California Literary Review

Profile of Paul Comstock


Paul Comstock is the Editor of the California Literary Review. Google+

Articles written for the California Literary Review:

  • School Rampage Killers: A Psychological Portrait
    Posted on 27 Oct 2008 in Non-Fiction Reviews, Psychology, Sociology, True Crime

    The shooter had convinced himself that killing was gutsy and masculine. Based on his misreadings of Nietzsche and from repeated viewings of the Oliver Stone film, Natural Born Killers, he had convinced himself that the killer was a kind of superior being, and that killing constituted a form of “Natural Selection.”

  • Dr. Shashi Tharoor: Understanding India
    Posted on 08 Oct 2008 in China, Economics, India, Non-Fiction Reviews, Politics, Religion

    “India is a status-quo power: it wants nothing that Pakistan has. Pakistan’s rulers, however, are obsessed with Kashmir, which they have repeatedly tried and failed to wrest from India through war and militancy, and with a desire to “cut India down to size” by bleeding it through terrorism. What needs to happen is for a new political culture to prevail in Pakistan, one that privileges peace, dialogue, co-operation, tourism and trade instead of resentment, bigotry, militarism, intolerance and violence.”

  • Christine MacDonald on the Corruption of the Environmental Movement
    Posted on 01 Oct 2008 in Environment, Non-Fiction Reviews

    “But after watching environmentalists blatantly engage in greenwashing for their corporate sponsors, I can tell you that once a group takes money from a corporation and comes to rely on the continued flow of those dollars to run programs and pay salaries, it loses its ability to be a critic and a watchdog. One high-ranking environmentalist once told me he shies away from seeking corporate funds because corporate executives ‘tend to want to buy you up first and talk about conservation later.’ I think that is largely the norm.”

  • David Harris on Bill Walsh, the Brilliant Coach of the San Francisco 49ers
    Posted on 29 Sep 2008 in Biography, Non-Fiction Reviews, Sports

    “Once, as an assistant coach at Cal, he knocked a guy out who flipped him the bird when out driving with his family. Bill got in his last known public fist fight at the age of 65. ‘Genius’ or not, he was not someone to be trifled with.”

  • Photo Essay: North Korean Propaganda Posters
    Posted on 19 Aug 2008 in Art, Art & Design, History, Military, Politics

    Posters are visual illustrations of the slogans that surround the people of North Korea constantly. North Korean society is in a permanent mobilization. Party and government declarations are stripped down to single-line catchphrases. Through their endless repetition in banners, newspaper headlines, and media reports, these compact slogans become self-explanatory, simultaneously interpreting and constructing reality.

  • Being Kidnapped at Knifepoint Is Not Enough to Change David Lida’s Love for Mexico City
    Posted on 13 Jul 2008 in Mexico, Non-Fiction Reviews, Travel

    “But with neoliberal governments, an unjust distribution of wealth is becoming the norm. Even in wealthy countries, working people are earning lower salaries, fewer benefits and have less free time. Simply put, the rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer; I wonder if the rest of the world isn’t coming around to Mexico City.”

  • Susskind Quashes Hawking in Quarrel Over Quantum Quandary
    Posted on 08 Jul 2008 in Non-Fiction Reviews, Science

    “The next generation of physicists and cosmologists will have the fun and excitement of discovering the right mathematical formulation of a “multiverse.” Finding observational (astronomical?) ways to confirm that we live in such a diverse world is another challenge. Only the old fogies who thought that physics was almost finished are disappointed. The only thing that I would find discouraging would be that we run out of questions.”

  • Jill Bolte Taylor’s Right Brain Wants to Tell Us Something
    Posted on 02 Jul 2008 in Disability, Medicine, Non-Fiction Reviews, Psychology

    “I had a rare congenital malformation in the blood vessels of my left hemisphere and at the age of 37 the malformation (AVM) blew and resulted in a major hemorrhage in the left half of my brain. On the morning of the stroke, I could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of my life. I describe myself as an infant in a woman’s body.”

  • Eugene Debs and the Fight for Free Speech
    Posted on 26 Jun 2008 in Biography, Economics, Espionage, History, Military, Non-Fiction Reviews, Politics

    Debs was the great voice of socialism in the United States for the first two decades of the 20th century, a five-time presidential candidate for a third-party crusade against capitalism. He was a homegrown rebel, born and raised in Indiana, and a powerful speaker who knew how to translate socialism into an American idiom.

  • Jennifer Sey on the Harsh World of Elite Gymnastics
    Posted on 02 Jun 2008 in Biography, Non-Fiction Reviews, Sports

    From what I witnessed, and certainly in my experience, many of the high level coaches in the 80s deployed a particularly tough approach that would be considered by outsiders to the sport, emotional abuse. As a participant, the seemingly ‘aggressive’ tactics just seemed like the norm. And I just got used to it. It didn’t seem especially awful at the time as it is what most of my friends were also going through.

  • Arizona’s Kartchner Caverns
    Posted on 05 May 2008 in Nature, Non-Fiction Reviews, Travel

    “Tufts and Tenen saw themselves as guardians of the cave. They were extremely concerned that their discovery could be looted and destroyed, as had happened to other caves in southern Arizona. They were determined to preserve its pristine quality. They became obsessed with secrecy, and hired a lawyer to write out a legally binding secrecy document that they insisted that anyone whom they had any reason to tell about the cave must sign. Tenen even made his future wife sign a secrecy document on their second date!”

  • Christina Binkley on Las Vegas and the Gaming Industry
    Posted on 10 Apr 2008 in Business, Non-Fiction Reviews

    “At Wynn Las Vegas, for instance, there is a special and very luxurious entrance for guests who pay, or are invited to stay in the “Tower Suites”—hotel rooms that are no larger or different than the rest of the hotel other than that they have this special entrance and more intimate front desk. The swimming pool for these suites is literally above and overlooking the pool for regular folk—so Tower Suite guests can look down on the hoi polloi. In fact, the whole resort has been designed to allow these patrons to move around in their own private sphere.”

  • Parag Khanna Discusses The Second World
    Posted on 04 Mar 2008 in Africa, China, Economics, India, Japan, Non-Fiction Reviews, Politics, Russia

    “Around the entire world what I see is Europe and China investing into and buying greater shares of foreign economies—and thus gaining significant political and even military leverage over them—at our expense. Power has to be a fair balance among a range of tools, including the military, in order to be used effectively. We’re not doing that now, and I don’t see a good strategy coming out of Washington as to how to do it better.”

  • Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness
    Posted on 17 Jan 2008 in Mythology, Non-Fiction Reviews, Psychology

    “In waking we tend to think The Dream vanishes, evaporates in daylight like morning dew on grass. But it doesn’t. The unsettling Matrix-esque truth here is that we all live in world-simulations, pretty much all of the time. The brain isn’t out in the world; it’s locked in a dark box in your head. Patterns of information ting against our senses and get routed into the brain for model assembly. One of the core insights of the science of perception is our models of the world are heavily interpreted—our own expectations and cultural mores and personal history shape “The Real,” so that in some ways our personal little submarines move through an ocean of our own making.”

  • Liberal Fascism? Jonah Goldberg Explains
    Posted on 08 Jan 2008 in History, Non-Fiction Reviews, Politics

    “If I had to pick a single overall theme in the book, I would say it’s to rectify the misunderstanding of what fascism is and to highlight the deep historical, ideological and emotional ties between progressivism (now called liberalism) and fascism.”

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