Waist Deep in the Big Muddy

The title of this blog comes from a Pete Seeger song:

The lyrics contain a number of metaphors that apply to the current political situation in the States: First, times and circumstances change. What was once safe doesn’t necessarily remain that way. Second, having a “big fool” set direction may not turn out well. Third (and one of my favorite quotations), “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” which was doubtless based on George Santayana’s original: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Remembering history by itself isn’t sufficient. . . . → Read More: Waist Deep in the Big Muddy

True Believers

I recently had two online exchanges with “True Believers.” In my case, both were Christian “literalists” whose “true belief” was in Biblical inerrancy, believing that the Christian Bible is literally the “Word of God” and therefore contains no errors. The belief in inerrancy is more complex than the phrase implies, as there are so many different versions of the ancient texts. My concern is with inerrancy in general rather than which particular form it takes.

Christians aren’t the only ones who have an inerrancy faction. Muslims have one, too. Sunnis and Shia are currently in the news for their . . . → Read More: True Believers

In My Family…

An old story whose origins are unknown to Google is about a relatively newlywed couple who wanted to divide chores evenly having weekly arguments about whose turn it was to mow the lawn. Other household tasks weren’t a problem. The husband had his responsibilities, the wife had hers, and each was comfortable with the assigned tasks with the exception of lawn mowing. They had agreed to take turns but had trouble tracking whose turn it was from week to week. After months of arguing about whose turn it was to mow the lawn, the wife blurted out, “In my family, . . . → Read More: In My Family…

Elephants, Crooks, and Class Warfare

When President Obama announced his new plans for improving the economy in the States, Republicans cried, “Class warfare!” Obama’s response was, “It is not class warfare—it’s math.” This response not only reminded me of Nixon’s infamous claim, “I am not a crook,” but also reminded me of George Lakoff’s warning against using your opponent’s frame in your counterarguments (see Framing—Again. It is a failure to remember the Don’t think of elephants rule. When Nixon said, “I am not a crook,” the connection made in most people’s minds was, “Nixon—crook.” The not gets lost in translation.

In addressing the issue . . . → Read More: Elephants, Crooks, and Class Warfare