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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Call Of The Mild

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. Jack London

My son reads Harry Potter books. I'm told many adults read them. I don't get it.

Actually, I do. Harry Potter is in his author's idea of unsatisfactory circumstances. He believes himself to be very special solely by the virtue of his birth, and is encouraged by weirdos to change his circumstances by simply wishing they were not so.

Sounds like the lament of many people. And it's just as passive as the average person has become. I wish things were wonderful because dang it, I'm special.

You're probably not. Special, that is. Few people are in any meaningful way. Besides, most people who are considered special now are not worthwhile human beings in even the most minute way. They just manage to gain notoriety any old way they can cadge it.

I read Jack London books when I was little. People in Jack London books didn't hang around expecting that their innate wonderfulness would be acknowledged if they just wished hard enough. They went out in the world and made their way. That world was not some foppish boarding school where nothing much ever happens. And entire industries of thought devoted to the idea that you're deserving of praise and a medal because you manage to flick the lightswitch by the door, then bravely make it into your bed in the dark, seems to indicate a sort of invertebrate outlook on the world.

You don't have to go to the Yukon, son. Just don't think you're going to accomplish anything by wishing it would happen. That's a politician's job, and I'd prefer you'd avoid that sort of outright criminality, even if you're not... special.

5 comments:

XWL said...

"And entire industries of thought devoted to the idea that you're deserving of praise and a medal because you manage to flick the lightswitch by the door, then bravely make it into your bed in the dark, seems to indicate a sort of invertebrate outlook on the world."

Agreed.

But that's blasphemy against the 'self-esteem' culture prevalent in schools and media today.

How many 'graduations' have your sons had before even reaching their middle school years?

(I managed to not graduate from anything until I graduated from high school, I feel lucky in that regard)

Patsy said...

You're wrong about the Harry Potter books--but I forgive you since you've not read them.

You're right about our current definition of 'celebrity', tho. Apparently all it takes to be a star today is to be born into tons of money and forget to wear your underwear.

Glad you're feeling better--you sound like you're getting feisty again.

PatHMV said...

You do Harry Potter an injustice. He is in fact special by the circumstances of his birth, and he voluntarily undertakes great difficulties in order to fulfill the obligations imposed on him by the circumstances of his birth. True, he joyfully retreats to boarding school, but only upon invitation, and because he is being woefully abused by his foster parents. Far from merely wishing his circumstances were not so, he works quite hard to study his subjects and prepare himself for the battles he knows are coming.

One could just as easily say that the people in Jack London books couldn't find satisfaction and happiness in being ordinary people, doing ordinary things. Rather than learn how to live with their fellow man, they seek to escape human society all together.

SippicanCottage said...

Pat offers a spirited analysis of the subject material, but I think I prefer Patsy's straight up "Nope."

xwl- I think my oldest son had two before he started first grade, somehow.

PatHMV said...

I do absolutely agree with xwl's point about graduations. My cousins had kindergarten and 8th grade, I know for sure. There were probably more that my aunt didn't even bother to tell me about.

And I'm a lawyer... if I used 1 word where I could fit 30 or 40 in, they'd kick me out of the guild!