Thursday, April 27, 2006

We grow bigger, get richer, live name it, but we (Americans) often complain

In thinking about the previous post, I wanted to do a little bit of shameless self-promotion. A theme of my just released book, Tantalizing Times: Excitements, Disconnects and Discontents in Contemporary American Society addresses this juxtaposition of our great fortune and our...well you name it... complaints, peeves, discontents, unhappiness, entitlements, etc. My peeve is that the publisher is selling it as a textbook (i.e., too expensive for most folks sight unseen), although I wrote it for the general public. Oh well, beggers can't be choosers. In any event, this is a theme that Tocqueville wrote about beautifully. The book is available through Amazon or via the publisher Peter Lang Publishing. OK, end of self plug for now.


David Thomson said...

Do human beings innately like to complain? If it’s not one thing, will it be something else? Are they incapable of ever being satisfied? That may indeed be half of it. However, at least equally important is the ceaseless propagandizing by the leftist establishment. They can never admit that capitalism has successfully made us all wealthier.

I will order a copy once the book is released. Soon afterwards, I will also write a customer review on Good luck.

Barry Dauphin said...

Thanks, David

I think it is difficult for humans to be satisfied in this way. As I was researching, I was always struck by how this theme kept coming up and how much better off we are the ever, yet to watch the polls, listen to TV, etc. it's gonna be hell any day now. Tocqueville commented on this being an issue with democracies, because people who live under monarchies (or repressive regimes) can only dream of a good life, while inhabitants of democracies not only have great things available in the society but always see someone who has it better than they. In some ways this is an old issue but is also an issue of our times.

gumshoe said...

"while inhabitants of democracies not only have great things available in the society but always see someone who has it better than they. In some ways this is an old issue but is also an issue of our times."

"always see someone who has it better than they."

as some would put it:

"Lord,how I love thy Law".

interesting that there is no need to reinvent wisdom.

best of luck,Barry.

Barry Dauphin said...

Thanks, gumshoe1. Yes, the digital age doesn't mean everything is new.

Charlie Martin said...

Okay, pre-ordered. how do I get it autographed?

Rick Ballard said...

"Yes, the digital age doesn't mean everything is new."

Having spent over a year reading pyschiatrists and pyschologists writing about the abundant followers of Narcissus I suppose I would have to agree.

Tantalus is approximately coeval, I believe, and just as germane. As Gumshoe notes, the problem was noted even earlier. I could probably root around in the Code of Hammorabi and find something that predates his quotation, too.

What amazing changes technology hath wrought.

Best wishes for success for your book. I think the publisher was wrong not to take it to mass market but I'm sure he had thirty reasons why it wouldn't work.

Oh well, I have to get back to pushing the boulder up the hill. Some day I'll get it over the top and be done.

cf said...


Having traveled in some God forsaken places all this complaining seems particularly odd to me. Still, when you think about it, wanting more is what keeps the wheel greased..Just so you remember you really don't need a fraction of what you think you do.

Barry Dauphin said...


Maybe we have to have a YARGB convention :>).

Or we'll figure out a way for autographing. I think the Tennessee Professor autographed some kind of plates folks could put into their books. Maybe that would work.


Yes, Sisyphus was one of the sinners in Hades with Tantalus. It's a small (under)world after all.

It seems to me that all systems have their downsides, including our own. I take a Churchillian perspective. Our Democracy and capitalism are the worst governments and economic systems created, except for all the others tried. For liberty to work really well, people are better off realizing that a certain level of self control and self restraint is actually a gift and not a prison. Sometimes folks learn this the hard way, if at all. It can be a thin line between liberty and license. It's not easy for some to forsake the fantasy of omnipotence.

Barry Dauphin said...

And thanks for the kind words and pre-order.

terrye said...


Congratulations and good luck with your book.

My wise ol Granny would say that people are never satisfied because they keep looking in the wrong place for what they need.

Kind of like that bottomless hunger that drives nervous eaters. Try a little of this, a little of that....

Knucklehead said...

When does the trade paperback come out?

I won't be able to wait. I have to live vicariously through even the slimmest of associations while I can - Knucklehead's version of carpe diem.

Looks tantalizing.

Barry Dauphin said...


thanks for your congrats and your grandmother's insights.


I wish the trade paperback were coming out tomorrow. The publisher certainly feels they know best. I suppose they'll put libraries on the hook for helping defray the inital cost. I'm hoping if it goes to second printing, it will either be paperback or much less expensive. They are dealing with the initial costs of publishing a nobody and they target the captive textook market.

Knucklehead said...


You are hardly a nobody, young man, you are a Yargbian! That and you have joined the illustrious ranks of those through whom I live vicariously. I will give my local library a visit and suggest they get a copy of your book. Should they fail I may be forced to ante up my own funds. I hate when that happens, but it's only for my own good.

Barry Dauphin said...


Library purchases count! Yes, I'm a Yargbian. Although I have to be careful where I say that or Harry Reid might try to deport me.