Monday, February 1, 2010

Some thoughts from Georgia...

Wakefield Tolbert, follower / reader from the great state of Georgia (U.S. Georgia that is - I've never been there but they came up with the Allman Bros. Band, and that's good enough for me!) has some thoughts germane to `Revolution and romanticism', that I thought bear repeating -

(btw, Wakefield, please believe me when I say that the comments I left on your site re: climate-change are completely friendly, respectful disagreement...)

Wakefield away!:

The Labor/Knowledge dichotomy is interesting to behold.

Reminds me of one pundit who said this is akin to how the United States Navy basically operates at the human level: A system of fantastically complex machines designed by geniuses, to be operated by dummies. Without taking so glum a view of the abilities of the quotidian masses hired to do the wet work of war, some have also pointed to the "Rosie the Riveter" phenomenon of WWII, where millions of American women--primarily secretaries and housewives for the age where most women were tending home, hearth, and snotty noses of kids--were hired to forge the machinery of war almost akin to some Tolkien narrative about Sauron hiring Orcs to beat metal into scimitars. Johnny went of to war, so Mom had to step in and follow the factory whistles and routines of labor in his absence.

Engineers set the standards for mass productions of the war such as tanks, planes, machine guns, etc. Of course. But it was demonstrated that "the average person" could very well grasp--with some shortened hurry-up training--many of these same intricacies of design. No, engineers and scientists were not made out of these women, but it's all the same fascinating to know that the majority of the American war effort's labor and detail of weaponry was made by female hands that formerly were rocking cribs.

Your knowledge of history is far more in-depth in mind. I know some of the major players and busybodies on the political or philosophical stage, and that we be about it for my elucidation in the public system of the state of Georgia. No doubt you've moved by choice and interest far beyond this kind of thing.

In any event, I can only add that it would be beyond fascinating to speculate what future historians will say was the proximate cause or main set of causes in what will invariably be our turn to have our coffee tables, refrigerators, and cars dug up from the successive layers of soil, that tomorrow's archeologists will almost doubtless sift.

Unless, of course, we end things long before then or the transition is something smoother. But whether Utopian or Dystopian, there WILL be some sort of future that we can only guess at and of which writers of all stripes have had much mirth in trying to pin down entertaining vignettes for their stories.

Wakefield's a very astute man.

With respect W.T.'s statements as what will come in the Future, I'm reminded that the most accurate predictions that I have heard, came not from `serious' science fiction, but from comedy programmes.

I'm too young to have watched the original `Laugh-In' show, that aired in the late 1960s and early '70s. I saw a retrospective of the show in the 1980s.

Not surprisingly, the producers of the retrospective decided to include clips of several `jokes' that turned out to be true (I'm going by memory here): "Dateline, Washington, Dec. 1988: President Ronald Reagan..."


"Berlin, 1989: the Berlin wall fell today, and was replaced by a moat of alligators..."

This is in 1968.

Note: checking this out on the net just now, I discovered a youtube clip of both of these segments:

Note: I'm planning a new essay as why the modern world differs in sensibility from the Middle Ages.


  1. Thanks for posting this and giving the rehash.

    Well done, R.B.

    What I wanted to be a short little quip turned out to be a classroom assignment on history sprinkled with ruminations over increasingly colder coffee as my comment got longer.

    Making my longer reflection short:

    In any case, I for one AM just barely old enough to recall Laugh-In. A show so dumb with slapstick that it circled back around and got funny in some places, with even a cameo shot with the real Nixon.

    If predictions like the ones you pointed out turned out to have reality to them, are we more shocked at the accuracy that we think is the equivalent of shooting a cowboy's lapel [in off while he's riding his horse from a 1000 yards, that turns out chilling us for the hit, OR is it that so many predictions turn out to be so laughably OFF the mark that the human mind is utterly amazed when even in jest someone gets things "right"?

  2. ..and thanks for the Tube clips as well. Might make a neat combo elsewhere!

  3. Also, nary a worry about the comments issue. As I was trying to be snarky over on WUWT in any case and trying to pull a "draw out" response, this is not a problem. And not a problem otherwise since I really accept all manner of commentary.