Tuesday, July 26, 2005

And the question of taste

Two quick items for tonight.

I wanted to tell you, Rob, why I put up my post to begin with and why I then decided to bring it down.

Writing, as you well know, can be very tricky. Sometimes we say things that don't really come off the way we intend it. And other times, there are other considerations to think about.

I got very angry when I read your posts and couldn't let it go without reacting. Because, in a way, Shiva was right about me in her anguished rebuttal of what I had said about Islam and terrorism. I have the world view of a simpleton, really

I try to understand life as best I can in its multifaceted complexity and so I try to avoid caricatures. I study a great deal and marvel at the wondrous and the often annoying universe we live in. But then, there are a bunch of simple rules with me I try to live by. Sometimes I succeed and other times I fail--miserably. But I always try.

And wanting to see any part of our planet nuked is one of those absolute no-nos for me. And football hooligans unleashing on fellow spectators or the players of a visiting team is another. So, on principle I had to remove your site from my link list.

It is that quaint matter of "moral taste" I tried to get at a few posts down. It is what really shapes my conduct and my view of politics. And, incidentally, it also accounts for my opposition to the murderous reigning imbecility in Iran.

And I think many months ago, I posted a poem that sums it all up pretty nicely. I'll do it again tonight. Zbigniew Herbert--my favorite Polish poet, puts it best:

The Power of Taste

It didn't require great character at all
our refusal disagreement and resistance
we had a shred of necessary courage
but fundamentally it was a matter of taste
Yes taste
in which there are fibers of soul the cartilage of
Who knows if we had been better and more
attractively tempted
sent rose-skinned women thin as a wafer
or fantastic creatures from the paintings of
Hieronymus Bosch
but what kind of hell was there at this time
a wet pit the murderers' alley the barrack
called a palace of justice
a home-brewed Mephisto in a Lenin jacket
sent Aurora's grandchildren on into the field
boys with potato faces
very ugly girls with red hands.
So æsthetics can be helpful in life
one should not neglect the study of beauty
Before we declare our consent we must carefully
the shape of the architecture the rhythm of the drums

official colors the despicable ritual of funerals
Our eyes and refused obedience
the princes of our senses proudly chose exile

--translated by John Carpenter and Bogdana Carpenter

So it was the simple matter for me. And I was also concerned that you might be going through some rough times with all the transitions which were what might have been giving us those very angry (unreasonable) posts.

But I was also serious in all of my characterizations of you. You are a talented, passionate and caring individual and I do like your feistiness and your spirit. So then when I saw and heard all the negative reactions about you both on and off the comment section among my readers, I thought they were being unfair to who you appear to be and I didn't want you locked in the role that my representation of your posts assigned you to.

I don't like it when people take the easy out by vilifying others. And besides, your blog is still there for everyone to see and you continue to speak for yourself. So, once I had calmed down, I brought the post down. I thought I had done what I had to do and my reaction was in keeping with my sense of a "measure."

I'll continue to draw attention in different ways to the dangers of a nuclear exchange without giving anyone an excuse or the distraction of a someone to quickly demonize in order to avoid dealing with the real substance of issues.

But like I said, nothing in life is quite that easy to figure out, and this especially for the simpletons! That's what makes life…life, I suppose! We should try to take it all in strides. Looks like we might be in for a long, nasty ride.

And N, you should have a quick look here (http://www.allconferences.com/conferences/20011119054424/ )
if the spirit moves you and consider some of the issues broached and we'll revisit the matter again soon.

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