Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Tyranny of Normality and the Unsanity Defense (1.03.12)

Is there anything else we need to say about The Fool before moving on to The World? Yes, I think so. In The Spiritual Ascent, Perry discusses divine madness, the seeming "mindlessness" of many of those "who have transcended the purely rational faculties."

God himself is crazy, and being is his fine madness. This was the opinion of no less a gnut than Meister Eckhart, who observed that "God's idiosyncrasy is being" (quoted in Perry) -- Being being the first exteriorization, or precipitate, of the creative Godhead beyond being. Which is why, as Plato expressed it, "the madness that comes of God is superior to the sanity which is of human origin."

Now, typically, it is the extreme bhakta --the God lover -- who most exhibits the signs of the divine madness -- weeping, pining, carrying on. But the way of the Raccoon is to filter that same madness through the jnanic, or contemplative, temperament -- which results in the sort of linguistic post-normality you have come to expect from Dear Leader. Rules of grammar, or spelling, or sentence construction -- well, we just don't care. But we always break the rules from above, never below -- unlike, say, the barbarian shorthand of the instant messengers.

If you look at culture as a sort of boundary -- a necessary boundary, by the way, because a King Bee can't do no stingin' without a hive -- anyone who does not stay within the lines will be regarded as "mad," or a fool, irrespective of whether they fall below or above its expectations. Think of our jester as a particularly nasty case of chronic, even terminal, normality. A Normotic Personality Disorder, if you will.

As a matter of fact, back when I myself was hoping to be more normal, I considered publishing a paper on this topic, because it is something one routinely encounters in clinical practice, not to mention day-to-day life. In a certain sense, to be "normal" is to be partially dead, unless one is aware of the fact that one is only behaving normally in order to "pass." To put it in Raccoon argot, "if you're not eccentric, you're wrong." But we do not necessarily advertise our eccentricity in the wrong circles. That's not proper madness, that's just stupidity.

Perry also cites the example of Omar Khayam, "whose wisdom clothed in frivolity is opposed to Pharisaism clothed in piety." As Schuon put it, "if religious hypocrisy is possible, the contrary paradox must equally be so." In other words, if I were to pretend to be normal, I would be a rank hypocrite.

Christopher Bollas discusses what he calls the "normotic personality," which might very well describe the anti-Coon. On the one hand, therapists often deal with patients who are limited by a weak sense of reality. But just as often, one encounters people who, as Winicott expressed it, "are so firmly anchored in objectively perceived reality that they are ill in the opposite direction of being out of touch with the subjective world and with the creative approach to fact" (quoted in Bollas; keep this in mind when we discuss the next arcanum, The World).

Bollas elaborates on the concept, describing "a particular drive to be normal, one that is typified by the numbing and eventual erasure of subjectivity in favor of a self that is conceived as a material object among other man-made products in the object world." Hence, the oft-mentioned spiritual autism of our scientistic jester -- and all such jesters who, ironically, are "anti-fools."

You might call it a "blank psychosis," in that, instead of positive symptoms -- e.g., delusions, hallucinations, etc. -- these people have only negative symptoms that are characterized by their absence. As a result, a person who has these non-symptoms will be the last to notice, since they are "not there." In order for them to become sane, they must first "go crazy."

As I have mentioned before, back when I was undergoing analytic psychotherapy, I said something to my analyst to the effect that, " I don't think I'm cut out to be an analyst. I might be too crazy." His response was, "nonsense. Not only do we permit such craziness, we demand it." Which is true. In order to become a psychoanalyst (which I ended up deciding not to do), you have to enter analysis five days a week for a number of years, so as to undergo an "elective breakdown," so to speak. But there are other ways.

As Bollas writes, the normotic person may enter therapy because "they are unable to to resolve that psychic pain which derives from the annulment of internal life. They are usually aware of feeling empty or without a sense of self, and they seek analytic help in order to find some way to feel real or to symbolize a pain that may only be experienced as a void or an ache."

Notice that in order for a person to feel real, they must live in the very opposite of what most people take to be "reality," that is, the objective or material world. One can also understand how this type of person could be prone to various forms of addiction and pseudo-addiction as a means to gain a spurious sense of freedom and subjective reality -- to escape their cramped prison for a while.

Speaking of which, because of the magic of counter-transference, when you are in the presence of this kind of individual, you will notice that they cannot help psychically infecting others with a kind of persecutory banality. This is the real reason why newspapers and TV news are so odious to the Raccoon. Can you imagine anything as stultifying as having, say, Katie Couric instruct you on the nature of reality -- i.e., what is "important" and how we should interpret it? Whatever else TV news is, it is a hell of pure banality.

Katie Couric is no doubt normal. But it is strictly insane for such a person to "feel good about herself." Her first step toward recovery would be to feel as repulsed and hemmed in by her banality as we are.

"A normotic person is someone who is abnormally normal. He is too stable, secure, comfortable, and socially extrovert. He is fundamentally disinterested in subjective life and he is inclined to reflect on the thingness of objects, on their material reality, or on 'data' that relates to material phenomena." Tell him that a child needs a mother and father, he'll say "show me the data." Tell him that "homosexual marriage" undermines the basis of civilization, and he'll say "show me the study."

The normotic personality has a particular affliction that prevents them from appreciating the irreducibly poetic, analogical, and symbolic nature of reality. Instead, they project their own psychic deadness into the world, and then insist that the world is dead. In turn, they re-introject what they have projected, which, psychically speaking, amounts to eating rocks and expecting to be nourished.

This is one of the reasons irreligious people tend to worship at the altar of art, because they idealize the artist as someone who has escaped from this trap. I know people whose houses are filled with expensive art, but who's heads and hearts are full of kitsch. As Bollas says, "such an individual is alive in a world of meaningless plenty."

What makes the normotic person such a burden to be around -- again, think of our jester -- is that they cannot help treating you in the same manner they treat themselves and the world. As a result, to bear their presence is to have to live without the full array of your own psychic life. You know what it's like to have to be around people who cannot possibly appreciate you. It's noxious. They cannot conform to you, so in order to get along at all, you have to conform to them. The burden is always on the Raccoon to adapt to the dreary world of the Normals.

The normotic person lacks genuine introspection, and even has a kind of automatic defense mechanism that deflects such inquiries. Bollas: "Such a person appears genuinely naive if asked to comment on issues that require either looking into oneself or the other in any depth." It is very frustrating to deal with such a patient, because they constantly bring the subjective back to the objective. One cannot psychically "play" with them.

Such a person may outwardly appear "unusually steady and strong." But outside their comfort zone, they soon betray their shallowness, whether it is in a discussion of art, religion, film, literature, whatever -- anything that requires subjective depth, i.e., soul.

The normotic person forecloses the Mystery and reduces reality to the "laws" and regularities he is capable of comprehending with his object-mind. "He is sincerely incapable of reading and commenting on a poem," much less scripture. (Look at the grossly literal manner in which the radical atheists interpret revelation.) He collects knowledge for the purposes of reassurance, not creative living. Instead of going off the deep end, he has gone off the shallow end, head first. And we all know what results from that.

These words are not drunken as ye suppose, seeing as it is but the eighth hour of the day. Be ye fools for Toots! --The Acts of Petey

46 Comments:

Blogger walt said...

Wonder-full post, Bob! By examining the implications of what is taken as "normal" in this culture, you gave me a real clarity -- just by contrast -- about The Fool.

"The burden is always on the Raccoon to adapt the the insane world of the Normals."

The trick is to take the toting of this "weight" as conscious exercise, and use it to become a stronger Raccoon.

"The normotic person forecloses the Mystery and reduces reality..."

This has been my experience.

12/09/2008 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I notice that a lot of the "debate" about the future of the conservative movement is really about the Normals who wish to take it over -- people like Brooks, Frum and Noonan.

12/09/2008 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger CrypticLife said...

Look at the grossly literal manner in which the radical atheists interpret revelation.

Atheists are usually fine with metaphorical interpretations, but there needs to be some explanation for how one knows what's metaphorical and what's not. Atheists do criticize literal readings more heavily because:
1) it's easy to criticize a literal reading, as it's actually tied itself to a specific set of assertions regarding empirical facts
2) literal readings may be fraught with greater danger for society
3) plenty of theists read their scripture literally

If one were to go about collecting knowledge for the purpose of reassurance, it would be far easier to go towards "knowledge" that would be accepted by society (and hence, in the US, by the Christian religion). A "normotic" who says "show me the data" in response to either of your two questions is showing willingness to accept either position, and hence is more open to the possibilities. The person interested in staying within the boundaries isn't interested in the data -- they're interested in staying within the boundaries of society. Saying homosexual marriage undermines the basis of civilization is a material conclusion. Absent the study, all such a conclusion shows is a lack of imagination of how society might change.

12/09/2008 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

"They cannot conform to you, so in order to get along at all, you have to conform to them. The burden is always on the Raccoon to adapt to the dreary world of the Normals."

O, thank God for blogs. As Walt said, it does make us stronger, but I think I just discovered the source of my chronic shoulder strain.

12/09/2008 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

The burden is always on the Raccoon to adapt to the dreary world of the Normals.

Random mischief makes it easy enough.

12/09/2008 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Wow, this may be the first time I've been accused of being normal. :->

12/09/2008 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

Bob,

This post was awesome. I can relate to what you are saying personally. It wasn't until I started reading this blog and converted that I had the courage to be my crazy self rather then normal. It's ironic that I used to think becoming a Christan was like becoming a robot. The reality is Christianity set me free, it was trying to conform to society that was the prison.
This post also brought clarity about addiction. My motivation for self-destructive bahavior was basically boredom, and a feeling of "is this all there is to experience?" I wanted more. Of course addiction is all about wanting more. I never had these problems when I was younger, because I was more myself and the world was bigger. As I aged I made an effort to fit in thinking this way lies happiness. I never could really figure out what changed. Now I think I know.
The only thing I can add here is there is a principle working here. Whenever you lock someone up, you will get self-destructive behavior. Most people would never willingly put themselves in prison, but people put themselves in spiritual prison often without even realizing it. I think this principle can explain a lot of human self-destructive behavior.

12/09/2008 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

Oh, and I'm ordering The Shadow of the Object Christmas reading and all that.

12/09/2008 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

Stick around Ray. Once you figure out how to invite in O, you will see what all the hubbub is about. :)

12/09/2008 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

My own opinion is that what is over-looked (missed) by the folks a-feared of religion is that, properly understood, religion -----> freedom -- just as James mentioned.

"My thought has the power to be free. But for this to take place, it must rid itself of all the associations which hold it captive, passive. It must cut the threads that bind it to the world of images, to the world of forms; it must free itself from the constant pull of emotions. It must feel its power to resist this pull, its objective power to watch over this pull while gradually rising above it. In this moment thought becomes active."
-- Jeanne de Salzmann

12/09/2008 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Bob, is the Bollas book accessible to laymen? I ask because the target audience appears to be psychoanalysts. It sounds interesting, but if I need to have a psychiatric desk reference to read it, I probably won't add it to my wish list.

12/09/2008 10:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Scarlet Pimpernel said...

Sink me! Methinks Bob 'as called our Mr. Ingles a tyrant.

How... delightful.

12/09/2008 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

which, psychically speaking, amounts to eating rocks and expecting to be nourished.

Brings new meaning to, "tough shit!"

12/09/2008 11:50:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Of possible interest to the Coonosphere,
Teddy Dalrymple has a new book:
Not With a Bang But a Whimper: The Politics and Culture of Decline

In other Classical Western Civ. vs tenured-idiot news: VDH offers
The Humanities Move Off Campus
As the classical university unravels, students seek knowledge and know-how elsewhere.

"The present university system is partly subsidized by low-paid, part-time faculty without tenure who teach large classes and thereby support a smaller mandarin cohort of tenured professors with full benefits, fewer students, and little worry about the consequences of poor peer reviews or student evaluations. Indeed, since the 1970s, the percentage of tenured and tenure-track professors in the academy has declined dramatically, as the university seeks to exploit the many to pay for the chosen, though dwindling, few."

12/09/2008 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger K. F. Peters said...

Jesters are funny guys. The normotic people are humorless. They recognize that themselves but their attempts at humor are painful.

12/09/2008 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Yep, that about sums it up...

12/09/2008 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Thomas Sebring Jr said...

"A normotic person is someone who is abnormally normal. He is too stable, secure, comfortable, and socially extrovert. He is fundamentally disinterested in subjective life and he is inclined to reflect on the thingness of objects, on their material reality, or on 'data' that relates to material phenomena." Tell him that a child needs a mother and father, he'll say "show me the data." Tell him that "homosexual marriage" undermines the basis of civilization, and he'll say "show me the study."

One classic example of this type is the character Thomas Gradgrind in Dickens' Hard Times; the tyrannical mine owner whose entire existence is facts and numbers, and whose dead and dreary world infects the worlds of those around him with the same deadness and dreariness. In the banking business in which I find myself employed these days, I encounter several such types, though surprisingly few of them; once you get folks away from the setting of my office, they seem to be much different, much more normal people (which is encouraging; Thomas Gradgrind types perhaps are not as prevelant as I once feared). It is a unique challenge to work in such a number-crunching occupation and not lose my Racoon sensibilities; yet I find creative ways to do my job nonetheless, taking that proverbial spoonful of sugar to make the numerical medicine go down on a daily basis. Once a raccoon, always a racoon, I guess.

“Such a person may outwardly appear "unusually steady and strong." But outside their comfort zone, they soon betray their shallowness, whether it is in a discussion of art, religion, film, literature, whatever -- anything that requires subjective depth, i.e., soul.”

This might seem to be a contradiction in terms for the true classical liberal Raccoon at first. We Racoons often picture Ivory-Tower liberals as being effete, turtleneck-wearing, pipe-smoking snobs who, if anything, over-analyze art, literature, film, etc., to the point where they can stand there for an hour and bloviate about the artistic genius of a pile of dog crap on the ground. In contrast is the really normal person who, filled with horse sense and a good set of muscles, does their job and does it well, obeys the laws and raises a good family; the backbone of America, a Grant Wood masterpiece in the flesh; a Sarah Palin type of person. But perhaps all the bloviating that an ivory tower artsy fartsy liberal does about Mapplethorpe paintings and Oliver Stone films is just a cover for a real lack of appreciation for the beauty of things that are really, really, real, like family,friends,work, love (as opposed to empty sex), God, and even life itself. Their real, poisonous cynicicm shows when you engage them in conversation, as you said, outside of their comfort zone, about the aforementioned subjects. It would seem that a lot of so-called Creative people are really Thomas Gradgrinds after all; they have lost the ability to see the real, insane beauty of the everyday.

12/09/2008 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Hi, Tsebring (I always wondered what the "T" stood for) - well said.

Completely off topic, I feel it's my duty as a raccoon to keep people abreast of important news items. It turns out that, in an emergency they can be used as floatation devices! (via the other Dr. Bob)

12/09/2008 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

There's a reason they called them "Mae Wests".

12/09/2008 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Notice that in order for a person to feel real, they must live in the very opposite of what most people take to be "reality," that is, the objective or material world. One can also understand how this type of person could be prone to various forms of addiction and pseudo-addiction as a means to gain a spurious sense of freedom and subjective reality -- to escape their cramped prison for a while."

There is that constant need for stimulation... the real tip off to the problem should be how bored to tears they become, when they are left alone with only themselves for company.

12/09/2008 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"imagine anything as stultifying as having, say, Katie Couric instruct you on the nature of reality -- i.e., what is "important" and how we should interpret it? Whatever else TV news is, it is hell of pure banality."

Something really scary? That is precisely the person who is deciding on the curriculum in the schools, and most of whom teach it.

Ugh.

12/09/2008 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Tell him that a child needs a mother and father, he'll say "show me the data." Tell him that "homosexual marriage" undermines the basis of civilization, and he'll say "show me the study." "

That, or "here's a link to prove..." :->

12/09/2008 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"(Look at the grossly literal manner in which the radical atheists interpret revelation.) He collects knowledge for the purposes of reassurance, not creative living. Instead of going off the deep end, he has gone off the shallow end, head first. And we all know what results from that."


Heh... right on cue, Cryptlife said "Saying homosexual marriage undermines the basis of civilization is a material conclusion. Absent the study, all such a conclusion shows is a lack of imagination of how society might change."

I can see John Cleese delivering that line and bringing down the house.

12/09/2008 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Julie--

Re Bollas -- I'm not sure. He's one of the very best psychoanalytic writers, and some of his things are quite accessible, but others might be overly jargony, so you might just want to check it out of the library. Unless you can get used copies for a couple of bucks.

12/09/2008 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Cryptlife said "Atheists are usually fine with metaphorical interpretations, but there needs to be some explanation for how one knows what's metaphorical and what's not."

Well... let me see if I can get my abbynormal see legs back....
When you don't know its metaphorical, you think it isn't; when you first realize that it's metaphorical, you just don't realize that it is true, but then as you begin to understand the metaphorical meaning, you begin to understand that it is more real and far more True, than those who only believe it to be true.

Those who think it's 'child abuse', raise fools up to be their tyrants.

12/09/2008 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ximeze, I was eyeing Dalrymple's book too... have you read it yet, or still in the wishing stage?

12/09/2008 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Thomas Sebring Jr. said "But perhaps all the bloviating that an ivory tower artsy fartsy liberal does about Mapplethorpe paintings and Oliver Stone films is just a cover for a real lack of appreciation for the beauty of things that are really, really, real, like family,friends,work, love (as opposed to empty sex), God, and even life itself."

Absolutely. In all of their 'criticisms' of real Art, and the promotion of what they wish to put over as being Art, you find a disdain for real imagination, a vitriolic attack upon anything inspiring, and condescension towards anything beautiful and a determination to convince you that the ugly is more valuable and authentic than mere beauty.

The common thread is hostility to the Vertical, and frantic promotion of the horizontal. You will not find imagination or creativity in their thought or 'works', only contrivance and banality- in short, if anything represents The Good, The Beautiful and The True, you can bet that they will oppose and denigrate it.

12/09/2008 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

“Madness you may call it, but therein may be the secret of his genius... I prefer the word exaltation, exaltation which can merge into madness, perhaps. In fact all great men have had that vein in them; it was the source of their greatness; the reasonable man achieves nothing.”
Joyce on Dostoevsky

12/09/2008 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said... "Hi, Tsebring (I always wondered what the "T" stood for) - well said."

Ah! I didn't make the connection, good to see you Tsebring (and what Julie said).

12/09/2008 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

My brother just sent me a link to this, a Merry Christmas card from Ashland University (fewer tenured boobs than the most popular brand U's), nothing spectacular, but nice on the eyes and ears. Stick around for the cues to click.

12/09/2008 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Ximeze,
“As the classical university unravels, students seek knowledge and know-how elsewhere.”

Not a student, but we just unleased our company off campus of a marine science university last month. Higher learning? Glacial is an understatement. And much as VDH describes the system in your snip. In fact, the grad students are paid pretty well to go there. My boss asked one reasonable professor why they pay them, (this is a state university, mind you) and he said, “Otherwise, they wouldn’t come.”
Take a guess where many if not all of them will only be able to find employment after this gig?
DING! DING! DING!
That’s right, another marine science university.
My boss said to me, “When I was in school, they called that a ‘do loop’.”

As the immortal Dr Hooper once said, “They are a miracle of evolution; they eat, they swim, they make baby professors. And that’s it.”

Van, back in his day he tinkered in Fortran I think, punch cards. ‘Do loop’ the proper lingo?

12/09/2008 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ricky, just as good, the Do While Loop, without any completion (or exit strategy), puts you into

...an ... infinite ... loop

(just ignore the 3's)

;-)

12/09/2008 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Ha!

12/09/2008 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

From the VDH link, "Over the last four decades, various philosophical and ideological strands united to contribute to the decline of classical education. A creeping vocationalism, for one, displaced much of the liberal arts curriculum in the crowded credit-hours of indebted students. Forfeiting classical learning in order to teach undergraduates a narrow skill (what the Greeks called a technê) was predicated on the shaky notion that undergraduate instruction in business or law would produce superior CEOs or lawyers—and would more successfully inculcate the arts of logic, reasoning, fact-based knowledge, and communication so necessary for professional success."

Yep, we're sure reaping the plenty today. That whole 'change education from 'elitist' pursuits' to 'teach 'em a profession' is sure paying off in spades today. Yes sirree, discarding that whole oppressive defined classical curriculum for students elective's, from that which produced the founders generation, to one that pursued the profitable course of barney frank, rob blagojevich and henry paulson. Yep knowledge is power. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. "link learning to life", "LEARNING WITH LOVE AND LAUGHTER", "IT TAKES A WORLD OF DIFFERENCES TO MAKE A DIFFERENT WORLD", "Every Child, Every Day -- Whatever It Ta...Boom! Banality Overload!(links to "Got Motto? Twelve Slogans to Help Build School-Wide Community". Unbelievable)

12/09/2008 08:41:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Van,
Nope to having read it, just found out about it today when a comment on VDH's PJM 'Work & Days' pointed to The Humanities item on City Journal. Teddy also has an item in the current edition, so that's how I found the new collection of essays.

He, Teddy, has been awfully quiet since the spring, so I was really hoping he was working on a new collection. Acquisition request has been filed at my Pub Lib, but what with severe budget cuts (this is CA after all) they might consider this book 'too English' to be of interest to the locals here.

Hey, those snowballs scrunch themselves down before springing up to find their places to assemble the Snowman! How do they know to do that?

Ricky, that Dr Hooper quote is a keeper. What a hoot!

12/09/2008 09:16:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

The Fool
Apparently sets out on a journey with his belongings in a bundle on a stick. But he seems ill prepared for travel.
Interesting that in the Marseilles style deck the Fool is depicted as an old man going east. In the Rider Waite deck the fool is a young figure headed west, but walking it would seem blythely off the edge of a cliff. Another point- in the Marseilles deck The Fool has no number, but the Rider deck gives The Fool the denomination "0"
In any case, The Fool is anyone who leaves the mental confines of the flatland world, to embark on the spiritual quest. Because that's just how you have to depart- with nothing more than you can grab the moment you leave. And that's just how you travel- headlong into 'who knows what?'
And if it doesn't seem foolish to those of a Raccoonish bent, just try announcing to your friends and co-workers that you really are getting curious about what this Jesus thing is all about. They will remind you why the card is given to the Fool.

Just like these old time fools here:
18And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

19And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

20And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

21And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

22And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.


Right off the precipice.

JWM

12/09/2008 09:27:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Let's try the link again.
Rider Waite deck: The Fool

JWM

12/09/2008 09:35:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

From 'Got Motto':
Miller believes that changing the motto yearly helps to keep everyone's interest

... emblazoned on a huge, inflatable "hot-air balloon" that floated over the school's parking lot all year long

[The Key Is Me] theme has unlocked a treasure chest of creative ideas. For example, the school's music teacher and her husband created a theme song that the school chorus sings at concerts; a huge key in the school's media center has every student's picture on it; and the theme appears on buttons that are given to all school visitors.

"Students doing their personal best is key so I purchased foam visors that students decorated with the theme," Miller said.

No wonder these poor kids cut themselves, do drugs & get body piercings

Yo Miller, got a new motto for you:
'mediocre people are always at their best'

12/09/2008 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger QP said...

Here's a motto for the mediocre: Contemplate Contradicting Ignorance.

12/10/2008 06:15:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ximeze said "Yo Miller, got a new motto for you:
'mediocre people are always at their best'"

Lol.
(followed quickly however, on reflection that the site that so jubiliantly published that page is called "Education World. The Educators Best Friend", SOL - sobbing out loud... or something....)

QP, I wish.

12/10/2008 06:30:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I just hate being an East Coast old fart that can't stay awake long enough waiting for the West Coast raccoons to come out of hiding and play.

Mediocrity is overrated.

For my son's amusement, I invented "Mediocre Man!" as an action hero mental-recreation ploy. We had fun imagining the low obstacles he could clear in a single hop.

12/10/2008 07:12:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Surely there were plenty more Banality Gems - wait, that's gotta be oxymoronic, reading just the Miller case caused my little gray cells to turn to liquid on exposure, so I'm not 100% sure - reading further down would be just too disturbing & SOL inducing.

Scary isn't it that they're proud of this crap & are breathlessly driven to share it with the world: look Ma, see what I done!

12/10/2008 07:16:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Mediocre Man! Celebrate the low obstacles you can clear in a single hop! Sign up today!!!!!

12/10/2008 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Another take on normality:

"It’s already happened to one Obamaton I know. Two solid years of listening to him crow about how Obama’s gonna lead us, and Is America Ready to Elect a Black Man? And then Mister Hopenchange prevails…the Dow falls into the crapper…poor fellow’s been working so hard at falling into line, being whatever he’s expected to be by the youngest, cutest, hottest fashion trend. Achieving extraordinary levels in his ordinary-ness. And he ends up not standing out in any particular way, when the bosses go through and try to figure out who doesn’t stand out in any particular way.

That’s the oddest thing I’ve noticed about these layoffs. We’re trained, in the public school system, to maintain our employability by falling into line, being similar to everyone else around us (right before paying that lip-service to “diversity”). Chasing that theory of Nonconformity Is The Surest Way To Get Your Ass Replaced Around Here. People work like the dickens to fit in…just like little schoolkids…to be like everybody else. To be, instead of to do. It’s exactly the wrong approach."

12/10/2008 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger CrypticLife said...

Hey Van,

"When you don't know its metaphorical, you think it isn't; when you first realize that it's metaphorical, you just don't realize that it is true, but then as you begin to understand the metaphorical meaning, you begin to understand that it is more real and far more True, than those who only believe it to be true.

Those who think it's 'child abuse', raise fools up to be their tyrants.
"

As far as literal v. nonliteral readings go, scripture would more likely be True than true, which is why critiques of its truth are less ambiguous than critiques of its Truth. And if it's Truth, it's likely to remain Real regardless of whether one realizes it or Realizes it or misrealizes it.

I hadn't brought up child abuse, but I'm not sure there's been any study on the children of those who deny or accept scripture.

I suspect any result may also depend on which scripture one was Realizing or denying. I don't think they're all considered the same, are they?

12/11/2008 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Cyptlife said "...And if it's Truth, it's likely to remain Real regardless of whether one realizes it or Realizes it or misrealizes it."

Huh... not bad.

"I hadn't brought up child abuse, but I'm not sure there's been any study on the children of those who deny or accept scripture."

The child abuse is from the Dennett & Dawkins crowd who consider exposing children to any religion to be akin to child abuse.

"I suspect any result may also depend on which scripture one was Realizing or denying."

Yes it does... or at least how what is being taught, is being taught, makes a big difference.

"I don't think they're all considered the same, are they?"

Judging by the state of peace in the mid-east, I'm opting for 'No' on that last one.

12/12/2008 06:09:00 AM  

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