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(Henry Wallis. The Death of Chatterton. Source)
3) Bad Theology Books
4) Bad Philosophy Books
5) Bad Political Books
6) Bad Software Engineering Books
7) Other Bad Books
8) Bad movies
Ideally, I would have here a full list of all bad books available on the planet, and for each of them, a brief overview, as well as a proper critique done according to the rules explained in the Lost Sermon called "How to Condemn a Bad Work". Moreover, each book would have an overall "degree of badness" associated with it, since some books are dangerous and must be prohibited, whereas others are just mediocre and can easily be replaced by better books, etc. Finally, we would find here not only books, but also all social communication products (films, theatrical plays, audio conferences, etc.).
Obviously, I cannot do this. So this list is not like the "Index Of Prohibited Books" (Index librorum prohibitorum), but rather a smattering of reviews for books which I unfortunately ended up reading, despite my filtering efforts.
Ferrara, Christopher A., Woods, Thomas A. The Great Façade.
WARNING! This book is heretic! I totally disagree with its basic assertions, i.e. that the Vatican II Council, the New Mass and the New Catechism of the Catholic Church are bad, that we should return to some imaginary pre-Conciliar "Paradise", etc. But it does have some interesting insights on things rarely discussed (corrupt Bishops and priests, ecumenical exaggerations, the satanic "spirit of Vatican II", the fallibility of the Pope in his daily government of the Church, etc.).
Madrid, Patrick, and Vere, Pete. More Catholic Than the Pope; An Inside Look at Extreme Traditionalism, Huntington, IN, Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 2004.
General Impression: A Good start, but just enough to whet your appetite.
Overview of the book: A short (146 pages) attempt to show that the SSPX is schismatic (with a short history of the SSPX movement, and a good rebuttal of their canonical obfuscations), and that Vatican II is OK (whether for Transubstantiation, Ecumenism, etc.).
- Catholicism needs a rebuttal of Traditionalist claims that is recent, exhaustive, clear, and faithful to the Pope (the real Pope). It seems the main missing ingredient of this book is the "exhaustive" part.
- The expression "Extreme Traditionalist" used by this book seems more appropriate than just "Traditionalist", since all good Catholics by definition love the Holy Tradition as well as Holy Scripture, the two sources of Divine Revelation, whose interpretation is guided by the Magisterium.
- A better book would "suck the life-juices" out of Extreme Traditionalists by listing and attacking the horrors done in the name of the "spirit" of Vatican II. You can't just say that everything hasn't been perfect since Vatican II! We would need hundreds of pages, with pictures, describing the atrocities committed on our Mother the Church (desecrating the Liturgy, the prevelance of homosexual acts in the seminaries, Rome's inaction concerning blatant heretics, etc.). Extreme Traditionalists have a bloody important point! We need to emphatically recognize that, before any attempt at explaining their errors.
- We need a far more in-depth defense of Paul VI's Mass. It wouldn't hurt either to have at least a list of the (perceived or real) inadequacies of the Tridentine liturgy.
- It would be nice to explain the "typical patterns" used by Extreme Traditionalists, since they often rely on taking a quote out of context, then bending its interpretation so it will fit with some factual leftist horrors, then not talking about places in other documents where those very same leftist horrors are condemned, etc. An explanation of this pattern, with many examples of applications, would help.
- It would be nice to at least have some arguments specifically targeted at books like "The Great Facade", and "In the Murky Waters of Vatican II".
- It would be nice to give a "roadmap" of reforms that need to occur in the Catholic Church (for example, excommunicating pseudo-Catholic politicians, getting rid of the "Catholic Omerta" whereby a Bishop never condemns sins committed by a fellow Bishop, no matter how severe or public, etc.)
Congregation for the Clergy. General Directory for Catechesis, Rome, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997.
Of course, this book doesn't contain anything bad (it's approved by the Pope). On the other hand:
- It is one of the inspirations of the text: "Do you speak Catholic?".
- It's filled with typos, and the English translation is often hard to understand.
- If you have a classroom filled with kids on one side, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the other side, and you're looking for help to make a connection between both, forget this book.
- With all this talk about "inculturation", adaptation, different cultures, etc., we almost start wondering whether evangelization is even possible! And the funniest thing is that Jesus in the Gospels speaks plainly, and the Gospels are translated in all the languages of the Earth, and everybody understands them, without having a "Ph.D. in Multi-Cultural Inculturation".
- One of the most "insulting" passages of the book is on page 279, footnote 35, were it is proclaimed that many practical textbooks exist, and that they are a treasure for the Church, except none are mentioned! That would have been the most bloody important part of the whole book! The whole book would have been worth it, if it had said: "Here are three good catechesis courses for children, three for adults, and three for special groups (like the handicapped, etc.), each one taken in a different cultural context, yet representative of an important part of the world population. All are approved by the Pope." That would have given us a much better idea of what good catechesis is, rather than a long and boring book.
AMERIO, Romano. Iota Unum, Paris, Nouvelles Éditions Latines, 1985.
Romano Amerio (Source)
A history of the damage caused by the Satanic "spirit" of Vatican II. I almost put this book in my list of highly recommended books. I agree with almost all of Amerio's claims, but there are a few serious deviations with which I cannot agree.
- Well-documented. Amerio doesn't just complain that some Bishops are corrupt, he quotes their heresies from the Osservatore Romano, etc.
- Thorough. From the Mass readings to burial rites, from ecumenism to transubstantiation, from the contraceptive pill to eternal hellfire, the sad effects of the "spirit" of Vatican II are listed and analysed.
- The abandonment of authority. Paragraph 65. Amerio shows Pope Paul VI basically decided to stop governing the Church. He seemed to be waiting for the schismatics to admit they were in schism! Instead of refuting high-ranking Church leaders who taught heresies, then removing them from their high-ranking positions, Paul VI just alternated between correctly reasserting the eternal doctrine of the Church, ignoring the problem, and feeling publicly sorry for himself.
- "Loquimini nobis placentia" [Is 30:10]. "Tell us agreeable things", yes, that is exactly what many Church leaders do! They avoid the truth!
- Etc., etc.
- Denigration of the historical Church. Amerio correctly condemns the heretics who despise the pre-Vatican II Church, since Jesus Christ could not have left His Church err in essential matters. But he doesn't clearly avoid commiting that error himself, since he seems to denigrate the Vatican II Council, despite noting in several locations that the "spirit" of Vatican II contradicts the actual documents of that Council. There is something profoundly perverse in claiming that Vatican II doesn't condemn errors. Every "anathema sit" from the Council of Trent is also an "anathema sit" of Vatican II, in the same way that every cell in my left eye is part of my living body, just as every cell in my right big toe is part of my living body. That is why it's called the "Living Magisterium"!
- No suggested treatment! He clearly shows the disease, but the book concludes in a silly and obscure way...
- Verbose. His 618 pages could have fit in 300.
- Old complainer. Sometimes, you feel grateful for Vatican II, just because it chased away old complainers like him!
Von Hildebrand, Dietrich. Transformation in Christ, Ignatius Press, 2001.
After many attempts, I stopped on page 183. Apparently, a good spiritual content, but in a container which is sometimes pedantic and obscure.
- The Spirit of the Liturgy
- Truth and Tolerance
- Le Sel de la terre
- Introduction to Christianity
Not really bad, but not good enough to recommend.
Nadeau, Lucien (prêtre). Jeunesse et Jeanne d'Arc, publié à frais d'auteur, 2005.
Nothing bad in this book, on the contrary! It's inspiring! But there is such a plethora of books on Saint Joan of Arc, that I'm still trying to find one which is "authoritative".
Martelet, Bernard. Dom Chautard, abbé de Sept-Fons, Médiaspaul, 1982.
Not really bad, but not good enough to recommend.
Ouellet, Marc. Dieu plus merveilleux que les rêves, Québec, Anne Sigier, 2004.
Mostly a collection of sermons given by Cardinal Ouellet, and already available for free on the Quebec Diocese web site. Contents are not really bad, but not good enough to recommend.
MADRID, Patrick. Surprised by Truth, San Diego CA, Basilica Press, 1994.
11 ex-Protestants (almost all pastors known by Scott Hahn), explain why and how they became Catholics. Might be a good book to recommend to a Protestant buddy who's asking himself some questions, but too diluted doctrinally for me to recommend buying it.
ENGEL, Randy. The Rite Of Sodomy; Homosexuality And The Catholic Church, Export, PA, New Engel Publishing, 2006, 1282 pages.
A historical monography, of encyclopaedic intentions, on the corruption inside the Catholic Church caused by the "Homosexual Collective", and helped by the silence of the good Bishops Disclaimer: I didn't read this whole book (I skipped over chapters 5 and 6, etc.), but I think I did read at least 70% of the 1282 pages.
- Ms. Engel has the merit and the courage of attacking an explosive and taboo topic, and I believe her when she says she spent over 12 years writing this book. Her main intention is good ("My intent in writing this book is to move the Holy See to take whatever actions are necessary to restore sanctity and sanity to the priesthood and religious life", p. xxiv.)
- She often gives her sources, in abundant end-of-chapter notes.
- It's the best book I've found so far, to gather in one location and organize in a consistent way the already-available documents on the extent of the homosexual scandals of the past 20 years in the USA. I might keep it just because of that. Although the web site www.bishop-accountability.org is free, doesn't take up any shelf space, and could be more exhaustive and up-to-date.
- She falls into the delirium of extreme traditionalists in chapters 18-19, which considerably discredits her work.
- I feel like saying this book could have used some "adult supervision". Somebody should have said: "Randy, Randy, chop off 50% of your book, keep the section on Saint Peter Damian, and chapters 10 to 17. Then, with the energy and the time you have saved, check each assertion you make, or remove it."
- Several English mistakes, which shows the book wasn't seriously reviewed before going to print.
- Very high price (over 80$ CAN).
CHESTERTON, G.K. Orthodoxy, Ignatius Press, 1986. (Actually, Volume 1 of his collected works, including "Heretics" and "The Blatchford Controversies")
Several trustworthy persons had recommended "Orthodoxy". I admit I'm disappointed. It's not a bad book as such, and Chesterton sometimes has interesting poetic and theological insights, but my personal impression is that he doesn't have a lot of training as a theologian and a philosopher, and that he sometimes uses his (slightly repetitive) poetic style to hide those shortcomings. If I found that book in the school bag of one of my kids, I wouldn't say anything. But I'm going to get rid of my copy.
SEMEN, Yves. La sexualité selon Jean-Paul II, Presses de la renaissance, Paris, 2004, 230 pages.
I didn't read past page 154. His book isn't very bad, but it contains too many doctrinal and moral peculiarities for me to recommend it.
As soon as we talk about sex, it's hard to stay in the golden mean between contempt of the flesh, and its glorification. Semen rightfully opposes himself to contempt of the flesh and marriage, but a bit too much according to me. The human body becomes the "summit of divine creation", p. 18. (False. The summit of divine creation was Satan. Now, it's the Virgin Mary. We might say the human body is the summit of visible creation, but certainly not of creation as such.) Marriage ascends to the same level as consecrated life, on the Christian plane, p. 34 (False. Nothing wrong with Christian marriage, but it's better and happier to stay in virginity or consecrated celibacy than getting married. Denzinger 1353, 1810, 3912, etc.) The teachings of John Paul II on marriage are a "totally new theological radicality", p. 23 (False. My old marriage manual which dates before Vatican II and before John Paul II is not "bogged down in manicheism and contempt of the flesh". Moreover, it's written in plain English, as opposed to the "Theology of the Body" of John Paul II, which has raised a legion of commentators, exactly because it's obscure.) John Paul II proclaimed dogmas on marriage during every Wednesday's general audience, now transformed into "the habitual means of expression of the authentic and official Magisterium", p. 69. (False. John Paul II was clearly speaking as a private theologian. When he wanted to speak as Pope, he wrote thingamajigs called "Encyclicals", etc.) The sexual act becomes "what lets man go beyond solitude", p. 92 (False, strictly speaking, otherwise we would all be very lonely in Heaven!)
I had already read "The Theology of the Body" by John Paul II, and I remember thinking he didn't write well, but I didn't remember him saying dumb things. It's worse, since because of the way this book is formatted, we often wonder: "Did John Paul II really say that, or is this Yves Semen?" (for example, note 91, p. 103; or p. 117, or p. 123, etc.) Anyway, Mr. Semen is probably a really nice guy, but in this case, I think the original author is preferable to the commentator, no matter how good his intentions.
LENOIR, Frédéric. Christ the Philosopher. Plon, 2007.
If the author were honest and brief, he might say:
"Jesus really existed, but he was only a man. He taught a message which, miraculously, happens to be exactly the same as that of a post-modern Atheist with a keen sense of fashion, like me. But the Big Bad Catholic Church quickly perverted that nice message, as is demonstrated by my river of accusations and my eye-dropper of proofs."
I tried to make a formal criticism of that book, but it's hard for several reasons. First, the author constantly dances on the line between his own more or less explicit positions, and the positions of others which he embraces, or not, according to room temperature, barometric pressure and wind direction.
Moreover, the whole book is more like a novel than a serious work. It's hard to agree or disagree with a reasoning, when there are so few.
Finally, if I had to give a self-defense course for Faith, this book could be the final exam. Few anti-Catholic lies are forgotten in his long grocery list.
In a way, my whole web site is necessary to refute this book. But we can start with the contradiction in his title. Indeed, the word "Philosophy" was invented by Pythagoras, who said only God was Wise strictly speaking, and that men should be humble and only call themselves "lovers of wisdom" (in Greek: "philosophers"). Except Jesus clearly claims to be God in the Gospels. (See Ludwig OTT, p. 127-139). The opposite of wisdom is to claim to be God when you're only a man. Jesus is either God, or crazy, or a liar, but certainly not a philosopher.
Moreover, Lenoir is bogged down in the typical rationalistic prejudice: "God doesn't exist, therefore neither do miracles. Therefore any passage of the Bible that talks about a miracle is false. Therefore we have to rewrite the Bible".
Alcorn, Randy. ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments, Sisters, OR, Multnomah Publishers, 2000.
So far, this is the best book against abortion I've found (which is why I recommend it, even though it's listed here).
- Too many to list!
- By and large, the big weakness of this book is in its philosophical foundations. As it often happens to non-Catholic Christians, a bad interpretation of the Bible makes them flee from philosophical science. So when they need to support their arguments on the solid foundation of reason... they reach out for the Bible! This also causes many moral deviations in topics related to human sexuality.
- The word "soul" barely appears in this book, so the author must constantly talk about the fact the foetus has its own genetic code. Except pigs and rats also have their own genetic code, right from conception...
- He doesn't condemn IVF (p. 62).
- Incorrect definition of a person (p. 74).
- He doesn't condemn contraception (p. 115).
Browne, M. Neil, Keeley, Stuart M. Asking the Right Questions; A Guide to Critical Thinking, 6th Ed., Upper Saddle River, NJ, Prentice-Hall, 2001.
- The authors have the intention of writing a short and practical guide on critical thinking.
- According to the authors, "everything is a belief", but they never define what is a belief, nor what is the role of beliefs in intellectual life.
- Blatant skeptic, atheist, positivist assumptions, etc.
- No bibliography! No link is made with the over 2000 years of reflections that have been made on the topic (i.e. Logic, the first of the 4 parts of Philosophy)!
- The problems to be discussed assume the students are experts in Ethics! But if they are learning the basics of Logic, then they are just beginning to study Philosophy!
- Nauseatingly USA-centered (whereas the topic, by definition, should be above cultural specificities).
- Too short and oversimplified to be a serious work on critical thought, too long to be a practical book.
- No distinction between Formal and Material Logic, no good explanations of deduction and induction, etc.
Gower, Barry. Scientific Method; An Historical and Philosophical Introduction, London, Routledge, 1997.
The book is well described by its title, but the author seems a bit confused himself as to the nature of science and induction.
Paulos, John Allen. Innumeracy; Mathematical Illiteracy and its Consequences, New-York, Hill and Wang, 2001.
Not really a bad book, but not good enough to make the team.
- Teaches a bit of math and statistics.
- Shows a few dangers of being "innumerate".
- Funny, enjoyable to read.
- Seems to equate mathematics with Logic, whereas critical thought was invented long before statistics.
- Not enough mathematics. Reads too much like a novel.
- No serious, comprehensive list of pitfalls to watch out for when dealing with statistics.
Hugon, Édouard, O.P. Les Vingt-quatre thèses thomistes, Paris, Téqui, 1937.
He doesn't teach anything wrong (of course!), but his book is not as he claims "a small overview of all of Philosophy" (p. 288). You can easily replace him with Ludwig Ott, the Summa Theologica, and Thonnard.
Rizzi, Anthony. The Science Before Science; A Guide to Thinking in the 21st Century, Baton Rouge LA, IAP Press, 2004.
Another title for this book could have been: "A brief and muddled overview of the Philosophy of Jacques Maritain".
- He talks about modern topics like Einstein, Coco the Gorilla, Gödel, etc.
- He asserts a lot, proves little or not at all, gives few references to better proofs presented in good Philosophy books, and to add insult to injury, speaks as if he had proven everything he asserts.
- Mixture of polemics and philosophy (both are necessary, but not necessarily in the same book).
KUPELIAN, David. The Marketing of Evil, Nashville TN, WND Books, 2005, 240 p.
First of all, I almost put this book in my list of recommended books. Also, this book could have been classified under the "Theology" section, or even "Philosophy", rather than in "Politics". It's a mixture.
Kupelian summarizes how Satan, the Prince of Marketing, attacks the modern world with Atheism, the "sexual revolution", bad movies, abortion, the lies of the media, etc.
- Good overview of Satan's big marketing campaign. (Shows the "forest", not just the "trees".)
- The final chapter is partly very good: all these lies wouldn't have had such a huge effect, if they hadn't found such a willing audience! The salt of the earth has lost much of its taste, and Kupelian is right to wisely attack the sins of Christians.
- The last chapter should have given the solution to the problem, but Kupelian avoids it. Observing that all the main Protestant churches have succumbed to the madness of divorce, sodomy, abortion, etc., he avoids mentionning that the Catholic Church has not budged an inch in its official teachings, even though She is attacked from the inside by the homosexual mafia, etc. The Rock on which Jesus has built His Church [Mt 16:18] is standing up to Satan's marketing storm, but Kupelian doesn't want to see it.
- Unfortunately, he seems infected by most of the prejudices of the Christian right in the USA (Republican presidents are perfect, Democratic presidents are demonic, Israel is always right, Palestinians are always wrong, pollution is not a serious problem, etc.) He falls for the bad old Satanic trick of "the partial truth deadlock".
- Very USA-centric.
GEORGE, Robert P. and BETHKE ELSHTAIN, Jean. The Meaning of Marriage; family, state, market and morals, Dallas TX, Spence Publishing Co., 2006.
Just a big dumb mistake on my part. I don't know how that one ended up on my shopping list.
CRICK, Bernard. Democracy: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2002.
Another title for this book could be: "Tricky Crick's long and confused introduction to democracy, but short and clear introduction to Post-Modernism".
- Made me write: "What Is Democracy? Some Preliminary Groundwork".
- Constantly rambles about "values", even though none of the people he talks about (Greeks, Romans, founding fathers of America, etc.) would have agreed with the silly post-modernist value theory.
- Insists that "democracy" cannot really be defined, and that we have to be skeptical about everything (except Tricky Crick's opinions on democracy). For example: "Many meanings attach to the word democracy. If there is one true meaning [... it] has not yet been communicated to us", p. 1 (first sentence of the book). "All discussions of democracy are inconclusive and never-ending", p. 116 (first sentence of the conclusion). "There are no final answers in the name of democracy. Lists, like definitions, settle nothing. There is only a continual process of compromise between different values and interests, politics itself", p. 109.
- Claims we can't define "democracy", then proceeds to ignore the most basic skills required to define anything (See the first part of "What Is Democracy? Some Preliminary Groundwork".)
RENAUD, Jean. En attendant le désastre; Essai sur la pensée réactionnaire, Éditions du Beffroi, 1990.
Disclaimer: I cannot judge this author, since I barely understand what he writes.
I have tried several times to read things written by Jean Renaud, and have never succeeded. Good authors try to help their readers go from ignorance to knowledge, using facts and logic. Some bad authors (such as Mr. Renaud, according to me), don't seem to have much use for facts. Moreover, their logic doesn't move from cause to effect, or premise to conclusion, but from rhyme to metaphor, alliteration to catachreses.
After reading this review, Mr. Renaud might reply thus (and of course, I have no idea how to translate this into English!):
"M. Avion-Poussin, ce technocrate réactionnaire qui ânonne les déclamations intempestives de notre siècle assoiffé d'enflure, ne mérite pas que je dégurgite l'infinitésimale réplique qui suffirait pour abattre son entendement autant en rase-mottes que son patronyme ailé bipède."
Seriously, in person, Mr. Renaud is a nice chap and quite comprehensible. Too bad he doesn't write more like he talks.
BLOEDOW, Timothy. State vs. Church: What Christians Can Do to Save Canada from Liberal Tyanny, www.christiangovernment.ca.
I just read one chapter, and agreed with most of the contents, but found too many critical errors to recommend it. Among others, an incorrect understanding of the relation between Faith and reason, which logically leads to all of the problems of a theocracy. See my correspondence with Mr. Bloedow for details.
CHOMSKY, Noam. 11/9; Autopsie des terrorismes, Le Serpent à Plumes, Paris, 2001, 151 pages.
See my article.
I've owned at some time or another all of the following books (and many others that I've forgotten), and I eventually got rid of them. Why? Some are just bad, but others are simply obsolete, or redundant given some good Software Engineering books.
BAKER, Art. The Windows NT Device Driver Book, Prentice-Hall.
BARTON, NACKMAN., Scientific and engineering C++: an introduction with advanced techniques and examples.
FLAMIG, Bryan. Practical Data Structures in C++, Wiley.
ARNOLD, Ken and GOSLING, James. The Java Programming Language,
2nd Ed., Addison-Wesley.
SILBERSCHATZ, GALVIN. Operating System Concepts, Addison-Wesley.
STALLINGS, William. Computer Organization and Architecture, Prentice-Hall.
ROGERSON, Dale. Inside COM, Microsoft Press
KRUGLINSKI, David. Inside Visual C++, Microsoft Press
MCKINNEY, Bruce, Hardcore Visual Basic, Microsoft Press.
MONSON-HAEFEL, Richard, Enterprise Java Beans, O'Reilly.
SAINI, MUSSER. STL Tutorial and Reference Guide, Addison-Wesley.
THAI, Thuan. Learning DCOM, O'Reilly.
WINGO, Scott et SHEPARD, George. MFC Internals, Addison-Wesley.
UMAR, Amjad. Object-oriented client/server Internet environments, Prentice-Hall.
SUTTER, Herb. Exceptional C++: 47 engineering puzzles, programming problems, and solutions, Addison-Wesley.
SUTTER, Herb. More exceptional C++: 40 new engineering puzzles, programming problems, and solutions, Addison-Wesley.
COPLIEN, James O., Advanced C++ Programming Styles and Idioms, Addison- Wesley.
DUSTIN, Elfriede, RASHKA, Jeff, PAUL, John. Automated software testing: introduction, management, and performance.
HUMPHREY, Watts S. Introduction to the Personal Software Process,
SOMMERVILLE, Software Engineering.
MARICK, Brian. The Craft of Software Testing, Prentice-Hall.
SEDGEWICK. Algorithms in C++, Addison-Wesley
TURBAN, Ephraim. Decision Support and Expert Systems, Prentice-Hall.
THOMAS, WEEDON. Object-oriented programming in Eiffel.
BISHOP, Matt. Computer Security, Art And Science, Addison-Wesley.
BACON, Jean. Concurrent systems: operating systems, database and distributed systems--an integrated approach.
FOWLER, Martin. Analysis Patterns; Reusable Object Models,
FOWLER, UML Distilled.
CARGILL, Tom. C++ Programming Style, Addison-Wesley.
CARROL, Martin D., and ELLIS, Margaret A. Designing and Coding Reusable C++, Addison-Wesley.
FOLK, ZOELLICK, RICCARDI., File Structures in C++.
HENRICSON, NYQUIST. Industrial Strength C++, Prentice-Hall.
ROSENBERG, Jonathan. How Debuggers Work, Wiley .
MAK, Ronald. Writing Compilers and Interpreters, Wiley.
POHL, Ira. Object-oriented programming using C++.
LIPPMAN, Stanley B. C++ primer.
BLUNDEN, Bill. Virtual machine design and implementation in C/C++.
Weeks, Dudley. The Essential Eight Steps to Conflict Resolution; Preserving Relations at Work, at Home, and in the Community, New-York, Penguin/Putnam, 1992.
This book is one of the inspirations of the text How To Become A Rich And Famous Pseudo-Philosopher
Mason, Robert. Chickenhawk, New-York, Penguin, 1983.
A Vietnam veteran (Huey helicopter pilot) unwittingly explains why the USA lost that war, by describing himself and the people around him. The only good thing about that book is it inspired "The Vietnam War And The Ten Commandments"
Bloy, Léon. Choix de textes; par Maurice Bardèche, Éditions du Rocher, 1990.
Dear Léon! What a writing style! What a walking Thesaurus! Reading his books is nice to "clean out the injectors" once in a while, but not good enough to recommend.
Note on bad movies: Most movies are bad, so the only ones I review here are movies that appeared good on the shelf, but that turned out to be bad. Also, I only comment on the moral content of movies, not the artistic merit. Often, the actors are very good, the photography is beautiful, the music is well-chosen, etc., even though the moral content stinks.
Pope John XXIII, www.imavision.com, with Edward Asner, Massimo Ghini, Claude Rich, Paolo Gasparini, Michael Mendl.
I'd be curious to know on what historical documents the authors based themselves to make this film. I doubt Angelo Roncalli (John XXIII) was as stupid as they describe him. According to this film, the Pope was the proudest defender of all modern stupidities:
- idolatry of dialogue ("We must talk, talk, talk", and not oppose ourselves to atheist Communism, etc.)
- condemnation of condemnation (There is a scene where the Pope says this explicitely)
- the satanic spirit of Vatican II (letters on contraception and women's ordination are presented as a "breath of life" started by Vatican II; Mass toward the people is presented as desired by the Pope, even though Vatican II doesn't even mention it; the Pope says we don't need dogma in this Council, etc.)
- forgiveness without repentance (The scene in the jail where, speaking to criminals, the Pope says God forgives all our sins, without ever mentioning the necessity of repentance.)
- death without Sacrements (Angelo, military Priest, holds a dying soldier in his arms instead of hearing his confession and giving him absolution like a real Priest would do in such circumstances, where each second counts.)
Generally speaking, if you take a typical Hollywood film like "School Of Rock" (sorry, I was bored in the hotel last weekend and watched that bad movie), we have the recipe: present a guy as the liberator of a bunch of stuckup-stodgy-constipated-pompous persons, thanks to his informality, his good mood, his disregard for regulations and authority, etc.
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