Thursday, April 10, 2014

bits and pieces of pioneering

-- Like shoppers who lined up overnight and are at last let in, robins gush into the neighborhood, hopping down the aisles between the houses, bounding in and out among the parked cars, and listening intently over some moist bit of lawn. It's bargain-time as spring arrives. What a deal!

-- It may not be entirely funny, but you have to admit it's a little funny in spiritual life -- trying to get rid of what you never had.

-- In the 1950's, my mother swore off writing for magazines. When I asked her why -- she was a pretty good writer, after all -- she said that times were changing and it was no longer enough to present a cogent argument that readers could judge according to their own capacities. Now, instead, every assertion required a "source" or statured person on whom to rest her case.

The intellectual cowardice was too much for her: She didn't say things because "Freud" said so or "Einstein" said so or "Jesus" said so ... she said so because she said so. Readers might agree or disagree, find her stuff interesting or boring as a wet wash cloth ... that was their right and even responsibility.

But the intellectual tide had turned and the pioneer spirit been dimmed as the mediocrities of "according to" had claimed the scene.

With the Internet, the pendulum has swung anew, with every penny-ante blogger like me retailing their assertions without much thought or self-examination. Where everyone claims the high ground, the high ground tends to lose altitude.

The upside to all this is that at least readers may reflect a little on the god-like status sometimes accorded to the importuning printed word.

Resting your case on what someone else says may produce a comforting status and income, but the mediocrity can rip you to shreds.

-- Locally, it made page one of the paper today -- a young fellow who became the "first openly gay Division I men's college player."

I wouldn't diminish the torments that still afflict homosexuals wrestling with the decision to come out of the closet, but, given a rising tide of such occurrences, I can't help but feel that it's a bit like some gigantic game of Musical Chairs -- better hurry up and grab one before the limelight goes out.

If, as some slow-but-sure changes suggest, homosexuality is about as interesting as heterosexuality ... well, there goes your fifteen minutes of fame. And given the searing torments that probably preceded such announcements, a page-one relief and release has got to look pretty desirable.

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