Mark Twain's Corn-pone Opinions: "He was a gay and impudent and satirical and delightful young black man"

That piece moved beyond the excellent, Gerard.

Profound truth, eloquently wrapped up.

Posted by Daphne at November 5, 2008 4:28 PM

How true.
What I heard today were people popping open champagne to 'celebrate history', and people saying that they couldn't find copies of our local rag to save, as apparently all the copies had been bought up.
It all smacked to me of people wanting to be a part of a 'happening' to be able say "I voted for and helped elect the first African American President" and have the tokens and mementos to brag about it with.
So many made the 'cool' choice, to show that they weren't racists, to give themselves yet another moral chit to put into the Bank of I'm Better Than You.
Fucking lemmings will drag us all over the cliff with them.

Posted by Uncle Jefe at November 5, 2008 7:36 PM

This is why I keep friends who follow a stated opinion with the words proudly stated: "and here's why:"

The "here's why" always elucidates the reason for holding that opinion and moves the discussion, correctly, from the naked opinion to the independent reasoning behind it.

I think that's the mark of an "original opinion" that Twain referred to. I'll try to use that more often in my blog comments...

Posted by Gray at November 5, 2008 8:56 PM

That's the problem with feeling as opposed to thinking.
Feeling is almost always based on having a warm and fuzzy about something, whereas thinking can be quite painful if done correctly.

Years ago, Brother Dave Gardner said "People ask me, 'Don't you have to watch what you say', and I say, 'No, I just watch what I think.'"

Posted by ed in texas at November 6, 2008 4:53 AM

what is twain's thesis

Posted by at August 20, 2010 2:07 PM

The Mark Twain House museum at Nook Farm, in Hartford, a couple of blocks away from me, is sponsoring a lecture series--speakers so far: Michael Moore and Juan Williams. I e-mailed to suggest that they get a couple of dignitaries whose work Twain would be more likely to appreciate: Ann Coulter and Mark Steyn.No response, and I expect Hell to freeze over before they take me up on it.

Posted by Voton at November 30, 2011 12:45 PM

Regarding the question of which policy to follow in some situation which all agree needs to be improved in some ways, try the one that produces some benefit and no harm. Take small steps of change; a misstep is readily corrected [unless you've stepped off some kind of cliff, or into a deep hole].
Too often enthusiasts take too big a step in the wrong direction, in effect, onto thin ice.
Mathematicians have various routines for achieving the desired goal by clearly stating a comprehensive set of constraints on what steps in what directions are permitted for each constraint in searching out the goal's 'final' value within the constraints' boundaries. Pitfalls and blowups occur in highly unusual and unexpected terrains -- in social-political life these failures are common since we don't take the time to think through what constraints on the search are necessary. We miss anticipating probable and improbable dangerous consequences of our step changes.
The current Ebola hazard debacle is a great example of our actions and delays being inadequately considered as the dangerous situation worsens.
Where's the grand plan to assess why some Ebola sickened people recover with or without medications -- what treatments directly destroy the Ebola and which enhance what parts of the immune system to destroy the Ebola invader?
Why hasn't our beetle-brained national disease detection/control/elimination organizations advised the populace to enhance their immune systems by doing simple things like: avoiding sugary sodas and juices [sugar depresses the immune system], avoiding or minimizing starchy foods -- such as, breads, rice, potatoes -- all of whom are quickly metabolized to sugars, eating more green and other vegetables while minimizing meat products -- resulting in improved blood chemistry to enhance immune reactions to invaders, ... Well-respected health newsletters, on-line and off-line, have a host of immune system enhancement protocols based on clinical studies. Try [American College for Advancement in Medicine] for starters.
As Mark Twain might suggest, to save your life you may have to sometimes swim against the fecal flow of false and inadequate opinions. The name 'Mark Twain' derives from measurements made to prevent riverboats running aground. Measurements and experience, not wishful stinking, will serve your needs.

Posted by Howard Nelson at October 3, 2014 6:05 PM

Michael Moore and Juan Williams speaking at the Mark Twain Museum? Ha! Let me know when they line up Puxatawny Phil, okay?

Posted by Ray Van Dune at October 4, 2014 3:42 AM