Category Archives: Brooklyn Book Festival

No is not enough

I first came across Naomi Klein after the the inauguration of President Donald J.Trump, which frankly left me bewildered. I needed to understand what I had missed in Trump’s appeal.  I did not choose Naomi’s book “No is Not Enough”, not because it is not worth reading but because I needed something that described in lurid detail, his rise as a businessman. Having found it and read it, I did not want to read another book about “The Donald”. I do not feel comfortable in maligning the President of the United States, but the opinion that I formed of Donald Trump was that he was not altruistic.

Early Sunday afternoon, I lazily browsed the selection of events at the Brooklyn Boor Fair, debating with myself whether or not, it was worth the hour long drive and the price of parking, et voilà! there she was! “Naomi Klein”. “Tis a sign!” I muttered to myself and off I went.

It was all very genteel at the Brooklyn Historical  Society Library; a gentle line had formed and a lady with a clicker could predict how many of us would fit inside. At 4:55pm we took our seats and very shortly afterwards, Naomi Klein and Bhaskar Sunkara took up their appointed positions at a raised table. Bhaskar (sharp and intelligent) made a short introduction, describing “The Donald” as somebody he had known as a local warlord, complimented Naomi on speed with which she had written “No is Not Enough” and let Naomi speak.

Here, I will be a little curt….almost all of what Naomi had to say can be seen on YouTube…..but these are the important points:                                                                                                                               Donald Trump realized from an early age in his business career that his persona or image as perceived by others was his most valuable asset. He could use it to leverage his meager “hard” assets and get concessions from municipal and federal authorities or loans from banks. He learnt to use his name and the money of others to build a business empire.

In time, Donald Trump  learnt to become a “lifestyle brand”. In the past manufacturers would create an aura around their product to improve sales. “Lifestyle brands” like “Nike” or “Ralph Lauren” or “Ikea”  allude to a way of life that  requires multiple components (products and services) to be successfully realized. We all have a hole in our soul that can never be filled, so we are naturally attracted these “lifestyle brands” (my addition).

Marketing himself at a national level through the game show “The Apprentice” was Donald Trump’s spring-board to the presidency. Donald Trump did not win the election as much as the Democratic party, and Hillary Clinton in particular, lost the election. In absolute terms, Hillary got more votes and the archaic Electoral College ( which was set up to protect slave owners) made Donald president.

Whereas, President Trump is perceived as a somebody who is unable to use the political apparatus in cooperation with others to enable legislation, behind the scenes his appointees are working hard to dismantle Obamacare, to reverse legislation that protect the environment. His appointees are conservative, anti-immigration and aggressively pro-business. We are fools if we believe that nothing is being changed.

“The Shock Doctrine”. This is a brutally effective tool used by right wing governments. After a disaster, democratic rights are suspended (something that we will read about in “The Handmaid’s Tale”) and power is concentrated in the hands of a powerful minority.

The democratic rights that we enjoy in the United States are not the natural state of affairs in world history. They are very much the exception. If we are not aware of the threats to our democratic rights and if we do not vigorously defend them, they will be eroded under whatever pretext will be used by those who crave power, be they private corporations or political groups.

What is the answer?… saying “No!” is not enough. A two year-old can say “No!”.We need a viable alternative! A platform that appeals to a wide swath of the populace in the United States. A vision that will truly empower the downtrodden, that will genuinely release the unused potential  of those in the United States who have been taught that they have no potential. 

 

“Democracy is talking itself to death. The people do not know what they want; they do not know what is the best for them. There is too much foolishness, too much lost motion. I have stopped the talk and the nonsense. I am a man of action. Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice it is a fallacy. You in America will see that some day.”

Benito Mussolini

 

 

 

 

 

Yay The Book Festival

On Sunday, September 17th, I had went to the Brooklyn Book Festival. I got there around 4 p.m because I had to do other very important things first before going out there. When I got there I saw a lot of tables that represent different things like several book stores, printing production companies, and even restaurants. I am not going to lie, I don’t like visiting people talking about their books and how long it took them to write it and why, how, what weather it was when they started it, e.t.c I genuinely enjoyed going to the tables and seeing which different items or trinkets that I can get along with a good book while talking to the people who were representing their store at their table at the same time.  So unfortunately I did not go to any of the talks that they had there.

Nonetheless, I did had a good time visiting the tables. There was a couple of tables that I liked. One, was with this lady who was from the Feral House. Feral house is a printing press production company that has been around since 1989 they also have another printing company that is called Process Media. At their table they had very provocative books about sex and sexuality as in a form of art. They also had coloring books of Prince, David Bowie and Rock and roll. I took their business card because I was interested in their works. I asked them why they published these type of books. The lady said that they tend to publish books that are a little different from the ordinary, like pulp fiction. The next table I went to was the PM Press, they were founded in 2007 and they are more into publishing more of a variety of themes and stories. I like that they had small trinkets at their table.

However, I saved the best for last, at least the best for me. There was this table that I went to that was called Action Burger, (First time i ever heard of it) there was this man named Vlane Carter. He is the owner of it. He said that his restaurant is a comic book, sci-fi and video game themed restaurant and that people can come and play all sorts of  games anytime. Games like cards, video, arcade and board games. It also have themed menus for Hero food and Villain Food. He said that they are expanding to have more room  in their Restaurant. He also stated that( if I heard this correctly) if a customer reads a book they can get a free meal special.  What had gotten my attention was because it is a black owned company and I love to support black own companies as much as I can. He also writes Sci-fi books and comic books. I brought one of his Sci-fi comic book. He is a very nice and friendly gentlemen and because of that experience I am glad that I had went to the Brooklyn Book Festival. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am happy to have been told about this Festival because I do love books, but to meet someone of color who owns his own restaurant and writing his own books adds a little spark to it.  Here is the link to his restaurant if you are interested.

 

http://actionburger.com/

Extra Credit Opportunity: Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday, 9/17

The Brooklyn Book Festival is almost here, and on Sunday, 9/17, there is an amazing line-up of talks. The event is local, free, & no tickets are required. Visit the links above for full details.

This is a totally optional event, but I encourage you to attend if you can and to share what you’ve learned with the class. If you attend one more more talks & blog in response by start of class on Tu 9/19, you will get extra credit (yay!).

This extra credit will replace a missing blog if you missed some blogs, or it will count as extra credit if already you did all of your blogs (bonus points). Please note that there are only two grades for this extra credit blog: 100 and 0. If you attend the event and blog your responses/reflections thoughtfully and comprehensively, you will receive 100% (otherwise,  you will receive no credit). Don’t forget to take notes at the event, so you can include concrete details in your blog.

Please categorize your blog as “Brooklyn Book Festival.”