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Dr. Dreimer's Diary, 3rd Q, 2017
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Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. (Oscar Wilde, 1854 -- 1900)
The idea for Dr. Dreimer’s diary came from the excerpts from the diary of Samuel Pepys published daily in the National Post. We thought it would be interesting to write a modern diary using the more formal language of an earlier era – in this case we have attempted an approximation of 18th Century expression. What is perhaps most evident is the capitalisation of nouns, which gives an emphasis, and suggests a cadence entirely missing from current written expression. The language is more cumbersome and formal, and tends to favour the use of parallel structure for rhetorical emphasis.
Style is inseparable from attitude and tone. Dr. Dreimer observes mankind as if from a great height, or from another, more sensible century.
His judgements are often unflattering, and his scorn and disdain
palpable. They may be expressed directly, but are often revealed through an
ironic approval of some mindless folly. He may appear to some as a pompous
windbag; to others as a curmudgeonly but correct observer.
As it has turned out, the diary is not a conventional diary at all. Apart from the occasional references to the mythical Aunt Myalgia, languishing in the Shady Hollow Psychiatric Facility in downtown Toronto, or to the Lumpenbangen Studios in the inner reaches of Hamilton, or to the Haven of Wind-in-the-Pines at Silver Lake, we gain little insight into the trivia of Dr. Dreimer’s own life.
The diary is, in fact, a commentary on events in the news.
|Latest additions to the site:
September 16 Diary;
Observations 1132 - 38
September 16, 2017
We are pleased to be living in an Era of delicate Sensitivity, where concern for Feelings is being given its proper Place – that is, at the very Top – in the Hierarchy of social Values.
We happened, this Day – when we were engaged in a routine culinary Enterprise – to turn on the Radio – which is regularly set to receive Emanations from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Source of all approved Wisdom and the most reliable Guide to proper Thinking in our fair Land.
As we listened, we could not help but be struck by the kindly Concern shown by the Corporation for our Feelings. On a Program about Suicide, the Presenter gravely warned us that the Material might be upsetting, and that if we had a particular Vulnerability to the Mention of that Unpleasantness, we should exercise the Option of re-directing our Attention elsewhere. We are only disappointed that he did not suggest a helpful alternative Activity, such as Knitting, Splitting Wood, or Counting backwards from a very large Number – perhaps several Million.
Then – not long after – there was a Program which warned of an Intent to refer to the Picture of an unknown Victim of the World Trade Centre Destruction, jumping from a Tower. The Topic, it was suggested, might have a negative Effect on our mental Equilibrium.
After the Angst of hearing about Suicide only a short Time before, and suspecting that we might be teetering at the very Limit of our emotional Resilience, we decided to turn off the Radio and express our warmest Feelings of Gratitude with this current Entry in our Diary.
We understand that the Corporation – sometimes referred to as the "Mothership," is merely following the wise Lead of many Universities in the great and Solomonic Land to the South. There it has been decided that Students – of tender Years and little Experience of the Horrors of Existence – are appropriately protected from worrisome Ideas by Means of "Trigger Warnings," and are provided with "Safe Spaces" where they can retreat when the manifold Cruelties of the World threaten. We have heard that Cookies, Chocolate, Crayons and Puppies were provided at one Institution of advanced Learning when Donald Trump – the Mastermind of all that is Evil in the World – was – through some extraordinary satanic Manipulation – elected as President of the United States.
We must, of course, applaud all such Measures. But we sense this is merely the Beginning of a long and difficult Road ahead. If Feelings are going to be properly protected, all our Ingenuity and Determination will be required. It stands to Reason that, as Feelings are sheltered from Upset, they will become more refined, sensitive, and delicate, and hence more vulnerable to a wider range of troubling Ideas, negative Occurrences, and dark Thoughts. The Price of mental Stability will be eternal Vigilance.
Another obvious Problem is the Variability of Sensitivity. What is upsetting to one Individual may be encountered with Equanimity by another. Indeed --from a personal Perspective --while we were able to listen to the Program concerning Suicide with Distress of only a moderate Nature, our Feelings on other Matters are far more fragile.
For Example, the Mention of the Name of our Prime Minister, Mr. T*u*e*u, causes us great Distress and Agitation; an immediate Infusion of alcoholic Beverage is all that stands between us and nervous Collapse. Similarly, we have been known to suffer a severe Conniption Fit upon hearing the Name of our Premier, K*t*l*e W*n*e. Any References to the Cost of Hydro, or Multiculturalism, or the Religion of Islam leaves visible Abrasions on our Feelings for Weeks.
Finally, we should not minimize the Effort required to provide Safe Spaces in sufficient Numbers, and with high-quality Puppy and Chocolate Reserves in order to accommodate the psychologically damaged, impaired, or threatened. A whole new Protocol of urban and rural Planning will be required.
We confess that our limited Intellect is not up to the Challenge of determining how best to give complete and comprehensive Protection of Feelings. We can only suggest that a Committee of very sensitive People – including University Professors from the United States, and Executives of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation -- be convened. As a starting Point, they should be given Power to list all potentially threatening Topics which might require "Trigger Warnings" – beginning with Death and Taxes – and go with the Matter wherever it should take them.
(Probably the Madhouse.)
September 6, 2017
We are most pleased that, after Centuries of Harshness, and Millennia of cruel Neglect, the most progressive among us are beginning to pay Attention to Feelings.
Feelings! So long made subordinate to Facts! Feelings! So often crushed by heartless Reality!
We note that a Student at Edinburgh University has had the Temerity to mock the Sentiments of those whose Faith proclaims that Seventy Two Virgins with "full grown", "swelling" or "pear-shaped" breasts await male Believers in the Afterlife.
Robbie Travers, obviously a Person of hard Heart and unbending Disposition, has written, after a Bombing of an ISIS Stronghold in Afghanistan:
I’m glad we could bring these barbarians a step closer to collecting their 72 virgins.
The Term "Barbarian" is obviously an egregious Insult. It denotes Someone who is primitive, or uncivilized – and it is well-known that ISIS is renowned for its refined Conduct in the erasing of ancient Monuments and tiresome People who have been so indiscreet as to rouse their Ire. The reference to "their 72 Virgins" seems mocking – almost as if Mr. Travers would cast Doubt on the Number of Virgins awaiting the Faithful.*
Indeed, we have heard the Estimate is as high as Seventy-Six. We would not be surprised if it were double that Amount. It would seem outrageous, in Fact, to put a Limit on the Generosity of Allah.
In primitive Times, Mr. Travers’ Remark might not have aroused Comment. Fortunately, the "Feelings Antennae" of those fortunate enough to live in this Era of Sweetness and Light are more exquisitely attuned and developed. Several People, in righteous Indignation, have complained that the Remark has made Muslim Students feel "threatened" and "unsafe."
The Logic is irrefutable. Muslim Students are known to have an almost universal Approval of ISIS. Any Slight towards ISIS must, necessarily, be seen as a negative Reflection on Muslim Students as a whole. And, because there are almost certainly one -- or perhaps two -- Students at the University who are opposed – on some trumped-up Grounds – to ISIS, it stands to Reason that the one -- or perhaps the other – might act in a Manner which would threaten Muslim Students.
We are pleased to learn that the University – obviously a Bastion of common Sense – has decided to investigate. Mr. Travers, we regret to say, has hired legal Counsel. It would be far better, in our View, if he were simply to admit his Error and move to Pongo-Pongo.
We think Justice and Right-Thinking would be best served if he were to give up all Aspiration to a higher Education, and pursue, in Penitence, some type of rural Agriculture or animal Husbandry.
* We admit that we have heard even worse Insult. It has been suggested that this is an unfortunate Distortion of the original Text, which refers to a "72-year-old Virgin." Such Mockery is a horrendous Throwback to those primitive Times when it was considered legitimate to point out Absurdities, and to laugh, heartlessly, at Delusions and Fantasies of the intellectually challenged.
August 28, 2017
A refugee, generally speaking, is a displaced person who has been forced to cross national boundaries and who cannot return home safely. (Wikipedia)
In olden Days, Words had a certain stuck-in-the-mud Quality. If a Word had a certain Meaning on Monday, it was quite likely to have the same Significance on Tuesday. Indeed, it was likely to retain a comforting Sameness for the Rest of the Week.
Words had a certain Reliability and Trustworthiness. They were solid rather than slippery -- more "nailable" – more akin to Wood than to Jello.
But Times have changed.
We learn this very Day that many Syrians who have sought Refuge in Turkey because of the Conflict in their Country since 2011, have decided to return to their Country of Origin to celebrate the Feast of the Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha).
A Cessation of Hostilities has been recently arranged which has created some Stability in Parts of northwest Syria.
Thus, with the Blessing of the Turkish Government, about Forty Thousand Syrians have crossed the Border, with about Four Thousand travelling each Day. They must return by October 15th.
Obviously, while our Attention was directed – momentarily –
elsewhere, the Definition of "Refugee" has changed. If those seeking
Refuge from Disaster and Calamity are able to return safely Home, then –
according to the original Definition of the Word – they are no longer
That the old Definition is no longer valid is suggested by the Fact that there are currently many Haitians crossing into Canada from the United States. They are fleeing because they fear Deportation after the Ending of their "Temporary Protected Status" in that Country granted after the Earthquake in Haiti in 2010.
We do not claim that we would act differently in their Circumstance. Mr. Trudeau has suggested that Canada is committed to a Policy of indiscriminate Welcoming.
But we are troubled by Terminology. Those seeking "Refuge" or "Asylum" are often under Threats which are less than life-threatening.
The Word "Refugee" has obviously become a Word too wobbly and imprecise.
We would like to suggest a new Term which might more accurately apply to those seeking Advantage rather than necessary Asylum.
Surely they are "Prefugees" – not "Refugees."
August 25, 2017
Concerning the wonderful Advancements in human Sensitivity.
Some Readers may have become aware of recent Events in Charlottesville, in which there was a Clash of Marchers and Protestors – an Encounter which has opened old Wounds in the American Psyche. The Confederate South fought to preserve the Institution of Slavery, and the current Sentiment is that far too much Respect is paid to Symbols of the Confederate Cause.
Thus, there is much ado about removing Statues which still stand as Tokens of Veneration for an unworthy Cause.
In olden Days, we suspect that many would allow such Statues to stand as Testament to past Follies, not removing them entirely, but by placing them in some Context which indicates current Sentiment. This is the Argument usually used in the Teaching of such Works as Huckleberry Finn – which uses a Word no longer considered acceptable, or The Merchant of Venice, which embodies a stereotypical View of a Jewish Character, and by Implication, the Jewish Race.
Such Equanimity in the Face of past Perceptions doubtless depends on an Assurance of a generally agreed public Opinion. Where Doubts and Divisions remain, there is Fear of the Power of Symbols.
We admit that we pay Attention to the Power of Symbols.
For Example, we are opposed to the Wearing of the Niqab by those claiming new Citizenship in Canada. That is because we are fearful of Anything which suggests Government Approval of Islam, which is the Source of Ideas incompatible with modern western Democracy.
Thus, we are on the Edge of a Knife in the Matter of Statues of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate Leader eventually forced to surrender at the Courthouse of Appomattox in 1865.
In our Mind, the Confederate Cause was obviously wrong; we see such Statues as Relics of a time both so distant and irrelevant that they have no further Power to disturb.
But there are still racial Tensions in the United States, and we can understand how others would see a Statue of Robert E. Lee as we see the Wearing of the Niqab.
But there is a Question of how far Sensitivity to possible Offense should go. In the Age of Political Correctness, Sensitivity can be carried to extreme Lengths.
The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, noting that a Gentleman named Robert Lee was scheduled to broadcast a Football Game in Charlottesville, thought that the Name itself might be offensive. They re-arranged the Schedule so that he would broadcast elsewhere.
To gain Insight into the Depths of their Folly, we need only to examine the explanatory Remarks of John Skipper, the President of the Network. Mr. Skipper maintained, at first:
There was never any concern — by anyone, at any level — that Robert Lee’s name would offend anyone watching the Charlottesville game. (N.Y. Times, August 23)
Then, in the next Breath he said:
Among our Charlotte production staff there was a question as to whether – in these divisive times – Robert’s assignment might create a distraction, or even worse, expose him to social hectoring and trolling. (Breitbart News, August 24)
This is all perfectly clear. Something is "offensive" is in an entirely different Fish Kettle than the one which contains a "Distraction" and "social Hectoring." "Social Hectoring," in particular, is known to be the usual Response of those expressing Approval and warm good Wishes. We often send Cards of Social Hectoring on Birthdays and at Christmastime.
Surely this lamentable Circumstance reinforces the Need for an inexpensive and reliable Irony Detector. Walmart could make a Killing.
Beyond that, it shows the Need for some Amount of Backbone in dealing with those whose Mission in Life is to take Offense.
We are reminded of an Incident some Years ago – we forget the Context and Details – concerning the Word "Denigrate." It was used perfectly correctly – but because some Person of Ignorance thought it cast an Aspersion on the Black Race, Apologies were demanded and -- absurdly -- tendered. It was a sad day for Common Sense.
It is our Observation that People who are determined and devoted to parsing the World for Insult, are guaranteed some considerable Success. But the Sum Total of Stupidity is, thereby, considerably augmented.
August 15, 2017
We are pleased that our academic Institutions – as is only fitting – are at the very Forefront of Progress and Enlightenment.
Yesterday, we noted the wonderful Effort to think soberly about the Problem of Whiteness and the terrible Inequalities it entails – at Stanford University in California. The proposed Course in "White Identity Politics" was to consider the Task of "abolishing Whiteness."
Today we must record the Attempt at Georgia University to rid the academic System itself of invidious Distinctions and Comparisons – in a word, Inequalities -- which have plagued it since its Beginnings.
A forward-looking Professor, Richard Watson, compassionately tuned to the Realities of Modern Life, had announced that Students suffering from the undue Stress of an unwelcome Grade would be permitted to choose a Grade more to their liking.
A further Evidence of Mr. Watson’s concern for his Students’ Advancement was shown in the Stipulation that Examinations would allow for Access to reference Material, and that their Purpose was to reveal a "low-level mastery" of the Course Material.
We think Professor Watson has made a giant Leap forward in thinking about the human Condition.
He has realized what should have been evident all along – the chief Aim of Existence is to be free of Doubt, Worry, and Distress. Those who aim for Success, Happiness, and Good Fortune, should be able to arrive at their Goals without unseemly Striving, inconvenient Effort, or troublesome Disruption to their Lifestyle.
It is clear that Self-Assessment and generous Self-Praise are the most likely Factors to maintain Self-Esteem and avoid the Dreariness of actual Accomplishment.
We recognize that there are a few Stick-in-the-Muds, mired in silly and irrelevant Traditions, who will object to the Professor’s Breakthrough Thinking.
They will doubtless point to certain Professions, like Medicine, Law, or Accounting – where Inequality has traditionally reigned. In those Areas of Expertise, Sheep and Goats have been separated – some have been deemed worthy, but Others have been turned away on the Grounds of Insufficiency of Knowledge or Intellect.
The Questions we would put to such Dinosaurs are simply these: Do you wish to live in a World of Equality, or a World of invidious Distinctions? Do you wish Citizens to be filled to the Brim with Self-Esteem, or do you wish them to languish with Feelings of Failure and Inadequacy? Do you wish Joy and Happiness to all Mankind, or do you wish to reserve it for a chosen Few?
The Answers should be clear to any right-thinking progressive Person with even Half a Heart.
Of course we -- we do admit it -- would prefer that a Lawyer handling our Purchase of a Home be competent in obtaining the Title in our Name. But we would not wish him to be anxious about the Matter. If he has a minimal Mastery of Real Estate Law, he will likely come pretty close. Any Errors – for Example – a Failure to transfer – or a Transfer to the wrong Person -- can be fixed with little Fuss in the Future.
And yes --we will aver -- that when our Accountant prepares our Tax Return, we would prefer that his Knowledge of the Tax Code will be such that we will not send the Government unnecessary Funds, and that he will not leave us vulnerable to some future Penalties. But we are aware that, at Tax Time, all Accountants experience a Surge in Business. It is important that they be relaxed and unhurried. A pretty good Stab at the Numbers will usually suffice. Indeed, a basic Understanding of the Tax Code – that the Government must get its Pound of Flesh – is probably all that is needed in 99% of Returns.
For that other 1% – there’s a good Chance No One in the Tax Department – with a low level Mastery of the Tax Code – will be any the wiser.
And finally, of course -- we would prefer that a Surgeon about to remove our Appendix have a Knowledge of its exact Location. But as long as he has a low-level Mastery of Anatomy, he will likely to be able to find it – sooner or later. Above all, he should not be stressed about finding it. If he is unable to locate it in our particular Case, he may well have more luck with the next Patient. We will be pleased -- though possibly dead – to have helped him on his Path.
We regret to report that subsequent to the wonderful Breakthroughs of Mr. Watson, the Forces of Darkness have apparently surfaced at the University of Georgia, and caused the good Professor to withdraw some of his advanced Procedures. There were silly Rumblings about "academic rigor," "integrity," and "honesty."
But it is a Truth universally acknowledged that significant Departures from Tradition – no matter how sensible – face an uphill Battle against small Minds and entrenched Interests. We have little Doubt that the Compassionate Enlightenment represented by Mr. Watson’s brilliant Innovations will eventually carry the Day.
August 14, 2017
Once again, we are pleased to note the admirable – dare we say ineffable – Progress in the Advancement of human Thought. Once again – not surprisingly – we see that Advancement occurring in the rich, well-fertilized Ground of our academic Institutions.
This Fall, Stanford University will introduce a Course which will consider the Task of "abolishing whiteness," and attempt an Understanding of "the future of whiteness." The Title of the Course will be "White Identity Politics." (Breitbart News, August 11)
Apparently some Definition is in Order. "Whiteness" does not refer to Skin Tone. If that were the case, the Solution could be found at any Shoe Emporium or Dollar Store. No. "Whiteness" refers to "a socially and politically constructed learned behavior built upon the systematic privileges afforded to whites in Western society."
A further explanation – from Stanford Professor Tomás Jiménez -- is that "whiteness" refers to "the set of behaviors and outlooks associated with the racial category, white."
We have no Doubt that there is, in Fact, a Relationship between Race and Culture. Since Races tend to live in Groups, and Groups develop specific Cultures, it is not surprising to find that Race and Culture are intertwined.
It is obvious that a Stop should be put to this Sort of Thing. The Chinese must be convinced to stop thinking and behaving like Chinese; the Mongols should renounce the Thought Patterns of Mongolians; black People should attempt to view the World in an Manner entirely independent of whatever Group they find themselves in.
These Matters are surely susceptible of an easy Remedy. Courses like the one at Stanford should proliferate around the Globe. It will be only a few short Years before the Influence of elite Thinkers filters down to the Mass of Followers below. All Races will, thankfully, think and behave in exactly the same Manner, and a new Era of Harmony will have been achieved.
Indeed, we think that the Remedy is a foregone Conclusion – and it is an appropriate Time to look even further ahead – to lay Plans for the Eradication of another Scourge of our Planet – the learned Behaviour and systematic Privileges afforded to good-looking People the World over.
Terrible Inequalities abound. The Good-Looking have Advantages – in
every Sphere – except perhaps in Plainest Person Contests. You say there
are no such Contests? Surely this proves our Point. There are Beauty
Contests, but no similar Opportunities for those of unprepossessing
Appearance. It is the Tragedy of Ordinariness, and the Marker of
It is well observed that good-looking People tend to cluster and mate. Suitors are accepted – or rejected -- to a very large Degree on the Basis of superficial Appearance.
Good-looking People also have a huge Advantage in Employment.
Let us imagine there are two People applying for the Job of Receptionist. One is an attractive blonde Maiden in her Twenties, a former Cheerleader and Fitness Trainer; the other – a lady of advanced Years with her Hair in a Bun, the registered Owner of a Broomstick – which, do you suppose – will get the Job?
Good-looking People dominate the Advertisements for Beer, Automobiles, and Toothpaste. They are surrounded by Aura of Good Times, Happiness, and Success.
See any Advertisement for male Clothing! Are the Models for Suits and Underwear scrawny, with narrow Shoulders, bad Haircuts and Tortoise-Shell Glasses? We think not.
And consider, for a Moment, those hired to read the News on Television. Do they have big Ears, crooked Teeth, or drooping Eyelids? We defy you to find an Example.
And again – what of those hired to play the Lead Rôles in Crime and Detective Dramas? If they are Women, are they prim and unprepossessing – or boldly seductive? If they are men – do they have receding Chins -- or square Jaws? Are their Features mushily modest or impressively aquiline?
Surely, we need go no further in our Catalogue of Injustice!
It is time that Stanford University devise a Course entitled: "Abolishing the Privilege of Attractiveness." The World will be a far better Place for their Efforts.
August 9, 2017
We are intrigued to see that the Scourge of Inequality is being addressed by a new Restaurant in Australia. The Co-Owner of the Handsome Her in Melbourne, Alex O’Brien, is upset with the Gap between the Wages for Men, and the Remuneration for Women.*
Instead of writing angry Letters of Complaint to Employers, or urging the Government to reduce the Number of Women in the Workforce (Scarcity should result in a higher Wage), or calling for an immediate Reduction in Wages for all Men, Ms. O’Brien has decided to proceed on a smaller Scale.
Apparently acting on the Premise that one perceived Injustice is best countered by another of unequivocal Nature, she has instituted an Eighteen percent "Man Tax" for male Customers. As a further Symbol of her Devotion to Equality, she gives female Customers "seating priority."
We are not sure what "seating priority" involves. Perhaps it is the placing of female Patrons by the Window, while giving male Patrons Seats near the Washrooms, Kitchen Access Corridor, or where cold Blasts from the Air Conditioner may be most likely experienced. Or possibly it means that in any Line–Up for Seats, all Women must be seated before any Men.
In this latter Case, we suspect that Couples consisting of one Example of each Gender, might be significantly dissatisfied. Or perhaps it would simply lead to the Subterfuge of "Mr. Dressup."
It is reported that "numerous men" have paid the Tax, and some have thrown in a few Dollars more as a Token of Approval.
We would walk out.
We are in Favour of equal Pay for equal Work. We do not even mind assenting to the Proposition that there should be equal Pay for Work of equal Value – observing that "equal Value" may be the subject of Dispute.
It is our Suspicion, however that some Portion of the "Gender Gap" in
Wages arises from the Fact that more Women seek – and are content with
-- Jobs which require lower Levels of Skill and Enterprise than do Men.
We understand that this is a heretical Position. It is not Something we
would express in Public; nor would we wish to broadcast our Address and
Telephone Number at the Conclusion of this entirely fanciful,
light-hearted, and purely speculative Commentary. Nevertheless, we
suspect that Women may often be less a*b*t*o*s than Men.
Should this be the Case -- in spite of all approved and respectable Thought to the contrary -- then it would seem that Ms. O’Brien’s Man Tax might logically be reduced from the rather exorbitant Eighteen per cent. Indeed, her seating Policy might be somewhat modified, so that Women were given special Treatment on Tuesdays and Thursdays only.
What remains to be discussed is the universality Principle. Ms. O’Brien feels justified in discriminating in order to draw Attention to a perceived Inequity. Should a large, but non-public Homebuilder with similar Sentiments sell to Women at a Discount? Should Walmart or the Bank of Nova Scotia adopt similar Policies in order to express the Feelings of their Shareholders?
We waver, unsteadily, about the Homebuilder. In the case of Walmart and the Bank of Nova Scotia -- we think not. At the same Time, we are sympathetic to the Notion that People should be able to run a small Business in a discriminatory Fashion. If someone wishes to cater to Males, Females, Left-Handers, or People with blue Eyes – it seems bureaucratic Overkill to stop them. Let them prosper or die as the Market dictates.
We think that "Private Club" Status is the Answer. The Barbershop which refuses to cut Women’s Hair should be allowed to do so by obtaining "Private Club" Designation. Such Designation would be refused to Walmart, the Bank of Nova Scotia, or a Chain of Barbershops. The only grocery Store in a small Town would also be ineligible.
People should be allowed certain Eccentricities in the Conduct of a small Business – as long as those Eccentricities have minimal Impact on the general Public.
*National Post, August 9
July 18, 2017
The World doth oft seem full of Folly and Injustice; the Headlines are seldom reassuring.
However, every now and then we are reminded of the great Advances of Science, and of a wonderful Progress being made towards the inevitable Harmony which is the due and proper Reward for the human Species.
Indeed, Today is one of those very Occasions when a bountiful Ray of Sunshine has pierced our accustomed Gloom. Our Frowns have turned to eager Smiles; our turbulent Thoughts have been overcome by a great, hopeful Calm.
We have learned, this Day, of the great Insights of Professor Lisa Feldman Barrett, who has concluded that Words can have detrimental physical Effects on our delicate Constitutions -- and thus a verbal Assault may be considered an Act of Violence. (Breitbart News, July 18)
We have no Doubt that this is true – and it may well be discovered that some People are more susceptible than Others. While one Person, who has been called "a complete idiot" may take to her Bed and be unable to lecture for several Days with an advanced Case of Wordhurt, another Person, less sensitive and vulnerable, may encounter only a Minute or so of elevated Blood Pressure.
Indeed, Professor Barrett has hinted as much:
Words can have a powerful effect on your nervous system. Certain types of adversity, even those involving no physical contact, can make you sick, alter your brain — even kill neurons — and shorten your life.
Since the main Purpose of Life is to reduce Stress, and extend Duration, it would seem imperative that some Method be found to protect Individuals from Violent Speech.
As we ponder the Matter, we become more aware of the potential Difficulties. For not only are some People more generally vulnerable than Others, there must be many particular Vulnerabilities for many Individuals. Thus, if an Individual suffers from Arachnophobia, any Reference to Spiders might cause significant Stress. A verbal Threat such as: "I have just put a Tarantula in your Lunch Bag," might well result in Hospitalization. To one Suffering from a severe Case of Trudeauphobia, the Mention of the Prime Minister’s Name might well lead to a Conniption Fit, with accompanying uncontrolled Coughing and Lung Collapse.
We have cudgelled our Brains for a Solution to this Matter. Now that they have been cudgelled, an Answer has been proffered.
It would seem prudent that all Citizens carry a List of "Trigger Words," or "Trigger Topics," which would delineate their Vulnerabilities. Strangers should not engage in any meaningful Conversation without the Exchange of these important Lists.
Thus a common Form of Greeting – rather than "Hi," or "Good Evening" -- would be: "I’ll show you mine if you show me yours."
We recognize that this Solution may not be capable of overnight Adoption – but when Longevity is at Stake, the Effort required pales in Comparison.
Our Solution, of course, deals only with private Conversation.
Just as important is the Matter of open Discussion and Debate. In this Matter, Professor Barrett recognizes that some Exposure to Stress-causing Ideas that People may find repugnant – she uses Eugenics as an Example -- may be a "healthy growing experience." On the other Hand, some Stress-inducing Ideas are legitimate Targets for Censorship:
This Problem of publically available stressful Ideas – of varying Degrees of Toxicity – seems an even more difficult one to solve. Our Brains have already been cudgelled; we begin to fear for our own Longevity.
Perhaps it would be best if Professor Lisa Feldman Barrett – who is obviously at the Forefront of Scientific Enquiry in these Matters – simply make these important Decisions for us. She could be appointed Pooh-Bah of Wordhurt. Her Decisions would be final and binding. If she should favour the profoundly wise Ideas of Barack Obama – then so be it. If she should find Milo Yiannopolous to be an unacceptable Provocateur and Hatemonger – he should be prevented from engaging in his nefarious, life-threatening Activities.
Some might complain of Censorship -- we know. But for any sensitive, progressive Soul, it is clear that upsetting Ideas and the Shortening of Life are far more important than Freedom – which is highly overrated – and usually favoured by hateful Provocateurs anyway.
July 5, 2017 ( Nutty
We are pleased to live in an Age where so much Effort is being devoted to achieving Justice and Equality.
It is well known that Equality and Justice are the bedrock Reality of all Creation. Anyone who has observed the natural World is aware that the vast Bulk of living Creatures live in an exquisite Harmony of brotherly Love and engage in an uplifting mutual Self-Sacrifice for the Other. The Gazelle, sensing that the Lion is hungry, willingly impales itself on a protruding Tree Branch; the Minnow, long educated in Schools of Fairness and social Harmony, swims obligingly into the Maw of a Shark.
It is only in the human World, that grave Inequities still -- troublingly -- exist.
But we are not pessimistic. We are fortunate to have some of the top Minds at our Universities dedicated to the Discovery of new and subtle Injustices which cry out for immediate Redress.
The most recent to come to our Attention is revealed by a Summer Course at the University of California, Los Angeles. taught by Professors Todd Presner and Dana Cuff. The Course will reveal how "car culture" contributes to "spatial injustice." (Breitbart News, July 4)
We are so pleased. Many a sleepless Night have we spent, agonizing over the Matter of "spatial injustice."
Why is it -- we have wondered – that some human Beings take up so much more space than others? Why should small Infants, beginning with a roughly equal Size, develop into Adults of widely differing Displacements? Surely an Equality of Height, Weight, and Girth is an Outcome devoutly to be wished.
And why do some – regardless of personal Size – occupy larger Dwellings and more spacious Automobiles than Others? Surely some detailed Study of the Causes and Remedies for "spatial injustice" is long overdue! Indeed, perhaps – in the not too distant Future – we may see some effective Legislation concerning this difficult Matter.
Of course, our Apprehension of the Problem has been too simple, too basic – too uniformed by academic Subtleties. We understand that "spatial injustice" is defined as the "production of unjust geographies and spatial structures of privilege" within cities, which. is often exacerbated "by racism, patriarchy, heterosexual bias."
The Mind boggles at the Complexity of it all! We had never imagined an unjust Geography – but it is certainly true – on Reflection – that Islands, Lakes, and Rivers are of different Sizes. And some locations are at a great Height – while others occupy lower Ground!
Nor had we the Wit to conceive of a "spatial structure of privilege" influenced by "racism, patriarchy, heterosexual bias." We had always thought that big Houses were generally occupied by people with more Money, rather than inferior Morality.
We obviously have much to learn. Apparently the Course will deal with three "thematic" Technologies which have affected Los Angeles: Cars and Highways, the Internet, and Film and Broadcast Media. We are not quite sure how "spatial injustice" is created by these Technologies.
Possibly it has something to do with Patriarchy and Racism, with a pinch of heterosexual Bias thrown in.
We look forward to Conclusions of the Course – which will no Doubt suggest those benign Modifications of Cars and Highways, the Internet, and Film and Broadcast Media which will banish "spatial injustice" and put us in tune with the Sweetness and Light found in the larger Sphere of the natural World.
We should note that of perhaps lesser – but by no Means inconsequential -- Benefit is that Fact that those taking the Course will be able to meet their "Diversity Credit" Requirement.