Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Losing Innocence, With Martians

essaysbysean.blogspot.com

Hello Reader,
Got innocence in everyday life?


Short-Essay
Quotation
Long-Poem

Short-Essay
A wit once said America was the only nation that could keep losing its innocence, and then finding it again. Even after Vietnam, America still rebounded, but was never, I think, quite the same. George Orwell noted that his generation, which came of age at the end of World War I, was rebellious, but they never knew why. Only years later did Orwell realize it was due to the loss of innocence after the great war.

His generation must have been shocked to learn the “establishment” did not care about them: At least, did not care enough to become competent and develop common sense. During the terrible incompetence of the Second World War, working in London during the blitz, Orwell would keenly scrutinize the upper class. His essay begins, “As I write this, highly civilized men are flying overhead trying to kill me…” 

During the First World War, everyone thought the Prussian General staff was world class. At that time, common sense, to any civilian, would have meant that before you start an offensive to go deep into enemy territory you stockpile ammunition, rations, grain for the horses, and other supplies. At the same time, anyone who saw a fog bank would have known the wind is not uniform but blows into banks, swirls around empty patches, and even blows “backwards” too.

You will recall that both sides had built built a vast network of trenches, from the North Sea to the Mediterranean… Stalemate, as blocked as Brexit… Both sides still hoped for an offensive, taking pains to feed and care for vast stocks of cavalry horses… to use for a glorious breakout past the trenches! Such an innocent hope. 

According to my childhood How and Why Wonder Book of WWI, eventually both sides sought to break the deadlock by finding a secret weapon: The Germans found theirs first. One day, when the wind was fair, they opened valves and advanced behind poison gas… Allied soldiers fell back, gasping and stumbling. The German’s own gas, as they advanced, sometimes blew back in their faces. Which was a problem, as the Germans had no masks and had neglected to stockpile any. Later they would even have masks for their horses, (seen in photographs) but there would be no breakout offensive, not that day. Whither common sense?


Quotation
Servicemen and learned experts know that war is not glorious, a lesson that each generation of regular civilians seems to need to re-discover. 

In the televised Sarah Connor Chronicles, as played by Lena Headey, in one of her voiceovers, Sarah muses on innocence lost:
QUOTE
In 1678 doctors diagnosed a mental affliction soldiers suffered from as 'nostalgia' - homesickness, a longing to return to the past. The cruel reality of war is that there is no return home. No return to innocence. What is lost, is lost forever. Like my father, war's wounds have bled me dry. No words of comfort; no words of forgiveness. No words at all.
UNQUOTE

From the episode Strange Things Happen at the One-Two Point. 
I like Sarah; I have her on my blog list of labels.




Poem

You may recall that just as wooden milking stools use three legs for maximum stability on an uneven dirt floor, so too did did the Martian fighting machines, great black “boilers on stilts,” use three legs.

Losing Innocence

Uncle Jack was the only one who never hurt me.

In the town of Panchester, one day, I was scared.
The Martians! The Martians!
Uncle Jack had gone to the butchers.

I was on my way to find him when I saw It:
A dark dome half obscured by the stone buildings,
moving, bobbing, sinister.

I crouched below the porch of the church, afraid to look,
unseeing, 
my mouth wide open.
It was coming this way,

I had never in my life heard my Uncle Jack yell in terror,
but I knew his voice, 
when I heard his scream.

I glimpsed a man across the street.
In a split second a dark tentacle snatched him up,
as a massive pole-leg thumped down and rushed on.

At last,
I walked further down the block.
Jack had been picked up and dashed against a wall.

I went back.

I ran up the church steps and inside to the right,
up a narrow stair,
and trembled into a ten-by-ten wooden steeple.
Knees weak, I staggered to the window 
knelt small,
with my hands and chin on the ledge.

Where was It?
There. Going up the valley rim.
Gone.

I pressed against the wall and cried.
Not the even rhythm of a child crying,
not the even sobbing of a woman,
but a cry irregular, 
rising, gasping, falling, gasping.
I would never be loved by Uncle Jack.
Never.

Exhausted,
I stretched out,
flattened to the floor,
cheek resting on the sweet old wood.




Sean Crawford
Calgary
2019
Footnote: 
H.G. Wells is a classic writer because he knew classic human nature, such as authority lacking common sense.

To document a certain lack of common sense in the present day, there has been a series of BBC exposes on the London Marathon, an exposure of unacceptable behaviour that has been going on for years. The BBC reports of this year have been about the slower, distressed marathoners being abused by staff. Here is one report about someone with, luckily for her,  a little more self-esteem than others might have because she is supposed to be slow, as a pace setter:


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Models, Nerds and Martians


Hello Reader,
Got a sense of loss?


Let us continue last week’s topic of nerds, as an excuse for two more War of the Worlds poems. 

It seems to me you might hear a pretty lady say, on a TV commercial, “Please don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” but you won’t hear the same plea “… me because I’m smart,” partly because too many of us were too criticized at school, and so being around smart people hurts too much to mention. For my part, being an avid reader, or “smart,” I keep in mind how I might hurt others who “don’t read too good.” 

Have you ever noticed how those glossy page entertainment stories often include lines about a glamorous woman once being too skinny or too shy or something? It’s for (figuratively) setting you at ease around her. I once, as we two drank in the bar, reassured an international advertising model by saying, “There are categories of people that intimidate me, but models and show business are not one of them.” At the next party we attended together, I observed another model, just in from a shoot in Germany, setting the other people at ease for my friend by saying “she used to have hips up to here!” A good friend, doing for the model just like I would read in a glossy article.

If I had said in the bar whom I would be at ease with, then I could have included celebrity media-types, journalists and famous best-selling writers—stemming from my days as a volunteer student newspaper reporter. (As for show biz actors, I took theatre career classes in college—I knew them well) 

I have lost count of the times I have been on the TV news—but, being a journalist myself,  I have never once bothered to watch myself, even when, as often happened, I was near a TV set at the time. Once, when I was on CBC, I snacked with someone in a student food court rather than suggest we go downstairs to the student restaurant, directly below us, having an idiot box up in the corner. 

Note: The students don’t have a “real restaurant with cutlery” anymore, this was back during the capitalist reaction-swing of the pendulum: the Thatcher, Reagan and Mulroney years. (Update: the fancy graduate student lounge, just under the posh faculty lounge in the student building, has been opened to undergraduates)

And of course, having earned a degree, I’m not intimidated by scientists. Speaking of knowing smart people, my buddy Blair was so smart he attended medical school without taking any Greek or Latin: He had already picked up those ancient vocabularies on his own. I essayed about him among regular guys in Blair, Being Smart archived September 2011. 


…Poems…

I once complimented a fellow worker, Tracy, in the presence of our peers, for having enough self esteem that I never have to worry or hold back. She held up two hands to show that I bring her up towards my level. 
Here’s a poem of how nerds have to know their own strength, from the years after the Martians are gone.


A Regular Human

In the Museum of Natural History,
    —Don’t say, Museum of Flora and Fauna
a Martian is pickled in brine.
    —Don’t say, is preserved in a solution of formaldehyde

A motionless handling-machine,
once so graceful,
stands in the British Museum.
    —Don’t speak of polarized discs and quantum mechanics

As for that long spar,
explain, 
while motioning with your hands,
it goes at right angles, straight out like this—
    Don’t simply say, perpendicular.

It’s what you don’t say that matters,
if you wish to pass among regular humans,
undetected,
lonely.


As a nerd amongst regular society, it took awhile to believe in “just being myself.” How relieved I was to read computer startup millionaire Paul Graham. He pointed out that startup nerds don’t prefer the same cities as normal people and rich investors, instead preferring Boulder and San Francisco to Miami and Vegas, preferring quiet conversations and used bookstores to thundering discos and fashion malls. I read Graham and thought, with all due respect to the regular majority, “Hey, me too!”

From my poetic War of the Worlds poetry manuscript, from the part where the war’s aftermath includes a sense of loss, comes this metaphoric look at second hand bookstores (in Edmonton) now being hard hit by the digital age.

Gone the Bookstores

With top of lungs anticipation
I have enjoyed strolling past pretty meadows,
pockets of golden canola, dandelions, daisies
and five or six second-hand bookstores.
Not now.

With it’s yellow door atop a long flight of stairs,
the Untitled Bookstore is gone.
Strathcona Books is no longer a meadow but a drab crater,
dull, vacant.

Athabasca Books has long bare birch wood shelves,
in a bare room.

Alhambra Books was smacked by a dragon,
swayed on its foundations;
No one allowed inside, now;
an accident, they say.

With all the pretty meadows gone
I walk on sidewalks of broken slate.



Sean Crawford
Calgary
2019

Footnotes: 
~As an enthusiastic writer, and nerd, as advised by Rita Mae Brown, one of the best things I ever did was take a vocabulary class in ancient Greek and Latin: taught by the classics department for science majors. See my essay Loving Greek and Latin archived March 2012.

~While the culture shock was immense if I went from “there” to the physical education students lounge, nevertheless, one of my joys in life at university was “being there,” huddled in a corner of the theatre students lounge, eating my lunch, watching all those shy people be as flamboyant as God intended, without fear.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Nerds and Normals


Hello Reader,
Got nerds?


Nobody believes me when I say am a nerd. So then I chuckle to myself thinking, “OK, then I’m a recovering nerd.”

Here’s a cool nerd factoid: How about that South Korean flag? It includes a prominent Yang and Yin symbol, two-in-one black and white teardrops. 

It was Chairman Mao, the first communist ruler of China, who pointed out that, actually, the black and white did not have to be scrupulously fifty-fifty. In his essay On Contradiction he explained how one color can be dominating, sixty-forty, for example, then—flip!—The colors can switch places, so the other one is more prevalent. He wrote this to explain the philosophy of “dialectical materialism,” (footnote) to give brand new leaders, after the revolution, some self confidence that they could replace the mandarins and officials—who were given the boot— and then go run the “people’s republic.”

Right now, I am imagining those two colors as nerd and non-nerd. I’m sure all of us have a touch of nerd, as when we like factoids, while all of us have a touch of that Regular American: a plain fellow who believes that everything could, and should, be explained simply, distrusting educated complexity. That distrust is why Hollywood rivals and villains, like that clown on The Simpsons, are often educated Britishers… implying that US universities, except for the household name ones, are below the level of British and Canadian ones. (Probably so, given that my degree equals a US masters degree, according to my professors who have compared curriculums while at American conferences) 

As for understanding nerds, it was a computer millionaire, Paul Graham, who wrote of how the really smart boys, back in high school, were supposedly, somehow, not smart enough to figure how to appear normal and be popular. His explanation was: Yes, teens all want to fit in—something easier to do back in elementary school—but teenage nerds want something even more: to be smart. OK, I’m oversimplifying. Graham also said teen “high school society” has a lack of shared real problems. Therefore the only shared “problem” they have, of helping each other strive to be “normal” and popular is, for a nerd, just too unreal, too un-motivating, and too airy-fairy. But for an unthinking regular teen, “normal” is whatever other teens say it is. 

Of course, in the adult world, with real group problems, status is not from being the most conformist, but from who will help the most with tackling a group’s problem/project/shared goals. There’s a reason why, at the annual dinner, people clap for the volunteers. Those hardy volunteers have earned some status. 

A few decades back, a baby boomer wrote a book called Is There Life After High School? I answer: Sure there is, but I think, in adult society, the trick is to find your vocations and avocations within groups small enough for a person to be noticed for achieving some “status and popularity” through real contributions.  Graham, who preferred small computer startup companies, would warn that in the big conventional companies it is harder to measure your actual contribution, hence there is more attention to office politics and image and fakery. Call it, ‘high school lite.’

Some former teens will see the entire country as their peer group, and resort to status from the only thing they have left for such a gross undiscerning crowd: conspicuous consumption. Money. But adult nerds are quick to see through that ploy. That’s why in Silicon Valley no brainy millionaires will desperately crave to know what is the latest, most excruciatingly correct clothing-fashion-for-the-wealthy. In fact, they dress rather like nerds.

I have been over simplifying, so far, by making nerds seem non-regular because of their brains. But there can be another reason for being different: social isolation. At the end of the movie Revenge of the Nerds II, as I dimly recall, a laundry list of nerd characteristics is recited, a list which includes things having nothing to do with being smart, such as poor hygiene or being able to burp long and loud. Well. If I was a proud hermit, coming into town only occasionally for supplies, then I would nevertheless make it my business to cultivate an “awareness level” for what is normal among the townsfolk. Examples of folks employing such an “awareness skill” would be undercover spies, television set decorators, actors, and the writer of the Jack Reacher mysteries. Being observant, as every Boy Scout knows, is fun. 

Oh, such a fun life the founder of Boy Scouts had! Life would never be boring for the man who once drew a few sketches of different men to show how each man’s personality is reflected by how he tilts his hat. As for folks who would never do the Boy Scout thing of being “observant,” well, I think they would risk living in their own little bubble. As if they value being oblivious.

What I observe, besides other things, is nerds: Because if I’m real smart, then being a nerd would be my default—I want to know what to avoid.

I wonder: Are nerds stiff and humor-challenged? Then I could take a night class in stand up comedy improvisation. Not that I ever have, but I could. Do they dress dull? Then I could rip through my closet tossing out anything beige. Hey, maybe I’d look good in mauve. Are they close-minded and set in their ways? I could take a night class in liberal arts. 

Are nerds scared to meet and mingle? Me too, sometimes, but …then I remember how comedian Red Green ends each show by saying, “We’re all in this together” adding “I’m pulling for you,” and “remember to keep your stick on the ice.” As I see it, the best way to de-nerdify would be, just like Red Green, to care about others. Call it the Zen of Caring—No wonder the Boy Scouts  learn to do a good turn every day. Here’s a mantra: “If I care about others, then awareness of others will come naturally.” And for mingling, there’s always that mantra from Galilee: “Perfect love casteth out all fear.”

I enjoyed mingling in my shared house. I’m still chuckling over talking to the parents visiting a young man there. “For an only child,” I marvelled, “your son is sure unspoiled.” 

“We had the only swimming pool on the block. That way, when the other kids came over, they made sure he wasn’t spoiled!”

I guess somewhere along the trail I must have mingled enough, because no one today believes I’m a nerd.

Sean Crawford
Calgary
June
2019

An abstract footnote:
~”Dialectical materialism, “the trick of seeing things “in terms of their contradictions,” can be a life-changing trick, according to Barak Obama’s mentor Saul Alinsky, in his book Rules For Radicals. I must confess I don’t do any dialectical materialism myself, but I’m throwing it out there. I suspect it was Karl Marx who saw things as “thesis, antithesis and synthesis.” Just throwing that out for you.
Or as a comic book hero says:
“Contradiction is the seed of conciousness. I knew, from the pain of contradiction, that I was. And what I was.” 
― Joss Whedon, Astonishing X-Men, Volume 2: Dangerous

Some not so abstract footnotes:
~In his review (link) of Revenge of the Nerds II, (a movie of regular popular culture) Roger Ebert explains what nerds are, saying it’s something the movie doesn’t understand.

~I sympathize with struggling nerds and “social isolates”: Nora Ephron once remarked in an interview, “Nobody interesting had an ordinary childhood.” She wrote interesting things like her 2006 bestseller I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman and, back in the 20th century, Wallflower at the Orgy where she slightly mocked editor Helen Gurly Brown’s articles in Cosmopolitan magazine saying “She’s just trying to help” which is, I guess, what folks might say about my own essays. (And yes, her book title is more literal than figurative)

~Nora mentioned that her fellow writers wrote “beneath themselves” doing simple articles for popular magazines in order to pay the bills. If here, for my essay site, I write simply with very few complex-compound sentences, it’s because I write for regular people, in keeping with my journalism past. As feedDigest Channel on the web says:

QUOTE: 
According to the data and stats that were collected, ‘Essays by Sean’ channel has an excellent rank. The channel mostly uses long articles along with sentence constructions of the basic readability level, which is a result indicating a well-balanced textual content on the channel.
UNQUOTE

link to more stats: http://channels.feeddigest.com/Essays_by_Sean

Also, my site has “low traffic” and “extraordinary global rank.” Hurray! The blog sometimes gets translated too, which I only know about from having google statistics. The translators are never polite enough to say hello.

~As for our cultural belief that it is best to speak plainly, that everything can be simplified and paraphrased and summarized to be simpler: Wrong! There is a reason why professors don’t talk like high school teachers, but will instead use several clauses in their sentences. Samual Delaney said that, for detailed sentences, to even paraphrase is to change the meaning.

I’m angry at our culture because: It was “busy” politicians who wouldn’t read past the summary and into the actual report, which had nuance and qualifiers, probabilities and footnotes, who would then conclude that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. One politician, too self-important to read the report, bleated like a sheep, “We mustn’t let the smoking gun be a mushroom cloud.”

Meanwhile, I am a little angry, mostly contemptuous, at the UN because the IPCC, the UN’s climate change guys, according to a Manchester reporter, write their UN report summary first, and then the various scientists are expected to constrict their reporting to fit the summary.


Here’s a dense sidebar about the consequences of our distrust of complex talk, 
in the form of a quote included in my essay Death of the Liberal Class archived May 2015:

<< …(The liberal class was) forgetting, as MacDonald wrote, that “as in arts and letters, communicability to a large audience is in inverse ratio to the excellence of a political approach. This in not a good thing: as in art, it is a deforming and crippling factor. Nor is it an eternal rule: in the past, the ideas of a tiny minority, sometimes almost reduced to the vanishing point of one individual, have slowly come to take hold on more and more of their fellow men.”

The cultural embrace of simplification, as MacDonald warned, meant reducing a population to speaking in pre-digested clich├ęs and slogans. It banished complexity and further pushed to the margins difficult, original, or unfamiliar ideas. The assault on radical and original thought, which by definition did not fit itself into the popular cultural lexicon, saw art forms such as theatre suffer.  (P. 88) >>



Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Young Fascist Idealists


“I know something about Brexit because for a long time, every single day, before checking the exchange rate for pound sterling, I would click on British politics.”
Sean Crawford

Hello Reader,
Got rosy cheeked fascists?

Young fascists in Britain
Old bullies in parliament
Two philosophies

Young fascists in Britain
I was reading a news story out of Britain, that land of frequent rain, good skin and rosy cheeks, when I was struck by the fascism of the young and innocent.

No, I’m not thinking about the leader of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, who despite losing a referendum on independence a few years ago (Fall of 2014) is talking about reviving the idea, of independence through a referendum, using “Brexit” as an excuse. (Britain exiting the European Union)

Historical note: Of course, once you say referendums don’t count, are NOT to be grave and respected like the Charter, but instead, for Brexit and Scottish independence, can be re-done, can be taken as lightly as a changeable set of by-laws, then: (besides making referendum voters cynical) What’s to keep politicians from having a referendum every few years, until they get their sought-for result, and then having a “one-way valve” where no referendum on reversing independence is allowed? In Canada, certain Quebecers were all set to pull such a trick, while in the US, to make the full nation gravely respected, the pledge of allegiance says the republic is “indivisible.”
End of note.

Rather, I am thinking about something First Minister Sturgeon said, in relation to her ideas. She referred to what Abraham Lincoln said: “Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.” What Lincoln said next, less often quoted, was, “Whoever molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes, or pronounces judicial decisions.”

It was to mold public opinion that Greenpeace, over here in Canada, unfurled banners down the parliament buildings. (In December of 2009, according to Google)

As for sentiment, I know what President Roosevelt would say. Because he said it—not to Greenpeace, of course—to people of an earlier generation who went to see him during the Great Depression, advocating for some legislation. “OK, you’ve convinced me. Now go out there and bring pressure on me.” 

I have an idea as to why Roosevelt said that: While big business saw him as a communist, a marxist, a bolshevik, and a “red” devil with horns, and while the president could live with their hateful opinion, as he was enacting his New Deal to help the public… he had no desire for that same public to see him as a fascist, a dictator, a king, doing something that he, and only he, sincerely thought was right. (Here are (link) some cartoons about him)

Historical note: Fascism was invented in Italy by Benito Mussolini, although by WWII—according to the writings of George Orwell in London during the blitz—just like some word out of the double-speak of  Nineteen Eighty-Four, “fascism” merely meant something “bad.”  … Even today, with our higher rates of education and our World Wide Web, most people, even idealistic Greenpeace-types, still cannot define fascism beyond “bad.” (I have trouble myself, although the word is in the dictionary)
End of note. 

In the British Isles, recently, idealistic youth were having school walkouts against climate change. I find that charming, since my long haired generation did the same thing, the year Greenpeace was first invented: We, and Greenpeace, protested the atomic testing over in Alaska. In Surrey Canada, as I recall, about half our student body skipped school one day, and of those, half went down a trail to a culvert, while half went off to formally protest. Back then, as in ancient Rome, we students were less like responsible citizens and more like the classic illiterate mob. For the mob to mobilize, issues must be presented as very simple, and action-to-be-taken must be very simple as well. No complexity, no nuance and absolutely no requirement for reading.

What I find less charming, more fascist, is when the young people seem to think they need to go demonstrate to change the minds of parliament. I think I know what Roosevelt and Lincoln would say: Why aren’t these young fascists trying to change the public sentiment?

If I was in conversation with a few young students, then, knowing how they like Star Wars and Star Trek, I would refer to one of the episodes of the original Star Trek. You may recall the Enterprise transporting a tired old man, secretly Kodos the Executioner, hiding among a traveling troupe of players. A player quotes the bard: “The play’s the thing, wherein I’ll catch, The conscience of the king.” (episode title) I wish here on earth, Sol III, those rosy cheeked children wouldn’t treat parliament as being a bunch of kings; instead, I wish they’d  try to catch the conscience of the public. But that would take time and effort, two things kids have trouble with, as we all know. But still. 

Couldn’t the kids aim at both parliament and the democratic masses? In fact, I think an effort for marketing, for interpreting to the public, would develop, for the students, excellent “project skills.”(Hint to teachers)

As for my Canadians readers, can you recall why those Greenpeace grownups unfurled banners down the roof of parliament; or remember whether they followed up with more education for us? No? Then I guess, public-wise, their project failed.


So Many Fascists are bullies, aren’t they?
Old bullies in Parliament
Or
With MPs like this,  we sure do need citizen involvement
As you may recall, the Brexit agreement-deal with the European Union was last year. It was this year that, among the many groan-worthy things that many Members of Parliament have said, it was an MP from Northern Ireland who announced the prime minister should go back and “renegotiate, hard.” I groan, because, well, call me a typical North American capitalist, but I will surely tell you this: If someone tries to renegotiate with me after a deal is done, then the HARD negotiation will be from my side, “serving the deal-breaker right.” Of course, as you know, the 27 other members of the EU have already said the deal is not to be re-written, not after taking so long in such good faith to accomplish it.

For many weeks the bullies, with hateful intensity, have demanded that Mrs Teresa May step down as prime minister. So this week she has resigned as leader of her party (her PM role to follow). For my part, I am as egotistical as the next man, but for this? No, no, no, I must humbly confess, I myself could not have done any better than Mrs May. (news story with video speech)

The bullying seems so strange, since May is the only one who has kept her eye on the ball all this time. Stranger still is the MPs believing that if someone else were leader, then that someone would somehow be able to speak better than Mrs May, listen better than her and persuade other MPs better. 

Not to mention persuade the EU to re-negotiate, starting from scratch, expecting 27 EU leaders to pretend they hadn’t already thought long and hard about the issue of Brexit.  And furthermore, the MPs believe a new leader would come up with new ideas that no other MP has during the years since the Brexit referendum in the summer of 2016. I disagree with them, myself; I am merely repeating what so many MP’s have said, time and again. The MPs wouldn’t allow Mrs May any middle way, AND they even formally voted (non binding) against allowing a no-deal Brexit, tying her hands even though such a black-and-white resolution matches the referendum ideal that “Brexit means Brexit.”

I groan. But hey, what do I know, living way over here, on this topping day, simply top hat, on the far side of the ocean on the further side of the American continent, eh wot?—Oh I say, there’s a ripping bridge on the closer side of America. I would surely tell those MPs something: “Pip pip! If you believe what you say you believe, then I own a bridge in Brooklyn, which I am willing to sell to you, real cheap.”

Two Philosophies
Philosophy of Brexit failure: I see on the Canadian evening news that Mrs May has “failed,” and that her predecessor David Cameron had “failed” around Brexit too. Both resigned. 

Memory pops in: I am reminded of something business guru Peter Drucker said in regards to the failure of two top executives in a row. Drucker wrote of great commercial clipper ships: If a ship failed (had accidents) twice then, rather than try a third captain, the ship was labeled a “widow maker” and broken up into pieces.
Similarly, Drucker wrote: (link)
Whenever a job defeats two people in a row, who in their earlier assignments had performed well, a company has a widow maker on its hands. When this happens, a responsible executive should not ask the head-hunter for a universal genius. Instead abolish the job. Any job that ordinarily competent people cannot perform is a job that cannot be staffed. Unless changed, it will predictably defeat the third incumbent the way it defeated the first two.

I dare say history will judge Mrs May was in a widow maker job.

Philosophy 101: The above mentioned Star Trek episode, The Conscience of the King, was a perfect example of  the philosophies of Emanuel Kant versus John Stuart Mill. 

In a recent writer’s circle at the Alexandra Writers Centre, local science fiction author Ron Friedman contrasted Kant and Mill. As best I understand it: Kant believed that if something was wrong, such as killing, then it was always wrong, for one should always do right without sacrificing ones values. 

In contrast, Mill believed in practical utilitarianism, that results are what counts, for one should judge by the greatest good for the greatest number. In this camp would be Kodos the Executioner, long wanted for crimes against humanity, after his thousands of executions on Tarsus IV had saved so many lives from famine, so long ago.


Sean Crawford
May,
Calgary,
2019
Footnote on Brexit: I’ve just updated my March essay on Teresa May to explain: Part of the problem, after the referendum was supposed to be a “done deal” is that a desire to act on “remaining” has changed to be no longer a secret vice, but instead, during the agony of a drawn-out Brexit, something to openly declare, although at least until this very month they still wouldn’t openly say that a “confirmatory second referendum” is secretly intended to torpedo Brexit. 

To me all this is is too much like fearfully advancing in a line over “no man’s land” while many of the lads at your shoulders are saying they want to “remain” back in the trenches. Advancing to Brexit would already be very hard, even without the unbelievable folly of "the trumpet giving an uncertain call. " (Corinthians, in the Holy Bible)