"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Monday, July 25, 2005

As The Jay Flies

Some magnetic impulse has drawn me away from my Miami cocoon of comfort, inching ever northward alongside the Atlantic Ocean.

I would love to have someone offer me a boatload of money to write a travelogue, in which case I would engage every convenience store clerk and motel chambermaid in conversation, but in the absence of such incentives, I mostly avoid eye contact and concentrate on piloting my automobile from Point A to point B - or, if the flesh is weak, to Point A +300 miles.

Here is one smidgen of free sociology: there is a peculiar convention of formality that attends the conversion of verbal instruction into signage.

For example, almost every person behind a counter will point to the receptacle in the corner and inform you that it awaits your "trash" or your "garbage". However, virtually any printed sign to this effect will refer to its subject as "refuse" or "waste".

12 comments:

Hunter Baker said...

My father would have made a great salesman. He loves to engage people in conversation. I was once with him in a convenience store late at night as he and the clerk talked at length about head cheese.

Kathy Hutchins said...

I was once with him in a convenience store late at night as he and the clerk talked at length about head cheese.

More evidence you're a fossilized relic, Hunter. If you were a self-actualizing 21st C. metrosexual you'd be telling that to your therapist, not to us.

Hunter Baker said...

I'm one of those guys who wasn't traumatized by my father's foibles. I kinda like the guy.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Is anyone here aware of any research correlating political affiliation to how well you got along with your father?

(Pet theory of mine, based on beaucoup experience...)

Hunter Baker said...

There is a book by Paul Vitz that was published by Spence dealing with father relationships and atheism. His thesis was that most atheists had a bad relationship with their dads or had non-existent dads. He uses various historical figures to make his point. Vitz is a psychiatrist either with NYU or Johns Hopkins as I recall.

Kathy Hutchins said...

Is anyone here aware of any research correlating political affiliation to how well you got along with your father?

Not father relationships per se, but I remember hearing about a study that found that women who were spanked as children tended to grow up liberal, whereas men who were spanked as boys tended to grow up conservative.

I heard it on the radio several years ago, and Google doesn't turn up any plausible links, so I emphatically do not hang my reputation on this study's design. It might be utter piffle.

And no, I was not spanked in my youth -- because I never needed it.

Tom Van Dyke said...

HB, since (I think) it's not unfair to say the left is the political home of atheism, or at least anti-religiosity, I'd say we're halfway home then.

More on Vitz, Sartre, Hobbes...

Hunter Baker said...

The political spectrum has moved in that direction. The only folks with that old time religion who are also Democrats are African-Americans these days. And that ain't gonna last forever.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Ah, but there's the father problem there still, eh?

FDR was the last daddy figure among the Democrats. Tom Sowell says he's dead, but I'm not so sure.

Very nourishing discussion, HB, at least for me, a lot of stuff I seldom see in the marketplace of ideas. I've recently seen academic (IMO) nonsense that conservatism and religiosity are genetic. That we would argue "nurture" instead seems very liberal and progressive to me.

"The difference between the most dissimilar characters, between a philosopher and a common street porter, for example, seems to arise not so much from nature, as from habit, custom, and education."
---Adam Smith, Wealth O'Nations

Hunter Baker said...

I think it's clearly a mixed bag. Genetics bestows gifts and disabilities, but habit, custom, and education are powerful indeed.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Of course. But I do believe anyone, regardless of genes can find Jesus and oh yeah, agree with me on politics. Just has to use the good sense God gave him. :-)

Hunter Baker said...

Agreed. We don't sound like good Calvinists, do we?