22 September 2010

Day 179: Nemesis

Nemesis by Philip Roth. ISBN: 9780547318356 (ARC - publishes October 12, 2010).

One of the few things that I think this book captured very well was the human tradition of finding a scapegoat, and it was usually the one the characters tended to blame for everything else.  When the first cases of polio hit the neighborhood of Weequahic people wanted to blame a group of Italians who came by and spat on the sidewalk, or the burger and hot dog joint where all the kids hung out.  Later when the community (primarily Jewish) became the most afflicted of Newark, it was proposed that they quarantine the entire area at best...or burn it down with all the residents still inside at worst.

Bucky Canton, our, uh, hero, decides to scapegoat God, which seems like a good choice before he jumps to blaming himself for the spread of polio, which is utterly ridiculous and infuriating.  Personally, it seems like scapegoating God would be far more productive and a lot more healthy.  First of all, God theoretically loves you no matter what and shouldn't mind a little tantrum from one of his toddler creations, especially when He allows curve ball bullshit like polio to be thrown at children.  But the truth of the matter is that it's easier to blame something a little more tangible.

It's nice to see we still haven't outgrown that behavior, and when I say "nice" I'm being sarcastic.  It absolutely amazes me that we monkeys still divide ourselves and each other into these factions for the sole purpose of vilifying each other.  You would think several thousand years (at the least) and many, many, many belief systems and tenets of faith that insist on some variety of "love thy neighbor", often in many different words, would produce a species that would grow the fuck up.

Instead we get the Lefty Liberal Commies Versus the Fundamentalist Religious Republicans Versus Who Gives a Fuck All.  We're so busy blaming each other for everything that we can't figure out who is actually at fault, and even if we did we would still blame the other guy, because that's just what we do.  We're so busy blaming people that shit can't get done to actually change our situation.  Awesome.  Advanced society, we've advanced so far we're cock blocking ourselves.  I'm so incredibly frustrated with all the bullshit that I'm almost ready for a dictatorship if only so we can blame One Guy for all our trouble. 

At least then we might be able to work together on changing something.  It's so difficult when you think that everyone is involved in the same dick fight and the sides are about equal when I think most of us are just trying not to get slapped in the face by the ongoing wang-wagging in the hopes that maybe something will be accomplished during this stupidity.  But really, the only thing that happens during a dick fight is that the guy with the longest dick slaps the most faces, and no one benefits from that.  Yeah, I just equated our government to a juvenile game of junk jousting (trademarked for later use on t-shirts, bitches).

My review can be found on Goodreads.

*Oddly, I wrote this post before I watched the Daily Show for September 16th, but the intro to Jon Stewart announcing the Rally to Restore Sanity sums up my feelings in a way that is much more elegant than my immature analogy.  If you haven't seen it yet, here is the segment, from about 2:30-5:03 is the most relevant portion.


  1. Yep, I'll agree with you fully on this whole post!! Especially the whole government discussion :)

  2. Junk jousting.

    I shudder to think what that image would look like on a t-shirt.

  3. No worries, Dayna. I think I would just leave that one as a quote. Besides, not having a picture allows everyone else to come up with their own terrible, terrible mental images.


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