“We have met the enemy and he is us, yes, yes, but the fact that we have recognized ourselves as the enemy indicates we still have the ability to rise up and whip our own ass, so to speak: keep reminding ourselves that representations of the world are never the world itself. Turn that Megaphone down, and insist that what’s said through it be as precise, intelligent, and humane as possible.”
George Saunders, “Braindead Megaphone” Saw this blogged Here.
I miss humane and precise speech as much as the next subscriber of basic cable TV. But more than either of those virtues of discourse, I’ve been missing signs of conversational intelligent life recently. Which has me thinking of creating an application form, to apply to have “…The Intelligent” appended to you name after you die, as in “Abigail the Intelligent” or “Geraldine, The Intelligent. In fact, I should get the title merely for thinking this up. And yes, I’m perfectly aware that one of the seven cardinal sins is pride, Mom. Which is why I want to wait until I die to be referred to as intelligent, thus proving I was also modest and/or unappreciated during my lifetime.
So far, here are some questions on my draft “Application to Posthumously Append ‘…The Intelligent’ to Name” or APAIN, for short.
1) Are you now, or have you ever, blogged about American Idol (other than in a parodic and/or ironic manner?
2) Are you, or do you wish you were, a secret agent with a license to slap stupid people?
3) Did you once have the power to arch your back just right and ask for pretty things from people who wouldn’t say no? Do you honestly miss that?
4) Do you like my pink plastic (now legless) flamingo, perched in her nest in the shade above my potting bench? I couldn’t bear to have her humanely “put down” just because her metal legs rusted and she fell over.
5) Do you work outside in the garden because:
a. you have enjoyed a lifelong pleasure in gardening;
b. you have realized as you age that you need gardening as physical therapy;
c. you have realized as you age that you need gardening as a mental therapy;
d. you are required to perform public service working in a public garden as a condition of your parole while awaiting trial.
6) Did all your friends turn out to be insurance salesmen?
7) Biggest Regret (Chose one or more)
a. Killing an expensively inappropriate rain forest transplant by trying to grow it in Zone 9;
b. Leaving/not leaving that place, at that time, with that person;
c. Quarreling with people who don’t matter enough to warrant it;
d. Realizing that regret itself is always the primary motive for the self-loathing you’ll never outgrow;
e. Declining the homecoming crown at law school graduation;
f. Other: please specify as obliquely and passive-aggressively as possible.
8) Finally, do you sometimes theorize about astrophysics, for example, that in the middle of every black hole out in space, scientists will someday find an old lady stumbling around in the dark and looking for a stepladder to replace the light bulb?
Couple of problems. What are the passing answers? Who will grade them? Oh yeah: and will we be graded on a curve?