I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
December 01, 2016 - 11:09 a.m.
I had an entire entry planned yesterday. I know it's somewhat political but that's all I remember. It was so clear I thought I'd have no problem remembering it. I was wrong. I never left the house so I can't say I did much that was interesting. I created the Facebook event for the next John Platt's On Your Radar. I enjoy when things are wrong and I have to work around them. Facebook just made it harder to promote events. It no longer gives me the option of inviting even all my friends on the group. I used to have it automatically offer to invite all group members.
It's been nine hours since I wrote that last sentence. Since then I made breakfast and went to therapy. When I got home I somehow fell asleep for god knows how long with a computer on my lap. I woke up and fell back a sleep with the computer still on my lap. I awoke the second time and was thinking about what to do now and realized that I never wrote today's Wise Madness. I could just wait till tomorrow and skip a day. Part of me wants very much to do that. But I'm going to tell that part of me that it's not going to get what it wants. I might skip writing tomorrow for lack of something to write about but I won't skip writing out of laziness. On the other hand, it's 7:30 and I haven't eaten. Nope, I'm going to write. I can eat late.
I had a different commute to the hospital where I have my therapy. Jane gave me a ride to the train station but we got a late start, that was my fault, and I just missed my train. I had to wait half an hour to the next one. One of the reasons I changed the time of my therapy was to allow for the possibility. The bus from the train station to the hospital runs only once an hour so there is always a wait involved. I of course missed the bus so I had to take a cab, my emergency backup plan. I had never even seen cabs at the station but I knew they had to be there somewhere and that if they are there they had to be close to the station house. That's the far end from where I usually go so I would not have seen the cabs there. I got off the train, looked around and saw some black cars near where I was. There was no cab stand but the guy saw me and picked me up. There was a line of cabs. If there hadn't been I'd have used Gett. If there were no Gett there I'd have walked and been a little late for therapy.
The commute home was my normal, bus to a train to a bus to a bus. What was different was the train I took. The first bus came right on time and made no stops so I made the train that leaves half an hour earlier than usual. Yay! The train came six minutes late, not seemingly a big deal. But the bus I take from the train station was right on time and that meant that I missed it. The next bus was not for half an hour, it was the one I usually take so I got home no earlier than usual. The joys of traveling by three buses and one train.
Damn, I just wasted another hour. I think I crossed the mac and cheese threshold. That's what I'm having for dinner. Mac and Cheese Threshold is the name of my new band.
I have several political ideas bouncing around my head. I wish I could remember the string of ideas that started with trade policy. It went all over the place. I wrote a few down and deal with one that I started thinking about earlier than that, political correctness. One of the Trump's themes that resonated with his supporters was his politically incorrect speech often directed at attacking political correctness. I know what many of you are thinking, what I usually think when I heard him talk like that; this isn't about political correctness but simple decency. Calling Mexicans rapists is not politically incorrect, it's vile. That's true but it's not all there is to this. He's using rejection of political correctness as a cover for bigotry. What lets this happen? I'm afraid that partly the fault Gentle Readers lies not in the stars but in ourselves, that we are underdogs [It is a full day since I started writing this. Now I'll finish the damn thing ]. The powerless try to feel in control by trying to exert control over the small things as they can't over the big things. Those that empathy with the groups that are discriminated against often take it even further. One thing often done is policing language. This is where we get into political correctness. The joke used to be calling short people, 'vertically challenged." Now it's fine to change terminology but when people are castigated for not using it they take offense. Instead of making people more sympathetic to the group they feel resentment. What Trump did was tap into that resentment. Trump gets the person who was criticized for saying "homosexual" instead of "gay" on his side by taking it further and saying "fag." When he's criticized, he says he's just not being politically correct and gets cheered on by the man that said, "homosexual" but will now feel liberated to say "fag."
Language policing can be counterproductive. You want to change how people speak? Change the way that you speak. I know that's what works on me.
This is about choosing your battles. We are going to have many of them during the Trump presidency. We need to concentrate on the big things and not get distracted by the small ones. Trump throws all these offensive things out there which people spend all their energy attacking while his policies get let attention. We need to focus on the policy. We can only do so much. The time we spend responding to his tweets is time we aren't spending on responding to his appointments. Once he's president it will be time we aren't responding to his executive orders and the bills congress passes. The problem is not that he's a boor, it's that he's going to be a president of the United States with no idea of the limit of his powers. That is enough to keep us busy.
The other issue is we need to win over some of the people that voted for him. They aren't the enemy they are the battlefield. Only a minority of the voters voted for him. It's more a matter of the electoral college. The same with the House, more people voted for the Democrats but they were concentrated in fewer districts. So, it's not that most people are in favor of Republican policies but that in today's demographics they can gain power with a minority. What happened was that Trump won small victories in the Rust Belt while losing ground on the coasts and in Texas, none of which tipped the results in those states. But those are the rules we follow and even if they aren't fair they are the rules we must win under. I'm not going to make believe I know how to do that. I'm just going to suggest that belittling the voters whose minds you want to change is not a good strategy. What we have failed to do is get whites without a college degree to feel that we care about people like them. Ironically what we need to do is police our own language. My father used to say, "you shouldn't say it even though it's true." It's a good rule to follow. Every day I read things on Facebook, by friends, that drive me crazy. I rarely tell them that they are being illogical or simplistic because I know it won't help. I will write things here where I'm not being personal and even here I don't write everything I think because I know that people will take it personally. I'm concerned about what I'm writing today. I hope you take it as helpful hints not personal attacks. It's how I mean it.
I forgot something important, what I had for dinner last night. I finally made mac & cheese. I spiced it up by adding Taylor ham and garlic salt. It was yummy. What was more yummy was the chocolate chip brownies that Bernie and Jane's neighbor left for them. I had one and that was after having a double hot chocolate. The Trader Joe's hot chocolate pops recipe calls for only ¾ cup of milk. That's half of what I want to drink so I used twice as much milk and used two pops. It's very good. I'm going to have to stop at a holiday market to get the No Chewing Allowed hot chocolate. That's the name of the brand. It's not like I sometimes chew hot chocolate. That's the very best. It's the one I described as a cup of orgasm.
Now for breakfast, sausageeggandcheese on a bagel is on the menu. Then I spend the rest of the day preparing the radio show I'm recording tomorrow. I've been listening to new music from NERFA and that people had sent me. Some of it is marvelous.
An Attempt at Wisdom - December 06, 2016
Follow on Feedly