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5.0 out of 5 stars anti-anti-everything:, May 9 2003
asphlex "asphlex" (Philadelphia, PA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Gulliver's Travels (Paperback)
Considering the topic of this book, I feel it necessary to discuss some of the stated perceptions regarding it:
--Apparently some people believe this a children's book, sort of like the cutesy, toned down puppet shows that have passed for adaptations. A question of no doubt: This book was intended as an attack.
I see in Swift something like an anarchistic mind--a man so revolted by every tribal persuation that passes for religion or for politics (often equally consumed, the two supposedly seperate ideas fused and bunched together, every contradiction in tact--!) and yet so disillusioned with every so-called 'independent movement', (be they political, social, or that stale haven of the two of them: Someone's brand new church--)that really all the poor man could see left was No hope--
Whether this is a lesson for children, whether it's appropriate to allow them to see all of the horrors and the insanity of our secualarized community filled with warring faiths and the greed and the snivelling of a competitive open party system, this is for the parent(s) to judge. If nothing else Gulliver's travels is a shattering portrait of a wide-ranging variety of communities all against both each other and themselves, all living together in a community defined by dicisiveness.
Other comments I saw were purely academic: the charts and the lists, the textbook schemata of some condescending mind seeming to boast that they 'get it', when all that they really come across as having gotten is someone else's rather passionless point of view. The quoting of others, the application of philosophies that have today become so common place towards human understanding that these cyrpto-psycholo-intellectualticians undermine Mr. Swift (not to meant pre-date themselves in guess of who represents whom) in their praise, giving the man no credit for intuitive insight. Certain people rank this book as the 'best ever', or--worse yet!--as the compartmentilized 'best SATIRE ever'. Now surely this book is a work of the satiric art. To put it a better way: the whole present concept of satiric intent would not exist without the pulsing heart of Jonathan Swift's works. But to apply a ranking to something that can only be taken subjectively is meaningless.
Swift was a man truly without fear. In an age when people could be excommunicated and possibly executed for making fun of those in power, this angry monk scribbled out bitter complaints about the self-serving absurdity of nearly everyone in power. Then, to judge in all fairness, he turns the blame on the victims, telling them that they don't have to take it, that after a while there is no one left to blame for their suffering but themselves. This satire is all-inclusive and can therefore not be conceived with an agenda. It is poking fun. It is the narrative of progressive exaggeration. It is a masterpiece--
Now of course we all need to justify our opinions by naming and accepting who or what we represent, but Swift acknowledges that this is just opinion, the one sacred thing to all of mankind. We create our own reality by applying our beliefs to our surroundings And if the whole world is out to get you, ultimately, you must be doing something terribly wrong to be so hated.
I urge you--all of you, even those who much prefer an outlook able to provide for happy endings--read Gulliver's Travels. Take your time. And see who you are, taken to the logical extremes relating to your religious, political and community affiliations. And then laugh at the folly of the individual trapped in this world.
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Gulliver's Travels
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift (Paperback - Sept. 18 1996)
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