Monday, November 21, 2022

Something Thoughtful

 Nicholas Reid reflects in essay form on general matters and ideas related to literature, history, popular culture and the arts, or just life in general. You are free to agree or disagree with him.  

                          A COLLECTION OF DEEPLY WISE WORDS

Given that this is the last posting of Reid’s Reader for the year, and given that I now take a summer break for a couple of months, I thought I would give you a Christmas and New Year gift by drawing your attention to some of the wise words that have been uttered over the years in this “Something Thoughtful” section.

I give you the date when each posting was made.

Happy reading.

Let’s begin with something relatively non-controversial – our human tendency to interpret things in such a way that we are in fact seeing what isn’t really there. Thus in the posting SeeingWhat We Choose to See [posted 1 February 2016].

Dealing with history is slightly controversial, but only slightly so. This is the well-founded assertion that we should never assume we can be certain about what the future will bring. Therefore we should act in as principled a way as we can, even if the long-term outcome proves not to be what we hoped. This I argued in Strangest Consequence [posted 31 August 2015]. Plagiarising myself, I made a similar argument challenging the modish and foolish phrase The Right Side of History [posted 26 August 2019]. Then there was that time hen I admitted to feeling a little smug at the way things didn’t happen in a – still controversial – posting called My Reprehensible Schadenfreude [posted 1 October 2018].

I’ve twice had a go at the extreme language that is found on Facebook and other so-called “social media”, first in Facebook Hysteria [posted 11 November 2013] and then in ElectronicLynch Mob [posted 16 May 2016]. As for the so-called “legacy media” I also had a satirical shot in a posting called Here Is the News [posted 14 February 2016]. My target here was the absolute trivia that often dominates out evening television news bulletins, at the expense of real and detailed serious news. Be it noted that this was written when TVNZ had the habit of having two chatty news presenters at the desk instead of one. This practice has now gone. Be it further noted that in referring to “Larde” and “Mike Jigger” I was not ridiculing Lorde and Mick Jagger, but I was ridiculing the inane quality of showbiz reporting.

Connected to mental damage wrought by media tropes, look up The Disneyfication of Nature [posted 29 July 2019].

The wildest and most barbaric forms of human behaviour are of course related to the arts. But often people who see themselves as part of the arts community are simply hangers-on. I made this point in Bohemia Itself is not Poetry [posted 26 September 2016]. There are also hysterical people who would “cancel” artists, poets, painters, novelists, sculptors and other creative people for reasons unrelated to their art. Look up Let’s Empty Out the Galleries [posted 9 March 2015].

Then there is the issue that really sets some people’s teeth on edge – I mean the matter of language and acceptable usage. I posted something close to this matter in Awareness of Language and How to Diminish It [posted 24 November 2014].

There now. I’ve suggested eleven postings that might be enlightening or of interest to you. You are free to disagree and express your own opinions. But please don’t get violent about it.

Happy Christmas and New Year.

See you in 2023.

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