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
September 29, 2015 - 12:41 p.m.
Why did none of you remind me that I have to create the event for the next John Platt's On Your Radar? I blame all of you and free myself of all responsibility.
Yesterday was therapy. Went weird. My therapist thinks I should try computer dating. I don't. I know it works for some people, some people I know well. But I know me even better. I'd have to get into things I can't really talk about here to explain why. There are a lot of things I can't discuss here that I'd like to write about. When I have trouble blogging that's usually the reason. I know exactly what's on my mind but I have to find something else on my mind.
I went up to my PO Box and all that was there was my WFUV membership renewal. I threw it out. I always pledge when I'm at the station. I always miss hearing them thank me. Even with my problems with the changes I will remain a member but because of my financial situation I have to cut back the amount. Would I have cut back if I were flush? Maybe. I listen more to, WQXR, WUMB and Folk Alley now. They are my number 4 station. Maybe that's not true as I listen so much on Sundays. That reminded me to listen to John Platt's Sunday Supper on the archives now. I only heard the end on Sunday as they moved the show to when I can't listen most weeks. He started the show with Nellie McKay's "I Wanna Get Married." Very appropriate as I have so many friends that got proposed to or married the last week. I also have a ton of friends having babies, almost all in December or January. What happened in March and April?
I've been so busy that I stayed home last night. Even I can't go out every night.
I haven't talked about the Mets. I love the Mets. I'm so happy they are finally winning. But there is sorrow mixed with the joy. This is my first season without going to game since 1968. I used to go to more than 20 games a year. I can't watch the games on TV. So I have not been part of this season. All I can do is read about the games in the paper. That makes me very sad. I miss baseball. I miss seeing Alan. It reminds me how much I miss so much of my life.
Wow that's depressing. Now where do I go? OK I will go exactly where I planned yesterday when taking my shower. I do my best thinking in the shower. I started off doing some bad thinking, thinking of the bad things I can't write about here. When I catch myself obsessing over this stuff I bring my thoughts to a screeching stop and move in a new direction. So I found religion. No I didn't become religious I thought about the pope. Actually I thought about people thinking about the pope. I always want to capitalize pope, president, and similar words that refer to one specific person; it feels like a proper noun. So in my inner style book I would say; "the first pope was Peter" but "The Pope visited New York." I sometimes slip into that usage here.
I see two kinds of posts about the Pope; "The Pope is so wonderful he's for the poor and immigrants and against global warming." And "The Pope is terrible he's against ordaining women and compares transgender people to nuclear weapons." The reality is that the Pope is a person, right on some things wrong and others. To the adoring masses I say, "So he's for all the things that you and all of your friends are for, that I'm for, does that make us all great?" His politics is someone worse, meaning less like mine, than most of my friends as there is the gender and sexual issues. But he's also so much better than his predecessors. He is not emphasizing the harsh parts and he is emphasizing the good. I appreciate that. He is being helpful on so many things where the change from his papal focus makes a big difference. He actually has helped move people on climate change, he hasn't moved them on abortion, women's and transgender rights. I thought spell check did not include "transgender" in its dictionary. I was someone taken about. Of course what really happened was I made a typo and wrote "trangender." Took me a bit to notice the missing "s."
Let's go back to comparing transgender people to nuclear weapons. The headline that kept getting repeated was "Pope Francis Compares Transgender People To Nuclear Weapons." I tracked down the origin and from what I can tell it's from CBS station in San Francisco which has the headline, Pope Francis Compares Transgender People To Nuclear Weapons In New Book. The "New Book" is important as it came out during the papal visit to the US I took it to mean he said it in a speech here. This is what he actually said:
“Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings,” the pope says. “Let’s think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation.”None of the excerpts I read on Facebook actually made the quote. They just said the Pope said both Transgender People and nuclear weapons were unnatural. I had planned on writing about the nature of unnatural but that's not what he actually said. Actually I'm not sure what this means. Is unnatural the same as not in the order of creation? Well perhaps. This sets me off in a few directions.
First he's not comparing transgender people to nuclear weapons any more than saying apples and avalanches both start with an "a" compares apples to avalanches. The headline is misleading. It makes it sound like he said, "Transgender people are as bad as nuclear war."
My problems with what he says comes from the entire idea of "order of creation" or as I originally planned on writing, "natural." What is civilization other than people going against what's natural, against the order of creation, and imposing our own order? It's cold we make fire. It's raining we build shelter. We can't find enough food, we grow our own food. The food we find in nature doesn't meet our needs? We change it. Our domestic crops have little resemblance to their wild ancestors. Using nuclear isotopes to create gamma rays to destroy tumors is just as unnatural as building nuclear weapons to destroy cities. What makes things good or bad has nothing to do with if's natural or part of the order of creation. Things are good or bad because they lead to good or bad results. Know why gender theory isn't bad? It's because it doesn't hurt anyone. Know why nuclear arms are bad? They kill people. This does not involve coming up with some definition of what's part of the order of creation or what's not. I guess the Pope can say, "I'm the pope so god so I'm right, papal infallibility and all that." But I know I'm not going to buy that. I'm not going to discuss the third part of the Pope's against the order of creation troika, genetic manipulation. I'll let you think about it. I'll just say that many people who object to his notions when it comes to gender theory accept it when it comes to that. I always worry when I write about GMOs. It elicits Pavlovian responses.
The Pope is a man. He has virtues and sins; he can't be defined by looking at just one or the other. There's no absolute. Saying someone is simply good or bad is well bad. Be happy about the good stuff and fight against the bad and feel free to mess with Mr. In Between.
I can’t leave you with you perhaps misunderstanding my feelings about one thing so just to make things clear.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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