Barely a Book Club

Teetering on the edge of a normal book club

Into the Wild 4/28/07 April 23, 2007

Filed under: Into the Wild — antof9 @ 11:42 pm

This week we will begin and end “Into the Wild”. So if you have been waiting to read and discuss this book you can’t miss this week. Also, to all those out there that have contemplated not reading it, I encourage you to give it a try. I have been pleasantly surprised by this book and am eager to finish it.

We are bringing back the Cereal Exchange for this week!! Shanda has graciously allowed us the use of her home for this week (directions will be emailed). Everyone needs to bring a box of their favorite cereal. Shanda will provide “milk, juice, tea, coffee, bowls and spoons…and marshmallows without which no cereal is complete.” See you at 10:30.

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9 Responses to “Into the Wild 4/28/07”

  1. shanda Says:

    Might we consider stretching this out for 2 weeks?…mainly because I think Kelly & Miranda would be dissappointed if they didn’t get to discuss it & both will be gone this week.

  2. Kylle Says:

    IL and I talked about watching “Grizzly Man” as our movie night after we finish the book. How about we make a point on Movie Night to talk about the book again in case Kelly or Miranda have something to add.

  3. shanda Says:

    sounds good to me. Too bad we didn’t wait until the fall to read this book when the Sean Penn movie version comes out.

  4. Kylle Says:

    Isn’t Sean Penn a little old to play a 23-year old?

  5. Inspector Love Says:

    He adapted the screenplay and is also the director… at first I thought Shanda meant he was playing the Grizzly Man in a movie. Now THAT would be interesting. 😉

  6. Inspector Love Says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about our last discussion and I want to clarify my point about privilege.

    Everyone of us enjoys certain privileges merely by the chance of birth. All of us have one or more of the following privileges: being American, white, male, educated, growing up middle or upper class, being Christian in a Christian nation. These privileges protect us from the suffering caused by not having them.

    We cannot change the fact that we have these privileges… once you are educated you cannot be uneducated. However, we can choose to use our privileges to empower and protect the rights of those who don’t have them.

    So, while Chris ran away from his family, it did not change the fact that he came from a middle class family ( he was not part of the upper class… his family was new money). At the end of the day, he could always contact his parents to bail him out of a bad situation. Even if he chose not to, he still had the choice, unlike people who are really starving. I think it’s disrespectful to the people who are truly suffering.

    You cannot change where you come from… you can reject it, but not change it. The best thing to do is acknowledge it, accept it, and fight for equality (in effect destroying your own privilege).

    Personally, I struggle with similar issues to Chris, but in a vastly different way. Perhaps, that’s why I judged him so harshly. I did not grow up upper middle class, but I’ve always been critical of American culture & politics. In fact, I often contemplate leaving the country permanently. I felt more free living in Europe than I did/do living in my own country. Do I stay here to try and make our country better? Or do I bail and move to a country where I really will have freedom of speech, religion, etc.?

  7. the prof Says:

    i vote for bail, it’s been good to me in my life. however, i find it fascinating that some people (probably no one at book club) feel the need to speak for chris. hasn’t this phenomenon occurred to many of our deceased idols of pop-culture? any polarizing or interesting person no deceased must surely be tired of all the people who constantly try to explain them.. i know i would be.

    with that acknowledged, i feel the need to speak for chris.

    i found IL’s comment very interesting: “the best thing to do is acknowledge it, accept it, and fight for equality (in effect destroying your own privilege).”

    but as soon as i read it i couldn’t help but wonder if chris had wrestled with this very issue and elected to take an alternative. (i must sound incredibly naive, having not read this book) in other words, i think if you gave christ the choice: a. reject your background, or b. give your privileged existence to everyone; he would have chosen the former, because he wouldn’t want everyone to suffer the same way he had. maybe the choice to run away or reject society is a subtle acknowledgement of the idea that inequality isn’t a cause worth fighting – that you don’t believe in giving people chances to be as miserable as the rest of society.

    however, i think simplicity can be highly overrated. i’m sure that purity of lifestyle was one of chris’ goals, but i think it is a myth. there is only one truly simple and pure lifestyle: survival, and i find it interesting that even people seeking the ultimate in existence, namely survival, feel the need to enhance it and give it purpose beyond just surviving. i found this website documenting a group of amish that chose to move to south america in order to obtain a simpler lifestyle very enlightening: http://www.jordibusque.com/Index/Stories/MennoBolivia/MennoBolivia_01.html

  8. the prof Says:

    correction: they were mennonites

  9. Inspector Love Says:

    Actually, people did speak up for Chris. However, the situation is more complicated than a man wanting to be alone in the wilderness. He also treated his family poorly and, in the end, he was running away from the anger he felt towards his father. Chris punished his father (and mother, too) because his dad was still involved with his first wife while living with his mother. That’s what he suffered from… he wasn’t beaten or mistreated by his parents & he wasn’t unpopular. I don’t know that you could say he suffered because of his privilege…

    I think the majority of people suffering in the world, if offered the choice, would choose privilege and take Chris’ “suffering” instead of their own. Most American families have some sort of dysfunction… I just don’t buy your argument that it’s not worth fighting for equality. Chris was passionate about divesting in South Africa during apartheid. He clearly knew that people in the world suffered more than he did. My point is that if he had that much compassion for other people, how can his decision to go into the wilderness not be viewed as arrogant and selfish? If he didn’t have this compassion, I wouldn’t expect him to use his privilege to fight for equality.

    My point about accepting privilege is that it does no good to feel guilty about being born with privilege. You have no more choice of being born into privilege than being born without it. It’s a random act of fate. Privilege buffers you from the suffering of others, but some people are given the gift of seeing through this buffer and are abhorred by their own luck. I have more respect for people who try to do something about it than for people who run and hide from it.

    Would you defend Chris so easily if he was a fictional character? Have you ever watched, “Cool Hand Luke”? We build up our idols and take pleasure in tearing them down. We want to see them fail as well as succeed… maybe as a reminder that they’re only human. They disappoint us if they cannot continually perform to our expectations. However, I think Chris is nothing like pop culture icons… he’s just a kid who happened to die and his story gained him infamy in the press. I would accept your defense more readily if you had read the book. The author basically lumps him into a “type”… an intelligent young man who wants to escape from society and find something profound by conquering the wild. You talk about survival, but the majority of the stories Krakauer brought up ended in tragedy… due to suicide or nature winning the fight.

    I’m curious at how you’ve bailed… it seems you’re still in the country and I’m always suspicious of people who tell me to leave the country (i.e. if you don’t like the guvmint, why don’t you leave?). My issue is that I feel dissent is patriotic and what democracy is all about. We need conflict in order to improve as a nation… I will only “bail” as a last resort.


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