History, Archives & Posts

Welcome to www.bodlibrary.org, the Bod Library-On-Line’s
with ROOMS (orPAGES)–linked in header above [& right margin].

This is the HOME PAGE, Home Room for all POSTS (as described in post below).

From here, you can scroll down to other posts; click on a post-category (in menu at side); click to other pages by menu in header [& at side]; or click to other Bodlibrary sites, e.g., www.bodlibrary.com (map center, eco-zone, music, art & poetry…);
www.bodlibrary.net (Games Wing: for Guess what; Applied Modeling, Master Class), etc

[RE our other sites: Our site for Basho’s Backcountry Ways–& Beyond has been lost in cyberspace, so a new & better Basho Wing is in progress, slowly. Our Forked Annex for Humor & Media has two sites open &/or opening with spotty materials gleaned from our PIPA pipeline, i.e., the Peninsula Independent Press Association, a continual source of splotchy content & smudge-free reflections in, around, over & under PIPA headquarters in the Mirror-Times-Mirror Building.

Though the Bod Library proudly serves as a humble ‘PROD,’ PIPA Repository of  Dumped Materials (including a MIscellaney of the Mis-spelled, Encyclopedia Moronica, etc.), we do not recommend the absurd world represented or its ridiculous contents, except under the direction of a certified Do-It-Yourself Laugh Therapist &/or well-schooled Senseless Wilderness Guide with a map out.]

The Post Page

Welcome to the POST page, also known as HOME. Posts are added sporadically, with little rhyme or reason, more or less falling into the listed categories. Because some posts are far longer than recommended (& Yours Crudely has not figured out how to condense posts with “Read More” option), clicking in the “Category” menu can help keep from Bog Downs & Blog Swamps, especially in seasons with many compelling current events.

Besides the Most Recent, Yours Crudely especially recommends the newly added (& reader nominated) Best of Class categoryPosts called forth by current events tend to go quickly out of date. Others never had a real date to begin with, e.g., just play, for the fun of it, serious jazz, crazy jazz, for the sport of i, for example. Whether adding to the public babble, exploring issues that never go out of style, or sharing personal history for the record, these little pieces cover varied territory, irregular ground, unevenly.

If you aren’t having enough fun, insight, aha!’s & eureka! moments to make the attention worth the while, simply skip’n scroll along to another topic, post, postit, or category to find one that does–Or click your heels over to one of the topic/ period pages listed in header for more substantive treatments of historical issues.

Given the avalanche of posts triggered by the hyperactive political atmosphere, feel free to scroll way down, clicking “older posts” for more varied topics & treatments. Not yet having figured out how to get automatic condensing of posts with “read more” buttons, I’ve moved the main body of many no longer current Current Events & Issues” posts (e.g., relating to politics) to a single “Year of the Fluke” pdf. (clickable file), up more or less soon). Let us know (c/o BodLibrary2017@gmail.com ) if there are any you’d like to read not yet up in the meanwhile.

Pick your poison, where & when.
Come back soon & try again.
Read a post & leave a note–
skim to find what floats your boat.

MANDATES, Penalties &…;
Avoidable Healthcare Act;
Telling it like it ain’t…
WAHOO–Chief of the Logos!
Morons of the World, Arise!

Varied Posts especially recommended–just click on “Best of Class” under the CATEGORIES Menu
, for
 “Alice, the little girl…” & “Inverse, the von Neumann dog.”
Others of possible interest include (with personal star-ratings):

***Alice–the little girl at 150
Best of Class, history & the arts, back stories, images, reflections….
*”Ghost Story: My Short WHRB Life
personal history, in honor of WHRB’s 75th Anniversary Reunion, Oct. 2-4, 2015.
*”Peace Corps–India 37–a personal account”
personal history, with “Sixties” tie-ins, the volunteer spirit in retrospect, dancing with the unexpected, in honor of India 37 Reunion (with response to radio interview, “Talking Out Loud,” Columbia, MO, Sept. 2015).
(Rare) COMMON SENSE–#1: Terrorism, a clearer view
current issues, timeless principles, the nature of the beast.
*”Religious liberty–what it is, why it matters”
current issues, timeless principles, “Give us liberty or give us death to the infidel, unbeliever, heretic, nonconformist, critic, shlub.
“Rooting for the Redskins & Indians: The Logos (Inner Logic) of Sports Logos,”
timeless principles, personal experience, once an Indian, always an Indian, a tip of the hat to the various sides. [Probably out of date after Chief Wahoo.]
“MAP of the HA History Annex & Complex”
meta-menu, on the site’s different pages & networked wings & annexes.
“Democracy, Nationhood, Empire…”/ “Diversity & Japanese Aesthetics”
history & arts, some thoughts set in motion by EdX course on Japanese graphics.
***”Inverse von Neumann–‘Don’t forget your dog.’
Best of Class, history of the joke, “That’s not my dog!”

MANDATES, Penalties & Incentives

Something there is that doesn’t like a mandate,
being told what to do, penalized & fined.
Doesn’t matter (much) how good the reason.
If good enough, it should be easily choosable
without being forced, shoved down throats
that question it, provoking the urge to push back,
overwhelming the part that thinks things through.

Good mandates make good states, say some,
often enough with good reasons, sometimes the best,
everyone’s got to pitch in for all to benefit,
sometimes the worst, too–children conscripted
to fight & kill each other, little lives sacrificed
to please bigshots playing Risk with other people’s lives,
the emperor’s flunkies, mafia dons, ward bosses,
goons & enforcers, local bullies & hard-nosed Uncle Sams.

On the other hand, self-sacrifice isn’t always an easy sell.
Alas, the same can be said for chipping in, paying dues & taxes,
the skim it takes to keep the systems running, the schools & roads;
hospitals, safety & emergency services; currency, market-place, exchanges,
integrity of financial institutions, power grid, communication & delivery systems,
defense & intelligence, safety net, public health & environmental protection.
(What good is any of the rest if the air & water make you & your loved ones sick?)

The same can be said for the social infrastructure & cultural atmosphere,.
both of which are major players in the human ecology, like air & water,
subject to pollution & renewal, essential elements in healthy relations.
Even in relative solitude, we’re not separate from the air we breathe,
the water we drink, the thoughts we hear, think, imagine &/or repeat,
the attitudes expressed with feelings, partly apart from what’s said,
the emotional points-of-view of the partisans, whether us or them.
There is a difference, as between gangland turf & ladies auxiliary. 

In many cases, humans self-organize to meet an emergency,
a challenge critical to one becomes a focus for all.
A building collapses–people outside will dig with their hands,
if necessary, trying to rescue others still trapped inside.
An advanced society has special technical resources
available to meet the usual challenges held in common–
natural disaster, dangerous humans, all sorts of threats.

Alas, the struggle to control these “special resources”
does not always produce better services in common.
Sometimes it’s better services for some at others’ expense.
Sometimes it’s less service that’s delivered than servitude.
It is easier to diagnose a corrupting influence or infection
than it is to effect a systemic cure. Call a grand pow-wow,
a council of elders, a community feast, with rites & dance.

The worse critical systems seem to function,
the more resistance to paying for them grows,
even when that resistance & lack of support
cause the system improvement to lag.
Those who profit most from systems & resources
have corresponding influence in writing the rules
Is it surprising, then, that those who profit least
end up paying a significant surcharge in lost choice?

What makes the us-ness, what makes the developed I?
No one has fully mapped the over-lap–across the many
dimensions: ecological, psychological, social, cultural…
including spiritual, philosophical & political in this last).
On the one hand, there’s the hermit, writing for all yet to come;
on the other, the fraud artist targeting one sucker at a time;
on the other other, more hands than fingers can count.

[Sorry about that. Got carried away on the breeze of a muse.
The following is more to the point of what triggered
my anti-mandate, pro-good government rant,
questioning whether this government– of the people,
by some people, for some people–shall perish from the earth….

It makes a difference whether that government is trying to
conscript you, take control of your whole life, & send you off
to Vietnam, say, or just asking for your fair share of what
a healthy health care system fairly well accessible to all costs.
Nevertheless, I tried to identify with contrarian views.
The following rant goes a step further.]

Jack-booted government thugs

I have just received my third notice from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau, Official Business, Penalty for Private Use, etc. in an envelope the largest, boldest type of which announces:“YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW.”

The notices have been sitting on my desk for long enough, I’m starting to think of the poor shlubs at Ruby Ridge, misguided as they may have been, no less so than the “officials” who set them up & then attacked them. My back is up, in other words. Besides the confusions & uncertainties raised by the questions in the 10+-page questionnaire, that bold-faced implied threat makes it extremely hard, really impossible, not to resist.

Being the Commerce Dept., rather than an agency like the ATF or some maximum shock strike force, I probably don’t need to stock up on siege food & ammo, or even turn the Bod Library stacks into an escape maze with book-tower booby-traps. Come to think of it, in fact it’s not even addressed to me, but “To the resident of…,” with the street number for what is currently a studio annex with no resident for the winter. (I own the building but can probably beat the rap, if charged, not being the “resident.”)

However unclear some of the questions seem to me, as far as I can tell there’s nothing in the content of the survey in the least self-incriminating. Nevertheless, I plan to hold out as long as possible against the high-handed pushiness of Big Brother, on principle–given what I presume to be no actual cost, & the ability to prevail, if only on a technicality. Nevertheless, the lesson–though often missed–ought to reveal something quite basic about the American character (&/or human psychology more generally), something that transcends party, political philosophy, & administration theoretically in power.

Rather than encouraging movement in the intended direction, some kinds of pushing more likely trigger pushing back & other forms of resistance. The lesson ought to be made all the more clear for my being a quiet, peace-loving librarian with no automatic weapons. I imagine some other recipients, with households off the grid, might just feel, “Come & get us, suckers, but better bring your armor.” [Continues in “Avoidable Healthcare,” below.]

Avoidable Healthcare Act

AHA: As far as mandates go, the Affordable Care Act may be considered far more gentle, reasonable & well-meaning than, say, the Vietnam War era draft. Oh, so you want to require me to have some kind of health insurance, since society may otherwise have to pick up the tab for the minimal care it would be more or less obligated to provide in a pinch. (Emergency vehicles & response personnel are standing by.)

Let’s face it. Some degree of healthcare is a matter of the society, including much physical & staffing infrastructure, research, etc. Like roads, the individual’s active role ends where the driveway turns into the street. The driveway needs the street. In the case of individual health, it’s an inherently mixed equation between what individual & social responsibilities. One without the other leaves everyone more vulnerable. You can be the most health-conscious person alive & still breathe air-in-common with others, & subject to every more or less randomly occurring acute health care emergency.

Facilities & systems are more or less held in common, although a variety of payment systems overlap. Nevertheless, we can’t pick-&-choose only the capacities we expect to need, partly because we may end up needing the unexpected, & partly because most health care issues end up having large numbers put at risk. For reasons others have described in detail, it’s not particularly subject to free market forces.

Even without a driving license, every citizen, every resident, has some responsibility for the infrastructures that make modern life possible–roads, power-grid, schools among them. Costs of the healthcare system at large is clearly among these. It makes as much sense now, with everything cost-per-service correlated, as having every block in a street grid toll-boothed; never mind the cost added by having the driver needing to calculate the costs of different routes as tolls change (if disclosed at all). Now do it in a medical emergency.

A society provides its constituents certain benefits of mutual membership. It’s not a one-sided arrangement. You don’t get to enjoy the benefits of society without also having a fair share of the responsibilities, including a share of the costs. What percentage of transportation-infrastructure costs should be paid by high-usage corporate entities and/or by other various user-groups may be a matter of some discussion, but the principle is clear. Nor is actual current use the key question, where it’s the over-all capacity provided by society at large to itself that matters: roads, rails, ports, medical facilities….

Still, phrasing the responsibility of an adult to the healthcare system as a whole as a “mandate” gave it a strange twist, albeit one with clear Republican roots (Romney’s system in Massachusetts), as a way of universalizing coverage without having the government take over the whole system. It was a worthy attempt to finesse the gap between social responsibility & a system private (insurance) providers.

Many Democrats would feel more at home with a single-payer, government-managed system as a way of universalizing coverage on the basis of social responsibility without imposing a mandate. And then there’s a “pragmatic center” that accepts the social responsibility all have for coverage in the system as a whole, but which would allow roles for both private & governmental coverage providers in what is inherently a mixed system.

It’s mixed from the beginning. Illness is not simply an individual matter, as infectious disease, emergency response, and agencies of public safety make clear. The community has a vested interest in all such matters. Use of public roads may fairly require various kinds of dues, fees, taxes, and coverage, therefore. The same principle may be extended to off-road emergencies & coverage.

Indeed, against some historical resistance, a minimal degree of coverage has been provided for all “senior citizens.” A patchwork of clinics, public health agencies, and other community resources has developed in response to perceived needs. Nevertheless, the need to address significant gaps in the system had become clear enough for the Democrats to pass the partly Republican (in theory, not in actual political buy-in) ACA, believing it an incremental improvement, despite its imperfections.

On the one hand, the whole topic takes on a mind-boggling complexity of moving parts. On the other hand, the central issue isn’t complicated by details down in the weeds. It’s how does the country/society/community reconcile public & private elements & functions. Any satisfactory solution must start by acknowledging the validity of both public & private elements. One must also recognize that these aren’t neatly separated. The most private of enterprises (e.g., pharmaceutical companies) depend on government oversight, as well as other goods & services. The most public of functions (e.g., emergency response) may also depend to some degree on private contractors & products.

Public safety, a primary function of government, requires “responsible community management” of its mixed system–from its roads & emergency response capacity to its community protections, including courts as backstops. Of all community services, healthcare may be considered most basic of all, on the one hand the most intimate & personal; on the other a community matter since the time when that meant no more than family, band or locality, yet a sense deeply embedded in the profession of medicine.

Obama’s effort took the view that it was less critical exactly how the public-private functions were divided than that the community improve the level (extent of accessibility), quality & effectiveness. It started with level or extent of coverage. Effectiveness involved costs, and how paid for. Quality must always be a major part of the concern in measuring the other two, since you haven’t necessarily improved things by providing (or paying for) bad treatment, at whatever price. Even so, in comparison with extent of accessibility, these can be elusive goals, moving targets–how to deliver the best service to the most with the least waste….

Things weren’t improved by the politically motivated attempt to muddy “Obamacare,” which remains far less popular today than the “Affordable Care Act,” though they’re the same thing. The philosophical challenge that might have derailed the ACA in the Supreme Court was the mandate, whether the federal government had the right to require citizens who could afford it to buy a private product (insurance), imposing a penalty otherwise. This was settled by the Chief Justice siding with the Act by declaring the penalties & subsidies tax matters….

It’s a bit strange–not so much how healthcare coverage become a tax matter as how the tax consequences can end up wagging the healthcare dog. The 2017 House Bill, for example, wouldn’t just lead to 25 million or so more people uninsured, but transfer the 800 billion dollars saved into a tax break for a small percentage of the wealthiest. In one state, it was calculated, over 700,000 medicaid recipients would lose coverage, a cost-transfer  going to 400 tax-payers at the top, who need financial help least.

By masking the argument in complexity, the majority of would-be “repeal-&-replacers” don’t actually acknowledge their position comes down to rejecting the social responsibility argument. On the one hand, by treating access to services as if it were purely a privately negotiated matter with minimal government role, the self-described conservatives avoid the issue of social benefits-&-responsibilities entirely, when in fact it’s like putting roads in private hands with unregulated toll booths, & saying that only those selectively covered (who can afford buy-in, for example) can have access to the infrastructure.

In the case of healthcare, it’s a ridiculous argument. Better to address the real questions, like what level of system do we as a society want to provide? how is it paid for? how can it be improved? If may note that I’m personally at an age when I personally prefer the Avoidable Healthcare Act, which comes with a full supply of placebo-based miracle drugs & laugh therapy emergency services, but I would not presume to self-prescribe for others.

As Hippocrates the Hypocrite’s doctor used to say, “One person’s placebo, another’s poison–take your pick, & pickle.” Nevertheless, I pay taxes, medicare dues, retirement insurance premiums covering all kinds of things I’d sooner die from than from the toll the healthcare system would take trying to help. Still, I’m glad the system’s there, & happy enough to pay my fair share to facilities I no longer expect to use. These don’t have to save your life–or the life of someone you care for–more than once to have been worth the contribution….

–March 8/ July 6, 2017

Telling It Like It Ain’t

[under review by the works-in-progress administration]

Or as the blind seer Steppin Holes put it, “We’ll see.” In the meanwhile, our dedicated Flake News staff goes on telling it like it ain’t, like it was, like it seems, like it is, &/or like it should be, whichever comes next….

2017: Year of the Rooster

I thought the golden rooster’s tough cock-talk “lock her up” candidacy showed the vulnerability of the system going forward, for having gotten that far, not expecting it to win. Now we get to see if the new administration may also show the resiliency of the system. Some of the things that had been hindrances might just turn out to look different with the shoe on other foot–as fickle democracy hops along.

From the perspective of our high-altitude weather-balloon, there’s more than enough combative hypocrisy to go around, along with plenty of provocateurs, whether volunteers or assigned. Attempts to use reason as an influence to moderate events–or as an explanation for them–may now be considered irrational. What psycho-economist Sigmoid Floyd called irrational protuberance will likely predominate.

Nevertheless, the urge to prognosticate &/or predict can’t easily be held down without ropes & weights. Allow for zigs & zags, feints, twists, knots & surprises, therefore, as foretold by the Grrr8 Prognostic 8-er, Otto Predictor, aka, the headless wonder, an auto-editing by-product of Mishugunah Engineering, in an exclusive interview with student whizz staffers from the No News Jr. High Capacity Magazine, in which the master of absence admitted expecting, “besides a higher than usual level of the unexpected.”

[The complete prediction report, with full list of things to watch for, with probability %’s,
will be included in “The Year of the Fluke” pdf. soon, which will also include full drafts of all all other abbreviated 2016 campaign-related posts, unless I can figure out how to have posts self-abbreviate with “Read More” clickers.]

WAHOO–Chief of the Logos

In honor of the 2016 World Series, & the Cleveland Indians–


For Post on “WAHOO–CHIEF OF THE LOGOS,” click following:


Follow-up (after clickable file):

Chief Wahoo’s friend, at right, may illustrate a few other dimensions of the logo issue. First off, unlike Wahoo, he might be considered a real Indian, albeit from the high country of high up-lift which feeds various great rivers of the sub-continent, including the Indus.

He obviously carries considerable cultural meaning–most of which I don’t yet know. [I’ll put up more when I learn it, and hope those who know will help teach me. -Yours Crudely.]   Some might call him–or possibly her–grotesque, others fearsome. I see a distant relative of Chief Wahoo, though far more intricately developed. In comparison, the Chief seems  like an emoji. No doubt the many details of the hardwood mask shown [which hangs in the Bod, from the Richardson collection] all come with highly developed back-stories from over-lapping religious, mythological, and folk traditions.

Depending on how we consider it, the image itself exists in multiple dimensions at the same time. Besides the spatial & historical, there’s presence, essence & response. The presence is the wordless sense of the perceived object. The essence is the spirit with which it was made & intended to be shared. The response is what’s stimulated in the viewer, beyond the simple perception.

When we suggest the nature of a response is “in the eye of the beholder,” that’s what’s meant. The Dalai Lama may respond quite differently on many levels from how you, I, a wide-eyed child, a cutting-edge painter, or a TIbetan villager might–let alone a Taliban exclusivist or radical fundamentalist of any other tradition. So, too, may one person react as if the image of Chief Wahoo were of a “grinning fool” & consider that demeaning to Indians, whereas another (e.g., any Indian fan) may consider that same concept (of the “crazy fool”) elevating, a non-sectarian, folk version of holy.

There is no denying the huge effect the responder’s predisposition has on any response. Indeed, sometimes the world seems “lenticular,” i.e., like one of those signs that show one image looked at from one angle, and an entirely different one from another direction. We see the evidence of such everywhere, certainly in political interpretation & response. One of the pleasures humans find In art involves this freedom of response; in art, this freedom of response is appropriately enshrined as a fundamental principle.

It is what it is. Each observer is entitled to free response–so long as this does not infringe the freedom of others to respond differently. Freedom of response does not mean freedom of action, destroying something just because you don’t like it, for example. We may say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, along with its opposite. That’s because response depends so much on the responder. All but exclusivists who would mandate everyone’s responses, if they could, at least half recognize this principle.

I say half-recognize, because we are also right to half-disbelieve in the principle. Usually the disbelief comes from the sense that our responses are in synch with those of others and seemingly directly based on the perceived reality giving rise to the image–magnificent landscape, work of art, or whatever, where we say, Ah, that’s so beautiful, it takes my breath away. Similarly, most people will find certain things inherently disgusting–& don’t want their noses rubbed in same.

Nevertheless, in art & other use of imagery, there’s a more or less large grey area in which we don’t just acknowledge “the eye of the beholder,” but consider the principle of free response so enshrined, that we implicitly regard all responses as equally valid. Since each responder has an equal right to that freedom, we may tend to consider each response equal valid, but the two concepts–“validity of response” & “freedom of response”– aren’t at all the same, a confusion that can easily give rise to a fallacy of “relativity.”

The fact that you have the freedom to be “wrong” doesn’t make a wrong response right! First, the freedom rightly assumes what the Romans expressed as degustibus non disputandum est, meaning there’s no dispute in matters of taste. They are what they are. There’s no right or wrong in most such matters, even if there is more & less nutritious or healthy. If lutevist taste good to you, I have no basis to claim that’s wrong. Nor the reverse. Where taste is the question, right & wrong aren’t part of the equation until introduced from another dimension, e.g., the moral dimension (“don’t eat people”).

It’s hard to find a more “lenticular” or polarized response than that generated by Chief Wahoo. On the most basic level, one camp finds the image profoundly offensive, while the other responds with protective affection. If it were only a matter of “taste,” there would be no right or wrong in the matter; yet both camps believe more than taste is involved, including various principles. To avoid confusion, before considering this “more,” I emphasize that the “freedom to have one’s own taste” in the matter is a given.

The freedom to have what others may consider “poor taste,” like that to enjoy lutevist, remains even where reason seeks to introduce a dimension in which right & wrong, better & worse, become entirely appropriate judgments. In the case of symbolic use, for example, if the intent is to communicate “x” (a stop sign, say), it can be wrong to interpret it as “y” (“drive on through”). Intent & its interpretation are distinct from matters of taste.

Closely related to what may be called “artistic intent,” but also its own thing, is what I called “presence” above, not just a matter of “perception,” however, as created objects & images inevitably incorporate an inner spirit, generally reflecting the spirit that went into their making. This is related to the intent as embodied in the symbolic “essence,” but is not exactly the same, being to some degree independent of the maker’s intended meaning.

In the case of Chief Wahoo, then, people of course retain the freedom of taste in their personal response. They can be entirely wrong, however, to claim the essential intent is to be a demeaning racist stereotype. People do not, as a rule, apply these to themselves, or adopt them as beloved symbols, logos with which bonding has taken place.                   

The issue would be more complicated, if the original spirit of the actual representation had been that of a demeaning stereotype, before being adopted to do the opposite function (encourage bonding, the sense of team). A case could then be made that the particular “presence” was, in fact, demeaning, however unintentionally. Thus, an open mind, though I don’t yet find any basis in presence or essence of the image itself to consider it wrong. Taste aside, it seems otherwise wrong to attribute racist belittling to either its intent or its spirit, and equally wrong to claim some prior proprietary right to the broad territory represented by either the term “Indians” or use of the “happy fool” caricature.


[Obviously, there can be a right & wrong even in matters of taste, as in right & wrong identification of ingredients, for example. Your right to think a lemon tastes like an eclair is not in question, but it would be wrong to mis-label them or try selling one as the other, even though that would no longer be the case if the names were switched in general use.]

In sum: A FRESH (& Final?) LOOK

The issue isn’t natives v. Indians, an oxymoron even in most parts of India. If Chief Wahoo didn’t have a feather, he could as easily represent the Bangalore Space Cadets or Burning Ghat Crazy Sadhus, or the Kamakazi Pirates. Maybe those few critics who claim the generic feather shown is a blasphemous mis-appropriation of a sacred symbol ought to lighten up a little bit, that being quite a stretch (further than those who would prohibit cartoonists from supposedly representing their holy figures).

Those who find Wahoo offensive have a right to their feelings, of course, even though they may be wrong to feel offended. (Or not. See below.) Some misguided fools may even object to any association with grinning fools, though many native cultures elevate versions of the same, revering the holy fool, with respect to the trickster. It’s a disservice, as well as misrepresentation, to act as if native people don’t joke & laugh as well as anyone else.

To a 7th grader in the prime of his happy adolescence, there was no greater culture-hero than one who brought mirth & (preferably uncontrolled) laughter forth. It was always laughing with, not at, however, hilarity, not disdain. That same high regard for holy fools may have helped fuel interests in zen, dharma bums, & stand-up comedy, this no stranger to provoking offense, from breaking linguistic taboos & speaking plain truth to shedding hilarity on the oxymoronic contradictions of everyday life & hypocrisies of the powerful.

It’s true that from ancient times on, satirists have not always fared well personally, thanks to the pay-back of those with power who didn’t appreciate being butt of the fun. Indeed, the territory between humor & political speech, as between speech & action, can be quite irregular, slippery when wet, and a minefield littered with pay-back over gored oxes.

Then again, there are always intolerant critics who will find what any creative artist has to offer offensive, as in response to George Carlin actually saying the “7 words you can’t say on TV” out loud. The potential to cause offense knows no limit in form or genre, as shown by attacks on musicians like Pete Seeger for their political positions.

Note that in Chief Wahoo’s case, neither satire nor any political positions are involved, expressed, implied, or intended. In the case of a provocative artist or taboo-breaking comedian, we can at least trace the kind of conditioning that gives rise to the sense of being offended–for better or for worse. Some entertainers find being offensive their bread & butter. There’s a wide range of “taste,” besides, with no fixed line or formula, so even the best-intended miss sometimes, while the worst may lack any redeeming social value.

To be fair, I do see what triggers the offended reaction in many, i.e., the source of the conditioning associated with the image. First, there may be some uneasiness at being a member of any group singled out by others, particularly with a history of negative consequences. Offense may be taken from as innocent a form as a nursery rhyme about “Ten little Indians sitting on a wall,” with no negative depictions (except being eaten).

But then there is an ugly side to racist caricatures, with a negative history of its own.  Leaving my personal associations of the gestalt aside for the moment, I’ve got to admit, it’s pretty weird image, and, however unintentionally, does cross-trigger associations with that negative history, the “little Red Sambo” syndrome some critics have described. One would not adopt an image like that today. (Even the team management can probably see this, at least in private, without expressing any disloyalty to the beloved symbol.)

It reminds me of when a “Friends of the Refuge” organization on whose founding board I sat was designing its stationery. The first version adopted (the best we had) looked (to me) a little like “a deformed crane trying to take a dump into the wind,” although the volunteer artist was doing her best, and had no interest in ridiculing cranes. Subsequent versions became significantly better at catching the elegant grace of the bird.

It’s harder to improve an old logo to which generations of players & fans have become attached. It’s a gestalt, a whole of its own, a matter of love & baseball. Changes can feel riskier than switching to a new recipe for Coke or giving Pepsi a brand overhaul, raising issues of fidelity. Nevertheless, brand & logo styles do change with everything else, and this “feathered bird” could indeed be happily tweaked–retaining an “Indian” caricature, I’d hope, including a grin, but in a style less confusable to the uninitiated.

As in any artistic endeavor, the proof would be in the pudding. But PLEASE! Don’t drop the Chief for some spirit-less alternative–like that ‘Block C’ used on the current batting helmets. Some caps do just great with home city initial(s), but on the Indians, it looks too much like a grade that could use improving.  

Postit Pastit

I should probably call Past Posts my Pistachio Pastiche or Post-date Pasta& put’em in the freezer. I should go through & figure how to condense them to a short starting paragraph–or less, a clickable file, just to make the Post Scroll Collection navigable. Otherwise, best to take shortcuts to other posts of interest, as it’s a long way down….

[The rest of this post will go into the clickable Post Date Pasta pdf. file as soon as the Revisionist History Committee has had its way with it.]

Waiting to see results 1st–the problem

The simple answer to “Are you prepared to accept the results whether you win or lose? is, of course, “Of course.” From there a candidate might add qualifications excluding situations with genuine evidence of fraud or other legitimate uncertainties, like the fight that culminated in Bush v. Gore in 2000. It’s one thing to fight over the legitimate mechanisms, and quite another to declare one will wait to see the results before deciding whether to accept them or not, which is as problematic as most commentators are pointing out.

Of course the problem isn’t nearly as dangerous for the country as it would be if the candidate making such a claim were an incumbent, or candidate of the party in office, when such an attitude becomes really dangerous, a direct threat to the principles of democracy, for then it really raises doubts about the peaceful transfer of power….

[Rest of this post, dated Oct. 20, 2016, in the Post Date Pasta file.]