April 1st, 2007

Baby and me

The Sky Is Falling! (But Don't Despair)

Sixty Days and Counting, by Kim Stanley Robinson
Bantam Spectra, March 2007 - 388 pages

It has been said that patriotism is a scoundrel's last refuge. Like most adages, there is truth in that statement, but not the whole truth. In reality, there are (at least) two kinds of patriotisms, and two kinds of patriots - the negative and the positive.

Where negative patriotism is based largely on fear - fear of change, fear of The Other - and is always on the look-out for scapegoats when troubles arise, positive patriotism is confident and outward-looking, based on a healthy love for one's country and having the courage to face up to its short-comings.

By these criteria, Kim Stanley Robinson is a patriotic American in the very best sense of the term, a writer other Americans owe it to themselves to read and whose thoughts they should be debating. He is also an American whose vision encompasses the rest of the world (not to mention the past and future as much as it does the present) and foreigners like myself also owe it to ourselves to both enjoy and consider his works. Collapse )