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comment by phloridaman

Not at all.

I passed no judgment on the book that you love. I'm only asking that you not dismiss the book that you hate.

The characters are not the data, neither are the facts presented. The way that the facts are presented, the information flow, and the setting, circumstances, and personality are far more important to understanding the author.

I'm not surprised in the least that most of what he's writing is bullshit, but that doesn't mean it isn't full of information.

EDIT: Ultimately, I guess I'm saying that how you say something is more important than what you're saying. And he gives a pretty clear picture of who he is and where he came from even if the details got warped.

brock1234  ·  1201 days ago  ·  link  ·  

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kleinbl00  ·  1296 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I passed no judgment on the book that you love. I'm only asking that you not dismiss the book that you hate.

Okay, I appreciate that. Apologies for coming across so harshly. That said, I finished that book, while you're still working through it. It's a shit book. The way the facts are presented is "I have a story, I'm going to make shit up, I'm not going to think about any of it, and I'm going to wedge some statistics in the middle so people see this as more than a memoir." Circumstances? "I got a job with Peter Thiel and Libertarian thinking is profitable thinking."

Hillbilly Elegy is a fundamentally dishonest book. It's every bit as false as Running with Scissors. Were it bigger, I suspect it'd get a million little pieces treatment. it's a faux memoir used as justification for urban poor rage with no understanding, compassion, or accurate portrayal of the urban poor. So we're left with a tautology: "Everything I say is false." What, exactly, are you supposed to get out of that?

phloridaman  ·  1296 days ago  ·  link  ·  

No hard feelings! Sometimes tone is hard to transmit via text, and comment sections seem to gear people towards being on the defensive. I also started my post with an opinion that conflicted with yours, so it was not unreasonable for you to think that I was attacking your ideas.

Regarding Hillbilly Elegy: perhaps I will reach a similar conclusion. I am only three chapters in and have only read about his early life and childhood. Checking the table of contents, it would be more accurate to say that I am 1/5 of the way through rather than 1/3. My apologies for the misestimate while commuting home. My opinion of the book may drastically change by the end.

However, much of the purpose of my post was only tangentially related to my opinions on the book in question. I was just kind of using it as a jumping-off point to ramble about whatever I was thinking. I like doing that. The middle digression, in my opinion, was the more thetic part; the intro and conclusion merely glue so that I could squeeze the expression of my opinion into the conversation. What I'm trying to say is that moreso than whether a particular book was a good or bad example of anything, I was trying to describe an idea that the rest of the post/conversation/discussion made me think of.

I tend to do that more than I try to have debates/arguments. People often don't understand that I'm more interested in trying to illustrate my opinions and understand the opinions of others than try to change anyone's minds or have a coherent argument. From my experience it's a bit unusual, but I prefer it to the traditional argumentative discourse. Let's just say what we think, try to understand each other, and maybe grow from the experience.

My philosophy is: don't forget to understand so you can keep on loving, and don't forget to communicate so that people who are interested can understand you.

kleinbl00  ·  1295 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Reading your digression as a digression for digression's sake, it occurs to me that this conversation and this one might interest you.