Sunday, December 25, 2016

Book Review at Table 2: The Little Blue Book


Lakoff, George and Elisabeth Wehling.  The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic.  Free Press: Simon and Schuster, New York.  2012.


p.20 The understanding that private success always depends on public support leads to progressive taxation: the more you earn from public support, the greater your responsibility for its maintenance.

p48 Extreme conservative discourse is taken as neutral in the absence of a progressive alternative, but it is anything but neutral.  It is dangerous…

p. 81 “Government has a moral duty to protect and empower its people”

p. 86 The Founding Fathers were right: public education is necessary for a democracy as well as a vibrant economy.

p. 107 Good soil feeds us forever.  In the long run, a farmer’s crops are worth more than the oil underneath.  Don’t drill.


This book is a good start for any Liberal or Progressive who wants to engage an extreme conservative but keeps getting caught in the maelstrom of vomitous insanity spewed by our friends on the “Right”

George Lakoff, a cognitive scientist, studies how the brain works, and in this and other works and lectures he explains how the “Right” uses the mechanics of words much more adroitly than the Liberals or Progressives in getting their message across.  In fact, they are so good at this that often their message is conveyed by the Left because two things: 1) the way the Left feels compelled to explain and defend against all “Right” attacks, no matter how insane, and 2) by using and repeating the language of conservatives, thereby ingraining the ideas into everyone’s minds even further.

While I disagree with the facility by which Lakoff and Wehling in this book relate the opposing political viewpoints to broad generalities about the idea of the “family,” these authors are very compelling in their directive that the Left must understand what it is that they believe and communicate that message to the best of their ability.   Don’t use the language of the Right.  Don’t try to fight them on their own terms.  Explain why progressive ideas are better for everybody.   This book gives great examples.  I would give some here, but then that would just include posting large swaths of the text.   Instead, I encourage you to go read the book and discover them for yourself.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Overheard at the Counter: Is the Bible to be Taken Literally?

Upon hearing this question, Verble takes a long sip of his coffee and says, "Others may answer differently, but I say 'Yes ... and No.'

"First, it's important to make the distinction between the Bible and 'books' as we see them.  We see books as creations, writings, with plots and metaphors and instructions, etc.  While the Bible uses the written word - as opposed to photography or paint or sound - it is more than just the written word.  It is part of Creation just like the Universe itself is part of Creation.  So, in that way, I say 'Yes' the Bible is to be taken literally.   When Jesus says, 'It's easier to stuff a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to Heaven,' He means it.   (Sorry, Mr. Trump, but you're screwed, unless you come to know Jesus!)

"Second, I say 'No' because of what humans mean by 'literal' - Humans have a need to control, to be in control, and to trip others up.   That is what is meant by the word 'literal'  - 'Did you LITERALLY just tell your boss to take this job and shove it?' 'Why yes I did - the words came out of my mouth!'

"So, by 'literal' in most of the questions I've ever received about the 'literality' of the Bible has been in the context of Genesis - the question is 'do you believe that Adam and Eve were two human beings walking around just like you and your wife in your human bodies in 2016 walk around naked in your back yard, and did they do this 3,700 years ago according to the measurement of time that we have today?  Such as, can I take the Norman Rockwell 2017 calendar that I just bought myself, make 3700 copies of it, set them end to end and say, HAH this many days ago, Adam and Eve walked the Earth!

"No.  Because again, that is a human limitation placed on the text of the Bible, and it comes back down to my human brain imposing MY will upon the Word of God.

"The context of the argument is that - if Adam and Eve are literally true the way the Young Earth Creationists believe it to be true, then the rest of the Bible falls apart.   Most atheists use this as an argument, and all YEC's fear it.  This is why YEC's hold to it so steadfast, because they are weak in their faith.

"Both approaches are merely a human attempt to limit the Bible - to force it to conform to human understanding.   The Bible does not fall apart if Genesis can be read a different way than the Epistle of James.  Remember, the Bible is not a mystery novel or a textbook, it's a living breathing document with mysteries we cannot understand, like the Universe itself.

"I know this answer does not satisfy many people, and I apologise for that.  Sometimes I ramble.  But in summation, the best I can say is 'Yes, I believe that every word in the Bible is pregnant with meaning and glorifies God, but No, I'm not going to force it to conform to a limited human 'literal' sense - especially in the way humanity tries to argue Genesis."

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Overheard at Table 3: To Go Home or Not to Go Home

... so then last night my wife says she was at the salon getting an appointment for her hair to get done on Thursday, and she walks outside and realizes she doesn't want to come home!


yeah!  and I'm like "what are you talking about?" and she says that it the mist of the light rain hit her cheek and she took a deep breath and thought about the cold and had this desire to just hit the highway and drive, leaving me, leaving the kids, leaving her mom, all of us, just driving.

wow, man.  that's kind of intense.

damright!  hell, I've felt that way off and on for years but what kind of shitstorm d'you think I'd be in if I ever openly admitted that to HER?!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Overheard at Table 1: Communism and Capitalism

Communism is an economic system based on the lie that every citizen has an equal share of society's products and services.

Capitalism is an economic system based on the lie that every citizen has an equal opportunity to enjoy society's products and services.

The only difference is that citizens in an Communist system know full well that they live in a lie.

Overheard at Booth 2: Wondering

... thinking about next Christmas, this time, same time next year:
will we still have the debates that we are having now?
will we still be agitating for social change?
will be be fighting to keep our slim rights at work?  in the voting booth?
over our own bodies?
will we have any shot at a bare minimum income for retirement?
will the protests be silenced?

what will Christmas look like next year?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Overheard at Table 2: Elderly Parent

H: ...but you probably shouldn't have yelled at her like that.

W: She was heading straight for the trash can!  She was gonna pull the cake slice OUT of the trash!

H: You shouted at her in front of everybody.

W: It was embARassing!

H: Honey, she's 83 years old.  Old people do weird stuff.  Besides, it was OK, Fredy got her a fresh slice of cake to take home.

W: I know.  I'm just not taking this well.  This is the strongest woman in the world.  Been strong my whole life.  Now, to see her being so hard headed, it's just so stressful.

H: I know.

W: How do you know?  She's not your mom.

H: Yeah, but I'm married to her clone.