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Showing posts from June, 2020

“By the Strength of Their Illusion”: Reflections on the Scottish Play

Macbeth by William Shakespeare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Although the signifier “mirror” is absent from Macbeth, and “glass” only appears twice, once as a prop instruction and once in dialogue, The Scottish Play fairly bristles with reflections, though like the mirrors of its time, they are somewhat deceptive. First, of course, is the mirror in the apparition shown by the three witches to the haunted king. Macbeth’s vision of Banquo’s kingly successors, especially “the eighth [who] appears, …bear[ing] a glass… show[ing]… many more” dooms his erstwhile ally (Mac. 4.1.118). The doctor and gentleman who watch Lady Macbeth sleepwalking in Act V, Scene I, are another mirror, this time reflecting the play’s audience. Finally, there are the transgressive mirrors addressed by Garber, those “taboo border crossings” (91) “between a thing and its reflection,” (93) such as “sleep/waking, male/female, life/death, fair/foul, heaven/hell, night/morning,” which pervade Macbeth, seasoning it with Umheiml…

A Book About John Bolton's Dereliction of Duty.

The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir by John R. Bolton
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It is truly appalling that someone who purports to be a public servant would maintain silence in the face of so much corruption going on in the same room, however this review is not about John Bolton, but this book he has written. Bolton's perspective comes with the assumption he is the smartest person in the room. Everyone else is a dummy, inexperienced, or otherwise lacking the ability to perceive the nature of evil in the world. That may be what he is going for, but he just comes off as a monstrous, spiteful, warmongering chickenhawk. All of his choices rely on using sticks, and he has no flexibility at all. Therefore, as a diplomat, he is a useless ass, but there is such a lack of self-awareness that you watch him patting himself on the back with "clever" tactics to avoid responsibility and accountability, dodging here and there, always aiming higher, always just a little bit s…

Finding Redemption in the Deep

The Deep by Rivers Solomon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Trying to do this without spoiling it for you, so bear with me. I'm not going to reveal too much more than the synopsis.

First, I really liked the root concept of the story, the origins of the Wajinru, the merpeople. Solomon creates a compelling story of their parallel development with the "two-legs" (humans) and puts her main character Yetu in a predicament that defines whether her species will survive. The story raises many questions about the role of history in indigenous people, and even the survival of languages and artifacts when all the people are gone.

Second, I love the gender bending romance in the middle. It added a necessary stake after the story had stalled for reasons better left to Yetu to explain. I had difficulty connecting with Yetu, but she is, after all, an alien, because I am a Two-leg, so this is actually an example of good writing making me uncomfortable.

The only issue I had with the story is how it …

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