Tag Archives: Leon Wieseltier

A Side of Feelings

face-palm-polar-bear

SMH…

When it comes to feelings (nothing more than feelings), there are two strongly reactive — yet very separate — feelings clubs on my mind these days. The one that surprises me is personal and seems to have only myself as a member. The unsurprising one, the angry, depressed, shocked one, contains nearly all the liberals these days.

A more on-the-nose term might be ‘city folk.’ (Or my personal favorite: “polis people.”) Some see this — I fully agree — as a divide between rural and city sensibilities, between local old-fashioned and global modern tech, between yesterday and tomorrow.

One side is stunned the other won, while the winners are holding their breath wondering what they’ve won…

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Cast Your Vote!

ballotAs I was downloading my sample ballot and poking around the web for information about local issues and candidates (because that’s what good citizens do), I was struck by the profound sense of pain, fear, and sorrow I felt.

The feelings were so overwhelming I found myself, once again this election cycle, silently weeping. And praying that God would touch people’s hearts and minds with a measure of grace and decency.

How have we come to this? How have we gotten so far from our ideals and founding beliefs? How have we gotten so evil?

In a few days the ballots will be counted, and we’ll know if we’ve embraced that evil or rejected it. In a few days the future direction of our country will be set.

At this point, I can only repeat the brilliant words of Leon Wieseltier from his appearance on The Colbert Report:

“A democratic society, an open society, places an extraordinary intellectual responsibility on ordinary men and women, because we are governed by what we think, we are governed by our opinions. So the content of our opinions, and the quality of our opinions, and the quality of the formation of our opinions, basically determines the character of our society.”

He went on to say:

“And that means that in a democratic society, in an open society, a thoughtless citizen of a democracy is a delinquent citizen of a democracy.”

And, truly, that says it all. I can’t say it better or add to that.

So I won’t.

This November 8th, be sure to vote.

And, please… vote for decency. On just that count, the choice is clear.


Oscar Who?

OscarAs I watch nearly everyone in the country simultaneously succumb to the seasonal short bout of red carpet fever, I’m trying to remember the last time I actually watched “The Oscars” — the Academy Awards, Hollywood’s incestuous night of indulgent and opulent self-congratulation.

I’m pretty sure the last time I watched was back in the 1990s. It’s possible it’s even back in the 1980s. For sure, I can’t recall watching them this century. But I can say for sure when is the last time I cared about the Oscars. Because that one is easy. Because that one is: never!

For the record, here’s why…

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Imagine

remember

When we work together.

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Unto The Breach

Iowa Caucus

Here we go again…

Here we go again! Political mechanics (rather than celestial mechanics, quantum mechanics, or auto mechanics) brings the Silly Season of a presidential election around once more. Tonight, in Iowa, the results of the first of the Primaries will give us the first clues whether He Who Must Not Be Named gets traction.

The social mechanics, along with technology, seems to make this election cycle unlike any seen in American politics. Despite a common assertion, the world (society, really) does evolve and change!

So no one knows what will happen tonight!

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Dark Days

blackSo now we have 12/2 to go along with 9/11. And while the death and injury this time isn’t of the magnitude it was 14 years ago, the hysteria seems to be greater. Only five days after the tragedy, the leading Republican candidate engages in a form of hate speech not seen in mainstream American politics since Joe McCarthy.

To say that I’m appalled doesn’t begin to describe it. That people cheer on and support this blustering carnival barker speaks directly to the decline of real American values and principles. Trump is a childish clown seeing how much he can get away with.

It’s the people who follow him that scare the crap out of me. The ignorance and lack of critical thought is — as I have long said — very dangerous.

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Annual Report 2014

Sydney Opera HouseWell, it’s that time of year when WordPress generates our Annual Report and we find out how many sold-out Sydney Opera House performances we earned. My first full year (2012) as a blogger I didn’t even rate one! That year visitors were compared to Mt. Everest climbers, and I’m sure there was no intended connection with oxygen deprivation.

This year — identically to last year — I managed to fill the House “about” five times. That’s page views; I’m up just shy of 500 views from last year (not quite a 4% increase). Visitors is another matter. Over 2,000 more visitors stopped by this year (a 140% increase).

But I really wanted to write about the posts

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Material Disbelief

collisionTwo things collided. I saw Leon Wieseltier on The Colbert Report and was enthralled by his view of modern social life. That moved a friend of mine to look for other YouTube videos of Wieseltier. She posted a good one that then moved me to look at more. Bottom line, I ended up watching a fair bit of the man last week. Still enthralled.

Meanwhile, after my last post about religion and atheism, a reader commented that she found the article so balanced she couldn’t tell on which side I stood. As an agnostic, that’s the goal. Yet, in one of the videos, Wieseltier expresses an idea that really grabbed me.

It has to do with on which side of what line I stand.

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“People Are Stupid!”

stupid pillsThe title above is deliberately a little inflammatory, but people who know me, and people who read this blog, may — not without reason — think this is a common sentiment of mine. And it sort of is, but it’s actually a code for something much more intricate and involved. Last time I wrote about Leon Wieseltier, whose ten-word critique of modern society blew me away, especially his central clause: “Not enough critical thinking.”

This time I’d like to explore — or at least begin exploring — exactly what (to me) the phrase, “People are stupid!” really means. There are some key distinctions to be made. For example, I don’t think people are more, or less, stupid than they’ve ever been; our brains haven’t changed in many thousands of years.

And let’s face it, we all take a Stupid Pill now and then.

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Leon Wieseltier

Leon WieseltierSometimes you encounter someone who seems to really hit the nail on the head in terms of how they see the world. The brilliance of these moments is that — especially if you tend to be a social outlier — you’re given the gift of knowing you’re not alone. There are people who not only see the world as you do, but see it even more clearly and intelligently than you ever could.

Leon Wieseltier appeared on The Colbert Report last Tuesday (Oct 7), and I was so blown away by his words that I kept rewinding and rewinding so I could write it all down and record here what he said.

I was especially impressed by his ten-word critique of modern society!

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