I’m heading into the last half-week of my summer teaching schedule — I’ve been teaching two classes this month, to a total of ten kids. One of those happens to be the Spawn, who is getting her Freshman Comp 1 out of the way before starting her senior year at Mondoville High. It has been an absolute joy teaching her (and not just because she has brought doughnuts and muffins to class on a couple of occasions, and not just because I love her.) She’s a very good writer as it turns out, with a natural voice and a charming style. But I’m also tickled that she’s getting to see me do what I do from the perspective of a student (as opposed to the perspective of a kid dragged to work when the public schools were closed.) It’s a real pleasure for me to let her see her old man doing something I do pretty well. And it seems to be working for her, too — she wants to take the second half of the sequence in the Spring term.
As for my own writing? Well, it clearly hasn’t been here (Sorry about that.) I’ve been doing a bit of work on my fiction, getting back to the novel after about a year in which I was diverted to other avenues. However, after that time away I find I need to revamp what I’ve written up to this point. Unfortunate, because it slows me down; fortunate, because the changes may make for a better (or more finishable) book. O felix culpa! Meanwhile, a really cool opportunity has opened to me in the last few days, so I’ve been working on that too. More on that later, I hope.
Yesterday, the Spawn asked me if I thought Republicans or conservatism would ever become cool — the result, no doubt, of seeing the constant pummeling both take in social media and the larger popular culture. I told her that it’s hard to be cool when you’re running against free ice cream, and I told her about the theory of the Silent Majority, and that people will often come to what I see as conservative truths as they get older. But as I’ve thought about our conversation a little more, I think I should have added a bit.
Conservatism isn’t about being cool. Cool changes — it’s a function of the Now. That’s why I’ll occasionally use an expression like “That’s just how I roll” during a lecture and immediately tell the class that the expression is officially dead, having been used by their middle-aged English prof. Conservatism is about learning from the past and seeing the ideas that have worked and failed. FLG often talks about “time horizons”, in the context of liberals relying on immediate data and short-term benefit and conservatives being more inclined to look at long-term consequences, both good and bad. But those time horizons work in both directions, both ahead and behind. I’ve noticed that in some of my discussions with the Mad Dog, he’ll express a disinterest in the history of the Left and its actions (presumably because he doesn’t want to belabor me with accounts of its many successes.) What’s important to him is Right Now. Of course, the spectacular incompetence of the Current Occupant’s regime also is problematic, but hey! He’s cool!
And finally, a bit of music. Here’s a quickie from 1967-68, from New York’s the Rites. I particularly like the shifting time signatures in the chorus and the backwards guitar lead break. Here are the Rites, with “Things.”
I hope your day is going well.