Tuesday :: Jul 20, 2010

Book Review: Get Opinionated, Amanda Marcotte


by paradox

Get Opinionated, A Progressive’s Guide to Finding Your Voice (and Taking a Little Action)
Copyright 2010, Seal Press
eISBN: 978-1-580-05349-5

One time I was waiting quietly for my truck to be serviced at an oil-changing place when, outta nowhere, this nice-looking white woman a decade younger than I starts talking to me how she’s on unemployment, she has an interview this week, she’s spending money on her car she doesn’t have and the little toads who work there have jacked her up for $28 wiper blades, they’re out of the usual and the performance blades and price is all they have. I politely kept listening, worried that I had to pay the same price myself, both of us have children around and old blades are a safety issue, leaving them malfunctioning isn’t an option.

When it’s my turn to pay the dude looks at my game face and gives me the regular price for the wiper blades. I had about two seconds to forcefully call out this outrageous bullshit and missed it. The excellent pinch-hitter ql at Eschaton had a very similar experience replacing his windshield recently, his wife called up a dealership and would have got jacked $100 if he hadn’t got a quote earlier.

Ql rightfully called up the dealership and nailed them for it, while I have yet to do anything, I let it go too long, but by all the atoms in my body the next time I encounter this outrage of ripping off our women when they try to get their cars serviced I am going to forcefully call it out right that second. I am deeply angry about this, for Franklin’s sake our women have enough obstacles to constantly heave aside in this rankly sexist culture, and I could care less how teeny tiny the effect of my actions will be, the next time I encounter it I will be a fucking change agent there, god damn right. Given enough patience I’m sure I will, the issue is apparently quite widespread. I’m ready.

Gouging unemployed mothers of children trying to service their cars isn’t a precise issue covered in Get Opinionated, I discovered and explored it being a devoted reader to Marcotte’s blog Pandagon, but I’m pretty sure it’s internal evolution and eventual mindset for action is precisely the objective of the book: a growing awareness of political/cultural issues, discovery of issues and inner self, awareness of societal flow and ebb of those issues as they often slam our little people into terrible hells of pain, and finally a firm resolve not to stand for this shit as it enters and interacts with our daily lives. One knows the basic facts, the base stance of long-time advocacy players and their rhetorical/political tactics, past personal history in dealing with the issue and finally a crystal clear idea on how to react to the issue—in whatever way necessary—the next time we run into it.

Marcotte covers a range of issues in Get Opinionated through an extremely relevant political paradigm: what we do as individuals through our daily living has real political effects and ramifications, to what extent is always irrelevant, only the widespread adoption of change in daily individual life will of course lead to widespread political and cultural change. Living green, vegetarianism, staying informed. How we as individuals with real market and political power can actively combat wealth inequality, disparagement of government, healthcare inequality, reproductive and GLBT rights, promote science, have a correct stance in the culture wars, and deal with the climate change denial asshole at your next wedding reception. Hey, Amanda almost ruined her sister’s wedding so none of us ever has to with that history, I found it to be extremely useful.

Marcotte has a very readable voice and style with good humor, issues and objective aside the diction alone is well worth the small investment in time and money to read the book. Yes, I am recommending a buy here, but in the spirit of Get Opinionated I’d like to approach it a little differently.

We in the liberal tribe like our diversity and sharp intelligent voices, we may be tribal but by Darwin’s blood we’ll always loudly proclaim how we won’t fall victim to its worst pitfalls. If we’ve got our problems at least we’re honestly open about it as we fight about what to do.

Ah, right. Anyway, at least the tribe on The Other Side has learned one great thing: when one of them publishes a book, no matter how puerile or stupid, they all buy it. To our immense consternation this has enormously positive outcomes.

Why do we stand for this utter bullshit? Amanda is a sister and has paid her dues in every imaginable way for some instant tribal loyalty here, download it to the Kindle or buy it at Amazon today. We take care of our own, we make change happen by living it in our tiny ways on a daily basis.

paradox :: 7:46 AM :: Comments (8) :: Digg It!