Friday, October 23, 2009

No Impact Man

My initial reaction to "No Impact Man" was that, far from sounding good, it sounded to me like a horrible insult. My next thought was that writing a book about it was something less than consistent with the aims this author strives for.

Evidently, a reviewer for The New York Times agrees. I found the opening sentence to a review of the book a bit amusing:

There’s a certain problem with branding oneself a radical environmentalist superhero and then letting a real old-fashioned book about the experience roll luxuriously off the presses. I don’t care if the thing is printed in beet juice on paper recycled by indigent Amazonian tribespeople under the glow of beeswax candles!

When you’ve renounced most worldly goods in the name of saving the planet, as Colin Beavan and his family did for most of 2007, it seems a tad contradictory, if not downright hypocritical, to land with a splat two years later in the crowded stacks of Barnes & Noble. Surely there’s a less material way of making an impact...


  1. Thank you. You are right. The quoted passage is amusing, and it is refreshing to know there are individuals out there in the culture who can recognize the absurdities of mystical beliefs.

    I am philosophically competent to evaluate the moral and political positions of Environmentalists -- and reject them. I am not scientifically competent to evaluate the scientific claims they cite. (I can evaluate them dialectically.)

    So, facetiously, my measure of the danger of "global warming" is the Gore Index. It is a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest state of alarm. I don't have all the steps, but a few are:

    1. Al Gore publicly talks about the danger of global warming.
    2. Al Gore stops using electricity in his home and business.
    3. Al Gore moves into a teepee on his own property.
    3. Al Gore travels only by foot or in his own handmade canoe.
    . . .
    10. Al Gore is last seen entering the Amazon jungle, naked and alone.

    Right now, the Gore Index is at 1. That isn't very alarming.

  2. Welcome back to the world of blogging. In case you missed it, the NYT Book Review reviewed a biography of Ayn Rand over the weekend.

  3. Thanks Dave. I read that earlier. To say I wasn't impressed with the reviewer (or the book being reviewed) would be an understatement.

    For the money, the best book I've read that shows what Ayn Rand was like as a person, is Facets of Ayn Rand. (It's since been made available for free at the link provided.)

    The thing I like about the above book is the focus on what specifically Rand valued (in music, art and so on), as well as how she worked and lived on a day-by-day basis.