Existential Comics strikes my mood perfectly.
We didn’t read a lot of 20th Century anything back in the 60s when I was in college, so de Beauvoir wasn’t on the docket, but there were other philosophers who offered a bit of comfort in what we then thought were dark days.
Yes, little did we know, and I’ll expand on that some other time, but, for the moment, I like the notion that you can continue to rage against the darkness without losing your personal perspective. I knew people who couldn’t step away from the chaos and I knew people who couldn’t face it, but, if you applied a moderate mix of Stoicism and Existentialism, it was possible to be social conscious without going all to pieces.
As it happens, I was recently remembering a woman I dated briefly back then who, as I said at the time, played Maud Gonne to my William Butler Yeats. She was an unrepentant revolutionary and I was an unflagging artist and, like Gonne and Yeats, we were never able to reconcile our affection for each other with our incompatible world views.
Last I heard of her, she’d gone off to join the Weather Underground and I often wonder if that fire could remain so intense or if she eventually settled into a more conventional program of social change. Meanwhile, as Yeats did in Easter 1916, I have often chided myself for standing too far from the fire.
The point of philosophy is to discover a balance point, and you’re not apt to find it at 20, but you have to start somewhere, and, if nothing else, reading the words of wiser heads is a pretty good way to stock up for a time when you’ll be able to understand them.
Which brings us to this
Juxtaposition of the Day
I managed to compress Stahler’s two panels in my own life. As graduation approached, I found myself with a pregnant wife and no appreciable job skills, it having become obvious that, while Plato had envisioned a lovely idyllic Republic, there were, in fact, very few openings for Philosopher Kings in the one into which I was about to be ejected.
My professors seemed to be much in Knight’s shoes, wanting to instill in us all those good values but realizing that we were going to have bills to pay and perhaps that they were going to have some karmic hell to pay.
We hijacked a seminar about something else to ponder it, that last semester, and I suggested that the university ought to do a program with the local tech college, whereby their students could read a little Epictetus and Rousseau while we learned how to repair television sets.
There’s my genius: Nobody repairs television sets anymore.
And despite the victories of Marva Collins and various people who have taught classics in prisons, it doesn’t work for everyone. My brother taught philosophy at the Naval Academy for a year or two and discovered that most Middies, while academically talented, are engineers by inclination and he might have lectured in Attic Greek for all they were able to grasp of his teaching.
Meanwhile, I understand Plato, but when I was in radio, they had to provide an engineer because I couldn’t figure out how to work the board and god help us all when there was a test of the Emergency Broadcast System.
Point being, don’t fret about the speech, Keef. Youngsters mostly turn out okay despite our efforts, not because of them.
Meanwhile, the political scene is becoming hard to avoid, even on the funny pages, though Non Sequitur (AMS) has always been, if not consistently political, certainly a font of pointed commentary.
This one seems dire, but, then, I’ve seen political cartoonists speculate more directly on Putin’s growing desperation lately, mostly ones who live in Europe and would be most directly impacted (no pun intended).
You can’t simply flip those tabletop chessboards when you realize you’re losing, so you have to do something, unless you’re the sort of person who can accept a loss with grace. And we know that’s not the case.
The sunflowers are a hopeful touch, though.
Elsewhere, things seem even less metaphorical, as seen in our
Juxtaposition of the Day #2
Given deadline issues and the overall degenerating state of the world, it’s not likely that Edison Lee had any particular Senate race in mind, nor does it particularly matter.
However, we have, as de Adder notes, been recently treated to the spectacle of Donald Trump endorsing JD Vance in the Ohio Senate Primaries, and the problem is not that they are a pair of Dumpster fires but that they seem to be a very popular pair of Dumpster fires.
Charlie Sykes comments here on Vance’s cynical approach to politics, while David Frum posts memories of who Vance was before it became advantageous for him to become someone else. And they both cite his previous evaluations of Trump.
We can’t expect voters to sort through such a twisted maze, nor should we, when we see what simpleminded nitwits they’ve already placed in the Halls of Congress.
When Marjorie Taylor Greene isn’t reciting Russian talking points and Josh Hawley isn’t proposing communist takeovers of private industry, Tommy Tuberville is turning his staff’s prepared questions into incomprehensible babble.
Meanwhile, given voters’ clear preference for name recognition over coherent policy, I think Herschel Walker and Honey Boo Boo would have an equal shot at the Senate if she were old enough to run.
However, she isn’t, and so Vance needs to shove over and make more room in the Dumpster.
Closing on a positive negative …
If that’s what it is. Perhaps it’s only the bitcoin geniuses taking advantage of the secrecy and security of their Beanie Baby economy to stuff their own pockets.
Whatever. We could all use a few laughs and some good vibes about now.