I received a message from a high-school classmate commenting very positively on Ed Raymond’s most recent HPR column, Enough to make you puke, on the Parkland school shooting. He is calling for us to rise up and support the students now marching for gun controls. I have recently made a decision to try and change the way our culture influences my well-being. I cancelled Dish Network service so no TV in the house – sad, I had to miss Roseann’s comeback. I still have internet service but it is mainly used for research/writing purposes. However, I still peek into The Rachael Maddow Show, now selectively and without commercials, in order to keep an eye on what Mueller, Stormy, and our Teens are up to. Years ago, I stopped the Fargo Forum but still get Time Magazine, and I only access local TV News for the morning weather report. I had not read the HPR this year and am pulling back from Facebook and YouTube visits, Zuckerberg’s intrusions are most troubling – I hope he and LaPierre soon gets drawn & quartered. Whew, where is this coming from?
It just dawned on me. I was recently identifying a book my son Aaron and I could read and discuss together. I had gone to my bookshelf and taken out Hesse’s Steppenwolf and Thoreau’s Walden for us to consider. The next day an Amazon package arrived for Aaron, it was Walden and he then told me it had been assigned in his NDSU English class for next week. This was synchronistic and we set about reading it together, expecting like in years past I would be able to attend his class.
We prepared reading half the book for the first-class session. I soon realized that as Thoreau was in the process separating from society, moving to his pond, I also was separating and moving away into an upper-room den. Then the professor said I could not attend. Aaron was having some issue with the young professor but this was not why I wanted to attend. Every year I have attended one of his English classes, with no problem. I called the administration and was lectured on the Federal Regulation protecting the civil rights of the other class members. The professor, if agreeing, would then have to follow a maze of regulation. I must admit, I was itching to interact with him – knowing how Aaron was challenging him, he probably wanted nothing to do with a contentious 74 old year old who thinks he the new 24-year-old. I didn’t blame him, at times I can be cantankerous.
I used to read the HPR, published a few essays there and penned a few letters to the editor. After reading Ed’s most recent column, looking at several others, I was reminded of why I had stopped reading his column. Ed is a good Gadfly writer, however, I am not now into his writing style. Ed is good at outlining an issue but not so apt at providing deeper analysis and solutions, if in fact there are any. I know there is a role for Ed’s kind of writing, however, it seems he rarely goes ‘deep’ into the psychoanalytical-state of the issues. Here it may seem to be the ‘deep-state’ in our lives – we know who reminds us of this, however, Trump has no idea of what ‘psychoanalytically deep’ means. Trump himself needs to be on a couch!
My classmate mentioned that one of our high-school teachers Mr. Olson had his students read W. Cleon Skousen’s The Naked Communist, I still have this book and wondered how I came to own it – but I never had Olson for a teacher so, I am thinking, it must have been more widely assigned. What we should have been and now be reading is The Naked Capitalist but not Skousen’s book by this title – a different one, not written by a John Birch Society member, which Skousen was. One has to wonder what Olson’s political views were or who authorized the reading of this book. I see Olson probably to the right of another of our teachers, Mr. Barney, who I see as a progressive. Can you imagine a Native American wife in 1960 Fargo. How about reading and discussing Capitalism and Schizophrenia with the reading notes by Deleuze and Guattari. Yes, I know where this suggestion is going with current Facebook mentality.
I do not think my classmate needed to pull his punches with other classmates supporting the NRA’s gun stance. Mr. Barney, wrestling coach, would never suggest we jeopardize a match by being gentle on an opponent – the take-down is the first and important move. Supporters of the NRA’s position should be ‘shot-in-their-footsies’, preferably in their big toes – taking them right off, let them bleed red-blood like the children of Sandy Hook. I now see my classmate as unwilling or worse not knowing he needs to challenge the system of capitalism – it is more than mental health.
Which brings me to the title for this blog, pause here for a moment and reflect on this title… Read it again… What images comes to you? Sheer Horror? Our children lined-up to enter their American schools (Clara Barton and Horace Mann) as German children lined up to enter Auschwitz. I suspect we now will be having nightmares – oh, the power of nightmares!
Last night I was re-reading Romanyshyn’s book the Wounded Researcher’s Chapter 12 Writing down the soul and this passage on the qualities of writing necessary to write with soul in mind, stimulated this blog title. Romanyshyn writes that, “All of these qualities characterize the metaphoric sensibility, in which the appeal of metaphor is through an image that it evokes, which is neither an empirical fact nor rational idea. To say that “Jefferson Davis is the Lincoln of the South” is not to proclaim a fact. Nor is it just a mental idea. The metaphor presents an image between fact and idea, which invites a way of seeing that opens a world of possibilities that might become a work. Hence, I would argue that the alchemical art of writing inclines one through an image toward a vision of something. The art of alchemical writing is not, therefore, about convincing the reader through facts and ideas about some truth, but rather, of persuading him or her to see, through an image, some issue in a particular way, to look at it from a specific perspective. In this respect, psychological writing, writing that makes a place for the unconscious, writing that keeps soul in mind, is a rhetorical art” (325).
I have been trying to raise images from this title, America’s Sandy Hook is Germany’s Auschwitz. This is frightening, in fact, I actually hesitated using active imagination for what I actually feared it might conger up! You try imagining into this title and see what you experience – “what are the possibilities that might become a work”? Here is GK Chesterton’s outline of sanity that might be part of the possibilities. Does this seem farfetched? The Outline of Sanity.
Yes, it seems farfetched because as Pinky suggests to overcome structure, power, and agency in our way of living, we would need to commit class treason and this is a very challenging task! Pinky begins by stating, “A child dies every 5 seconds from not having enough food to eat.” Oh, is it time for our class lunch by the lake. Enjoy, however, next time let’s be thinking and discussing what does it mean to commit class treason. This clip ends with a university professor (hitting close to home) telling his wife he is planning to commit class treason, giving up his position, and then comes to the conclusion with their mortgage payment due – this needs more thought!