Written by Harold Jaffe, Published December 2012
I met Dr. Jaffe several months ago and was intrigued by his writings and background. He is the author of 20+ volumes of fiction, “docufiction” novels and essays. His writings have been translated into numerous languages, and has been the recipient of several awards. He is the editor of Fiction International” and is currently a Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at San Diego State University.
Dr. Jaffe, in this book, explores the changes of millennial culture. He deplores what is happening to earth in a variety of ways. It is an intellectual and philosophical look at the changes technology is making – has made – today and how we are unable to “reconstruct ourselves”.
Regina Krummel, editor of “Prison Poetry by Shackled Women”, cites Jaffe’s ability to point out the “hypocrisy of flag wavers, nation building, and the lethal intent by our leaders who stride the globe in bloody boots commanding the 99 percent to obey the law and get to work in the marketplace of nightmarish dreams.” She goes on to say that “Jaffe has missed absolutely nothing in delineating our expiring ‘kultur’”.
The essays in the book are challenging to the intellect and the consciousness of its readers. Eloy Fernandez Porta, author of “Emocionese asi” states the following: “Brainy and groovy, thoughtful and post literary, these essays on contemporary media madness are Jaffe at his best: poignant, inventive, right between the eyes of corporate culture.”
The 125 page book has 19 “chapters” of various topics that he has approached in a way like no other. For example, he talks about what porn sites are doing to the world today, and goes so far as to say that “we know the FBI, CIA, DEA, TSA, DHS . . . are monitoring paid subscribers to smut.” But were you aware that many of these sites are owned by “sanitized corps like Disney, Walmart, Toys “R” Us, Starbucks, etc.” Although he lists many sites in his book, the list is immaterial to what his essay “Anal Acrobats” says about these sites.
The letters posted in “Death in Texas” are from inmates in prison facing an imminent execution and their “last communication” with the outside world. They are brief and insightful.
In “Salvation Mountain” Jesus comes down to visit Dewey Birdsong who is in his truck on the side of the road because he ran out of money and had no place to go. (Note: There truly is Salvation Mountain. A brief description from Google: Salvation Mountain is an art installation covering a hill north of Calipatria, California, near Slab City and just several miles from the Salton Sea. It is made from adobe, straw, and thousands of gallons of paint.) Jaffe talks about Birdsong’s dream and vision in a dramatic, entertaining fashion, unlike any other portrayal I think you might have read.
All of the essays are thought-provoking. Some more than others. Some easier to understand than others. When I asked Dr. Jaffe what kind of an audience he wanted to attract with this book he answered, “As general an audience as possible. “Ordinary” people read the bible, the koran. Whoever reads with interest is a prospective part of the audience. People don’t read books now as they did a generation ago. But, no, the book is not earmarked exclusively for high-level intellectuals. Still, I don’t want to pander to readers by “dumbing down” the essays.
I am usually a rapid reader. This book, “Revolutionary Brain” was not a fast-reading book. I found myself pondering his words and meanings on every page. It was enjoyable; it was thought-provoking, at times it was comedic, and one that I will need to read many times to get the full gist of his meanings.