The end of my time on this page is fast approaching, hopefully, that is, until next year. But as I was thinking about this fact, it occurred to me that you, my readership of various levels of faithfulness, will have to go without your weekly dose of damn-the-man journalistic fury. With that in mind, I compiled a list of books, movies, songs and miscellaneous crap to fill the void in my summer absence.
Books first, in no particular order.
Brave New World. Aldous Huxley. Considering its influence, I’m amazed at how few people have read this. It’s a 21st century global dystopia as conceived (remarkably well, actually) by a Brit in 1932.
1984. George Orwell. Duh.
In Dubious Battle. John Steinbeck. Often overshadowed by, oh, everything else Steinbeck wrote, but it’s my favorite book of his ever published.
A People’s History of the United States. Howard Zinn. The most comprehensive collection of dirt on American government and corporate malfeasance ever compiled. If I could, I would have just run excerpts from this book as my column all year long.
The Monkey Wrench Gang. Edward Abby. Not only is this a totally badass story, but it’s also an exceedingly well articulated argument for conservation.
The War Prayer. Mark Twain. If you only read one anti-war piece in your life, read this.
Johnny Got His Gun. Dalton Trumbo. If you read a second, make it this one.
Catch-22. Joseph Heller. And here’s your third.
The Jungle. Upton Sinclair. Sinclair said of the book, “I aimed an arrow at America’s heart, and hit it in the stomach.” Probably the best muckraking novel ever written; Fast Food Nation doesn’t hold a candle to it.
Ishmael. Daniel Quinn. Read it and weep. Literally.
The Fever. Shawn Wallace. A single character play written as an extended monologue, it’s a powerful meditation on the contradictions between wealth and want.
The Lorax. Dr. Seuss. The single greatest economic, political, social and environmental book ever written.
Jane Eyre. Charlotte Brontë. Just kidding. If you see someone reading this book, slap it out of their hands and tell them to get a job.
But if you’re too lazy to read, even something as basic as Dr. Seuss, check out these movies.
Goodnight, and Good Luck. Quote of interest: “Television in the main insulates us from the realities of the world in which we live.” Watch it.
Platoon. Ever wonder what Ira… I mean Vietnam, was like?
This Film Is Not Yet Rated. Ever wonder what goes on at the MPAA?
They Live. Ever wonder what those “Obey” stickers are from?
The Corporation. You’ll shop at the Co-op.
Who Killed The Electric Car. You’ll tag hummers.
Jesus Camp. You’ll crap your pants.
American History X. You won’t sleep tonight.
No End in Sight. You won’t sleep for a week.
KIDS. You won’t sleep again. Ever.
As for songs, there’s far too many for me to comment on, so I’ll just throw a list at you.
“Imagine” A Perfect Circle (Beatles cover), “War Pigs” Black Sabbath, “Masters of War” Bob Dylan, “Redemption Song” Bob Marley, “Fortunate Son” CCR, “Makeshift Patriot” and “Sun Vs. Moon” Sage Francis, “The 4th Branch” Immortal Technique, “Southern Man” Neil Young, “No One Left” The Nightwatchman, “Shadow Business” Jedi Mind Tricks, “Idiots Are Taking Over” NOFX, “One” Metallica (based on Johnny Got His Gun), “Soldier Side” and “War?” System of a Down, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” The Who and “Let the Eagle Soar” John Ashcroft (yes, that John Ashcroft). And when it comes to Rage songs, you can’t go wrong, but if you have to pick, “Darkness,” “Freedom,” “No Shelter” and “Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox” (an Alan Ginsberg poem) are your best bets.
Finally, some miscellaneous crap to keep the fire burning when I’m not around to keep you juiced.
Go for anything with Saul Williams‘ name attached to it, every episode of South Park ever aired, Lewis Black’s stand up comedy and the online archives of Rob’s column. Because really, you can never get enough Rob Olson… or Charlotte Brontë, for that matter.
K.C. CODY realizes the contradiction between this column and his last one. He doesn’t care. Give him something to care about at firstname.lastname@example.org .