Sunday, August 20, 2006

On Why I Write Such Angry Lyrics

Congratulations to Joshua and Kristen on Killian's arrival. Almost 10 pounds?! Go, mom!
(Remember that line: it's the only important one in this post, I expect.)

Currently reading: Diarmid MacCullogh's The Reformation, which is amazingly readable while being huge and inexhaustibly exhaustive--i.e., it covers everything, and Plato's Protagoras, which is so engagingly written character-wise. May this blog aspire to well-writtenness some more!

Mostly though, having survived ProfessorKamp (no t-shirts given!--sob), I'm flailing around wildly trying to get 5 classes ready to teach come August 28. Three preps (three different subjects to prepare for, since three of the classes are in one subject), which isn't bad at all, and Fridays clear for research (or repairing sinks, whichever comes first). Much indoctrination into the local college culture, which--the indoctrination effort--is something I respect even not all of the many aspects of it--the local college culture--don't (yet) grab me. So that's cool. The chance to do philosophy clubs there and at Beth's school, and keep med school groups going, and maybe add a Great Booksish sort of thing, all while having more time to write, makes the fall look very fun to me.

Now that you're screaming in pain thinking of all the reading, sitting, lecturing, and discussing that the above sketch implies, remember, the reason that there are a lot of people in the world is so that none of us has to do everything, and in particular so that not very many people have to do what I do. Be happy I'm happy doing it, and go on your merry way doing normal-people stuff.

On to the main topic of the day, my inadequate efforts at righteous indignation. When not busily popping out monster babies (I mean, large ones), K. says my rants are insufficiently ranty. I keep trying to do better, I really do. It's not that there aren't enough things out there that hack me off. This current decade of damage to US prestige, our moral leadership in the world, the credibility of the rule of law and international cooperation, the budget, the devastation wrought on duh-obvious prevent-the-growth-of-a-violent-underclass programs like HeadStart and college grants and loans is tragic and consequential. The totally unnecessary and utterly wasteful repealing of that part of the regulatory environment that is actually helpful, namely, the part that keeps corporations and government from riding roughshod over the people, is bring-out-the-bracelets time, cuz we're either going to have handcuffs or fisticuffs over this one. And all this cmon-let's-give-the-wealthy-a-chance and let's-show-the-world-who's-boss macho-ness has been elected and reelected by the cynical manipulation of all-too-willing social conservatives, including many conservative evangelicals of whom I am one, done by dragging Jesus's name and a handful of sensible stands (like religious people shouldn't be excluded from public programs, kids should be able to have prayer and Bible groups on campus (or prayer and Quran groups, whatever)) down with acts and values Jesus would have had, at the nicest, caustic things to say about...well, all that and more of the same is enough for me to rear back and flame somebody.

But even so, when I get to my cozy little blogger posting frame, with its soothing and oh-so-aesthetic blue-and-orange-and-putty (at least on my screen) colorscheme, I just can't rant, at least not effectively. Years of seeing Zambian Christians say in print (letters, in their case) what they would never, ever say in public or in the presence of the one addressed or spoke of (nor should they), really made me want to not use (semi-) permanent media for my wailing on something or other. What I really need, apparently, would be, for instance, a blatant despoiler of our precious natural heritage, or a gratuitously condescending elminative materialist to cut me off on Central Expressway--then I could really vent. I know you know the feeling.

It all goes back to a misspent youth...

After years in the late 1970s and very early 80s resisting the arrogant incoherence of the leftists' cavalier and pompous dismissal of intellectual tradition, spirituality in any form, and substantive cultural values, I got used to decrying the religious totalitarianism of neoDarwinism, the explanatory thinness of scientism, and the moral sterility of secularism. I liked that role. Now in the 90s and the "aughts," the stupidity and arrogance of the neocons trying to go back to 19th century nationalism and imperialism as models of international intervention, and of the Repubs' strategy of domestic factionalism and divisiveness and opposition-breeding in order to recover their personal political fortunes, makes me find myself in an odd position for me: as peacemaking wimpy guy, suggesting that getting along and cooperating and saying how you feel before bouncing the big medicine ball to the next person in the group would be good to try. Ick and alas.

Anyway, don't get me wrong. Just because I can't manage ferocious on here doesn't mean I'm A. a nice guy or B. without my rages. Pretty soon I'll come out with fangs blazing and guns bared. Or something like that. You've been warned.

And oh, yeah: welcome to our world, Killian. We're really glad you're here. :)


Blogger Lorenloo said...

i think it's ok your rants lack a certain virulence. you never know who's reading, so you want to maintain your integrity of belief whilst still not totally crapping over the thoughts of someone you might like to have a dialog with.

on the other hand, i suppose there are some topics you can blast because you don't really ::want:: to become friends with those who would disagree with you, e.g. the military industrial complex.

in the end, you may want to listen to k., because her blog gets about 13x the comments that mine does, so she's doing something right to be sure.

7:16 PM  

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