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, 2015 - 2:28 p.m.
Welcome to a post breakfast edition of Wise Madness. Does that change how I write? We'll find out. It does cut down on my readership, the earlier I post the more people read it. I should repost the previous days entry every morning when I get up. I'll try that.
Yesterday was Monday so I had therapy. I spent most of my time talking about my time visiting Van Merc Hill. That's Joe and Emily's house. That is probably not the best way for me to spend my therapy but it's hard to not talk about what's most on my mind. There's a slew of things I can't talk about here that I'd rather talk about with friends but don't have friends I can talk about them with so I end up discussing them in therapy.
Was that last sentence at all comprehensible?
After therapy I went home. I turned my computer on and found that it was installing updates but was hung up while doing so. I waited for it to get through them. While doing that I fell asleep with the computer on my lap. More on the computer later.
Dinner was simple, I just nuked the leftover mac & cheese. I don't like pasta why do I like mac & cheese? Part of it is thinking of it as a cheese, butter, and garlic salt delivery system. I made myself my first hot chocolate of the year. I didn't have any milk in the house so good thing it was the kind you just add water too. If you are getting that buy the Land O Lakes brand, it's the best I've found you don't have to spend an arm and a leg on.
After dinner I was off to Rockwood Music Hall to see the geniusical Jean Rohe. This wss the third and last in her series of band shows featuring new material at Rockwood this month. Why weren't you there? If you were seeing Glen Hansard and Richard Thompson at the Kings Theater I'll give you a pass otherwise I'm marking you absent. Fred let me know before the show that he'd have to miss it so he gets an excused absence. As for the rest of you this will affect your grade.
The new songs are great and for the most part quite different from what's she's done before. Last night she debuted Safety, a sequel to Nobody Asked Me to Dance, reflecting the tragic turn of events in Syria since the event recounted in the original song
After the show I stopped at Trader Joe's for eggs, milk, and peanut butter. This morning I made myself a taylorhameggandcheese on a bagel. That's something I couldn't get at Van Merc Hill. As always it was delicious. Now I am out of Taylor Ham. I need to find a place to get it in New York.
Now on to something serious, not the Planned Parenthood massacre but the reaction to the Planned Parenthood massacre. People need to listen to themselves. They are blaming the tragedy on the verbal attacks on Planned Parenthood. The logic is that by equating what Planned Parenthood does to murder they gave justification to the murderer and so the speakers share responsibility for the murders. But of course by saying this the speakers are equating what the anti-abortion activists are doing with murder. So if someone kills one of them will they accept the blame? If the moral argument were right then they should accept the blame. They are in fact doing exactly the same thing, calling people murderers.
Robert Lewis Dear is the only one responsible for the killings. If you want to say that the easy availability of firearms makes attacks like this more likely I'm all with you. But that's not the same as sharing moral responsibility. The same goes for blaming movies, books, TV shows, and song lyrics. We can't stifle free expression in the fear that someone somewhere might take it the wrong way and get violent. We can ban shouting fire in a crowded theater, we can ban direct calls to action, "Murder infidels wherever you are." But we shouldn't extend it past that. As most of My Gentle Readers are on the left let me point out this example. Remember when the cops in New York were killed in the aftermath of the Baltimore riots and people on the right were blaming the incendiary language of the protestors? How did you feel about that? Do you think that accusation was valid? I didn't and I don't. The two cases are quite similar. Both were acts by a troubled and violent people in reaction to outside events. I happen to feel that the criticisms of the police are valid and those against planned parenthood are without merit but we can't base morality or the law on our personal opinions. Those on the right feel that they are justified and I'm not.
What you can do, what I can do, is avoid the incendiary language ourselves and suggest to our allies that they do the same. Yes I am guilty of using it too. It's seductive. Righteous indignation feels good. There are times when I want to say, "Doing X kills people. It's the moral equivalent of murder." And I have said it but I shouldn't have and I will work to not do it in the future. Will I always succeed? No and I'll forgive others when they fail just as I would like to be forgiven myself. And the thing is that seems to be the true liberal point of view. It's the conservatives who see things as black and white, we on the left are supposed to look for shades of gray. So as a good liberal I will not blame Republicans for the murders carried out by Robert Lewis Dear. I will blame Mr. Dear. And before I pass judgment on him get all the facts. If he is insane then he isn't morally responsible. Do I know he is? No but it's certainly a possibility and I'll wait to find out. Right now we know very little.
I'm back on the XP machine. The Windows 7 machine was unused but old. It needed lots of updates. When I turned it off it tried to load them. It took forever then hit a snag and it said it couldn't configure the updates and undid them. It was hanging up this morning so I restarted it. It added 198 updates. If finally finished now it is 15% the way to configuring them. Based on my experience yesterday this will take hours. When it's done will it work? I hope so. If not I have to figure out what to do with it. It's much nicer than this XP machine but only if it is working. Maybe I'll get the anxiety down to a level I can send my Windows 10 computer in for repairs. That would of course be best. Ugh so now hours later once again the computer gave up installing the updates and is reverting to the original configuration. Can anyone help me with this? I'd appreciate it. Till then I will have to never turn off the computer and live with the glitches.
I'm not supposed to start with writing about my computer. OK I'm moving all this to the end. The problem is that's what's on my mind as I start writing. My blogging is organic, I write what I'm thinking about but I try to also make it literary and keep My Gentle Readers in mind. I very often plan things out but I'm always willing to call an audible if something hits me as I write. OK now to start writing the beginning of this entry.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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