Archive for the ‘Journalism’ Category

Hillary Clinton and Wonky Prose

November 8, 2010

New Yorker Magazine Bashes Hillary

The Political Scene
THE CHOICE

The New Yorker
Jan 28, 2008
Page 26

– by George Packer

I commented on the above article:

I am not a very political person, but I know what I despise.
I consider it a cheap shot to feature an illustration of Hillary Clinton’s backside, with a sly expression on her face as she glances over her shoulder.

The article actually mentions both strengths and weaknesses of Hillary and Barack, yet the general tenor of the article is to bash Hillary.

All the candidates (with the possible exception of Huckabee), are fine people who have both strengths and weaknesses and have worked very hard to get where they are. The only “flaw” that they all share in common is that there can be only one winner. That is no reason to bash them, or take cheap shots. If you are curious why I cite Huckabee as an exception, you can see my blog of several weeks ago.

The opening paragraph of the article is kind of a cheap shot, mentioning the apartment which Bill and Hillary took together in New Haven, for seventy-five dollars a month, in 1971. Why not have an article describing the first time each candidate copped a feel, or got to second base?

We are all human beings. We all have a gluteous maximus. We all have an adolescence which includes sexual experiences.

The second paragraph of this article informs us that Greg Craig, who used to be a close friend of the Clintons, is now an Obama supporter, has been “inspired” by Obama, and doubts that Hillary could inspire him. Does this mean that Obama has inspired throngs, hordes, masses of people, and Hillary has never inspired anyone?

The article, as well as the caption beneath Hillary’s butt cartoon, suggests that Hillary cares only about advancing her own personal career goals, and cares nothing about transforming society. I rather suspect that each and every candidate sees the presidency as a fabulous career goal achievement.

What does it really mean to “inspire” or to “transform society.” Please list the times in history when society was transformed single-handed by one politician.

A young teenage relative of mine tells me that my blogs are too boring to read. Well, I mention booty and shacking up, which are two topics of perennial fascination.

(some hours later) OK, back to the New Yorker Article:

On page 32, we read that Hillary Clinton “filled yellow legal pads with incorrigibly wonky prose, in ’round, schoolgirlish handwriting.”

What is “wonky” prose, anyway? I blogged a few weeks ago about all those letters that Hillary wrote during college to an English professor. There are actually photocopies of her handwriting and samples of her young adult prose. If you browse the above link, on page two, you will see her round schoolgirl handwriting when she was actually a schoolgirl. Looks better than my handwriting.

I feel its time to Google on “wonky”. So, in all fairness, let us compare the handwriting and prose of all the candidates. We here them all speaking extemporaneous prose during debates, and I find nothing particularly egregious about anyone’s prose. All candidates seem well spoken. The only person I can think of that does not always appear well-spoken is Bush, but, that is water under the proverbial bridge (hey, is this sentence wonky?)

A Google search on “wonky prose” example, yields 97 hits, among which are:

http://markcoatney.com/

What Does George Packer Know About Hillary Clinton’s Book, Anyway?
January 26, 2008

George Packer: Fine, smart writer. But I’m curious about a section in an otherwise nice New Yorker piece this week about the contrasting political styles of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Take a look:


A search on WONKY DEFINITION yields:

wonky adj. Chiefly British. , -kier , -kiest . Shaky; feeble. Wrong; awry. [Probably alteration of dialectal wanky , alteration of wankle
…..
Let’s see what literature professor Peavoy (above PHOTOCOPIES link) has to say about Hillary’s schoolgirl prose:

Ms. Rodham’s letters are written in a tight, flowing script with near-impeccable spelling and punctuation. Ever the pleaser, she frequently begins them with an apology that it had taken her so long to respond. She praises Mr. Peavoy’s missives while disparaging her own (“my usual drivel”) and signs off with a simple “Hillary,” except for the occasional “H” or “Me.”

As one would expect of letters written during college, Ms. Rodham’s letters display an evolution in sophistication, viewpoint and intellectual focus. One existential theme that recurs throughout is that Ms. Rodham views herself as an “actor,” meaning a student activist committed to a life of civic action, which she contrasts with Mr. Peavoy, who, in her view, is more of an outside critic, or “reactor.”

“Are you satisfied with the part you have cast yourself in?” she asks Mr. Peavoy in April 1966. “It seems that you have decided to become a reactor rather than actor — everything around will determine your life.”

In conclusion, may I say: My dear Hillary, it seems that your butt, your prose and your penmanship are all under attack! Is there nothing sacred?

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Media Manipulation

October 11, 2010

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/10/8/908577/-A-different-way-to-make-a-big-difference-in-2010

Good point! I was thinking the very thought which you just now posted BEFORE you posted it as I browsed through the above link. As I scanned the link I thought back to Plato seminars where people contrasted “speaking well” with “speaking truth.”

Different topic but somewhat related. This morning on a NYC local TV news my wife and I watched Paladino speaking to a gathering of Orthodox Jews and making negative remarks about gay pride parades, suggesting that it is harmful for young children who do not understand to watch bumping and grinding. THE VERY NEXT NEWS CLIP was about an anti-gay attack/torture/sodomy. I said to my wife, “See how the media chooses to play one sound bite against another.” She said “What, you mean that channel wants to discredit Paladino?” I explained “media thrives on shocking discord and controversy. That channel may not even care about the gubernatorial race but they instinctively know that if they counterpoise an anti-gay speech with a hate-crime that they will generate greater audience interest.”

Someone recently pointed out to me that during the 1970s the Bob Jones University forbid interracial dating. They went on to point out that certain issues which might be argued as separate (e.g. interracial dating vs. gay rights) are now conflated in the public mind as issue which are driven by an underlying hatred/prejudice/injustice.

Those who read me know that I lean to the left and try to be GLBT friendly. The point I am really making here is that any sort of manipulation of public opinion through your above-mentioned link or through juxtaposition of sound bites is unfortunate precisely because it is done for the sake of manipulation and control and not for the sake of a dispassionate and unbiased examination of facts so that the public may arrive at a well-reasoned conclusion. I do not endorse such rhetoric and manipulation even if it seeks to favor some view or value which I favor.

I am suddenly remembering a Firing Line interview between Wm. F. Buckley Jr. and Noam Chomsky. I suppose nothing in the media is free from rhetoric. It is also important to note that two intellectual giants may come to see the world in very different ways.

I remember how Buckley said that the the N.A.A.C.P. was an admission of backwardness since it called for advancement. Yale Bonesmen are a clever lot but I deplore such cleverness. Yet I shall always admire Buckley and wish that I had some share of his greatness. Thanks for posting Ruth and putting up with the person that I am.

The Tragedy of Novelty

July 19, 2010

One of the great tragedies of academia is the notion (fostered by publish-or-perish combined with the belief that a dissertation MUST be some original contribution to knowledge) .. the notion that each scholar must come up with something totally knew and controversial. In trying to achieve these goals scholars try TOO hard and they come up with some unnatural observations or conclusions. One poor fellow on PBS, Charlie Rose, I think, wrote a book stating that the Internet must OF NECESSITY ruin the average intellect and that intellectual life was rosier BEFORE the advent of the Internet.

I took a moment to find
‘The Shallows’ by Nicholas Carr: The Internet warps you

http://www.usatoday.com/money/books/reviews/2010-06-21-shallows21_ST_N.htm

There was some 2nd century Bishop (perhaps Iranaeus) who did not trust the written word, believing that texts separated from their author might be twisted. I suppose Plato hints at something similar.

Well here we are with warehouses filled with books, the Internet, Google, Wikipedia, Androids, Kindles etc. and none of it is likely to go away in a hurry.

I fear that writers try so hard to come up with something new, provocative and controversial that they try TOO hard and arrive at conclusions which are impractical and ill-founded, and then we commence to drone upon our hypothesis ad nauseam. One example is “The Peter Principle” that we are promoted to our level of incompetence.

http://www.edge.org/discourse/carr_google.html

Censorship and Testimony

July 15, 2010

I don’t imagine it is an issue of taking God’s name in vain. You know in a sense if you just say Oh God it may be construed as “in vain” since in is not said in the context of prayer or sermon. I am sure the censorship has to do with the F* word and the C*words and the S*word . And yet our consumer public craves and our media thrives upon an endless depiction of heinous acts of murder torture cannibalism etc… so it is all a bit hypocritical in my estimation. In every place I have ever worked I often hear the F* word. How is the F* word “taking the Lord’s name in vain?”

Would the censors really bleep “damn” or “dammit” or “hell”? I don’t know. I do know that if one purchases the DVD of a movie, one sees and hears everything uncensored. So why is it permitted to create such movies and sell such movies if they are harmful? And we view purchased uncensored DVD on THE SAME screen where we view the censored public broadcasts.

You may find my own blogs from 1998 to present on-line and you will notice that I try never to use profanity (in the sense of F* word) unless I need to quote someone in which case I do not spell it out. If I stub my toe or bang my thumb and I am alone I may curse; a practice I am not proud of but it is a bad habit.

I just think it is a sham and hypocrisy for our public broadcasting to pretend we are NOT something which we know perfectly well that most of us are.

The Atlantic Magazine published a letter from an elderly assisted living center regarding the showing of a film in the community center which had been CANCELLED because it used the F* word. The columnist explained that this does not constitute something inappropriate because a film attempts to portray real life and real life as we all know includes such language. What WOULD BE inappropriate is if such language were included in an editorial or a commencement ceremony or a political speech.

You probably read about the woman newscaster who inadvertently said the F* word on the air not realizing she was live on the microphone.

I do not like reading things loaded with gratuitous profanity but I do dislike gratuitous censorship.

I see the very fabric of American life as something obscene. We observe how to murder and torture in a thousand different ways and we watch dramatizations of drug dealers, alcoholics and prostitutes.

Jesus said “What goes into the mouth does not defile but passes out into the gutter.” (now we KNOW that is feces, the S* word.) But what comes OUT of the mouth defiles. Jesus did not mention what goes INTO THE EAR now did He. So if you want to get technical, Jesus would not seem to favor censorship of the media. Jesus want each and every one of us to censor our own speech. He says something like “Yea verily ye shall be judged by EVER WORD WHICH PROCEEDTH FORTH FROM YOUR MOUTH.” (at least that is what I remember) And He says, “UNLESS your righteous EXCEEDS the righteousness of the pharisees you shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Now our politicians take OATHS and witnesses on the witness stand SWEAR an OATH and say SO HELP ME GOD. To me that seems fairly blasphemous. First of all, Jesus said “do not swear at all not even by your head for you cannot turn one hair white or black; rather let your yea be yea and your nay be nay.” So if we were such a Bible based nation we would not require such oath taking.

What I see as more appropriate is if the witness says “I solemnly affirm that I testify under penalty of perjury and I shall not consciously omit any detail which may be pertinent or knowingly give false testimony.”

Now we are asked TO SWEAR THE TRUTH. Would you please tell me WHAT your definition of TRUTH is and how any of us have ACCESS to this truth?

If I ask you on the witness stand “How much is two plus two?” You are going to answer four. But you cannot honestly say that you KNOW that to be the truth. You are repeating HEARSAY which you learned in grammar school. If you google on PROOF ARITHMETIC ADDITION you will discover that the actual proof of addition involves over 250 steps in a theorem. So unless you name is Alfred North Whitehead or Bertrand Russell or Godel or Gauss or Fermat or Hilbert, you are not educated sufficiently in math and logic to PROVE that 2 + 2 is four so therefore you cannot say you have access to the truth. But you CERTAINLY know when you are consciously bearing false witness or committing a lie of omission. Now the Ten Commandments says NOTHING about telling the truth, right? But the Ten Commandments do clearly forbid BEARING FALSE WITNESS OR TESTIMONY.

Talking to the other side

June 25, 2010

I think that is very important to pay attention to what “the other side” is saying and not simply surround oneself with like-minded people. I one spent an hour talking with a Republican V.P. of an investment firm at Time Square station. I just happened to strike up a conversation with him on the #7 train coming from Long Island City. At the end he said that it was important for there to always be Conservatives and Liberals in dialog (and that it would not be good if one side simply replaced the other although that sometimes seems to be the goal of each party.) His point was that the “middle way” or balance always emerges out of that partisan tension.

The Proper Use of ANACHRONISM

June 23, 2010

Here is a very fine article which offers wise counsel and it is written by a skilled attorney who is unusually caring and compassionate.

http://www.smdp.com/Articles-c-2010-06-21-69831.113116_We_have_to_go_back_to_go_forward.html

What bothers me about the article is the use of the word “anachronism.”

When I hear the word “anachronism” I immediately think of something like Shakespeare’s play about Julius Caesar mentioning that a clock sounded. Obviously there were no clocks in Caesar’s day. The mention of a clock during a period prior to the clock’s invention is an ANACHRONISM. Mind you, a clock in and of itself is not an anachronism but rather the MENTION of a clock in an inaccurate context.

If we refer to this article on ANACHRONISM we will see that there is also a secondary meaning:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anachronism

IF you were to walk into an office and see someone writing with a goose quill pen, periodically dipping it in an ink well, then that too is an anachronism. It may be that this person is eccentric or affectacious.
The quill pen and the ink well are not in and of themselves anachronisms but rather the active use or employment of them at a time when one would expect to see a pencil or ballpoint pen.

If one strolls through a museum, one is not gazing at anachronisms but rather at artifacts from a bygone era. When you visit Egypt and tour the pyramids you are not seeing anachronisms. IF you should learn that a governor or a president or prime minister or a dictator were having a pyramid constructed for their entombment then that indeed would be an anachronism.

Now if we examine the article in question, it commences with a colorful array of items which catch the reader’s attention as oddities, then the author mentions that all such items are anachronisms and finally, now that he has the reader’s attention and curiosity aroused to a high pitch, he proceeds to make his REAL point by likening such old fashioned artifacts to the feelings and emotional baggage which people bring with them to divorce cases.

Our author is perfectly correct in pointing out that the love and affection we once felt or our anger and resentment at some sleight or infidelity are no longer appropriate to nurture in our heart but should be placed aside, released, and replaced with reason, compromise, practicality. We need to make peace with the past and move on.

But, herein lies another problem. The reader is left with the suggestion or intimation that our feelings and emotions are anachronisms. I disagree. Homer’s Iliad opens with the Greek word for RAGE “Mainen aide Thea” (Sing, O Goddess, of the RAGE [of Achilles].)

It is my feeling that FEELINGS and EMOTIONS can never properly be called anachronisms since for one thing they never go out of style and secondly if YOU feel anger or resentment or jealousy or attraction then YOU ACTUALLY FEEL those emotions and they are exactly the same kind of emotions felt in the time of Homer. Our technology had advanced but our psycho-dynamics remains perennial and unchanged throughout the eons.

I think the author could have achieved his goal and avoided the problem by listing the items and calling them antiques which would suggest that they no longer fit in and are “out of place.”

Bill Moyer’s Journal

March 26, 2010

This is from a Blackberry Chat

William: Bill Moyers show on 13 said Obama’s bill is more Republican/conservative than progressive socialist

William: Since it allows for FOR-profit insurance corps
William: Every step of progress comes at a REFORM moment – John Nichols William: Terry O’Neil pres of N.O.W. Is also on Moyer’s show William: John Nichols of The Nation
William: Pbs.org
William: Now Moyers is interviewing Gretchen Morgenson of The New York Times William: Privatize the gains but socialize the losses
William: Increase capital requirements to prevent big business from taking on risks so large that it threatens society

Bryan Zaballer: That’s actually a really good idea
William: Warren Buffet – financial weapons of mass destruction

William: She is business columnist
Bryan Zaballer: Especially given the law of decreasing marginal utility William: AIG was a total shock even to highest regulators in Washington William: Such corps want opacity not transparency
William: We need regulator with an APPETITE to regulate
William: The regulator were in thrall to the banks
William: Get religion on consumer protection interests
William: Stopthecfpa.com
William: Small businesses cannot get money from banks
Bryan Zaballer: Cfpa?
William: Consumer protection agency
Bryan Zaballer: Ah ok
William: The anti-reform lobby
William: Senator Chris Dodd is so slow
William: He got wall street money for years
William: Too big to fail institutions
Bryan Zaballer: “Too big to fail
Bryan Zaballer: You should read the book
William: Making the arsonist your fire chiefs
William: They cannot be true reformers
William: Money overrides reform
William: The devils dictionary – ambrose bierce
William: Politico.com
William: Bill Moyers Journal pbs.org

Is Democracy preserved by killing or voting?

February 19, 2010

Facebook status: Voting does not preserve democracy. Killing preserves democracy. Look at the history of the world. The red on the American flag represents blood.

Friend in India: and thinking of the native west Indians,the bloodshed which began from the 18th century and goes on today under a different banners – “capitalism”, “globalization” !

Melissa: I don’t think I agree with you there. Yes, war is necessary from time to time to preserve any country from aggression. But killing itself does nothing to preserve the country as democratic. That takes the continuing vigilance of the citizenry, which seems rather lacking today.

Phelosha:
Are you being facetious? If that were true, what would differentiate us from warring dictatorship, monarchies and communist states?

William:
Perhaps I am wrong about the symbolism of the American flag:

http://www.ehow.com/facts_4866417_american-flag-red-white-blue.html

Red… See More
3. The American flag contains seven red stripes to represent hardiness and valor, qualities the new nation needed to stand up to the British government.

White
4. The American flag includes six white stripes, meaning purity and innocence. This was an apt symbol for the birth of a new nation.

Blue
5. The American flag contains a blue background to symbolize vigilance, perseverance and justice, the qualities of a democratic government.

George Washington’s Interpretation
6. The U.S. history official website (see Resources) presents the legend of George Washington’s interpretation of the American flag’s red, white and blue. The first president said the red stood for the British colors, the white for getting away from Britain and the blue stood for the sky.

Youtube has Howard Zinn’s lecture about America’s “three holy wars” (Revolutionary, Civil and WWII). Zinn estimates that in todays standards the war for Independence would have cost 2.5 million lives. Zinn points out that Canada achieved independence without war and that Great Britain abolished slavery without a civil war.

Obviously, some of us have an understandable vested interest in seeing the U.S. in very pure idealistic terms as “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. I grew in the 1950s watching Superman standing arms akimbo before a waving American flag.

Schools of journalism train reporters to use an inverted pyramid structure with some terse, eye-catching headline at the top.

It appears that my status caught the attention of a few eyes.

The Texas school board voted to omit Ted Kennedy from history texts and emphasize Newt Gingrich who creates books and documentaries that stress the holiness and purity of American and the Christian devotion of the founding fathers. I grew up with Republican parents, Protestant in name, who never went to church even once. I grew in the cold war era thinking that the Russians were the embodiment of evil and America was the embodiment of good.

Nowadays I am more shocked by someone who speaks of the purity of America than by someone who paints a more realistic picture of its strengths and weaknesses. I guess if you read people like Howard Zinn you come away with a view of Americas dirty underside, and if you read Newt Gingrich, you think of America as pure and noble.

I do thank those who take the time to read and comment. I was on errands today but I pondered this thread from my Blackberry.

One interesting experiment is to google on : VOTING KILLING PRESERVES DEMOCRACY

I was surprised to notice that my own post of years ago, which contains my status statement, does not appear in the search engines.

I will post some interesting excerpts, though as yet nothing pops up which supports my status argument.

http://www.democracyweb.org/majority/principles.php

“If it be admitted that a man possessing absolute power may misuse that power by wronging his adversaries, why should not a majority be liable to the same reproach? Men do not change their characters by uniting with one another; nor does their patience in the presence of obstacles increase with their strength. For my own part, I cannot believe it; the power to do everything, which I should refuse to one of my equals, I will never grant to any number of them.”
Alexis de Tocqueville, “Tyranny of the Majority,” Chapter XV, Book 1, Democracy in America

…as democracy is conceived today, the minority’s rights must be protected no matter how singular or alienated that minority is from the majority society; otherwise, the majority’s rights lose their meaning.


http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/democracy_in_america_is_a_useful_fiction_20100124/

Excerpt:

Our transformation into an empire, as happened in ancient Athens and Rome, has seen the tyranny we practice abroad become the tyranny we practice at home. We, like all empires, have been eviscerated by our own expansionism. We utilize weapons of horrific destructive power, subsidize their development with billions in taxpayer dollars, and are the world’s largest arms dealer. And the Constitution, as Wolin notes, is “conscripted to serve as power’s apprentice rather than its conscience.”

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/02/09-7

excerpt:

..the Constitution doesn’t mention corporations, at the time they didn’t exist as independent entities. Within a few decades many founders, including Thomas Jefferson began to see how corporate power could subvert democracy. “I hope [that] we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations,” Jefferson said, “which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength and [to] bid defiance to the laws of our country.” It seems inconceivable that founders would approve the corporate influence in elections that you have just approved.

http://www.logosjournal.com/west.htm

excerpt:

The second prevailing dogma of our time is aggressive militarism, of which the new policy of preemptive strike against potential enemies is but an extension. This new doctrine of U.S. foreign policy goes far beyond our former doctrine of preventive war. It green-lights political elites to sacrifice U.S. soldiers—who are disproportionately working class and youth of color—in adventurous crusades. This dogma posits military might as salvific in a world in which he who has the most and biggest weapons is the most moral and masculine, hence worthy of policing others. In practice, this dogma takes the form of unilateral intervention, colonial invasion, and armed occupation abroad. It has fueled a foreign policy that shuns multilateral cooperation of nations and undermines international structures of deliberation. Fashioned out of the cowboy mythology of the American frontier fantasy, the dogma of aggressive militarism is a lone-ranger strategy that employs “spare-no-enemies” tactics. It guarantees a perennial resorting to the immoral and base manner of settling conflict, namely, the perpetration of the very sick and cowardly terrorism it claims to contain and eliminate. On the domestic front, this dogma expands police power, augments the prison-industrial complex, and legitimates unchecked male power (and violence) at home and in the workplace. It views crime as a monstrous enemy to crush (targeting poor people) rather than as an ugly behavior to change (by addressing the conditions that often encourage such behavior).


I have hear people admonish those who neglect to exercise the right to vote by saying “much blood was shed to empower you with the right to vote.”

Our elected representatives vote to declare war.

It is more difficult to say that we “go to war” to make voting possible EXCEPT with regard to the long history of woman’s suffrage and the civil rights movement which had a non violent side as well as a violent side (on both sides)

I was told as a child that the red color in the American flag represented the righteous blood which patriots shed to make Democracy possible.

The Truman Doctrine was an understandable reaction to address the fear of Communist aggression and such doctrines seem to justify proactive wars to deter a possible threat.

There is a patriotic rhetoric in which the blood of our flag being prior and necessary to peaceful voting rights seem like the sacred religious blood of a martyr’s sacrifice. We speak of a “war to end all wars” and “making the world a safe place for democracy.”

On the other hand, there are those countries and groups which see America’s violent aggression as “the dark side of the force” if we may speak in Starwars terms.

It might shock you the reader to realize that my status sentence was part of an argument I made in favor of a pre-emptive strike of genocidal proportions. I wrote about such long before 9/11 and long before Tom Tancredo spoke of nuking Mecca.

Now that I see Tom Tancredo advocating voter literacy exams which were so oppressive in the South to exclude blacks from election, I have less admiration for Tom Tancredo and have second thoughts about laying aside ethics and values and using techniques to “neutralize geographic areas” and engage in “cultural restructuring” which would surely be the euphemisms we might employ to make such strategies sound more respectable.

I have also come to realize that even if we were to homogenize the worlds population tomorrow, there is no guarantee that in 100 years other ideological divisions might arise which would put us back in this same terrorist / guerrilla predicament.

Hemingway and War

February 8, 2010

I was born in ’49. When I was 15 I read almost everything that Hemingway ever wrote, including “For Whom The Bell Tolls” and also “A Movable Feast” about his years in Paris. My earliest memories were at age 4 or 5, waking long before my parents and turning on the television (we were the first on the block to have one but I had no idea that television was a novelty). Each morning I watched “Victory at Sea” narrated by people like Ed Hurley. I watched films of infantry in Europe. I assumed that when I grew up that I too would fight in the Army like my father and kill the wicked enemy. No adults were aware of what I was thinking. I remember being around election booths during Eisenhower’s election. I was curious to peek under the curtains. I thought war and killing was manly. I though drinking and smoking pipes and growing a beard was manly. I realized that Hemingway chased after wars, including the Spanish Civil war. My father saw Hemingway every day for two weeks in the 12 Infantry 4th Division. Hemingway always had a canteen on his belt filled with gin or whiskey. In the early 1990s I got to speak for an hour with one of Hemingway’s two jeep drivers during those weeks. He said he had never seen a braver man under fire than Hemingway and could not understand why he committed suicide around 1960. I suggested that sometimes a suicidal wish to constantly place oneself in danger to validate oneself or die can give the illusion of courage. I also read the Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane in 7th grade. Crane wrote it in 10 days flat and had never seen any form of battle much less a civil war battle. I realize you are asking about the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. Without Google, this is all I can say. And I remember the name Franco. Now I shall google.

I admire Hemingway and do not mean to disparage him by suggesting that he manifested the illusion of courage. So, I ask myself what example I might find of courage which is free from the goals of self-validation, and I think of Audie Murphy, who did not choose to be where he was, yet did something totally courageous, partly because he had to, and partly because he could, and partly because of luck, chance and circumstance that he survived. And then he went on to live a humble modest life in pursuit of very different things than the danger of armed conflict.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audie_Murphy

One man is not better or worse than another. Both kinds of men are necessary in the world. Each in their own way did what they had to do.

State of the Union Speeches

January 26, 2010

William F. Gavin, author of this article, comes under a criticism leveled by an article in The Atlantic Monthly, Jan.-Feb. 2010, entitled “This Article is Too Long” by Michael Kinsley, which points out that journalists ramble and emote too much and fail to come quickly to the point. I feel critical of Gavin because of his long rant which contains “hymns to Moloch.” We already get the point from his other ramblings without throwing in the Moloch reference. Moloch is particularly offensive to Bible readers because of passages that mention infanticide, passing children through the fire to Moloch.” Whatever may be wrong with State of the Union speeches, they need not be likened to infanticide. Furthermore, though we are familiar with the term Moloch in the Bible, there is to my knowledge no mention of “hymns to Moloch.

Plato’s Republic observes that “the State is the soul written in large letters.” People fail to realize that our government, our judicial system and our media are all MIRRORS which reflect our own tastes, or rather the tastes of the rabble, the lowest common denominator. How would you describe a political convention (regardless of party): as a circus-like hoopla. When judges enter the court, how are they dressed? Like priests of old in robes. Everyone rises, WHY, because we like pomp and ceremony. Everyone raises their right hand to swear an oath? Why? Is it magic? What of people who were born without arms or lost their hand in an accident? May they not give testimony. Then we swear an oath! Why? Jesus said not to swear oaths, yet we pretend to be a Bible-based society. THEN, get this we swear to tell the TRUTH. Do YOU really believe that you have access to the TRUTH. I certainly do not. I DO know when I am intentionally telling a lie or fabricating or committing a lie of omission. If we were intelligent and reasonable creatures (which we are not) then we would PROMISE to tell no lie and intentionally omit nothing and we would acknowledge our understanding that should we be found guilty of perjury then we will suffer the civil and criminal penalties of perjury. We LOVE to speak of OUR “commander-in-chief” but a president is not OUR commander-in-chief (because we are not a military state). A president is only commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces.