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TSE  November 2004

TSE November 2004

Subject:

Re: (OT) Roots of Western Civilization

From:

Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Sat, 13 Nov 2004 23:29:39 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (205 lines)

As Maria said to Sir Toby, "What's that to the purpose?"

[P.S.,  all that nonsense about Carroll and harems was gratuitously
mean, and, sorry, but meanness is what you do, not what you "are."]

>>> [log in to unmask] 11/13/04 11:06 PM >>>
In a message dated 11/13/2004 9:21:01 PM Eastern Standard Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:
This is so astonishingly unfounded and rude that it cannot be ignored.

Although there is a great deal more to "Western Civilization" than
military violence, that violence is genuinely part of it.   It is simply
part of history.
There is no civilization, society or country without fault, Nancy, and
there
never will be, as there aren't people without fault. But, what Western
Civilization has done is to allow sufficient freedom and provide and
promote
education and creativity as to bring about an age of technology that
could not be
envisioned.  And a middle class society here and in Western Europe where
most
people are given an education and where most people, even lower class
people,
possess some technology to make their lives easier and pleasanter than
every
imagined.


Moreover, there is no contradiction whatever between critiqueing the
violence and accepting the technology and the enlightenment inheritance
of "free speech" as an ideal.

Nor is there any remote connection between that critique and a desire to
have enslaved women.
Well, I think there might be a remote connection.  If we hadn't gone
into
World War II with our military, then there may not be free speech today
anywhere
and there would be a lot of people enslaved.  One of my best girlfriends
is
from the Philippines.  She married our friend, an engineer who went to
the
Philippines about four years ago on vacation, met and fell in love with
my friend.
It took him about eight months to get her here.  For eight months, we
were
shown photos of her on a daily basis.  Finally, we met her.  My husband
and I
happened to be walking the big pooch. They were walking too, she just
having
arrived and he showing her the Island town that was now her home.  Well,
she was
terrified of our dog.  I learned from her later that only rich people in
the
Philippines have pets and she never saw "big" dogs at all before.  Now,
she is
one of the few people that Red doesn't bark at when she comes to the
door.  I
learned a lot about the Philippines from her.  For instance, in order to
get
meat, you have to go to the big city, quite a bus ride, and by meat, we
are
talking about pork.  Only a few rich people can afford anything else.
Women can
work in the Philippines. My friend was a teacher there. It's a Catholic
country, but there are strict restrictions on their dress.  They cannot
even wear
open-toed shoes in public.  They can, however, marry who they choose.
It's a
very poor country.  There's also an open sex trade there.  My friend has
very
loving parents and siblings.  She misses them, but has become very
American in
the last three years.  Not only does she wear open-toed shoes but also
bikinis.
 Last year, her mother died unexpected and she went home for the
funeral.
The mail service is slow there.  I received her postcard three weeks
after she
returned.  She told me that her family and friends went on and on about
her
weight.  She's not overweight at all.  She's 5'4 and about 115 maybe.
She tells
me that a manicure and pedicure cost less than $1.00 in the Philippines
and
that a massage costs $1.25.  I'm thinking of going with her on her next
visit.
She tells me with a little ironic smile, for she's a very intelligent
woman that
the "President" of the Philippines has been President for 27 years.  She
wanted so to vote in this election and she was supposed to become an
American
Citizen this summer but because of 911 and additional paperwork, that
won't happen
until next year.  She would have voted for Kerry.   She's a Yankees fan
because her husband is, but the day after the Red Sox won, she hugged me
and said
congrats.


Nor is it at all certain that the United States would be in existence to
allow all this embarassing chauvinism had not France supported us and
helped us in the Revolutionary War.  Nor would all that Enlightenment
philosophy about individual rights and freedoms have been so powerful
had not the French thought up a good deal of it--despite the bloody
outcome in their own revolution.
And when our dear boys landed on those beaches in Normandy, some said
"Lafayette, we are here."  I think we paid them back for their support
with our
support. And our support was massive.  Big time.


It is difficult to determine which of these responses is more misguided
or less aware of history.

Why cannot we discuss Eliot on this since "Tradition and the Individual
Talent" is a key text in this notion of a European "mind" and certainly
France is a central part of it?  If you read Eliot, how can you not
notice his extreme reliance on French poetry in his early work?
Whatever else he was, he was not provincial.  Why do you think he went
to Paris over and over?  Why do you think so many Americans in the early
20th C went to live in Paris?
Paris is a beautiful and exiting city. In fact, my husband and I are
thinking
about going to live there for a year in the future.  My husband's
sisters are
there and I would like the experience of living there for a little bit
and
becoming completely fluent in the language.  But, my husband, who grew
up there,
has absolutely no respect for Chirac and some of his policies and his
remarks.



                                                   "Do
"You know nothing?  Do you [read] nothing? Do you remember
"Nothing?"
I read Movable Feast by Hemingway on a regular basis.  I love his stores
about being in Paris and the atmosphere and about Fitzgerald and even
Pound.


I note some names from a text in "Readings in Western Civilization":
Rousseau, Corneille, Voltaire, Condorcet.

Condorcet's "The Progress of the Human Mind" is described by the editor
(I make no claim to French scholarship):  "A great monument of liberal
thought, it is a summary of the major ideas of the Enlightenment, ideas
that have exerted a dominating influence on Western thought in the 19th
and 20th centuries."

It is not a recent textbook, but none of those names has ceased to
matter.  Can we not have civilized discussions based in some actual text
and history?  Words like "moron" and "stupid" and assumptions like the
idea that France is not an absolutely central part of Western
philosophy, literature, art, and culture simply waste words for the
purpose of--of what?  Gratuitous meanness?
Nancy

I do not know what you are talking about.  I am not mean at all.  I'm
very
sweet.

Regards,

Kate


>>> [log in to unmask] 11/13/04 7:10 PM >>>
No doubt Carrol realizes this fact.  And, he even puts down France as a
part
of Western Civilization.   I wonder then, does he want us to live like
they do
in Arab countries, led by a Shah, a King or the like, where there is not
much
education to be had outside of the very basics and the study of Islam,
where
the women cannot work, drive or choose their own husbands in some cases,
where
the majority of people are poorer than we can imagine. The explantion
for
Carrol may be that he dreams of harems.

Regards,

Kate

In a message dated 11/13/2004 4:53:44 PM Eastern Standard Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:
Jacek Niecko wrote:
>
> Hasn't it occurred to you, you moron, that it is because of the
"western
> civilization" for which you have so much stupid contempt, that today
you are
> able to transmit such stupid garbage.
>
> Jacek Niecko
> Washington DC

Temper temper. Better check your blood pressure. :-)

Carrol

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