The Difference Between Writing and Speaking

I enjoy Peter Travers movie reviews in Rolling Stone Magazine.  However, whenever I see him in person I find him highly annoying.  I think Andrew Sullivan is one of the best bloggers there is, that his writing is really thoughtful most of the time, but again in person he can sometimes be grating.  There are times when I write some high minded posts, but I’m sure if you hung out with me there are times you would think to yourself that I was one ignorant motherfucker.  (And that’s not saying that I don’t occasionally write something that will make you think that as well!)

One of the things that I like about writing is that it slows down the thought process.  I think most people are generally more thoughtful in the written word.  It is a form of expression that allows at times for the best of ourselves to come out.  Often when you are responding to things in the moment there are all kinds of different things at play:  There is your body chemistry, which is always a challenge.  There is the mind racing about how you are being perceived by the people around you.  There is the natural flow of a conversation that often doesn’t allow for deep reflection.  Those are just a few of the challenges we face in person to person communication.

Writing, especially longer forms of writing, allow one to slow down and go deep.  Someone that may be a neurotic bastard in real life, might be truly thoughtful in writing.  They are two different forms of expression and they access different parts of our being.  Humans are complicated.  The thing that is great about writing or any form of artistic expression is this:  Once the neurotic bastard is dead, once the short turbulent complicated lifespan of a human being is over, a good piece of work may live on for a long time, inspiring and doing good, eclipsing all those moments when one wasn’t at their best.  That’s not to say that people shouldn’t try to be their best, only that time has a funny way of erasing, or at least sanding down, those human characteristics that we call faults.

Soldiers or Police in Missouri?

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http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/08/13/not-again-ctd-2/

World Peace is none of your business
Police will stun you with their stun guns

Or they’ll disable you with tasers
That’s what government’s for

World Peace is None of Your Business – Morrissey

Andrew Sullivan has been doing a really good job covering the events in Missouri.  The police shot another unarmed black teenager.  If that isn’t horrible enough the police reaction to justifiably angry black protestors has been disgusting.  If you look at the picture above you have to ask if those are cops or soldiers in Afghanistan?  

 

Opposing Opinions on Iraq

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http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/08/08/the-road-to-baghdad-is-paved-with-good-intentions/

As many of you know I have been out on tour.  Keeping up with the news is hard, because I basically  have had no internet service in Colorado unless I am in a major city or actually back in my hotel.  I don’t feel like I have read enough different views on what is going on in Iraq to form a solid opinion.  The link above is to some different opposing opinions on Iraq.  I always feel the only way to even try to understand anything is to read a bunch of different sources and try to piece the truth together between them.  One should never only read sources that one is already inclined to agree with.  Well if you are not sure of what is going on in Iraq hopefully the link above is a good place to start.  Sullivan’s coverage on what is going on in Iraq has been excellent in general from what I have seen before.  This is only one post out of many.  

Sullivan on Torture

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http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/08/03/obama-torture-transparency-and-the-rule-of-law/

 

A pretty powerful post by Andrew Sullivan about the torture.  Although he views Bush and his gang as war criminals, he also finds Obama’s unwillingness to address the issue in any kind of meaningful way deeply unsettling.  

Reader Response

I got the following reply from a reader over my F@$% Fairness blog post.  I will post a link to my original blog at the bottom.  I actually encourage any of you that have intelligent arguments to make about what I have written to make them.  One of the models for this blog is Andrew Sullivan’s.  I like that he doesn’t have comments on his blog, which usually just lead to partisan bickering and name calling.  But what he does do is post the most intelligent reader comments that are in disagreement with him as the “dissent of the day.”  I do allow comments here
, but I must approve them before I post them, not to stifle debate, but to prevent the kind of ignorance that I believe actually is counterproductive to real debate.  Anyway here is the readers comment:

Jeff, There’s something overlooked in your comments, at least what’s expressed here. Trust funds, stocks/bonds, bank accounts, etc, are different than ranches. The death tax has destroyed more natural resources than all the bulldozers ever built. Those who inherit farms and ranches are forced to sell because, unless they’ve won the lottery, the only way they can pay the death tax is to sell their farm/ranch to a developer. So open space, and all its benefits provided to society … aquifer infiltration, riparian areas, wetlands, wildlife habitat, carbon sinks, oxygen production, aesthetics, rainfall runoff reduction and its cleaning, food, fiber, shelter, recreation, etc, etc, etc … are soon eliminated by becoming covered by asphalt and rooftops. And those who say that “proper planning” can escape this tax are, under certain market timings, swings and changes, full of shit. So if you want to help the environment, help keep open spaces open. There are ways to accomplish this, via carefully constructed and regulated conservation easements, etc, etc, but our “leadership” in BOTH parties won’t listen and/or are too dumb to understand, or has not so far. Finally, always remember there are two kinds of landowners: those who take from the land, and those who give to the land. Penalize the former. But, the latter should be encouraged via more appropriate policies than exist today. There’s much more to this discussion that is too complicated for my email skills, but happy to discuss any time.

I think this is a completely valid point, and one that I overlooked.  However, the only thing that I would like to add is that my original blog was more about the hypocrisy of people that are against the Estate Tax so that their children benefit from wealth, and also against social welfare of any kind for other children, and not necessarily a response to the Estate Tax itself.  If this was not made clear, I apologize.  One always realizes when one writes that, unless one would write till the end of time, given all the nuances and shades of gray of each subject, there are going to be small holes in every argument.  Here is a link to my original blog:

https://windupwire.com/2014/07/20/f-fairness/

Goodbye is Too Good a Word: Eric Cantor Loses

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/06/11/the-cantor-shocker-blog-reax/

The above link is to Andrew Sullivan’s blog The Dish.  It is in itself a summary of different reactions by bloggers to Eric Cantor’s loss in the republican primary and what this may mean for our political future.  He lost to Tea Party candidate Dave Brat.  Eric Cantor was a total douche bag, but the fact that he was beat by even someone more insanely right wing is disconcerting, especially because Cantor already was already a puppet for far right interests.   However, that is something we can worry about in the future.  For now it is time to laugh at his fall.  Goodbye to the nothing man.  The following link is to an article at Vice that gives reasons why we should all be glad that Eric Cantor lost:

http://www.vice.com/read/heres-why-you-should-be-glad-eric-cantor-lost-his-primary

As the article begins:

For those of you who don’t know, Representative Eric Cantor, majority leader and second-most powerful Republican in the House, has just fucked off into that good night at the behest of Virginia voters. If you feel like you hardly got a chance to know Cantor in the first place, that’s because there’s really nothing to know about him as a person. He’s a politician who “reportedly has no hobbies, but enjoys James Bond movies.” 

Regional Comedy

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/04/01/worldly-wit/

An interesting blog from Andrew Sullivan.  Since I have moved from the North East to Texas I have been struck by the different forms of humor that is part of different regions in the country.  To speak of any region having a certain kind of humor is definitely an exaggeration.  However, these exaggerations do provide some insight.  In the North East I feel that humor is much more acerbic.  In central Texas I have found that the humor often relies much more on a kind of scatological wordplay.

I don’t know if I put much faith in the second half of the article.  It is an interesting topic however.  How much difference do people like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert make over the long term, in terms of seeing the absurdity in our culture?  I think one thing comedians like them do is to give a concrete voice to feelings that many of us have had for a long time.  They give form to our abstract thoughts.  Many people have known that the media has been terrible for years.  However, they put things in a context that makes it easier to give specific critiques of what exactly is wrong with the media.  If you can correctly verbalize something you have a better chance of changing something.  I think that right there is worth a lot.