't go into his full argument but he is inspired in thinking that anarchists might be one of the prime reasons anarchism hasn't become society's norm. (He states that many anarchists are "incapable" of living in a co-operative and autonomous manner and also declares that many aren't very "bright." Yeah, there is something to that, and I would classify myself as an anarchist.)

Love him or hate him, Black is what I would call Autumn Reading. Everything is dying outside your window, and this is the perfect read to that backdrop. Plus, it could inspire you to quit your job and take up the lost art of creativity.

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