Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Was this review useful to you?

Originally posted by The Realist

And now, in a change to our normal output, it’s the culture slot. This week sees the return of our ever-popular book review.

The Realist writes:

I’ve just read a book entitled ‘Leviticus’. What a downpour of shit. It took me forever and was as painful as glass to digest. I find it amazing that this cockdribble has been published in the first place – it reads like the daily cooking routine of someone with OCD:

‘The carcases of every beast which divideth the hoof, and is not clovenfooted, nor cheweth the cud, are unclean unto you: every one that toucheth them shall be unclean.’

‘And he that beareth the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: they are unclean unto you.’

‘And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you.’

Mind you, I’m with them on the last one – I have many, many issues with shellfish however the author then goes on to bash our friends from across the Channel:

'the ferret, and the chameleon, and the lizard, and the snail, and the mole. These are unclean to you’

And I’m also confused about the author’s attitude to matters carnal. Apparently, post coitus:

‘every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean’

Well, that may seem like reasonable advice in, say, a sterile, hospital environment, but what about the film set of ‘Daisy-Chaining Anal First Timers II – Charlene and The Chocolate Factory’ – can a whole film studio be unclean? I’m not sure how that works.

This book has left me disappointed. I’m assured that it’s part of a wider work of books, which I would strongly suggest avoiding at all costs.


ph said...

It was probably a very good book in its day - in fact it was probably the only book in its day. Literary tastes change over 5000 years, I do not think you should judge it against contemporary literature

The Realist said...

I'd love to hear which aspects of it made it a 'very good book'. I would also contest that this has nothing to do with literary tastes. Rather than judging it against contemporary literature, I'm judging it against the international benchmark of common sense. The verdict? Guilty.

PH said...

If your tent has a dose of Powdery Mildew then this is the book for you (assuming you cannot get to HomeBase for the latest fungicide). Anyway it was not supposed to be read from cover to cover, it was supposed to be dipped into - something like a Readers Digest DIY manual for successful desert living.

PH said...

I think to try and gain anything from reading historical texts you need the imagination to place youself outside the narrow constraints of urban London in the 21st Centurary.
The world was and is a more vivid place that you seem to think.

Are you going to review all the other books in the same series?

Citizen Sane said...

I'm going to have a crack at The Book Of Genesis.

Anonymous said...

Citizen Sane, is that by Phil Collins?

The Realist said...

ph - you're spot on - the world is a vivid (and exciting!) place. Having lived in:

Hong Kong
Saudi Arabia
New Zealand
Hong Kong

and visited many, many more places (I took 39 flights last year), I am well aware of global issues and perspectives.

Value your opinion as always, but I honestly think you're defending the indefensible.

Citizen Sane said...

Yes, but Peter Gabriel wrote the first few pages.

Anonymous said...

... and it all goes a bit downhill after that? (or uphill)?

ph said...

I think you find that it was the angel Gabriel that wrote the first few pages.

The indefensible is always worth defending

The Realist said...

Sure, but you haven't done a very good job of defending it...

ph said...

I think that you and I are looking at this book from different places. It was not written for you, it was written to help a bronze age, nomadic people who were scratching a life out of a barren desert, and in that respect it was highly successful. There may be things that do not make sense to us, but it is exactly those things that shed light onto how our distant ancestors saw the world. Leviticus is an ancient Judaic text, it is a pity that many other ancient societies did not leave us similar documents.
Do you think that Stonehenge is rubbish because it has no damp course?

The Realist said...

Sir, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Where my issues lie is that this 'bronze age, nomadic' text is still being used to justify persecution. For example, it always gets quoted by the anti-gay marriage folk.

ph said...

Maybe we should burn all books that do not agree with transient social mores of today, and then the next generation can burn all our books.
But on a more serious note I think a number of 'Jewish' scholars came to realise (about 2000 years ago) that some of their texts were a little harsh - and brought out greatly updated versions, which you will find towards the back of this particular book of collected works.

Citizen Sane said...

Woah! Hold on! Leviticus is considered to be the actual word of God according to the Jewish faith. And I think you'll find that Judaism doesn't hold much truck with Bible 2.0. The whole "Jesus" thing never really took off with them. . .

ph said...

I am not sure that you can condemn a book just because 4000 yrs after it was written a minority of people view it in a way that most think is incorrect.
As to marriage - 'Gay' marriage seems to me to be just as valid as heterosexual marriage, but the idea of a marriage (of any type) that does not involve the raising of children (however begat) is a little odd - it completely misses the point.

Citizen Sane said...

*rubs eyes*
Oh no! Not this old chestnut again! Does marriage HAVE to involve rearing children? No more than having children necessitates marriage.

That's it! I'm going down the pub.

ph - keep on loving it.
Realist - keep it, erm, real!


ph said...

Sorry did not realise it was an old Chestnut.
Having children does not necessitate marriage, but it does necessitate some sort of partnership - even if it is just financial. (I have enough mouths to feed that are the result of my decisions, I see no reason why others cannot take the same responsibility).
The concept of marriage (or at least a partnership recognised by society) was created to 'encourage' the responsible rearing of children, where both partners could be held responsible for the rearing of a child, and the rest of society was protected from picking up the tab.
Without the child the concept of marriage is meaningless, because society does not give a toss whether you stay together or not.
As I am preaching to liberals (who have little regard for the concept of society) I know that you will disagree.
How come no one but the site owners have anything to say on these points? They cannot be that dull.

Citizen Sane said...

As I am preaching to liberals (who have little regard for the concept of society) I know that you will disagree.

Nonsense! Of course "liberals" have regard for the concept of society.

Liberalism (like all ideologies) was born out of the Hobbesian tradition of social contract theory. The concept of society is the very starting block of liberalism, as is the notion of the state as a mechanism for enshrining inalienable rights and protecting individuals from each other!

So what you say is wildly incorrect.

Anonymous said...

I think the general point to be made here is that children grow up in the most stable environment when their parents are in a happy marriage.

As pro-creation and social stability are essential factors of any normally functioning society, marraige (ie parents bringing up children) should at least occupy a more important ground than mere 'partnerships' and should also in my opinion, be financially encouraged by the government.

You can bang on about unhappy marriages and discriminating against single people as much as you like, but just look at British society today if you want to see what happens when every conception of the "family" is given equal prominence.

I don't want condemnation of those who don't fit this ideal, but I do think enouragement and promotion of it is needed.

Anonymous said...

Well, your freedom to shout your ignorrance from the mountain top is a culmination of all past suffering and evolution. Maybe your parants should condemn all your childhood efforts and use them to destroy you today. Funny, why did you pick Leviticus to torture your ignorrance. Why not the Koran. Hard asses here say the best and brighest of England died in the war. I do not agree even if your case supports that theory.

Will he actually post this? If so he has hope.
dw USA

Anonymous said...

Liberals ... concept of society ... So what you say is wildly incorrect - I am not so sure. I am afraid Liberalism today (or what masquerades as Liberalism) has seen society as a concept to be overcome. There has to be a balance between individual rights and the rights of society, but I would say that Liberalism long ago dismissed society's rights as unimportant.
Please do not feel I think Liberalism is an usuitable ideology, but I certainly think it needs to be rebalanced. Liberalism tends to be a doctrine supported by thodse who are intelligent, well-off and 'reasonable' and assumes that all the population is similarly disposed. Unfortunately parts of the population are not 'reasonable' and placed in a liberal environment will behave badly. It is these people that need the influence of society to moderate their behaviour, and unfortunately Liberalism has removed the ability of society to supply the moderating influence.