Chris Hedges Speaks the Unspeakable

book jacket of Unspeakable by Chris Hedges on the most forbidden topics in AmericaChris Hedges, one of my favorite authors and thinkers speaks with David Talbot “about the most forbidden topics in America” in this new book series from Hot Press (Conversations). David Talbot is a fellow radical journalist who founded Salon and the Hot Books imprint.

This book, Unspeakable, by Chris Hedges (c 2016) is formatted with Talbot asking him questions and then transcription his replies.

This is not a fun read; he has seen too much death and greed and destruction. I am an idealist, so I guess I still have a spark of hope.

I did put this off for another day to read in full: it is bleak.

[note: this was written in August 2017 and I am not sure I still have that spark of hope. Subsequent events: #GOPTaxScam, the close contest for senator from Alabama where a sexual predator was deemed better than a Democrat, and the Democrats eating their own with the hasty and ill-considered holier-than-thou response to Al Franken’s juvenile sense of humor exceeds my capacity to believe that everything will be alright.]

He mentions the documentary Cowspiracy that I have heard about but could not bear to watch. I cannot bear many things these days, like the fact that:

Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, trains, ships and planes combined. Livestock, along with their waste and flatulence, account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51 percent of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. . . . (p. 139)

He goes on like this citing more statistics, including the stat that my theme reading on water issues already made me aware of: “It takes 1,000 gallons of water to produce a gallon of milk.”

Also, “Crops grown for livestock feed consume 56 percent of the water use in the United States.

Many things take more water than they are worth to produce. Ethanol, as I recall, was a big water waster.

So I’m just going to post this as is without more. It’s December now, and things have only gotten worse and worse. I may not ever feel emotionally strong enough to read this completely. Too much bad in the world.

The World as It Is by Chris Hedges

book jacket with small boy peeking over wall of a tent city of refugeesThe World as It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress by Chris Hedges (2001)

Okay, here is the fact. Everyone must buy and read and reread Chris Hedges’ books. The writing is passionate, the facts and logic of his statements are unassailable, and he is saying things that NO ONE ELSE IS SAYING because, no doubt of suppression by the people who are profiting from the status quo. But especially in his writings on the Israel vs. Palestine genocide and terrorism being waged and the lies behind it and ongoing playing of the Holocaust card that seems to be why the USA gives them 5 billion dollars annually, the freaking evangelical Christian’s give them a pass for once by invoking the “Judeo-Christian” beliefs as crucial — despite thousands of years of Christian persecution because the Jewish religion denies Christ as the Messiah so I am just mystified why they constantly get a pass on anything they do; oh wait, THE PALESTINIANS are Muslim maybe? My ignorance is showing because I am not sure. I will have to look it up.

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Death of the Liberal Class by Chris Hedges

book jacketDeath of the Liberal Class by Chris Hedges (winner of the Pulitzer Prize), (2010)

The author page at Amazon link is here. He has written a number of good books and online at where he lays it all out with a passionate intensity. Love that! He also is extremely cynical (for good reasons) and very sharp in his critiques of the status quo.

In this book, it begins with a quote by the author who is probably my favorite author of all time, George Orwell.

At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is “not done” to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals. (George Orwell, “Freedom of the Press”)

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American Fascists by Chris Hedges

book cover figure of Jesus wrapped in the flagAmerican Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America

Really excellent!

“Dr. James Luther Adams, my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, told us that when we were his age–he was then close to 80–we would all be fighting the ‘Christian Fascists.’ The warning, given to me nearly 25 years ago, came at the moment Pat Robertson and other radio and televangelists began speaking about a new political religion that would direct its efforts at taking control of all institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government. Its stated goal was to use the United States to create a global Christian empire. It was hard, at the time, to take such fantastic rhetoric seriously, especially given the buffoonish quality  of the leaders in the Christian Right who expounded it. But Adams warned us against the blindness caused by intellectual snobbery. The Nazis, he said, were not going to return with swastikas and brown shirts. Their ideological inheritors in America had found a mask for fascism in patriotism and the pages of the Bible.”

Empire oI Illusion by Chris Hedges

just the text of the title Empire of illusion: the end of literacy and the triumph of spactableEmpire of Illusion: The end of literacy and the triumph of spectacle (2009)

The book chapters are divided into 5 sections of type of illusions:

  • The Illusion of Literacy
  • The Illusion of Love
  • The Illusion of Wisdom
  • The Illusion of happiness
  • The Illusion of America
  • xplus notes, bibliography, and index

There are so many thoughtful and well written passages I have opted to mostly quote.

“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books, ” Neil postman wrote: “what Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book for there would be no one who wanted to read one. ” p 39

“Totalitarian systems begin as propagandistic movements that ostensibly teach people to “believe what they want” but that is a ruse. The Christian Right, for example, argues that it wants intelligent design, or creationism, to be offered as an alternative to evolution in public school biology classes. But once you allow creationism, which no reputable biologist or paleontologist accepts as legitimate science, to be considered as an alternative to real science, you begin the deadly assault against dispassionate, honest, intellectual inquiry. Step into the hermetic world of many Christian schools or colleges and there are no alternatives to creationism offered to students. Once the systems have control, the Christian advocates’  purported love of alternative viewpoints and debate is replaced by an iron and irrational conformity to illusion.” P. 52

(From the chapter on the illusion of literacy)

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