From #13: The End: The phrase “in the dark,” as I’m sure you know, can refer not only to one’s shadowy surroundi**spoiler alert** My notes and quotes:
From #13: The End: The phrase “in the dark,” as I’m sure you know, can refer not only to one’s shadowy surroundings, but also to the shadowy secrets of which one might be unaware. Every day, the sun goes down over all these secrets, and so everyone is in the dark in one way or another. If you are sunbathing in a park, for instance, but you do not know that a locked cabinet is buried fifty feet beneath your blanket, then you are in the dark even though you are not actually in the dark, whereas if you are on a midnight hike, knowing full well that several ballerinas are following close behind you, then you are not in the dark even if you are in fact in the dark. Of course, it is quite possible to be in the dark in the dark, as well as to be not in the dark not in the dark, but there are so many secrets in the world that it is likely that you are always in the dark about one thing or another, whether you are in the dark in the dark or in the dark not in the dark, although the sun can go down so quickly that you many be in the dark about being in the dark in the dark, only to look around and find yourself no longer in the dark about being in the dark in the dark, but in the dark in the dark nonetheless, not only because of the dark, but because of the ballerinas in the dark, who are not in the dark about the dark, but also not in the dark about the locked cabinet, and you may be in the dark about the ballerinas digging up the locked cabinet in the dark, even though you are no longer in the dark about being in the dark, and so you are in fact in the dark about being in the dark, even though you are not in the dark about being in the dark, and so you may fall in to the hole that the ballerinas have dug, which is dark, in the dark, and in the park. (p. 189-191)....more
“Of course,” I said, “armadillos have been known to carry leprosy.” The two counselors stiffened and recoiled a b**spoiler alert** MY FAVORITE QUOTES:
“Of course,” I said, “armadillos have been known to carry leprosy.” The two counselors stiffened and recoiled a bit, but the Bluebonnets remained in their attentive circle around Dilly. “What’s leprosy?” asked Jessica? “Disease where you nose falls off,” I said. The girls stopped petting Dilly and looked at me with that serious, half-believing expression children sometimes acquire when they suspect the adult they’re listening to may be insane. (p. 41)....more
Like most Frenchwomen of her class, she hated waste and heretics, considering the latter a waste of good heavenl**spoiler alert** My notes and quotes:
Like most Frenchwomen of her class, she hated waste and heretics, considering the latter a waste of good heavenly material. She admired her husband without trying to understand him and had a degree of friendship with him which is not found in those marriages where passionate love sets torch to peace of mind. Her duty as she saw it was to keep a good, clean, economical house for her husband and her daughter, to do what she could about her liver, and to maintain the spiritual payments on her escrowed property in Heaven. (p. 3).
There is no doubt that every woman needs another woman now and then as an escape valve for the pressures of being a woman. For her the man’s releases are not available, the killing of small or large animals, vicarious murder from a seat at the prize ring. Flight into the hidden kingdom of the abstract is denied her. (p. 70)....more
He tried to recall what he had read about the disease. Figures floated across his memory, and he recalled that s**spoiler alert** My notes and quotes:
He tried to recall what he had read about the disease. Figures floated across his memory, and he recalled that some thirty or so great plagues known to history had accounted for nearly a hundred million deaths. But what are a hundred million deaths? When one has served in a war, one hardly knows what a dead man is, after a while. And since a dead man has no substance unless one has actually seen him dead, a hundred million corpses broadcast through history are no more than a puff of smoke in the imagination. (p. 35).
“No,” Rambert said bitterly, “you can’t understand. You’re using the language of reason, not of the heart; you live in a world of abstractions.” (p. 79).
“After all,” the doctor repeated, then hesitated again, fixing his eyes on Tarrou, “it’s something that a man of your sort can understand most likely, but, since the order of the world is shaped by death, mightn’t it be better for God if we refuse to believe in Him and struggle with all our might against death, without raising our eyes toward the heaven where He sits in silence.” Tarrou nodded. “Yes. But your victories will never be lasting, that’s all.” Rieux’s face darkened. “Yes, I know that. But it’s no reason for giving up the struggle.” “No reason, I agree. Only, I now can picture what this plague must mean for you.” “Yes, A never ending defeat.” Tarrou stared at the doctor for a moment, then turned and tramped heavily toward the door. Rieux followed him and was almost at his side when Tarrou, who was staring at the floor, suddenly said: “Who taught you all this, doctor?” The reply came promptly: “Suffering.” (p. 117-118).
As a sort of postscript – and, in fact, it is here that Tarrou’s diary ends – he noted that there is always a certain hour of the day and of the night when a man’s courage is at its lowest ebb, and it was that hour only that he feared. (p. 252).
. . . that Dr. Rieux resolved to compile this chronicle, so that he should not be one of those who hold their peace but should bear witness in favor of those plague-stricken people; so that some memorial of the injustice and outrage done them might endure; and to state quite simply what we learn in a time of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise. (p. 278)....more
‘To kill for murder is an immeasurably greater evil than the crime itself. Murder by legal process is immeasurab**spoiler alert** My notes and quotes:
‘To kill for murder is an immeasurably greater evil than the crime itself. Murder by legal process is immeasurably more dreadful than murder by a brigand. A man who is murdered by brigands is killed at night in a forest or somewhere else, and up to the last moment he still hopes that he will be saved. There have been instances when a man whose throat had already been cut, was still hoping, or running away or begging for his life to be spared. But here all this last hope, which makes it ten times easier to die, is taken away for certain; here you have been sentenced to death, and the whole terrible agony lies in the fact that you will most certainly not escape, and there is no agony greater than that. Take a soldier and put him in front of a cannon in battle and fire at him and he will still hope, but read the same soldier his death sentence for certain, and he will go mad or burst out crying. Who says that human nature is capable of bearing this without madness? Why this cruel, hideous, unnecessary, and useless mockery? Possibly there are men who have sentences of death read out to them and have been given time to go through this torture, and have then been told, you can go now, you’ve been reprieved. Such men could perhaps tell us. It was of agony like this and of such horror that Christ spoke. No, you can’t treat a man like that!’ (p. 47-48).
And what were they so afraid of? A child can be told everything – everything! I’ve always been struck by the fact that grown-ups, fathers and mothers, know their children so little. One must never conceal anything from children on the pretext that they are little and it is too early for them to know things. What a lamentable and unfortunate idea! And how quick children are to notice that their fathers consider them to be too little to understand, while they understand everything. Grown-up people do not realize that a child can give extremely good advice even about the most difficult matters. (p. 94).
I am most certainly to blame, and though, because of the length of years and the change in my character, I have long looked upon my action as that of another man, I still am sorry for it. (p. 181).
An hour later, on my way back to the hotel, I came upon a peasant woman with a newborn baby. She was quite a young woman, and the baby was about six weeks old. The baby smiled at her for the first time since its birth. I saw her suddenly crossing herself with deep devotion. “What are you doing that for, my dear?” I said. (You see, I was always asking questions just then.) “Well, sir,” she said, “just as a mother rejoices seeing her baby’s first smile, so does God rejoice every time he beholds from above a sinner kneeling down before Him to say his prayers with all his heart.” This was what a simple peasant woman said to me, almost in those words – a thought so profound, so subtle, and so truly religious, in which the whole essence of Christianity is expressed, that is to say, the whole conception of God as our Father and of God’s rejoicing in man, like a father rejoicing in his own child – the fundamental idea of Christianity! An ordinary peasant woman! (p. 253).
Lack of originality has from time immemorial been regarded throughout the world as the chief characteristic and the best recommendation of a sensible, business-like, and practical man, and at least ninety-nine per cent of men (and that’s putting it at the lowest) always were of that opinion, and only perhaps one man in a hundred looks and always has looked on it differently. Inventors and men of genius have almost always been regarded as fools at the beginning (and very often at the end) of their careers – that is a platitude too familiar to everyone. (p. 361).
There can be no doubt that her domestic worries were without foundation, that there was little cause for them and that they were absurdly exaggerated; but if you happen to have a wart on your nose or forehead, you cannot help imagining that no one in the world has anything else to do but stare at your wart, laugh at it, and condemn you for it, even though you have discovered America. (p. 363).
‘Impossible crimes? But I assure you that just such crimes, and perhaps even more dreadful ones, have existed before, and at all times, and not only in this country, but everywhere, and, in my opinion, will occur again and again for a long time. The only difference is that before they haven’t received so much publicity and that people are now talking and writing about them, and that’s why it seems that these criminals have only appeared now.’ (p. 374).
‘It is life, life that matters, life alone – the continuous and everlasting process of discovering it – and not the discovery itself!’ (p. 433).
‘Let me add, however, that in every idea of genius or in every new human idea, or, more simply still, in every serious human idea born in anyone’s brain, there is something that cannot possibly be conveyed to others, though you wrote volumes about it and spent thirty-five years in explaining your idea; something will always be left that will obstinately refuse to emerge from your head and that will remain with you for ever; and you will die without having conveyed to anyone what is perhaps the most vital point of your idea.’ (p. 433).
‘How can you tell, Bakhmutov, what significance this contact of one personality with another will have for the future of one of them? What we are dealing with here is man’s whole life and the innumerable threads which are hidden from us. The best chess-player, the cleverest among them, can only calculate a few moves ahead; a French chess-player, who could calculate ten moves ahead, was written about as a marvel. Well, how many moves have we here and how many of them are unknown to us? In scattering your seed, in offering your ‘alms’, in doing your good deed, in whatever shape or form, you are giving away part of your personality and absorbing part of another’s; you are mutually united to one another and, a little more effort, you will already be rewarded by knowledge, by the most unexpected discoveries. You will at last most certainly begin to look upon your work as a science; it will absorb all your life and may fill all your life. On the other hand, all your thoughts, all your scattered seeds, which perhaps you have already forgotten, will take root and grow up; the man who received them from you, will pass them on to someone else. And how can you tell what your contribution to the shaping of man’s destinies will be? If this knowledge and whole lifetime of this work at last raises to such an eminence that you will be able to sow some great seed to bequeath to the world some great thought, then –“ And so on, I talked a lot during that walk.’ (p. 443).
We have, however, still not answered the question what a novelist is to do with quite ‘ordinary’, commonplace people and how he is to present them to his readers so as to make them at all interesting. To leave them out of the story altogether is impossible, for ordinary people are nearly always the link in the chain of human affairs; by leaving them out, we shall destroy the verisimilitude of our narrative. To fill novels only with types, or, for the sake of interest, simply with odd and fantastic people, would be unreal and improbable and, perhaps, even uninteresting. In our opinion, a writer ought to try to find interesting and instructive traits of character even among commonplace people. When, for example, the very nature of ordinary people consists entirely of their perpetual and unchangeable ordinariness or, better still, when in spite of all their strenuous efforts to get out of the rut of ordinariness and routine, they end up all the same by remaining unchangeably and perpetually ordinary and commonplace, then such people acquire a sort of typical character of commonplace people who simply refuse to be what they are and do their utmost to be original and independent without possessing any qualities of independence. (p. 500).
‘Before dying (because I am going to die in spite of having, as you assure me, put on weight) – before dying, I’d like to feel that I shall go to heaven with my mind incomparably more at peace if I succeed in making a fool of at least one representative of that numberless category of people who have persecuted me all my life, whom I hated all my life, and of whom your brother is such a conspicuous example. I hate you, Gavrila Ivolgin, solely because – you may find it a little surprising, perhaps – solely because you are the type, the embodiment, the personification, and the height of the most impudent, the most self-satisfied, the most vulgar and nasty mediocrity! A pompous mediocrity, a mediocrity always sure of itself and full of Olympian calm! You are the most ordinary of the ordinary! Not the smallest idea of your own will ever take shape in your head or in your heart. But you are damnably envious; you are firmly convinced that you are the greatest genius on earth, but, in spite of everything, doubt sometimes visits you during your dark moments, and you are filled with malice and envy. Oh, there are still dark clouds on your horizon; they will pass when you become completely stupid, and that’s not a long way off. However, you have still a long and chequered road before you, not a very cheerful one, I’m glad to say. To begin with, let me tell you that will never get a certain person.’ (p. 519)....more
Several of the outfits, Ignatius noticed, were new enough and expensive enough to be properly considered offense**spoiler alert** My notes and quotes:
Several of the outfits, Ignatius noticed, were new enough and expensive enough to be properly considered offenses against taste and decency. Possession of anything new or expensive only reflected a person's lack of theology and geometry; it could even cast doubts upon one's soul. (p. 13).
I do admire the terror which Negroes are able to inspire in the hearts of some members of the white proletariat and only wish (This is a rather personal confession.) that I possessed the ability to similarly terrorize. The Negro terrorizes simply by being himself; I, however, must browbeat a bit in order to achieve the same end. Perhaps I should have been a Negro. I suspect that I would have been a rather large and terrifying one, continually pressing my ample thigh against the withered thighs of old white ladies in public conveyances a great deal and eliciting more than one shriek of panic. Then, too, if I were a Negro, I would not be pressured by my mother to find a good job, for no good jobs would be available. My mother herself, a worn old Negress, would be too broken by years of underpaid labor as a domestic to go out bowling at night. She and I could live most pleasantly in some moldy shack in the slums in a state of ambitionless peace, realizing contentedly that we were unwanted, that striving was meaningless (p. 134-135)....more
Book about designating one's frame of reference when thinking in order to achieve specific goals. Especially rec**spoiler alert** My notes and quotes:
Book about designating one's frame of reference when thinking in order to achieve specific goals. Especially recommended for meetings where solutions/ideas are needed.
The six frames of reference, or "hats" are: white = just the facts of the situation; red = emotion or intuition concerning the situation; black = critical thinking; yellow = positive thinking and constructive methods of achieving goal; green = creativity and idea generation; blue = master hat for directing overarching goals/purpose of meeting.
Further summaries of hats: White hat - neutral and objective facts without interpretation. Red hat - Feelings about the matter. Can ask a person to switch in or out of red hat thinking so they only give their emotional or intuition concerning the issue. Should never attempt to justify or logically explain feeling, just report it. Black hat - Concerned with caution. Used to consider risks, dangers, and potential problems with solution. Should be used when assessing suggestions, but should not be used to fuel arguments or overused. Yellow hat - Positive and constructive thinking. Covers all positive thoughts and suggestions from logical and practical advantages to hipes and visions. Concrete proposals and suggestions that seek to take advantage of opportunities. Green hat - Creative thinking that generates new ideas. Both thinker and listener need to wear green hat. Used to search for all available alternatives to a problem. Provocation is how to think of green, try to provoke new domains/thoughts to escape typical patterns of thinking. Blue hat - control hat. Organizes the thinking that goes into an issue. Outlines goals and purpose of all discussion. Think of a conductor in an orchestra. Responsible for summaries, conclusions, and overviews. Also responsible for stopping arguments and keeping everyone on track concerning overall goals. Shouldn't assign each person a particular hat, but rather should get everyone to take turns thinking with the mindset of each hat during that portion of the meeting....more
But Democrats couldn’t make too much of that fact, especially in 1948, because their own candidate, Harry Truman**spoiler alert** My notes and quotes:
But Democrats couldn’t make too much of that fact, especially in 1948, because their own candidate, Harry Truman, also grew up in a sundown town, Lamar, Missouri. Report Morris Milgram pointed out that Lamar “was a Jim Crow town of 3,000, without a single Negro family. When I had spoken about this with leading citizens of Lamar . . . they told me, all using the word ‘n----r,’ that colored people weren’t wanted in Lamar.” (p. 13).
A fine history by Jean Swaim of Cedar County, Missouri, provides a detailed example of the process that took place in many of the counties summarized in Table 1 of the previous chapter. Cedar County is located between Kansas City and Springfield, Missouri. African Americans had lived in the county since before the Civil War, originally as slaves. In the 1870s, a black community grew up within Stockton, the county seat, including a school, candy store, and “a park with a popular croquet court, where white Stockton men often spent their Sunday afternoons competing in tournaments.” Some African Americans worked as domestic help, others at a local brickyard. By 1875, whites and blacks had organized the Stockton Colored School, which eventually had as many as 43 students. A newspaper account from August 1899 shows interracial cooperation: “About 1,500 attended colored people’s picnic here. Order was good except for a few drunken whites. Stockton won the ball game from Greenfield, 20-1. Greenfield’s colored band was a big attraction.” African Americans also lived elsewhere in the county, including “Little Africa” near Humansville in the northeastern corner. Forty families lived there, with a church, school, and store. They held an annual picnic on the Fourth of July to which whites were invited and had a baseball team with a white coach. Then something bad happened, something that the local histories don’t identify and that has been lost even to oral history. As another local historian born in the county in the 1920s, put it, “It’s just a dark history that nobody talks about,” speaking of the event or chain of events that ended Cedar County’s racial harmony. Around 1900, the county’s black population declined precipitously, from 127 (in 1890) to 45. Whatever prompted the initial decline, we do know why it continued: Cedar County was becoming a sundown county. By 1910, only thirteen African Americans lived in the county, and by 1930, just one. Swaim refers to “many shameful incidents” in which “visiting ball teams, travelers, and even laborers were . . . told to be out of town by night. Blacks could find haven in Greenfield,” the seat of the next county to the south. She tells of a black bricklayer whose work attracted admiring crowds: “Not only was he paving El Dorado Springs’s Main Street in perfect herringbone pattern as fast as an assistant could toss him bricks, but he sang as he worked and moved in rhythm to his song.” Nevertheless, he “had to find a place out of town at night.” “In Stockton, prejudice was still rampant in the late 1960s,” Swaim continues, “as black workmen constructing the Stockton Dam were provided segregated and inferior housing west of town. Their visiting wives cooked for them.” Is Cedar County still sundown today? Swaim writes, “In the 1990s few blacks are seen in Cedar County.” But the 2000 census counted 44 African Americans. One black couple lives in El Dorado Springs and seems to get along all right. Nevertheless, Cedar County in 2005 has yet to reach the level of black population and interracial cooperation that it showed in the 1890s. (p. 91).
A series of at least six race riots in the Ozarks, along with smaller undocumented expulsions, led to the almost total whiteness of most Ozark counties, which continues to this day. In 1894, Monett, Missouri, started the chain of racial violence. As happened so often, it began with a lynching. Ulysses Hayden, an African American, was taken from police custody and hanged from a telephone pole, although Murray Bishoff, an authority on Monett, believes him innocent of the murder of the young white man for which he was hanged. After the lynching, whites forced all African Americans to leave Monett. Pierce City, just six miles west, followed suit in 1901. Again, a crime of violence had been perpetrated upon a white person, and again, after lynching the alleged perpetrator, the mob then turned on the black community, about 10% of the town’s population, and drove them out. In the process, members of the mob set fire to several homes, incinerating at least two African Americans inside. Portfolio 3 shows one of the destroyed residences. Some African Americans fled to Joplin, the nearest city, but in 1903 whites rioted there. Three years later, whites in Harrison, Arkansas, expelled most of their African Americans, and in 1909, they finished the job. In 1906, whites in Springfield, Missouri, staged a triple lynching they called an “Easter Offering.” No one was ever convicted in any of these riots, which sent a message that violence against African Americans would not be punished in the Ozarks. On the contrary, it was celebrated. In Springfield, for example, souvenir hunters sifted through the smoldering ashes looking for bits of bone, charred flesh, and buttons to carry away with them in order to commemorate the event. Local drugstores and soda parlors sold postcards containing photographs of the lynching, and one enterprising businessman . . . [had] medals struck commemorating the lynching. One side of the medal read “Easter Offering,” and the other side, “Souvenir of the hanging of 3 niggers, Springfield, Missouri, April 15, 1906.” (p. 95-96).
Besides Pana and Virden, many other communities trace their origins as sundown towns to a successful strike. Something darker may have happened in Mindenmines, Missouri, where mine operators brought African American strikebreakers to their coal mine in about 1900. Marvin Van Gilder, author of a 1972 history of Barton County, recounts blandly, “Many of them died during their relatively brief residence at the mining camps . . . and a cemetery for the Negro community was established northwest of Mindenmines near the state line.” Van gilder does not explain why or how “many of them died,” but Mindenmines became a sundown town upon their demise and probably remains so to this day. According to a staff member at Missouri Southern State College who grew up in the town, a black family moved in for a week in about 1987 and left under pressure; another lived there for about six weeks in about 1990 and left after someone fired a gun at their home. In 2000, Mindenmines was still all-white. (p. 161).
Some towns went sundown simply because a neighboring town did so. The neighboring event served as a catalyst of sorts, but actually it shows the absence of a catalyst. The only cause required to set off an expulsion seemed to be envy of a neighboring town that had already driven out its African Americans. In southwestern Missouri, for instance, newspaper editor Murray Bishoff believes that Monett’s prosperity after it threw out all its African Americans in 1894 likely contributed to Pierce City’s copycat riot seven years later. Bishoff thinks Pierce City in turn became a model for other nearby towns in Missouri and Arkansas. (p. 181).
The same thing happened in Tulsa. During that city’s now-notorious 1921 race riot, whites attacked Tulsa’s African American community on the ground and from the air: six airplanes dropped dynamite bombs to flatten homes and businesses. As Portfolio 10 shows, rioters made a concerted attempt to drive all African Americans out of Tulsa. Although they failed, they did pull off the largest race riot in American history. Later, the newspapers for the period mysteriously (and now famously) disappeared. The riot became, said one resident, “something everybody knew about but nobody wanted to discuss.” (p. 203).
“Keep moving” was the refrain, no matter why African Americans stopped. Local historian Jean Swaim tells of a shameful incident in Cedar County, Missouri: “Even a busload of black choir members who saved the lives of four El Dorado Springs teenagers by pulling them from a burning car were then turned away.” (p. 233).
Even when audiences loved their performances, musicians and athletes faced the problem of where to spend the night. This difficulty repeatedly beset barnstorming black baseball teams and the two famous black basketball teams, the Harlem Globetrotters and the Harlem Magicians, whenever they played in sundown towns. The town baseball team of El Dorado Springs, a sundown town in western Missouri, invited a black Kansas City team to play them, but the guests were then denied food and lodging. One man made an accommodation: Dr. L.T. Dunaway locked the team in his second-floor office “and some citizens took food to them,” according to local historian Jean Swaim. African American workers paving the U.S. 54 through El Dorado Springs in the 1940s “also had to spend their nights locked in that office.” Swaim does not say whether they were locked in to prevent them from being at large in the town after sundown or to preclude violence against them by local white residents for that offense. (p. 246-247).
In an all-night riot in August, 1901, white residents of Pierce City, Missouri, hanged a young black man alleged to have murdered a white woman, killed his grandfather, looted the armory, and used its Springfield rifles to attack the black community. African Americans fired back but were outgunned. The mob then burned several homes including this one (pictured above), Emma Carter’s, incinerating at least two African Americans inside. At 2 A.M., Pierce City’s 200 black residents ran for their lives. They found no refuge in the nearest town, Monett, because in 1894 it had expelled its blacks in a similar frenzy and hung a sign, “Nigger, Don’t Let The Sun Go Down.” (p. 276).
Abraham Lincoln understood the threat to our democracy posed by anti-black prejudice and likelihood that this sentiment would metastasize to attack other groups. In 1855 he wrote a letter to his lifelong friend Josh Speed, a clause of which has become famous: As a nation, we began by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except Negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except Negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty – to Russian, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy. (p. 332).
An elderly African American woman living in central Missouri avoids the entire southwestern corner of the state. She is very aware that after whites in Springfield, the prime city of the Ozark Mountains, lynched three African Americans on Easter Sunday, 1906, “all the blacks left out of that area,” as she put it. Neosho, Stockton, Warsaw, Bolivar, and other Ozark towns are almost devoid of African Americans, who fled the entire region, she said; even today, those are “not places where I would feel comfortable going.” (p. 344).
Independent sundown towns also hurt their own futures by being closed to new ideas. . . . There are exceptions, some sundown towns do better than others. Murray Bishoff, who lives in Pierce City, Missouri, and works in nearby Monett, thinks Pierce City, which drove out its African Americans in 1901 and has been sundown ever since, has been hurt by its sundown policy. Meanwhile, Monett, which drove out its blacks in 1894 and has been equally white since, is doing better. In 1999, Monett’s per capita income was nearly 40% higher than Pierce City’s, although still below average for the state. (p. 361).
Surely the white-flight prize goes to those who flee Joplin, Missouri. A librarian in the Joplin Public Library told of her neighbor who moved from Joplin to Webb City around 1985, because “his daughter was about to enter the seventh grade and he didn’t want her to go to school with blacks at that age.” The librarian stayed in touch during the relocation process and reported: “At one point [the mother] told me she had found the perfect house for their family, only it was on the wrong side of the street. The line between Joplin and Webb City was that street, and the house she liked was on the Joplin side, so she couldn’t consider it. Eventually they found a house in Webb City.” Webb City adjoins Joplin, as the story implies, but the move amazes because Joplin itself was just 2% black. Webb City, on the other hand, has just 1 African American among its 7,500 residents, and that person was not of school age. (p. 389)....more
**spoiler alert** MY SUMMARY AND NOTES: What You Can Do To Keep From Being Influenced by Propaganda
· Know the ways of persuasion and realize that you**spoiler alert** MY SUMMARY AND NOTES: What You Can Do To Keep From Being Influenced by Propaganda
· Know the ways of persuasion and realize that you personally may be the victim of propaganda. Most people believe that only other people are susceptible to being persuaded and that is when propaganda is best able to get past our defenses.
· Monitor your emotions. If you notice you are having an emotional response to a communication, ask “Why?” Look for things that might induce emotions, such as a false commitment, a “free” gift that makes you feel obligated, a scarce item that induces feelings of inferiority, a we-they distinction that elicits the granfalloon (arbitrary group), or speeches that make you feel fearful or guilty. If you feel that your emotions are being played on, get out of the situation and then analyze what is going on.
· Explore the motivation and credibility of the source of the communication. Ask such things as: “Why is this person telling me this information?” “What does the source have to gain?”
· Think rationally about any proposal or issue. Ask such things as: “What is the issue?” “What labels and terms are used to describe it?” “Are these labels used fairly?”
· Attempt to understand the full range of options before making a decision. Ask such questions as: “why are these choices being presented to me in this manner?”
· Base your evaluation of a leader not on what they say, but on what their actions in the past have shown.
· Stop to consider the possibility that any information you receive may be a factoid. Always ask: “What is the evidence for this?” “Where did you hear it?”
· If the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Before making a purchase, look for these common warning signs of a bad deal: 1) the deal is only good for “today”; 2) the seller offers “free gifts” in return for “minimum” effort; 3) a sale item is suddenly unavailable but a “much better” item happens to be available for “slightly more money” (throwing a lowball); 4) the seller emphasizes the amount of each payment rather than the total amount of the sale; 5) a “repair person” discovers a “dangerous” defect in something you own that must be repaired immediately; 6) you are given little or not time to read a contract; 7) the seller makes you feel guilty for asking questions or asks, “Don’t you trust me?”
· Teach your children about propaganda. What TV with your children and help them develop counterarguments against propaganda.
· Support efforts to protect vulnerable groups such as children from exploitative persuasion.
· Avoid being dependent on a single source of information. One of the hallmarks of intense propaganda is centralized communications from a single perspective.
· Think of the news as the news and try to separate it in your own mind from entertainment. · Support campaign spending reform. Instead of letting candidates spend taxpayer allotted dollars on 30-second ads, why not require recipients of federal matching funds to use the money to pay for debates, open forums with the public, press conferences, and infomercials that give the viewer a chance to hear the candidate’s position in detail.
· Demand consumer affairs shows, or talk shows that bring together advertisers, media critics, and consumers to discuss advertising.
· Write companies asking for proof of advertised claims.
· Support and extend efforts to squelch deceptive advertisements. Also support efforts to eliminate misleading labels and other deceptive practices.
· Promote the institutions of democracy. We often take for granted the nature of democracy, thinking that is it just “majority rule” or “the freedom to do our own thing.” A democracy is a pattern of social relations that encourages deliberative persuasion (not propaganda) and respects the rights and responsibilities of all citizens. The hallmarks of a democracy (as opposed to an autocracy) include the following: 1) Communication is decentralized, with multiple sources of information; 2) authority and power are constrained by a system of checks and balances; 3) agendas and goals are established through discussion, not be leader fiat; 4) there is a reciprocity of influence between leaders and citizens, as opposed to unidirectional influence from elites; 5) group boundaries and roles are flexible, as opposed to there being a rigid social structure; and 6) minority opinion is encouraged as a means of obtaining a better decision, and the rights of those in the minority are protected.
Pratkanis, A.R., & Aronson, E. (2001). Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion, 2nd ed....more
“There is a fatality about all physical and intellectual distinction, the sort of fatality that seems to dog thr**spoiler alert** My notes and quotes:
“There is a fatality about all physical and intellectual distinction, the sort of fatality that seems to dog through history the faltering steps of kings. It is better not to be different from one’s fellows. The ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world. They can sit at their ease and gape at the play. If they know nothing of victory, they are at least spared the knowledge of defeat. They live as we all should live – undisturbed, indifferent, and without disquiet. They neither bring ruin upon others, nor ever receive it from alien hands. Your rank and wealth, Harry; my brains, such as they are – my art, whatever it may be worth; Dorian Gray’s good looks – we shall all suffer for what the gods have given us, suffer terribly.” (p. 13).
“You seem to forget that I am married, and the one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties. I never know where my wife is, and my wife never knows what I am doing. When we meet – we do meet occasionally, when we dine out together, or go down to the Duke’s – we tell each other the most absurd stories with the most serious faces.” (p. 14).
“Because to influence a person is to give him one’s own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else’s music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly – that is what each of us is here for.” (p. 34).
“My dear boy, no woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.” (p. 78).
The only artists I have ever known who are personally delightful are bad artists. Good artists exist simply in what they make, and consequently are perfectly uninteresting in what they are. A great poet, a really great poet, is the most unpoetical of all creatures. But inferior poets are absolutely fascinating. The worse their rhymes are, the more picturesque they look. The mere fact of having published a book of second-rate sonnets makes a man quite irresistible. He lives the poetry that he cannot write. The others write poetry that they dare not realize.” (p. 92).
Human life – that appeared to him the one thing worth investigating. Compared to it there was nothing else of any value. (p. 93).
He began to wonder whether we could ever make psychology so absolute a science that each little spring of life would be revealed to us. As it was, we always misunderstood ourselves and rarely understood others. Experience was of no ethical value. It was merely the name men gave to their mistakes. Moralists had, as a rule, regarded it as a mode of warning, had claimed for it a certain ethical efficacy in the formation of character, had praised it as something that taught us what to follow and showed us what to avoid. But there was no motive power in experience. It was as little of an active cause as conscience itself. All that it really demonstrated was our future would the same as our past, and that the sin we had done once, and with loathing, we would do many times, and with joy. (p. 95).
Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them. (p. 107).
“What has the actual lapse of time got to do with it? It is only shallow people who require years to get rid of an emotion. A man who is master of himself can end a sorrow as easily as he can invent a pleasure. I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.” (p. 172)....more