neither reasonable nor candid

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008
OOOOOHHHH! (I just sang that part, in case you were wondering, in a style somewhere between Feist's 1-2-3-4 and Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!) I'm off work for the next few days and it makes me so happy I can't even tell you. I'm so tired. Books are heavy, people!

(DIGRESSION: thinking about the weight of books made me wonder if I was going to develop huge Popeye forearms. I don't think I will, but it reminded me that Popeye is one of the regular patrons at my Tied For Favorite branch library. He's an OOOOOOOOLD sailor (ancient mariner) who complies with my imaginary Old Sailor stereotyping by wearing striped shirts and sailor hats and having Sailor Jerry-style tattoos all over his forearms and an unlit pipe between his teeth. He dyes his beard and flirts with me and all my female co-workers, but in a light and charming way, not in a creepy "is he gone yet?" way. He likes audio books. In my head, this is so he can practice tying knots (or whittling puppets or etching scrimshaw) and improve his mind at the same time. END OF DIGRESSION.)

I worked a short shift today at a small branch that was having a staff meeting. Staff meeting coverage means it was just me and one other sub, who was on the ref desk a million miles away. I don't mind shifts like these because I like being busy (even so I managed to read The Onion AV Club interview with Paul Auster, which I thought was really good -- more on that later), and there is often cake at the end when the regular staff get out of their meeting. (This time there was a nectarine/blueberry cobbler, some other berry-cracker thing, and a chocolate cake with raspberry somethingorother. I had some of each and would eat more right now if I could.)

Anyway, I was processing holds and came across Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. Jane is so great! She's witty and funny (two distinctly different things in my mind), wise and self-aware without being preachy or self-indulgent. In short, it is no surprise to me that she's still circulating a lot of books. I flipped it open to see what wisdom she would impart at a quick glance and my eyes fell on this quote, which seems so timely in this election season. Especially since on the topic of how could you vote for that clearly insane person??? or how can you be so uninformed? It's your duty as a citizen to inform yourself!! my impulse is Marianne Dashwood-like dramatic door-slammings or storming off to stand in the rain and catch pneumonia. (okay, maybe not the last one.)

here's the quote:
"Like half the rest of the world, if more than half there be that are clever and good, Marianne, with excellent abilities and an excellent disposition, was neither reasonable nor candid. She expected from other people the same opinions and feelings as her own, and she judged of their motives by the immediate effect of their actions on herself." (volume 2, chapter 9 sense and sensibility).

I am ever striving for Elinor-like levels of reason and candor, not only because it's better for my blood pressure, but also because I think it's necessary in order to reasonably discuss things. I don't expect that everyone should hold hands and sing Kumbaya, but I think the rhetoric and whisper campaigns in this Rovian Age have gotten out of control. It's so easy to get whipped up, and if you're whipped up it's easier to be manipulated by whatever they're selling. (that's right, I said THEY. You know who I mean. ::shifty eyes::) This is why I like reading Salon's Glenn Greenwald. He's really smart and is neither Pollyanna nor Grim Reaper in his approach. He gets mad when things are blatantly unfair or dishonest, but it's productive anger rather than sloppy swipes and jabs or storming off to get pneumonia. Unlike some others... ::coughCABLENEWScough::

TV talk and comic books coming up soon, I swear!!
3 comments on "neither reasonable nor candid"
  1. I have never read any Austen. Ever. I should put Austen on my reading list.

  2. She's so good! I'd start with Pride & Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility or Persuasion or maybe Emma. (but I think the others are shorter than Emma, so if you don't like it, it's not as long.)

    I think one of the things I like best is that her characters are flawed and often wrong, but I think it makes them more relatable. I don't know. They're just so good.

  3. P & P is now on hold. I think that I bought my mom the collected works of JA for Mothers day but I will get it from library first.


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