Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Eh bien, continuons...

Over Thanksgiving, I heard someone from the family who was still reeling over the election say something pretty telling: November's election results are confirmation of what they've had a feeling of right along - that the American Electorate is decidedly anti-intellectual.

It sort of makes me wonder what intellectual means. Does it have to do with quoting French literature? Does it have to do with using a lot of big words in complicated constructions? Does it mean having the wherewithal to afford extensive schooling? I've never been part of their establishment, so it's hard for me to understand the language.

I am fascincated, however, on a few fronts - first, the notion that theory and nuance would be superior to decisionmaking ability and action (for better or for worse) for a critical leadership position. You can be as wise as Solomon, yes, but if I remember my Bible correctly, even Solomon had to make split second decisions.

The second source of interest is what I see as the near complete lack of self examination. The problem isn't that people in the EE camp aren't out of touch with the reality of this place, with the rest of the country or community - it's that everyone else is 'anti intellectual' or stupid or unsophisticated. No Exit and a lot of what my therapy taught me comes to mind, here: if you're in a closed system or alone, of course you're perfect. It's when you need to interact with others that you find your imperfections. There are always choices involved with those discoveries, too. You can consider yourself a work-in-progress and learn to compromise with the world outside, or you can choose denial or projection and lay blame for problems elsewhere. Hell is not other people, but our reactions to them. Taking this into account - there are a lot of very tormented people out there right now.

Finally - that so much of people's identities have been riding on the elections is a bit of a cause for concern. What did people do beforehand? Watch TV? Read? Were there any pastimes outside of this spectacle? For crying out loud - the election is decided and people start talking about 2008. Come on. It's practically December. Get a life.

One last thing that has been an almost constant theme is the scorn for anything other than a pure science/arts/literature background. On several occasions, I've been treated to "well, don't get an MBA - it's a soulless degree, after all, Dubya has one." Or "shouldn't be too hard, as Dubya managed it." Such a degree is like anything else - like their new Forrester - neither intrinsically good or evil, just a tool. A template for thought. The antipathy towards lawyers was set aside for Kerry and Edwards, I'd noticed. At one point, that was an intense dislike, as well.

When I was recounting some of my stories of the weekend to Pablo - he asked about whether anyone had any knowledge of economics or how business works in this group. I told him that I seriously didn't think so. I could be wrong, but that is my impression.


"...The real question is whether there's a figure in the Democratic establishment who's willing to take on the Michael Moore / MoveOn aspects of the part -- or whether those aspects have become, in some important ways, the soul of the party today. If the latter, then the Republicans will achieve the kind of decades-long dominance that Karl Rove seeks. And they'll deserve it."

-Glenn Reynolds. As he likes to say, "read the whole thing."


"People forget that being smart is not enough. You must also love people, all people, the unloved people and the people who hate them. You can hate for hating but then what are you?"

-wise words from the Goose Yard.

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