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Showing posts from September, 2009

Bogus Civility

Finally someone said what I've been thinking about this constant call to civility: Have we transformed into so brittle a citizenry that we are unable to handle a raucous debate over the future of the country? If things were quiet, subdued and "civil" in America today, as Pelosi surely wishes, it would only be proof that democracy wasn't working. (Please read the whole article.) Sure, Pelosi wishes that everyone would behave already, but it is also often conservatives and others arguing over the proper way of dissenting rather than just dissenting already. There seems to be a practical meltdown in areas of the conservative blogosphere over comportment... the theory seeming to be that passion is off-putting to the all-important center. In order to win, therefore, we need to be bland. Frankly, I think that other than those in power who would rather not be bothered by opposition, it's only people without ideas who are arguing over civility. The Tea Party pro

Dreaming the end of racism together.

The essential element of change is to be able to visualize the goal. It helps even more to begin to behave as though the goal has already been reached. Then, when the real world situation doesn't conform to the new pattern it's easily recognizable as wrong. Everyone has already accepted the desired end state. No one needs to be convinced of anything, the situation simply needs to be corrected. The pattern or template is just as important as the reality in this. The end of slavery didn't come because people were determined to end it first and put equality into the Constitution later. The template and self-identity were there already and people said this is wrong because it didn't fit. It didn't fit their idea of Christian and it didn't fit their idea of American. The same with the civil rights movement. People had a self-image that they believed was true about themselves. Because of that they were able to see and change something that didn't fit. Sometimes I

But I don't have to buy his books, either...

Instapundit linked this by Neil Gaiman. George R. R. Martin is not your bitch. Well, true enough... but I don't have to buy his books either. A couple of posts ago I lamented that I forgot to bring my books to Bubonicon for Mr. Martin to sign. I have three starting with _A Game of Thrones_. I loved the first one and would have read the others on the theory that these three are *it*, right? But I realized that the series was not complete and I chose to stop reading the ones I already *had* until I had them all. I will probably not *buy* any more until they are all published and Mr. Martin announces "The End." Until then I won't read the ones I've already paid for either. Mr. Gaiman is, of course, completely correct that there is no contract between an author and fans that demands that he or she produce anything whatsoever. But open ended series carry a significant risk for the author. As a consumer I no longer have to scramble to buy a book for fear it will n

Little Old Ladies Driving

Two little old ladies were in a car on their way someplace. The driver went through one stop sign, then another. "Edna!" The other said, "You just went through two stop signs." "I did?" Edna replied. "I thought *you* were driving." A little old lady was put put-ing down a high way, holding up traffic. A police officer pulled her over. The officer explained that the speed limit was 50. "Oh, is it? I was sure that the signs said 30." The officer explained, no, the highway number was 30. The speed limit was 50. He noticed passengers in the back seat, two nuns, white as sheets. "Well then," the old lady exclaimed, "the road I was just on must have been highway 113."