(16 May 2007 copied from the Renaissance Man at http://johndierckx.terapad.com)
I came home from Singapore to find as a home coming surprise that my wife and children had bought me the book Eve’s Bite, by Ian Wishart. I had been curious about the book ever since I saw the first adverts. Honestly how could you not be curious reading the subtitle: “Seductive, Deceptive, Dangerous: the Trojan Horse ideologies poisoning our country and destroying the West”.
I sat down later that day and started reading. What a pleasure. Whether you agree or not, finally someone that tells things the way he thinks they are. No PC, no watering down, straight ahead and critical. Some days later my wife offered me a package she had found while emptying our mailbox: a copy of the same book! And I remembered: some weeks before I had sent an email response to Ian Wishart, advising that I would like to obtain, as offered, a free copy of the book so I could review it on my blog. A NZ first: Ian Wishart, thanks for considering the value of bloggers!
Now I could have brought the bought copy back. But by that time I was already well in there and I already felt like I should buy a box of these books to hand out to the masses if only for the sake of countering the mind pollution and apathy so apparent.
A BIT OF BACKGROUND
Ever since arriving in New Zealand I have been amazed by the way the politics are being ran in this country, the level of interference in the daily lives of people and the dullness of the media. Of course being new, you consider that maybe you need to gain some more understanding but slowly over time some ideas such as “mind police”, “banana republic” and “thought pollution” came more and more to mind.
Was I not understanding things or were these Kiwi’s blind and apathetic? “She’ll be right”. NO!! She’ll not be right, something is terribly wrong: polices on snacks in the the Ministry of Health snack machines, people telling me what kind of “brain snack” my son requires at school, laws like the anti-smacking bill passing wth so much public resistance and more importantly media praising the decision of National to sell out. Politicians being implicated in all kinds of corruptive allegations, desinformation provided through government campaigns like “no hubba without a rubba”
If I provide false information about products or services I sell I could be liable under the Fair Trading Act, yet the government is trying to sell me on the use of condoms to protect me and the younger generations against STD’s against which condoms are not known to protect? Are we really that stupid? What were these guys reading when they came to this conclusion? A comic? Or what to think of “noble gestures” such as lowering the bar for people that want to apply for legal aid. For crying out loud, what a bunch of window dressing! Ever tried to find a good lawyer that is willing to take your case on legal aid?
Anyway, I have had my doubts and concerns ever since I started looking into things in New Zealand as part of my integration. And than I run into a book like this: Eve’s Bite.
Wishart is not afraid in the choice of his subjects: Karl Marx, Nazi propaganda techniques, Charles Darwin & intelligent design, Richard Dawkins, the gay rights movement, the “safe sex” campaign, abortion & trade in body parts, the anti-smacking campaign, liberal education, the mainstream media eugenics and islam and the threat to the west. He managed to bring them all together and identifies the relationships between them in a more than just compelling way. Having enjoyed a rather liberal approach to life and society this book was most certainly an eye-opener that made me rethink certain positions.
The book has its value if only because it provides a very informative picture that I had been missing in the mainstream media here in New Zealand and I doubt any of the mainstream media would have made such a publication possible: thank God for the independents. In that sense, the book review by John Roughan in the New Zealand Herald was illustrative and for that matter rather cheap. Not agreeing with someone is one thing, not recognizing the potential value of a book makes you as far as I am concerned rather useless as a reviewer. Or is that part of what is expected as a member of New Zealand society: go with the Government directed flow? Is John Roughan maybe part of the deal? Or is he just one of those chose and pick, narrow minded pathetic little souls – afraid to see their own beliefs challenged and in a leap for certainty and relief – marginalize honest contributions that happen to oppose his views? Again this is not about whether you agree or not with the findings of Wishart, it is about appreciating that someone has had the balls to come out with a completely different perspective than the one we are all so used to and offering a counter perspective to the media mainstream sitting in the lap of government.
Did anyone ever wonder why we would have to worry about political correctness? Isn’t political correctness in a democratic society which New Zealand claims to be a “contradictio in terminis”? How can it be that in a liberal society as our own we have to wonder about expressing out opinions? Well Ian Wishart sure makes it a point to present his – well documented – own. That alone makes this book a fantastic read.
Once you pass 40 things change. In my case this lead to reevaluating my views on the world and religion. Becoming a father most certainly aided to this need to rethink my own positions and beliefs. Eve’s Bite fitted in perfectly in that development, a wake up call or better yet a good shake through, offering a different perspective on many things. I have for instance often wondered personally why we are so focused on the differences between religions whilst they all appear to underline the basic humanitarian principles The presentation of Islam as both a religious and political system was a new one to me and gives me plenty of new food for thought and research especially having seen those no-go areas from up close in the Netherlands.
How sad to read a comment by John Roughan like:
“He is an unusual moralist. The book does not offer any detail of his own religious faith or moral code. He is a journalist, his focus is outward, on the things other people think and write, not on his own thoughts.
moral journalism can work in a magazine article but it does not work in a book. Readers willing to devote as much time and concentration as a book invites need more than declamatory prose.”
Did he really not understand it? If anything the book appears to be a providing a clear view on Wishart’s opinions, substantiated by literature that supports his views. Now from a broader perspective one could wonder why the opposing parties were so ‘under lighted’ but… in the terms of a liberal approach, Wishart chose to “positively discriminate” his own agenda. That is actually good since the other side of things is shoved in our throats on a daily basis. Name me one other journalist not associated with Investigate Magazine with a critical view and at the same time depth. In the terms of John Roughan: I never experienced the book as “declamatory prose”, what’s more important who the heck is he to decide and judge on what readers of a book need? I could just as well say that readers of a review need more than a biased opinion. They need a clear outline of the contents.
From a personal perspective, I would have to agree that the Dawkins chapter is not the strongest, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is the opportunity to see a different perspective so rarely seen in New Zealand media. The direct way in which propositions are presented helps in creating effect. Not necessarily to convince you. But to open your eyes to other perspectives so carefully hidden. The book reminds me most of one of Michael Pokocky’s remarks after closing SophisticaWorld: “think for yourself”. As far as I can see it is what this book is all about: thinking for yourself and trying to make you think for yourself again. For the sake of yourselves and your children.
In the following weeks I will very likely highlight specific parts of the book. For now have found a great destination for my spare copy: Mike Pokocky it’s on it’s way, together with a notebook.