Flimsy Sanity: June 2007

Flimsy Sanity

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Friday, June 29, 2007

A Difference

I personally don't see much difference between the major political parties. The way it works is this: 1 dollar, 1 vote - 1,000 dollars, 1000 votes on legislation. Here is an interesting comparison to budgeting for the largesse. It seems one is a pay as you go and one will put it on the credit card. I was amazed that we are still paying for World War II.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Somebodies and Nobodies

Fuller describes the various forms of rankism: scientists taking credit for the work of assistants, nursing home staff treating elderly patients poorly, priests sexually abusing churchgoers, etc. Rankism is an assault on personal dignity and should not be tolerated, says Fuller. According to the author, the condition exists because "rank is linked to power and power protects those who hold it" and "high rank inhibits protests and shields perpetrators." Fuller provides numerous examples, from family dynamics to corporate settings.
- Publisher's Weekly Review of the book Somebodies and Nobodies

I enjoyed this book but I don't think he went far enough. You really are a nobody if no one even counts you when you die at the hands of the powerful. No one knows how many native North Americans were killed, they didn't count the African slaves that died on the ships and were tossed overboard like chum, no one erects monuments to the 6 million non-Jews that the state considered defective (Jehovah Witnesses, homosexuals, mentally and physically hurt etc.) that were also starved and gassed in camps by the Germans, the history books don't mention that Stalin imposed a famine-genocide on the Ukrainians which took 10 million lives in 1932-33. So those of you who list the dead American soldiers in Iraq, how about a total of the citizens of that country who breathe no more?

ps. I just read a book about the Ukrainian genocide and the Russians killed the cats and dogs and even the birds in the trees so that these people would starve. Ah, humans are God's pride and joy, that is why he made them in his own image!!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Writer or Mechanic

What is intelligence, anyway? When I was in the army, I received the kind of aptitude test that all soldiers took and, against a normal of 100, scored 160. No one at the base had ever seen a figure like that, and for two hours they made a big fuss over me. (It didn't mean anything. The next day I was still a buck private with KP - kitchen police - as my highest duty.)

All my life I've been registering scores like that, so that I have the complacent feeling that I'm highly intelligent, and I expect other people to think so too. Actually, though, don't such scores simply mean that I am very good at answering the type of academic questions that are considered worthy of answers by people who make up the intelligence tests - people with intellectual bents similar to mine?

For instance, I had an auto-repair man once, who, on these intelligence tests, could not possibly have scored more than 80, by my estimate. I always took it for granted that I was far more intelligent than he was. Yet, when anything went wrong with my car I hastened to him with it, watched him anxiously as he explored its vitals, and listened to his pronouncements as though they were divine oracles - and he always fixed my car.

Well, then, suppose my auto-repair man devised questions for an intelligence test. Or suppose a carpenter did, or a farmer, or, indeed, almost anyone but an academician. By every one of those tests, I'd prove myself a moron, and I'd be a moron, too. In a world where I could not use my academic training and my verbal talents but had to do something intricate or hard, working with my hands, I would do poorly. My intelligence, then, is not absolute but is a function of the society I live in and of the fact that a small subsection of that society has managed to foist itself on the rest as an arbiter of such matters.-What is Intelligence Anyway by Isaac Asimov

So is it better to be an author or a mechanic?
Some Stats:
1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.
80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
57 percent of new books are not read to completion.
70 percent of books published do not earn back their advance or make a profit.
About 120,000 books are published each year in the U.S.

It has been my experience that any visit to a mechanic costs at least a couple hundred dollars even if they misdiagnosis the problem. A lousy mechanic can make a good living but even a good author will struggle. I once watched a program about the New York Review of Books reviewers. They had a huge bin that they chucked all the submissions except the books by already established authors. So it goes.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

For your bumper

Saturday, June 23, 2007


My new neighbor really hates Mexicans. What I find really amazing is that she is very proud of the portion of her heritage that is Cherokee Indian. I told her that Mexicans were just Indians south of the Cherokees but she claims they are mostly Spanish. Oh well, people with strong opinions are pretty determined that they are right.

Reminds me of an old boyfriend that was overweight but said he could never go with a fat girl.

Maybe we are all guilty of some prejudices. I know I have a hard time finding any Germans to like, even though they are the master race.