"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Apr 3, 2010

Wherein MJS drops an asteroid on a field of pretense...


Excerpted teaser:

"...I found myself remembering the poky little holy-roller churches in the nowhere town where I grew up – remembering, and wondering, really, wouldn't I be having a better time there? Oh, sure, those congregations were desperately ignorant, superstitious, benighted – anything you like, in fact. And if I were there – I might soon want to be back at Strephon's house. But even so, there was something admirably irruptive and from-below, something Dionysiac and self-determined, something bloody-minded and unpersuadably stubborn about those little conventicles. The holy-rollers had pinned their hopes on an awfully long shot. But at least it was a hope in something bigger and better than meritocracy.

Real hope for serious social transformation – if anybody were offering such a thing – might give religious hope some competition. But what people are actually given is a choice between religious hope, however tenuous, and the no-hope of an educational regime that starts winnowing people into brights and not-so-brights in nursery school. Perhaps it's hardly surprising that people who got winnowed out early might feel more kindly toward God than toward the Brights -- toward a God who, as the famous young lady sings, is wont sometimes to put down the mighty from their seats, and exalt the humble; toward a Messiah whose low opinion of scribes and Pharisees – the liberals of their day -- is well-documented and pungently expressed.

The flyovers' atavistic churchiness is, I think, of a piece with their dislike of liberals – a dislike which wounds, and aggrieves, and puzzles the liberals themselves no end. Can't they understand, the liberals plaintively ask, that we have their best interests at heart? We're trained, educated, conscientious, highly professional people – why don't they trust us..."

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