April 3, 2009

3 Kinds of Black, Liberal Structuralism, and Rudyard Kipling

"Imagine if God existed but was sufficiently advanced such that we couldn't identify him for another 1000 years. Where does that leave the scientific atheist?"

There are white thinkers and black thinkers. And then there's Cobb.
Three Kinds of Black: "It turned out that I have no 'own people,' and it's the hardest lesson of all. No black Americans have their own people because we, of all people, have striven the most against being owned. So I keep repeating that question, a basic human question -- when are people going to realize that they don't own people? When are black people going to learn that they don't own black people? When is humanity going to realize that they don't own humanity? I suppose never, which is when we'll all realize at once that we are God's children -- and we don't even really know God. The alternative belief is more comforting and wrong."
Liberal Structuralism: Overwrought laws implemented by overlarge government bureaucracies for overspoiled children who cannot manage their own affairs independently, like individuals of piety and industry. So long as people will be petty and unable to resolve their differences on their own, there will always be lawyers and laws springing up to fill the vacuum of common sense and decency. Listen for the herald cry: 'There oughta be a law'.
On Listening to Rudyard Kipling's Rolling R: The reader of the audiobook reminds us of a time when the English language was closer to something it oftimes seems unable to convey, which is conviction and respect, even authority. He rolls certain Rs in words for emphasis. It used to be a more common practice to do so, even here in America. Did Dorothy Parker roll the occasional R? I can't imagine that she didn't in the course of her discourse. And so I am remembering Kipling, and Poesy and the discipline and song of adventures into the world, thankful I have been reminded of my great fortune to inherit the language of Liberty.
And those are just from the last week.

I've been reading (and sometimes responding to) the essays and short notes of Michael Cobb since before there was a World Wide Web. It began in the stone age of 1200 baud dial-up when we were both members of The Well in the early 1990s. He remains a sane writer with that rare ability to startle me into thought just when I think I must know all he has to say. Sooner or later, he'll do the same for you. His mind is a work in progress.

Many writers run dry, not Cobb. He's never out. He can always "make it new." He's the real deal: a citizen.

Posted by Vanderleun at April 3, 2009 7:11 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Some prescient words from Mr. Kipling:

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew,
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four --
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

from God's of the Copybook Headings, 1919. Rudyard Kipling.


Posted by: jwm at April 3, 2009 9:26 PM

A wise man, Mr. Cobb. I've only just discovered his work in the last few years, but he quickly went onto my Must Read list.

Posted by: CGHill at April 4, 2009 7:36 AM

Take credit, G. He's on my must-read list as well. All credit to you, friend. He makes me think. Truly a seeker.

Posted by: mezzrow at April 4, 2009 6:38 PM

Thanks, Gerard for introducing us (me) to Cobb. Nice to find such really good stuff.

Posted by: Skookumchuk at April 5, 2009 2:44 PM

Been reading Cobb for a long while, he's one of those treasures in this medium - an articulate, intelligent man who knows his way around solid writing and thoughtful opinion pieces. I like him.

Posted by: Daphne at April 6, 2009 12:32 PM