Tuesday, January 12, 2016


COME, I will make the continent indissoluble;
I will make the most splendid race the sun ever yet shone upon;
I will make divine magnetic lands,
With the love of comrades,
With the life-long love of comrades.


I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America, and along the shores of the great lakes, and all over the prairies;
I will make inseparable cities, with their arms about each other’s necks;
By the love of comrades,
By the manly love of comrades.


For you these, from me, O Democracy, to serve you, ma femme!
For you! for you, I am trilling these songs,
In the love of comrades,
In the high-towering love of comrades.
-Walt Whitman, "A Song"


FreeThinke said...

The contrast between the hearty, high-flown, passionate exuberance of Whitman's poetry and the thin whiny voice, downcast eyes, and self-pitying tone of the young man with the guitar whose bizarre headdress makes it too easy to mistake him for an Amish Woman, is startling.

Little more than a century ago we were a serious, purposeful people with great faith in ourselves and the future. We were bent on conquering the wilderness, crafting Civilization from bare rock, stony soil and thorny brush. What we accomplished back then was an enormous pile of stunning, almost-miraculous achievement.

What are we today? A multitude of petulant, whimpering ingrates who see ourselves as "victims." We sit in front of machines growing fat, lazy, weak, and increasingly self-indulgent. We sit and tap out endless complaints and curses blaming everyone but ourselves for our profound dissatisfaction.

It's often been said that "Self Praise Stinks." Perhaps so, but I'm here to tell you that Self-Pity positively REEKS.

How sad Whitman would be to his bright vision for our future blighted, perverted, demented, torn to shreds and scattered to the four winds as surely it has been.

-FJ said...

Is there a connection?

-FJ said...

“The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects are perhaps always the same, or very nearly the same, has no occasion to exert his understanding or to exercise his invention in finding out expedients for removing difficulties which never occur. He naturally loses, therefore, the habit of such exertion, and generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become. ”
― Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

FreeThinke said...

I could find little to argue against in the articled you linked, except for the swipe at Individualism.

Country folk have traditionally been among the most independent, self-sufficient, strong and capable individuals to be found anywhere. The friendships in those rural areas are based more on mutual respect, some admiration, and a basic sense of decency rooted in Christianity that makes it all-but-impossible to ignore the plight of friends and neighbors who fall into dire straights [straits? Have to admit I've never been quite sure].

And then there were the classic Barn Raisings and Husking Bees, County Fairs and Grange Hall Meetings and Dances. But mostly farming is a hard, lonely, physcially-demanding, emotionally-draining life.

Having been a City Dweller in three boroughs of New York at one time or another I am well aware you can live next door to any number of people in an apartment house for twenty or more years and never develop even a nodding acquaintance. HOWEVER, people in those old neighborhoods would develop cordial-but-casual relationships sitting together on the stoop on hot summer evenings or pushing their baby carriages in a local park, or just bumping into each other repeated at a local market, bakery or drug store.

I think the author might have mistaken selfish egocentrism, cold-hearted, calculating careerism, and the overbearing desire to attain wealth for individualism. I don't see it that way at all.

True individuals usually have great talent and an urgent sense of mission in developing and using it that sets them apart from the crowd. Such people are fairly rare, but might surface in any society. Unfortunately they are usually regarded a misfits, but that, as they say, is life. ;-)

-FJ said...

Yeah, I wasn't too wild about that part either (Individualism).