Comic Corrective and Dr. Suess Edappel8 at
Sun Dec 30 15:48:48 EST 2001

Thanks, Herb, for posting your message of a couple of weeks ago.  I certainly 
agree with your observations on the myopic jingoism in the current political 
scene, but, as you know, I have a different take from yours as to what counts 
as "rhetorical tragedy."  I want to post on that topic later, in response.  
I'm just not up to it now, as I am deeply emersed in the tragic frame (Herb's 
translation: melodrama) just one hour before the start of the Eagles-Giants 
game.  This contest, in my judgment, DOES epitomize Good vs. Evil, 
Truth-Justice-and-the-American-Way against 

After 9/11, everbody's supposed to "Love New York."  I don't even LIKE New 
York.  I respect Manhattan.  I will grudgingly concede that it is the center 
of the known universe.  The other four boroughs, though, are undistinguished, 
as far as I'm concerned, and I say this as the son of a Brooklyn native.  
Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island are just glorified bedrooms, 
basking in an ersatz status they haven't come close to earning.

I surely honor the work-a-day heroes of 9/11, including those who had jobs in 
the Twin Towers.  What gets under my skin is the incessant condescension 
toward Philadelphia by the opinion-makers of that Babylon-by-the-Hudson.  
Philly gets the Republican Convention in 2000, and the New Yorker has to 
publish, in response, a put-down piece about how the city of my birth is no 
longer a "headquarters" town.  A month or two ago, in Ken Burns' last segment 
in his series on New York, some Gotham mover-and-shaker said, with stinging 
sarcasm, about the decision as to where to put the United Nations after World 
War II, "My G--, they were even thinking about putting it in Philadelphia!"

Screw New York.  Go Eagles!

As for Les's epic poem, I guess I need to refine a bit more what I mean by 
"rationality."  (There was, by the way, a special issue of that journal on 
argumentation devoted to the topic of Burke and argument/rationality.  I've 
got a photocopy of an article or two from it somewhere.  Maybe Jim Klumpp can 
clue us into the date and name.  He edited that special issue, I do believe.) 
 Let me cite one thing Les said that maybe gets close to what I mean by 
"rationality" in respect to the long-range survival of humankind:

Rationality on the other hand, as you describe
it, would eliminate freewill and make puppets of us all.

Maybe you've got it right, Les.  I often think animals are more "rational" 
than human beings.  What's so dumb about a being, the dinosaurs, that 
survives for 60 million years?  They didn't have language/dialectic/drama 
dragging them down, like concrete "shoes" on a mafia hit-victim.

That's not the whole story about language/dialectic/drama, I know.  Socrates 
said it's better to be a melancholy human than a "happy" pig.  There's enough 
dramatic "irrationality" in humans, nevertheless, in respect to what Burke 
calls in P&C the "tests of our tests of 'success,'" to prompt Burke to say to 
me in a hotel room in Boston in 1987 that he gives the human race only a 
"50-50" chance of survival.

Gotta go "warm up" now by walking rapidly from room to room.  My living-room 
'sympathetic magic" during the game might get the Eagles one much-needed 




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