We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Wednesday, December 10. 2008
Car of the Future: The Pelosi GTxi
Fun stuff from Paglia, including ripping Dick Cavett
Searching the world for clues to asthma
Why do we believe in Santa? Dumb question, if you ask me.
Axelrod now says he misspoke. I think he spoke an inconvenient truth.
Do you believe in "The March of History"? I do not.
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The March of History, as a concept - that we have a destination - is hogwash. People who believe in it lack the nonlinear conceptualization that is important to survive in society, so they try to push their views on others in order to survive.
It is impossible to believe that some kind of "goal" is being worked toward. Belief in God does not make this so. LITERAL belief in the Bible DOES. Problem is, while I am a believer in God, and a believer in the Bible, I don't think the literal constructs are accurate or precise. We don't know who/what God is any more than we know who wrote portions of the Bible or why.
Similarly, Marxism falls on the sword of class warfare in order to push its agenda supporting the rise of the proletariat. I'm sorry to say the rise of the proles is impossible - once they "rise" they are no longer proles...capiche?
It's an unfortunate mindset this March of History. It's sad because it's limiting.
TIME marches on! Wow! It seems our species likes to wrap its collective head around some organizing principle. It's our nature I suppose and it does bestow a sense of order and purpose; hell, look how well we've done taming our environment and creating science out of curiosity. We're productively engaged in building a better lightbulb, but that power to see paths of innovation and imagine alternatives is a double-edged sword; when we begin to believe some of those ideas we've superimposed on nature are nature itself troubles are not far behind. Our march of progress has brought many to the point of delusion, thinking all humanity is a brotherhood of the like minded. When our sense of human morality is such that we lay down our weapons to foster the well being of our enemies the blindness we have adopted as wisdom will bare our breasts to their daggers.
Do not close your eyes my friends. Time is not on our side.
Can anyone watch that pathetic and hastily organized excuse for a press opportunity and believe a word that The Øne spaketh? (where was it held, in the conference room of a Motel 6?)
I for one am thrilled that this cloud is beginning to foller him around like Pigpen.
That cloud is his hair turning gray. That and cigarette smoke.
His nighttime litany: 'What was I thinking, what was I thinking?'
News Junkie ... Thanks for printing the link to Camille Pagia's hit piece retort on Sarah Palin. Dick Cavett is a perfect example of the my-education-is-better-than-yours poseur who infests our supposed intelligentsia in our country. On the subject of Sarah and his superiority to her -- for grammar, for God's sake -- he's a self-congratulating bore. I agree with Paglia about Sarah's speech patterns. They're vivid, immediate and easily understood. When she is interviewed on camera she looks directly into the lens and seems to reach through it right into the viewer's mind, smiling and unafraid. Unlike Cavett, who seems to be afraid of lots of things, especially that his readers and watchers will recognize what a small man he is.
Cavett is almost as old as I am, and he has some of the same speech habits as I do. And I'm not proud of them, believe me. Lots of times, they're stuffy. I have some excuse, because I made my living as a writer and editor, and I'm pissy about grammar and writing in general sometimes. But I try not to be, because, as Paglia points out, grammar and speech and prose have altered considerably since 1951, when I graduated from college. And the change has been for the better, eliminating some of the stuffiness of written language. The Internet and the blogs have been instrumental in this, and I love them for that.
Anyway, isn't it kind of ridiculous for a man probably in his 70s to depend on his Yale College education for his sense of self? Shucks, college is supposed to be the beginning of a worthwhile life, not the only thing you've done that you can be proud of.
That's how Sarah thinks of it, I'll bet. So do I.
Is you pissy, Miss Marianne? Say it isn't so, Sis, because I'm just as pissy. Don't apologize for your writing because it is a treat to read! I read some comments, several times sometimes, and still can't understand the gist of what the commenter is saying. You are so clear and concise that it's like a clear mountain stream to read you.
I taught English to tenth graders and twelfth graders for twenty years, and my students called me GrammarBabe. :) The legacy went on each year as I hammered away at the importance of grammar and writing and speaking, and it paid off as other teachers who inherited my students said they could tell who my students were the first week of school. I taught descriptive grammar for two years and finally quit in favor of teaching it through dictation and writing. I agree some of the changes in grammar are good ones and remember butting heads with my department chair over a few of them.
Anyways, girlfriend, you are anything but stuffy. You are a treat and a blessing.
I once read forward to a work on men's styles by Geoffrey Beene, in which he outlined the distinction between fashion and personal style. Fashion being transient and personal style more enduring and comfortable. I see parallels between the use of language and clothes.
There is fashionable language that people pick up and use no matter how forced their usage appears. Take a white, suburban middle-class teen adopting black, urban slang. More often than not they just look foolish.
There is formal language for formal occasions and the written (to be published) word. Think of a well tailored suit; it's not appropriate for all occassions, but when it is it is perfect.
And my favorite: loose, free-style language--fluid communications with personal style. The speaker feels comfortable with the flow because it's a style unhindered by an internal editor--it's felt more than thought. It just happens.
MM, you are wonderful, articulate and groomed. This is your personal style and it is a style made easy by your gracious manners.
DC is a bit of a dick and an elitist. He takes his education and its style in another direction altogether.
If I had the result of a more focused education or a grasp of the fundamentals of grammar and composition I'd look at specifics, but all I can offer is a speculative idea: Personal styles of communications--and DC's grooming reflects his personal style--reveals something about the communicator. Like I said, DC is a dick. You, my dear, are worth reading.
"... loose, free-style language--fluid communications with personal style."
Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a president capable of this style of speaking?
Another eight years of The UH Factor is sad, sad.
Before I forget to do so... I like your analogy here Jephnol. A very grounded way to look at language and the many and various ways in which folks either wear it well or look rather out of sync with who they truly are.
We're born into this world of time and change like the fish in the sea, but, since we're not fish, we feel uncomfortable with it, and we ought to swim to shore fast as our little arms and legs will swim us. The divine ground being compassionate, and possessing an infinite patience, we'll all be given sufficient opportunity, until all sentient beings are finally delivered from time into timelessness, being, consciousness, bliss, which is the purpose and aim of the creation. So say the ancient sages.
Well, I've always considered any day I wake up to be a continuation of the march of history. The alternative is certainly the end of it.
Though to be sure I didn't really understand the point of that post... was there a conclusion that I somehow missed?
I couldn't understand it, either, Luther. The way I see it, time is the continuum we ride on and history happens along the way. Father Time rules, as does Mother Nature, both indiscriminate killers, so history is whatever we make of the time we're alloted.
What I read was sort of a post hoc ergo propter hoc thing, or this followed that so that was caused by this. My feeling was he was saying many perspectives see history marching towards an end, but just because we've witnessed one event follow another does not suggest causality. There may or may not be a purpose to history, but it is not within our ability to change the course of history or predict its passage, but many act as though it is within their ability to fulfill the purpose of progress.
For some reason I'm reminded of an old argument I had with Leag. About an end, or the end, to the universe. But that's neither here nor there to this discussion.
Sorry, Jephnol. But your effort at conclusion has left me no nearer to understanding what AVI's point was than what I had before. Though I appreciate the effort.
As I saw his post he only stated the obvious of a few opinions, without giving me any additional information or conclusions as to why he felt the need to state such.
The disconnect, I think, is assigning 'purpose', determination, will,
intention, motive, function to the incorporeal 'history'. You can't do that and have it make sense.
Someone once commented that "Only in America could Dick Cavett be considered an intellectual" Anybody remember who that was ?
Meta ... thank you for a compliment I'll cherish always. Your daughter is so lucky to have you as a mother.
Jephnol... you've had a wonderful "focused education" in the world, and it shows. Yes, indeedy, Cavett is a dick, in the pejorative sense of the word.
Love you both.... and Christmas wishes to you, and all of the other maggiesfarmers. You've been a year-round "gift" to me.
Apparently I was less than clear. Sorry.
The point was only to question the common vague belief that there is a discernible direction to history. Folks from all over the philosophical spectrum seem to slip into the idea. Perhaps seeing a narrative in the events around us is built into us. I gave some (intentionally) diverse examples of where this idea shows up.
In my little worldview, history is heading to my house for a PART-AYYY!