Thursday, June 19, 2008

Readings: Compare and Contrast

Two excerpts below: the first the Buddhist-inspired, notebook musings of an American "beatnik" ; the second the thoughts of a fictional Brit businessman and WW I vet, on the brink of WW II:

As far as ordinary life in America is concerned, for 2,000 years and much more than that old Indian Mothers pounded cornmeal for mush in the hopeless drizzle of history here in North America; why should we therefore question ordinary simple life of eating, sleeping, keeping a shelter, in the name of "Modern" needs such as automobiles, washing machines, expensive clothes, up-to-date furniture and cultural experiments like TV and movies and every kind of unreal hassle to kill time and with all its attendant ambitions? What advantage is there in multiplying need? REST AND BE HAPPY

~ Jack Kerouac, Some of the Dharma

I wanted peace and quiet. Peace! We had it once, in Lower Binfield. I've told you something about our old life there, before the war. I'm not pretending it was perfect. I dare say it was a dull, sluggish, vegetable kind of life. You can say we were like turnips, if you like. But turnips don't live in terror of the boss, they don't lie awake at night thinking about the next slump and the next war. We had peace inside us.

~ George Orwell, Coming Up for Air

5 comments:

An Interested Party said...

Forgive me for writing about something that has nothing to do with the subject of this post, but you don't have open threads, and I am quite curious to know your reaction to this...it still amazes me that you find any common ground with this person...

Rodak said...

Hmmm. I'll read it again tomorrow, when I'm not so tired. But at first glance I'd say that the gist of his point is, unfortunately, true. It is, after all, about white people; it's not about black people.

Rodak said...

AIP--
As promised, I read Derb's piece again this morning, more carefully, and what I said initially, last night, pretty much stands. What he's saying is uncomfortable to contemplate, I agree. But, specifically, what is there in the piece that you think is wrong?
I spent most of last evening just suggesting at RT that Moose--the regular who most of the others think is the safest and nicest guy, is actually the most dangerous. I think that Derb's piece is expressing similar ideas on a broader basis, from a conservative viewpoint, of course. I'd like to think that he's wrong; but I have little confidence that my hopes are well-founded.
Again, specifically, where do you find him to be in error?

An Interested Party said...

I took away from what he wrote that he thinks that what happened to that person happened in that neighborhood because, of course!, it is primarily populated with brown and black people, "those" people...he seems to be implying that something like that wouldn't happen in a primarily white neighborhood...

Rodak said...

I took his focus to be that because the prepetrator was black, white people were able to dissociate themselves from acting like that. I didn't understand him to be saying that such dissociation was justified. I took him also to be saying that the "liberal media" (on the other hand) deliberately covered up (or at least failed to report) the fact that the driver was black, and that the incident occurred in a predominately black neighborhood) which seems to be true. In short, I think that Derb was saying that pretty much everybody across the board acted badly in this incident, and those merely commenting upon it, or thinking about it, mostly drew bad conclusions. That all of us tend to think the worst of "the other" is a lamentable, but frequently seen phenomenon.