Alienation and Me

Mankind’s capacity for creative work is what distinguishes us from the animals. People through history have created great works of art, literature and technological achievements as a means of self-actualisation. But what is labour without self-expression?

Book Nook – Descent by Ken MacLeod

Ken MacLeod’s strength as a sci-fi writer is his inventive world building. He pulls together elements from history and social theory to create future societies which are unexpected yet plausible. Descent serves primarily as a tableau which Ken paints with echoes of the New Deal, as the reader follows Ryan’s coming of age journey and those of his close friends who share a tight bond. The bond of an alien abduction. This is still sci-fi, after all.

Beneath the Corporate Mask

Companies deploy elegant public relations masks in order to appear a positive influence on our society and lives. BP claims to deliver services that “help drive the transition to a low carbon future”. Northrop Grumman are “committed to maintaining the highest of ethical standards, embracing diversity and inclusion, protecting the environment, and striving to be an ideal corporate citizen in the community and in the world.” But beneath the hollow sheen of advertisements and corporate branding is an ugly demonstration of what is really important to the corporations who run our lives.

Book Nook – All Your Friends Like This: How Social Networks Took Over News by Hal Crawford, Andrew Hunter & Domagoj Filipovic

All Your Friends Like This: How Social Networks Took Over News provides a great demonstration of how the short staffing and search for impressions over substance has crippled modern journalism. Unfortunately, this book is an example rather than an explanation.

Book Nook – An Incredible Race of People: A Passionate History of Australia by Bob Katter

Bob Katter Jr is a riddle wrapped in an enigma topped with a cowboy hat. A man renowned for the social conservatism which led him to claim there were no gay people in his electorate, and yet who also criticises the Rudd/Gillard industrial relations reforms as not going nearly far enough in favour of workers. A man who lists as paragons ‘Red Ted’ Theodore and Ben Chifley but who served in the cabinet of Joh Bjelke-Petersen. The best way to understand a man is to listen to what he has to say, so I’m reading An Incredible Race of People to see if this enigma can be unravelled.