It is still there … my blinkers are unable to keep out the 24/7 streaming of imagery and strange activity that bombards us from all around. But long before I found that I had no allies in the sound government camp amongst the hard metal people and that they were revealing themselves as hard-right, Christian bigots to a large extent intent on hatred and preaching doom to their listeners, who profited neither in pocket nor in soul, I had also been coming to realise that the news and pundits depended on outrage and anger to peddle their wares. That people flock to bad news is just the way it is, but it is tragic that they will seek far and wide for that horror or injustice, not satisfied until something has made their blood boil that day. But how to continue to write and not take advantage of that inherent instinct and find things that anger me and write about those? Do you read editorials? Aren’t they always about something that one should be outraged about?
There was a standard opening to letters to the editor in The Times in London in the 1800’s, when it really was an extremely widely read publication and very indicative of its times [ha … ha, ed.], “I am shocked and appalled …,” and so they would get published of course. The letters that began, “I had a very solid day and appreciated the efforts of my neighbours …,” not so much. Indeed there was a book published called Shocked and Appalled about letters to the editor of The Globe and Mail, a Toronto daily.
I helped my father do research for an exciting book about the question of whether it truly was better to marry or burn, or as the Victorians were debating it, marriage or celibacy, that generated a fascinating series of letters to the editor of the Times, so I read a lot of letters to the editor. I still remember one that basically said, when poverty comes in the door, love flies out the window.
The letters were very revealing because people had widely different ideas about how much money you needed as income in order to afford to marry – class revealed and so many assumptions. Pure gold for the social historian. And then it gets funny – I went to see if I could find a link to dad’s book but couldn’t quite remember the title, and stumbled across what really shouldn’t exist, or should be even less visited than this inane blog, a subcategory, Best Selling Letters to the editor Books, which does indeed list dad’s book. Best cellar indeed. It ages well. I assume all Letters to the Editor Books are on there. The one about The Globe is, although it doesn’t have an attractive picture of the cover, unlike my pop’s. But I am digressing into the pleasant instead of explaining why I am digressing into the pleasant.
I don’t want to write about shocking and appalling things, and somehow want this blog to be a break from that for me as well as for you … an escape into the personal and the philosophical … a look at the deeper academic aspects of a question without being hopelessly polemical – a coffee shop on the cyber street of information.
Or maybe a tea shoppe … pets and pet peeve’s allowed, but you have to breathe deeply and take off those shoes. That is how I am trying to treat my own cranium after all and it would seem a disservice to not extend the same courtesy to all and sundry. Especially sundry.
Dang I wish I wrote that on Sunday … but have a sundry Friday or an all Friday, whichever you would prefer. The tea is on the house.