Tuesday, August 10, 2010

lookin fer an argument

I'm on the verge of picking a fight with some "Religious Left" "leaders" I respect over a long-simmering matter: the arrogance of intellectuals & academics. To have this fight, I'll  need to buy a book I wouldn't read unless my library purchased it, which won't happen, & maybe only then because I sort of know the author. It's the kind of book I might just bring over to a table & scan. The author has read many of my posted comments at the website he created, rarely ever responded to them. I am neither an intellectual nor an academic.Over the years I've begun to suspect that he doesn't pay much  close attention  to those not cloaked in those garments.  With my patchwork state college edjikayshun, I can't dress that way.

 I consider myself an exceptional & articulate  middlebrow,  with   real experience in disseminating & channeling  "culture," from the fringes toward the center & vice versa, & I think intellectuals & academics ought to hear what I have to say on those rare occasions when I'm trying to say something to them about culture.

Anyway, my gripe with any definition of a "Religious Left" is that progressive politics & progressive religion are not the same.  Many politically liberal Christians are  conflicted in ways you rarely find among conservatives. Liberalism has to be more accommodating . So religious left spokespersons - as self-appointed as those on the right - are always trying some knit that fits all, or nearly all. But unlike those on the right, they tend to yap at each other, review each other's books on websites we rarely visit, & call that "influence." They're mostly theorists. & we're over 40 years past Dr. King. 

They inversely mirror the right, They champion tolerance & diversity, but are skeptical of those who actually pray for those things.  I also assert that the core literature of religious left is the same basic genre as the right: books about the struggle of practicing & maintaining faith, & keeping one's sanity. Christian books, Jewish books, new age books, Buddhist books, weighted toward memoirs & meditations & daily thoughts.  One can trace the spectrum of these books on Amazon. Conservatives often write negative reviews of the ones they deem too liberal.

I'll appreciate the book when I read it. But I'm already disappointed because I already know what ain't in it; a component of interesting autobiography  that the author has compartmentalized out of his writing, lost through his ambition to be "influential," & by leaving it out sends a message out ahead  that the book really isn't for me, & probably not for you. But I'll know for sure when I read it. 
In nonfiction, I like books where smart people explain stuff in ways I understand. Sometimes they're "experts" & sometimes a theme in the book is that they're also explaining it to themselves.

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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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