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
February 23, 2016 - 12:27 p.m.
Twenty minutes ago I had a great idea of what to write about. I of course don't have the faintest idea what it was now. Some days I plot out what I'm writing very carefully. Sometimes I just write and hope that triggers me to remember one of the zillion things I thought of to write about the last 24 hours. I really am an endless font of ideas but as I don't have a recording of all my thoughts most of them escape into the ether.
I had an interesting therapy session. Did you pick up from my last entry that I was not in a happy place? I often just write one line about that and people usually seem to miss it. I'm still not in a happy place but I'm doing a bit better. It led to an uncomfortable therapy session but the good kind of uncomfortable. Ugh, I forgot to freeze my bagels again. I specifically got up yesterday to do that and somehow forgot. I'm not just an idiot I'm a talented idiot. If it was an Olympic event I'd have a shot at making the team, maybe even metaling.
See my memory was just triggered. That's how it works.
After therapy I have a half an hour till the bagels get half-price. The first thing I did was go to the bank and finally deposit the check from my Fantasy Baseball league. They have made it easier now which relieves some of my anxiety about depositing checks. If you are just becoming one of My Gentle Readers one of the things you'll learn is I have anxiety disorder and it strikes in strange places. I can see myself from the outside clear enough to know how strange this seems. It's strange to me too. It bugs me when other people can't see that their idiosyncrasies are idiosyncrasies. I know people who in my position would say, "You mean you don't get anxiety when depositing checks? I can't believe that." You know those people too. Back to how they make it easier; now all I do is feed the check in and it reads the amount right off the check and all I have to do is confirm the amount.
After my adventures in mental health weirdness I did something mentally healthy; it was a beautiful day so I took a walk around Greenwich Village.
That's the site of The Bottom Line, do you recognize the building? It's now an lecture hall. I'm not happy that the club is gone but I am happy that it's being used for education. I know people that were sure that NYU was just going to rent it to somebody that would pay more. That reminds me of one of my possible topics. Let's see if it can stay in my head till I get to it.
When I got ot the glory of Washington Square Park I took this.
That's been very popular on Instagram. It clearly got recommended to people I don't know as they are liking it. I'm am very much not famous on Instagram I follow more than twice as many people as follow me. I am famous on Facebook where the ration of followers to following is about 23:1. My definition of famous is significantly more people know you than there are people you know.
After getting my bagels I headed home. I made myself a delicious dinner of Cajun chicken and fried plantains. I was going to say that I should go to Trader Joe's today but my first priority has to be laundry. I'm pretty much out of clean clothes.
OK so now to some substance that NYU reminded me of. When people are stressed, especially when they are not educated, they look for scapegoats. It's the easy answer, If we can just defeat this one thing everything will be better. The Jews have always been a popular choice. I don't have to list all the time we've been blamed. But it goes so far beyond that. Donald Trump's entire campaign is based on blaming "Them!" When he announced his candidacy he said, "When Mexico (meaning the Mexican Government) sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you (pointing to the audience). They’re not sending you (pointing again). They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people!" That’s classic. He's telling people that all their problems are caused by these invaders and he'll protect us from them.
This kind of thinking dominates the Middle East. The Saudis blame everything on Iran. Iran on the Saudis and America. Israel is of course always a popular choice though in recent times less relevant. It's all the Sunnis! It's all the Shiites!
A significant number of Americans blame the US government. We used to blame the Communists.
The reality is too messy for people to want to deal with. There can be some basis for the fears but people then exaggerate them. These are all large diverse groups made of individuals. They aren't the same: One person doing something wrong doesn't mean they should all be blamed. But that's the easy thing to get past. That's a lesson we hear all the time. The hard less is that sometimes things go wrong because they are complex and very responsive to small stimuli and even though bad choices contribute they don't have to be malicious
The economy melted down in 2007-2008 The right blames the US Government their favorite scapegoat. The reality was we built up this complex financial system that nobody understood. Nobody knew everything that was going on. There were unseen connections. People were overleveraged and very few people saw it. Not nobody but not enough. But people don't want that. They want to blame somebody. Somebody had to want this to happen. Was it the fault of the banks? Well if you choose a broad enough definition of bank, most of what happened involved institutions that acted like banks, lending money, but were not organized or regulated as banks. And it wasn't like they planned this. It was many people doing things that locally were rationally but globally disastrous. I'm not saying there was no malfeasance. There were banks that were taking bets that some financial products they were selling would go bust. But that wasn't what caused the problem. That was being a vulture and taking advantage of other people's losses. I wish the Obama administration had not made the decision to not aggressively move against the crooks. But too many people want to concentrate on punishing "them." You have the odd situation where the Tea Party and part of the left hate TARP, the "bank bailout" because it helps "them." Never mind that we'd have had a 1929 type event without it. It's so much easier to blame them than to unravel the complexities.
So back to NYU and the Bottom Line. I fought for the Bottom Line and complained bitterly about NYU. I argued that the Bottom Line contributed to the fundamental NYU mission of education. But that didn't make NYU evil. NYU is incapable of being evil or of being good. Despite what the Supreme Court said corporations aren't people. They are essentially amoral. I used to say that there are no real Specter's in the world, organizations dedicated to evil. But in a sense there are, Al Qaeda and the Islamic State for instance. But even they don’t see themselves as evil. In their heads they are trying to do good. But as it all comes full circle, they blame all the problems on the world on the west so anything that hurts the west is good.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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