Essays

About Resolution 451

The old Cincinnati Library 1874-1955

A dialog.

“What’s this?”

“What?”

“This ‘Resolution 451’ business.”

“Not a business. Just a revolution. Like a New Year’s revolution.”

“You mean resolution.”

“Well, yes, but it’s a revolting matter to have to deal with after all the ages..”

“How so? What’s the matter?”

“It’s about time for the peasants to revolt. That’s all. Past time, I think.”

“Why?”

“To save books from perdition. They’re being destroyed, removed, replaced, expurgated, and abridged. Libraries are busy giving up the wealth of their collections for space to install machines that will be out of date in ten our twelve years—machines that operate soft-ware that will be useless in five or six. The arbiters of political correctness are getting rid of anything that does not meet their approval, altering texts they don’t like. Special interest groups are removing books they disagree with. And the publicly funded colleges all assign the same texts. Publishers are refusing to publish books that do not fit with their political templates. Our literature is being lost to morons who read twitter feeds.”

“Wooh! Except for the twittering, that’s always been going on. It’s the way it always was.” read more…

A Time for Books

I have finally done something I had promised to do here years ago. But it is posted at the Bookshop site under ‘annotations.’

Annotations

In the last days of the Republic

I first knowingly encountered the Administrative State in 1972 when I went to City Hall in Boston to get a peddler’s license so that I might sell books and magazines on the street. I was under the delusion (illusion is too kind) that the First Amendment to the Constitution afforded me the right to sell almost any printed matter except pornography, and this being 1972, even that indecency would be overlooked. But the first week out on the street with my yellow pushcart (wittily named De Cart) got me a warning from the constabulary (i.e., the cops) who were charged with enforcement of the laws of the Administrative State, and I was told to get a proper license or I’d get a fifty-dollar fine. read more…

Bronze Age Collapse in the Time of Brady

The spawn of a recent article by Richard Fernandez (https://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/surprise-collapse/) is a rather gloomy extended thought on my part. It is my tendency to be gloomy, true, but that aside, I have the habit of seeing analogy in most of what I hear and read. This is like a constant echo going on in my head, a second voice not unlike my own, and often results in a stupid slack jawed look on my face when I am engaged in listening to others (either that or I’m just tired). I have even been known to drool on the page of a book in my hands—something akin for me to farting in church. But back to my thesis: The Bronze Age Collapse in our time. read more…

About American Philosophy

The occasion of this post is my recent discovery of a wonderful book by John Kaag entitled American Philosophy, a Love Story. Before I get to any criticism of the work, I should commit myself beyond the adjective ‘wonderful,’ and say that I think it is indeed truly excellent and worthwhile, but worth a great deal more to those who are interested in the genealogy of the ideas that drive our modern world. The rest of you may just get a kick out of the love story. read more…

Observations

Children crave order in their lives. Given the seeming chaos aswirl about them, fixing on the specific edges of a particular blanket or a sequence of events that repeats regularly, like a nap time or snack time, offers them a sense of what and when. There is comfort to place and as they learn the words for the objects they encounter daily they are pleased to discover an identity to things. You can witness the joy of their recognition.

This is all very simplistic, of course. More is going on in those new minds that we can readily understand, but there is much that can be seen and heard that is common to any child, no matter the culture or circumstance. They enjoy the order of shapes and colors. And if they are given the chance, they enjoy changing the order when they are able, exerting some control over the objects about them. The more they discover they can manipulate their world, the greater joy they find in it, and the faster they learn. read more…