RATIONAL POLEMICS by Richard Todd Devens


Tackling the Ethical Dilemmas of Life
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Devens, in his debut, holds forth on a broad selection of societal ills, inconveniences, inequities and inanities.

This wide-ranging, ambitious book covers a lot of ground, tackling everything from self-righteous religion to syrupy movie sound tracks. The author confidently wades into such thorny issues as criminality, the death penalty, marriage, obscenity and the solicitation of prostitutes. The book treats each polemic pit stop with an air of utmost sobriety and sophisticated reason, even when the arguments come off as rather strident. For example, the author recalls an incident in which he witnessed a disturbed teen masturbate in front of a gorgeous woman on a Brooklyn sidewalk, and he laments that he was not a “dictator” at the time, capable of having the pitiful offender “executed.” There’s little hint of Jonathan Swift when the author advocates cannibalizing convicted murderers: “By devouring the remains of a monster, [victims’ loved ones] can more easily achieve closure...especially when they later go to the toilet to purge the aftermath of the meal from their bodies.” The subjects of racism, torture, performance-enhancing drugs and vigilantism are afforded similar consideration, while the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian dispute is quickly discarded as an example of an unsolvable issue. Devens also enthusiastically defends American troops’ urinating on corpses, and the husbands of ugly women having sex outside of marriage. When batters nail headhunting pitchers in the noggin with line drives, he calls it “poetic justice.” However, Devens sometimes directs arguments at easy targets, such as traffic enforcement agents (or, as the author calls them, “meter maids”); after all, no one enjoys getting a ticket.

Intellectual fodder for like-minded conservatives. 

Pub Date: May 29th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1432798802
Page count: 228pp
Publisher: Outskirts Press Inc.
Program: Kirkus Indie
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