“We should most of us agree, I think, that in the individual life of each of us there is much that, in the long run, one cannot do anything about. Death is a fact – one’s own death, the deaths of those one loves. There is much that makes one suffer which is irremediable: one struggles against it all the way, but there is an irremediable residue left. These are facts: they will remain facts as long as man remains man. This is part of the individual condition: call it tragic, comic or absurd, or, like some of the best and bravest of people, shrug it off.”
C. P. Snow, The Two Cultures: A Second Look (1963)
I was in the back room (hiding from pirates) the other day, when I came across the above quote that I’d dated April, 1989. I had been directed to this book by a wise librarian who said the (then) new publication of a book called “Innumeracy” (I think) was already written – citing CP Snow, who’s original book about the Scientific/Lay Person divide was written in the 1940s (I think).
Those plucky Brits, growing vegetables adjacent to their bomb shelters, grinning and bearing it through the Blitz. All I’ve ever withstood are the quotidian slings and dull arrows of outrageous fortune, like being woefully underpaid my entire professional career because I have tits. It’s a wonder I’m not bitter.
But Americans of a certain age have also made a passing acquaintance with the facts of life Snow recounts so depressingly. My Mom used to say “offer it up” when we complained of some hardship, some injustice at the hands of the sadistic nuns, or the occasional scraped knee. These days, my grown brothers, watching their small grandchildren stumble and fall, tend to say “Walk it off” or “Be a man,” (even to their granddaughters).
Watching the dragonfly make a monster shadow on the leaf where it rested, I was thinking of ranting about the idiots who deny global warming, who say Baby Jesus will take care of it, who drive big cars to compensate for their small anatomy. Then I thought I should be thinking about how we need to bridge that communication breakdown, not make it worse. However comma. I’m more inclined to want to marginalize the kooks by publicly laughing at their stupidity. I’m not sure I want to bridge any divide that separates me from the morons who say that, in the long run, one cannot do anything about the future. And not just because that’s a) redundant; and b) repetitious – the long run is the future.
Then, I thought I’d blog to speak out against the wave of domestic terrorism now sweeping our already violent country. Hypocrites who demonstrate their respect for life while condoning murder, deserve my contempt. I simply hate hate, and I simply won’t tolerate intolerance. If you outlaw abortions, outlaws will still have abortions. I know this from personal experience.
But then, I found something much more important to rant about: the San Diego County Fair is now underway at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. On local news the other night, the bubble-headed reporter at the fair asked a lady how she liked the newest midway treat: chocolate-covered bacon. The ginormous lady, who could have knocked Kirstie Alley over with a backhand slap, said it’s true she isn’t spending as much money at the Fair as last year, but she couldn’t resist the bacon. Antidote for bad economy? Chocolate covered bacon, she said.
Oscar Wilde said a gentleman is one who is never rude unintentionally. Accordingly, I think we can still claim to be a gentleman/gentlewoman and intentionally insult these fat rubes with guns and obese progeny. Should any insult so directed happen to inadvertently injure someone else’s feelings, I’ll hasten to apologize, instead of saying shrug it off you big baby.