October 25, 2012

Paying and being paid

Goat Rope these days is all about why everyone needs to read Moby-Dick for the first or umpteenth time. And I'm still on Chapter 1.

Whilst I was pondering this whale of a book this morning, it occurred to me that if one removed all the digressions and stuck to the action, our tome would shed a good several hundred pages. But a good digression is worth a discourse and a half most days and any number of plots. Besides, nobody can digress like our beloved narrator Ishmael.

I particularly appreciate the astuteness of his observation on the vast difference between receiving and doling out money:

...there is all the difference in the world between paying and being paid. The act of paying is perhaps the most uncomfortable infliction that the two orchard thieves entailed upon us. But BEING PAID,--what will compare with it? The urbane activity with which a man receives money is really marvellous, considering that we so earnestly believe money to be the root of all earthly ills, and that on no account can a monied man enter heaven. Ah! how cheerfully we consign ourselves to perdition!

True that.

REDS AND BLUES. Here's Steven Pinker on America's political geography and why it is the way it is. (Note: I think he left out one factor, to wit, that states formerly based on slavery are more likely to sanction violence generally, where person or through things like the death penalty).

CONSERVATIVE GYNECOLOGY. I'm a little confused by recent comments from right wing male politicians regarding uteri. Specifically, how does the  recent comment about God's will fit in with the earlier one about "legitimate rape"?

APPALACHIAN COAL. Politicians around here like to blame the EPA and a certain president, but here's a look at the real engine behind coal's decline.



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