Book Review: Call Them By Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays)

Call Them By Their True Names:  American Crises (and Essays), by Rebecca Solnit

There is an essential problem with this title (and, obviously, the rest of this book).  The author seems to imply in the title that she is able to call things by their true names.  Yet this astonishing ability at properly understanding identity is nowhere in evidence in this book.  One gets plenty of double standards, a lot of misguided and mistaken views, and a lot of bloviating about the supposed evils of white male conservatives, the Judeo-Christian worldview, and lots of other things.  That said, this book provides no evidence that the author has any idea about the truth.  She has her political worldview, which is full of the usual leftist doublespeak by which antifa violence against conservatives is proper speech and the ordinary behavior of those who are wealthy or male is violence, where echo chambers of similar thinking women is conversation and where the need to deal with that information which contradicts leftist dogma like climate change (which is also considered violence by this wrongheaded author) is merely spin and deception.  At least this collection is short at just over 100 pages, as it has no other virtues whatsoever.

It is telling that the first American crisis discussed by this author is the election of Donald Trump.  If you think that the election of Donald Trump was illegitimate or a crisis of any kind, you probably don’t know what you’re talking about.  If you think that antifas are anything over than hypocritical liberal fascists who project their fascism on their opponents, you probably don’t have anything worthwhile to say about any political subject.  If you believe that the God of the Old Testament was anything other than the creator and ruler of the universe, again, your opinion on matters of faith and practice are not going to be worth anything.  And given these parameters, the author’s discussion of climate change, politics, gender, gentrification in San Francisco, and her hopes of eventual victory in the political struggle for her and like minded people is either the sort of crisis that someone should write about as being a disaster, or a sign of some kind of delusion or another type of mental illness.  Until people like the author can accept themselves as doubletalking hypocrites, there is not much hope for an improvement in political discourse in this country.

To be sure, this book does not really have any value as far as the author’s thinking is concerned.  Where the book has value is in an indirect and negative sense.  For example, the author’s fierce scorn about the view of police officers concerning the shooting of a Latino security guard who had a taser is likely part of what has been driving the rise of bodycams on the part of police officers to support their own opinions with video footage as evidence.  The fact that our police officers are so confident that bodycams will support their own views of incidents is evidence that the leftist critique of the police stated here is baseless and erroneous.  It is telling that the author’s response to hostility to climate change arguments is to attempt to delegitimize it, while the response of police officers to the slanders and libels of those like the author is to gather more evidence to bolster their own viewpoints.  One can tell a lot about who has the truth and who doesn’t by their respective attitudes to such problems.  Those who want to silence opposition because they believe in lies will behave like the author, and those who have the truth on their side will look for more ways to spread that truth to others.  Whichever side you are on tells a lot about yourself.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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