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Blame Game Part 2

Oh dear me, now I'm being compared to John Derbyshire. Kinda. Well, let me assure you all that I and the Derb couldn't be more different -- for one thing, he's some sort of math whiz, and I have to take off my shoes to count to twenty.

As for the rest... well, I could sit here all night writing examples to show that yes, people are much softer -- I can't think of a better word -- much less willing to go to hard physical effort for anything other than pleasure (I don't count things like the current fad for "extreme" sports as real hard physical effort), less willing to put up with discomfort, less willing to simply fight adversity -- than previous generations. It doesn't take studies by learned authorities in the field, all it takes is observation over a lifetime (I'll be forty-five next month, so I'm no naive spring chicken), and a general knowledge of history. That doesn't mean we -- I'm part of the flabby, lazy generation too -- deserve to die (a note I am sensing underneath all the snotty sarcasm); it means we seriously need to change our behavior. And yes, I fear that if we don't, we will lose everything we have gained over the centuries, because the strong, insane people we no longer have the ability to fight will destroy it.

But you know, maybe making fun of people like me, Mark Steyn, John Derbyshire, etc., will keep the scary thoughts away. Whatever.

(Via the Corner, further via Kathy Shaidle.)

Update: just found this courtesy of Rand Simberg -- see, this is what I mean.

Second update: well, I guess there are some blogs I won't be visiting as much, if at all. I don't know if I'll be able to appreciate their writing on other subjects, considering what they have chosen to reveal about certain matters. Well that's okay. It will give me an opportunity to read all those books I keep meaning to finish, like War and Peace.

Comments (8)

Jeffro [TypeKey Profile Page]:

I happen to agree with you. Tarantino's evidence for girly man behavior in the past seems to be in large urban areas. So 15,000 people did not assist the police in arresting a single shooter. I'd be shocked if they did. We're talking NYC here. Surprise, surprise, surprise - a bunch of kids in a McDonalds didn't attack the adult shooter. That is a fine example to prove his point. He had the Whitman massacre wrong as well, and had that tossed in his face. I'm for thinking there are major cultural differences between citizens of the upper east coast, California and Texas, and part of that is represented by the views on self defense.

This whole dividing-line of opinion has disappointed me as well, and not even primarily because of the actual disagreement involved (though that's part it), but because the rationales and arguments deployed are so mushy and confused and, quite obviously to me at least, a gloss covering mere emotion.

For instance, I saw the thing at Daily Gut that quoted my comment here, thought about responding, but decided it wasn't really worth it, because it wouldn't do any good.

Yes, me too -- and even the thought of responding over at Tarantino's just made my brain glaze over with weariness.

I think you and Shaidle nailed it - "if I measure myself against a standard and find myself wanting, that standard must be abandoned". Oddly, your critics all seem to recognize that Librescu's behavior was admirable - but by what standard do they reach that conclusion? Is courage something like musical or mathematical talent, or athletic ability, something we can admire without being ashamed that we ourselves don't possess it? Apparently. I never read of people like Librescu without a dark feeling of anticipated shame accompanying the feelings of admiration. "I would not do the right thing. I would be a coward. I would fail". Don't most people feel that way? Apparently not.

There is a passage in a novel read long ago (one of John Fowles's, iirc.) where a character is described as misusing her "precious gift of self-contempt". The context was entirely different than the one we're discussing here, but I think the phrase is apt. Does the idea of self-contempt as a gift bewilder people?

J.M. Heinrichs [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Let's see, Professor Librescu blocks the door and tells his students to escape ou the windows, and they do. Not one student decided to his teacher; they were offered an opportunity to escape and all took that opportunity. One student evidently saw his professor die, just before going through the window. The students of Professor Granata were equally supportive.

Somehow I get the impression Tarantino et al need to read up on the "Birkenhead Drill".


J.M. Heinrichs [TypeKey Profile Page]:

"Not one student decided to ASSIST his teacher ..."
And "ou" = "out".


Well, it's nice to know that at least today's kids obey their teachers. I guess.

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Don't worry, he's just chopping broccoli.


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