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Book Me

"1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 4-7 sentences on your LJ along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest (unless it's too troublesome to reach and is really heavy. Then go back to step 1)."

 The text begins on page 125 rather than 123 (after the introductions), so:

"Every useful thing, for example, iron, paper, etc, may be looked at from the two points of view of quality and quantity. Every useful thing is a whole composed of many propertiesl it can therefore be useful in various ways. The discovery of these ways and hence of the manifold uses of things is the work of history. So also is the invention of socially recognized standards of measurement for the quantities of these useful objects. The diversity of the measures for commodities arises in part from the diverse nature of the objects to be measured, and in part from convention."

  Honestly, the nearest book was Volume 1 of "Capital" in the Penguin edition.

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Funnily, I studied The Capital in the institute, 30 years ago. In the former Soviet Union every student was supposed to study it.

Banning a book is the surest way to give it appeal, while making it obligatory is the surest way of making certain students come to loathe it.

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[I prefer to call it by its proper name, Das Kapital.]

Since the volume I have is in English, I called it by the English title.

[He said the most horrible things about the people he derived from, Jews. He said the secular cult of Jews was haggling and the secular god of Jews was money, outrageous derogatory ethnic stereotyping. He called Polish Jews the filthiest race. . . ]

These attitudes were common to assimilated German Jewish families (and not just German ones) in the 19th century & even into the 20th century. Isaac Bashevis Singer's older brother & fellow Yiddish novelist I.J. Singer addressed that issue in one of the central characters in his masterpiece "The Family Carnovsky", where the family member who has most completely assimilated recognizes (very belatedly) the way his own desire to show that he had left his origins behind played into the Nazis' racist program (which his own grandson has adopted). And if you don't think contemporary Jews don't say the same about people they know or various current newsmakers, then you must not know any Jewish people at all. Intra-ethnic criticism, the angry repudation of one's own ethnic group-think in favor of universals, is a far different matter from someone outside that ethnic group making the same statements.

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