On Thu, 14 Oct 2004, Big C wrote:

Dear Dr. Knowitall,


Little C wanted to know if the below was a joke.  I'm not sure
what to say.  Is there anything you can help explain to her?
It is, however, too funny. Enjoy.

	Big C.

Subject: FW: We report - you decide

I know the goal for our nation's school system is that "No child will be
Left Behind", but...there was at least one that was left behind...
for the first three years.  Can the English language survive?

"The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country."
                                - George W. Bush

"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."
                                - George W. Bush

"One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that
one word is 'to be prepared'."
                                 - George W. Bush

"I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in
the future."
                                 - George W. Bush

The future will be better tomorrow."
                                 - George W. Bush

"We're going to have the best educated American people in the world."
                                 - George W. Bush

"I stand by all the misstatements that I've made."
                                 - George W. Bush

"We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a
firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe."
                                 - George W. Bush

"Public speaking is very easy."
                                 - George W. Bush

"A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the
                                 - George W. Bush

"We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur."
                                 - George W. Bush

"For NASA, space is still a high priority."
                                 - George W. Bush

"Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our
                                 - George W. Bush

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities
in our air and water that are doing it."
                                 - George W. Bush

"It's time for the human race to enter the solar system."
                                 - George W. Bush


Dear Big C.,

Did you think for a moment that I could possibly ignore this one.

Little C should learn from this the notion of "relativism".  Though there
are, I'm assured, absolutes, they are mostly in the context of assumptions
built into models of reality that we use in order to understand a truly
bizarro mondo reality.  We never get there, but we still keep trucking.

This is either one gigantic and complex joke (a comic opera) - or a
tragedy somewhat akin to Grande Guignol.
(Is little C. ready for Grande Guignol?)

Ok - ok - it's - um like - Macbeth - Hamlet: the wrong people always get
killed, and the wrong people live happily ever after - or rather we make
them live happily ever after, but they don't anyhow.  It's all very
confusing, and little C shouldn't feel especially clueless, since we are
all basically clueless.  It's the essential human condition.  It's
amazing how much we don't have to understand at all; it's just we are
seemingly very nosy Parkers.

Whether this is a joke or a tragedy depends on your rather complex point
of view, which might indeed change in a split second.  In either event,
it certainly does create a certain cognitive dissonance in almost anybody's
expectations of what is real and what isn't.

It's usually only when such a dissonance resolves that the joke is hatched
and we laugh.  Right now, the dissonance just seems to go on - and on.

Maybe we anticipate the the resolution - and giggle a little, but the
giggling is a nervous giggle, meaning that we expect the resolution,
but we're not quite sure whether it will ever happen.  The idea that
it might not happen makes us *really* nervous, because if it doesn't
our ideas of what is real and what isn't get trashed.  This is no
particularly giggling matter.

We are born, and soon enough figure the world is really pretty interesting.
Then we discover all too many things suck, and try to figure it out - as to
why this should be.  We never actually figure it out, and things are just
that way.  Some things just suck - sometimes big time.  Eventually, even
the things that suck become unimportant, perhaps wrongly because they won't
go away and we get used to them.  Then, even they become funny jokes.
Take our president - please!

Tell little C. the truth: we live in strange and absurd times, that
neither of us ever anticipated.  When we were her age the world was
complicated - but mostly we didn't care - and it was ok.  It was, at
least on the surface, rational.  It really wasn't - but what did we know?

Now, however, the world has gotten so weird and irrational that it is
difficult (for us at least) to deal with.  We look strange regarding
the latest news.  We cry - and sometimes we burst out laughing.
It seems truly strange to us that people can actually listen to a
mess of obvious nonsense and obviously deliberate lies and feel that
somehow this is ok - coming from a government that is supposed to be
their servant.

We shouldn't be paid much attention to on these little outbursts;
they're at least more rational than the rest of the world.

The general level of stupidity and insanity notwithstanding, our
time here is finite.

The important thing is to read good books, avoid TV, listen to good
music (any that is still left and that you can get your hands on),
pay attention to things like sunsets, clouds, mountains, birds
(yes, even the ones that crap on the car), eat good food with friends,
learn to make it because you sure aren't going to get it made for
you out there (Soylent Green anyone?), learn about beauty and enjoy
the time we have to the best of our abilities.

Be well Big C, and enhance your calm.
Have a joy-joy day.

	-- DK


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Created: October 15, 2004
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