Arguments against ethnic nationalism — the degree of ignorance you were willing to accept

Looked up and listened to The Shinelle’s “Tonight’s the Night.” Looked up “colourable.” (Used to mean plausible, now more like specious.) Looked up émeute, French for “riot”. Pressed speaker icon to hear how émeute was pronounced and pressed it a second time to hear it pronounced still more slowly. Saw a spoof of Mulholland Drive, and a cartoon representation of a Zizek lecture. Weren’t we being deceived by what is called corporate responsibility, if you buy this cup of coffee we’ll contribute this much to saving the rain forests, or what have you, the lecture asked. Didn’t corporations take with one hand what they gave with the other? Snowing but not sticking today. All at once it occurs to me I haven’t checked the time in some while and now it appears I’m running late. Looked up “smoothie” originally applied to a smooth person and is from the 1920’s. Looked up subduction zones (there had been a fascinating map in the NYT of the last billion years of plate tectonics) and asthenosphere (layer of the earth’s crust beneath the lithosphere, 80-100 km down.) Came across maps that had been drawn up in the event that Napoleon/ Hitler had successively invaded England and looked up operation Sea Lion, the Nazi plan for invading England. What were the arguments against ethnic nationalism: why not have whites, blacks, reds, blues in their own countries? “Just easier that way.” (i) The bloody history of ethnic nationalism and the holocaust (ii) the impossibility of establishing racially pure regions given technology and a globalized world / djinni already out of bottle; (iii) the impossibility of establishing ethnically pure regions given human nature: no matter how much alike people are, they’ll discover and dwell on newly discovered ethnic divisions of import (iv) the differences between cultures can create annoyance and division but also interest and strength (v) the real differences between people are more often of an economic nature… Came across tweet asking whatever happened to Queen Lear, which brought to mind that Gloucester too might not have had a wife in the play… (Was the implication that perhaps Lear’s faithless daughters were, like Edmund, illegitimate?) Looked up the interestingly named Instruction Of Any (Any was Ani, an ancient Egyptian scribe, and an “instruction” was the name for a kind of wisdom literature.) Discussed meaning of colourable, with a man, who thought it meant opposite of specious: capable of being colored, capable of being fleshed out.

Funny. I had recommended to a customer, who was looking for challenging reading, Infinite Jest, which he’d never heard of, and he actually took me up on it and was enjoying it immensely. Initially gratified that my recommendation had been pursued, I soon observed he had a much better grasp of the book than I did and ever would or could, and found myself not wanting to talk much about it, lest he realize as of course I realized already, that, while I had this enthusiasm for high and mighty things and fat tomes and the like, I had, with respect to them, no great competency, no real grasp. This is not to suggest my enthusiasm is insincere but that I tend to embrace the style of the thing rather than, often, to penetrate its gist.

Watched video of philosophy professor naming the countries of South America and realized I was due for a review: most of the countries bordered the edge of the continent: Chile, Equator, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana; then the big interior ones (Argentina, Brazil, Peru — Brazil of course has a long coast line) Paraguay and Uruguay with the latter being coastal, maybe both. Should come to thirteen. Missing one or maybe miscounting. (And of course I’ve misspelled about half of those too.) Why, I’d asked a customer, did he bother with being informed? Was it worthwhile being what we call informed? Would it bother him if, for example, he had no idea who the current U.S. President was? Yes it would bother him quite a bit to not know who the President was, he said, but he supposed each person had their own standards about the degree of ignorance they were willing to accept.

%d bloggers like this: