Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
I’m looking back over the past week, and it strikes me as a week from which much is to be learned if one studies it the right way, but also as one I would not like to see repeated. About the only good thing I’m seeing happen is that our Ridiculer In Chief had to absorb some ridicule back, and His craven spineless apologists were exposed as craven spineless apologists. What’s that, the “Romney put a dog on the roof of his car” narrative was unfortunately upstaged by the more spectacular “Obama ate dog as a child” narrative, now all of a sudden it’s so important to move on and discuss real issues? You weren’t afraid of this side trail when you thought you were gonna win it, Obama Fans. Either we’re going to talk about mistreating dogs or we’re not. A little consistency.
But the canine controversies mask something else that happened this week. Peggy Noonan, who seems to share my concerns on this one, has a good run-down of examples, although I part company with her on her last one.
People in politics talk about the right track/wrong track numbers as an indicator of public mood. This week Gallup had a poll showing only 24% of Americans feel we’re on the right track as a nation. That’s a historic low. Political professionals tend, understandably, to think it’s all about the economy—unemployment, foreclosures, we’re going in the wrong direction. I’ve long thought that public dissatisfaction is about more than the economy, that it’s also about our culture, or rather the flat, brute, highly sexualized thing we call our culture.
Now I’d go a step beyond that. I think more and more people are worried about the American character—who we are and what kind of adults we are raising.
I see it as a failure of an experiment, and a spectacular one as failures go. See, we’re supposed to elect Barack Obama, who’s got all this undefinable and unexplainable “cred.” His words carry great weight, although nobody can supply a decent explanation as to why they do. From putting Him in charge, and thinking happy thoughts, and never saying or doing anything that offends anyone (unless they’re the right people to offend) we’re supposed to approach some state of Nirvana and become better people. It’s been given a fair try, and the result of the experiment is indeed a new type of American…a new breed? Let’s call it what it is: A contagion. We’ve become something of a pestilence. Read her examples. A man is beaten in Baltimore and the enlightened denizens of this new Xanadu whip out their cell phones and start filming it.
Low and bad character, is the picture that gels into recognizable form from the examples she has to offer. If we have become an enlightened people from our recent experiment, we’ve got a funny way of showing it.
My own examples mirror this, I’m afraid. There is the extended-family matter into which I’m not inclined to go probing too much, it would betray confidence. Suffice it to say someone is bitterly resentful of our upbringing, and this person has little real cause to be. And although the writer may not recognize it, his wish is for a wallowing; an unproductive, circular conversation about, essentially, nothing. I’ve had one such cyclonic examination this week already and I have no patience for another. But I do take note of a consistency between these two experiences: I have been shown some bit of evidence, or prose, or a political manifesto cloaked as a scientific study — I have read it and it has not produced in me the emotional reaction that was expected/anticipated by someone, who then responds by giving me instructions to go read it again.
Ah, this is fast becoming a pet peeve: The sloganeering didn’t work, so I am to be given a second dose. No, I say. Call it The Godfather rule: Never read something a second time that didn’t make its point the first time around. Why would I do that. Reminds me of the Citizen Kane conversation, in which I made the mistake of asking for specifics about why this would be called The Greatest Film Ever Made. The answer, of course, was that I should go watch it and it would become obvious. Rather useless answer, since I’d already watched it. Years before, a Wesley Clark fan, in response to my questions about Gen. Clark’s position on the issues, very casually directed me to go to his website and all would be made clear. It wasn’t. I’ve seen many Ron Paul fans do the same thing, with the same results.
In hindsight, I realize I should not have been surprised by any of this; lately we, as a society, have developed a fondness for clubbing each other over the head with details, without presenting any details. Part of the Architect/Medicator divide is that medicators want to make everyone else a medicator, and a defining behavior of Medicators is that they react emotionally to things. The logical consequence to all that is, people who react emotionally to things want everyone else to react emotionally to things…which, we see, is true. They forget the “O.J. Simpson Trial” rule: Two people from different walks of life, can see exactly the same thing, and come away with wildly different conclusions about what it means, with neither one of them sustaining the slightest question or doubt about what they’ve concluded.
That’s just the way people are. It’s called “learning”; not a bug, it’s a feature.
The “read it again” and “go to his website” things though — make no mistake about it, those are bugs.
We’ve got an awful lot of people walking around among us who seem to be genuinely incapable of processing & understanding the message: Yes I read the thing you showed me, top to bottom, and no I still don’t agree. They just don’t know what to make of it. “Go read it again!” seems like something into which they’ve at least put some thought. But I don’t think so. I think that’s a reflexive nerve-center reaction, like a dead body twitching.
Peggy Noonan’s complaint, or at least, the worrisome thing to be noticed from all her observations, is that there are things that we have to take somewhat seriously if we’re going to live together in some kind of peace. And these things are not being taken seriously. From my own experiences this week that bother me the most, it seems to come down to: People do appreciate the need for this peace, but they’re making the mistake of defining it as absence of conflict. The mistake is a deadly one, since life itself entails conflict, and a dogmatic regimen of rejecting all conflict will eventually come to the point where it begins to reject life. All those sermons given by Jesus Himself, the parable of the talents, the parable of the magic eyes, the prodigal son, all of that was an attack on this. You can’t be a disciple if you’re only a disciple until such time as there is conflict. The same holds true of being a Christian. No, I do not mean to say a good Christian seeks out conflict and tries to make it happen. But I do mean to say that anti-conflict must be anti-Christian. What point is there to life, if we’re only supposed to live it until there is conflict? There is none.
And this is reflected, I would argue, in the results. When people are bludgeoned into this living-of-life-to-avoid-conflict, sooner or later, you always see someone, somewhere, laboring under a commandment that they need to stop living life, or to live less life. So that someone else isn’t offended. Very often, when the “someone else” doesn’t actually exist, and is thought about only as a hypothetical: “Take that American flag down, someone might find it offensive.”
Sooner or later, intolerance itself is tolerated, and ironically that is the exit point of tolerance from this avoid-all-conflict doctrine.
Peggy Noonan finishes strong:
The leveling or deterioration of public behavior has got to be worrying people who have enough years on them to judge with some perspective.
Something seems to be going terribly wrong.
Maybe we have to stop and think about this.
Unfortunately, I cannot do the same. I suppose I shouldn’t try; she’s paid to write and I’m not. I will say, though, that all I have learned about people over this past week, makes me more appreciative of dogs. They have the qualities, naturally, that humans are trying to develop; and the more the humans try to approach that goal, it seems, the further away they get from it.
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