Comic Corrective and Dr. Suess
Edappel8 at cs.com
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,
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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