Thursday, April 18, 2013

A very, very brief tour of what you already know from Psych 101

Book: A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness
Author: V.S. Ramachandran
Published: 2004 (Pi Press)
Pages: 112

You read that page count right, dear Reader. 112 of actual content – PLUS 65 pages of endnotes. The doctor says at one point, “Like a colleague says, the real story is in the endnotes!” which – dude, NO IT’S NOT. If it’s not important enough to put on the first page about it, then why the hell is it there in the first place?

And before you point out the big fat David Foster Wallace-fanning hypocrite in the blog, guess what. Footnotes start on the same page so at least you get the starting illusion that they have something to add to the subject instead of something that’s only worth squirreling away.

This book was so brief and spazzy that I didn’t learn a damn thing about the human consciousness that I hadn’t already gotten an “A” in for Psych 101. (Except that ragging on Texas culture is an even weaker grasp at humor when it’s abruptly inserted into a serious sentence.) It didn’t stay on topic long enough to discuss any of the experiments that supported its hypothesis about brain damage and how various points of said damage can show us how the brain works. He had some interesting ideas that, if you ignored the endnotes section (I did), were not supported at all, and even if you dipped into the notes (…fine, I only mostly ignored them) were only offered anecdotal evidence.

Plus he did that really annoying writing thing where he went, “And here is where I will tell you about x.” He really didn’t fucking need that tick, especially in such a small book. JUST SAY IT ALREADY.

I’ll be taking this one back to the library too. Fortunately, I just got in the hold queue for a Pulitzer-prize winning nonfiction, because I have not been batting well in this genre lately. 

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