An introduction to what will be (in posts to come) my thoughts on Naomi Klein’s ‘The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism’.
Naomi Klein is a name I’d heard around but never quite looked into. That changed a month ago when I randomly caught a 20 minute lecture she had given on TED, titled: Addicted to Risk. I was so enthused by it that I immediately typed http://www.naomiklein.com into the URL-bar, and the first thing I saw was a quote by Rachel Maddow (whom I love!): “The only book of the last few years in American publishing that I would describe as a mandatory must-read. Literally the only one.” Well, that settled it. Next thing I know I’m staring at an “auto-confirmation” receipt from http://www.amazon.co.uk and 3 days letter the mail-lady is standing at my door with “The Shock Doctrine” in her hand (and 4 other books. I’m a junky).
Then, when sitting on the most boring train that exists in Europe (Szeged-Budapest, not recommended for life-lovers), I opened the book, peeped into the author info, checked what year it was published, who it’s dedicated to, what quote she chose to open with. So far, I wasn’t impressed.
After all that, there’s the Forward, which I elegantly skipped. There are 466 pages to read you know. And anyways, the only reason to ever read a Forward is if Alan Alda wrote it.
So, anyways, there I am on the train that hasn’t left the station yet, it’s snowing outside and ice is dripping on me through the window, the heat (located under the seat) is already making my calves sweat, and I have my iPod running on Lady Gaga (no, I am not ashamed to say that!)
Finally, I open the first page, my eyes fall on the very first words, and my dear readers- life will never be the same for me from this moment on.
Funny enough, though the book contains the word Shock at least 500 times, including in its title, this book did NOT shock me. Perhaps because I had already lost all faith in mankind (be advised to read- MANkind) before I even squirted out into this world (tales of my late delivery can be heard from my mother. often.).
Anyhoos, to get back on track I will open with this statement: if you take all of the history books you’ve ever been taught at school and drop them off at your local illegal settlement to be used as lighting material for setting Palestinian cars on fire, and instead read these 466 pages- you’re good to go. To go to sleep. To go to work. To go on with your life. To go wherever it is you go, only this time- paranoid and able to prove it!
If reading the 900 page biography of China’s Mao gave me nightmares for a week, this book gave me a WTF feeling for a month. By page 7 of this wonder, I had already pulled out a pen and started marking down things that I am now able to divide into 3 categories:
(1) Unbelievable!/Wow!/I can’t believe they did that!/I can’t believe that actually happened!
(2) Good analysis of something
(3) Information worth remembering
So, since Naomi divided her book into 7 parts and drew conclusions. And since I am now a fan of Naomi (I’m already a twitter-follower and soon enough I’ll probably be “like”ing her on Facebook). I will use the same format for my review.
Easy for me. Easy for you. Not so easy for dear Naomi that wrote 90 pages of original material about each part.
Hence, I dedicate this song to her (replace “Ella” with “Naomi”).