eye # 2

Me about two hours ago

My arrival time at surgery this morning was 7:15. I am now back sitting at my desk. I feel a bit more groggy this morning than last time. Maybe that’s the time of day. Eileen has gone back to bed. My left eye is blurry at this point but if it follows the pattern of the other eye cataract surgery it should be beginning to focus today. The right eye is great! I’m going back for the follow up appoint tomorrow morning. These morning appointments are killing Eileen since she’s the driver.

Speaking of old man body stuff, my chronic rash has gradually been reasserting itself this year. I feel like a leper since it’s over most of my body again and is not exactly attractive. Wrinkles I accept, rash not so much. I received a text yesterday from my dermatologist saying that he could not make our March appointment and to please call the office. I did so and set up another exam even later in March 2022, but now I am also on the wait list for cancelations. Unfortunately I do not expect that he can do much for me since we have already had a round robin of tests and examinations which turn up nothing.

Apparently a mystery rash that can’t be diagnosed or treated is not that unusual, but boy is it a pain. Or “boy is it an itch” might be a better way to say that.

Objectivists vs. Subjectivists - Who's right? | Audio Science Review (ASR)  Forum

I’m still thinking about objectivity and subjectivity and reading Lewis Raven Wallace’s The View from Somewhere: Undoing the Myth of Journalistic Objectivity.

I’ve read the first four chapters. Although I find Wallace charming, the book itself feels a little clunky so far. He doesn’t footnote and relies heavily on other sources like David Minich’s 1998 Just the Facts: How Objectivity Came to Define American Journalism and Michael Schudson’s 1978 Discovering the News: A Social History of America’s Newspapers. I am planning to do further reading and might look at these.

But my problem with the book is that is oscillates between Wallace’s personal journey and people that he has interviewed on the one hand. On the other we sort of look over his shoulder as he discovers the history of journalism in the U.S.

So far he hasn’t elucidated the idea of what it means to be objective and subjective in a manner that I might transfer to other areas of life.

Wallace’s Podcast, “The View from Somewhere,” seems to have dried up after September 2020. Quite possibly for lack of funding. I can’t find much on the internet. Wallace is still tweeting sporadically. I do hope he picks up the threads again and keeps going on his podcast which I enjoyed.

I looked up “subjective” and “objective” in the OED this morning. First use of the definition of “subjective” I am interested in is 1767. This is meaning 4a the definition of which includes the phrase, “not impartial or literal.”

“Objective” in the opposing sense first use cited in 1838. This later definition includes the phrase, “not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing fact.”

I know I’m just getting started in my understanding and application of these concepts. Admittedly journalistic objectivity and subjectivity is only one aspect of this consideration. It’s probably not even my main interest. I’m more interested in how judges and even politicians consider themselves objective when they seem so obviously to be pursuing subjective patterns.

I am beginning to see how an educated person who is capable of clear thinking and reasoning can still fall prey to subjective understandings even as they still manage to be able to think clearly and expertly about most of their subject. Chief Justice John Roberts may be like this. Maybe one can think of subjectivity as connected to real life experiences. Justice Sotomayor’s life experience looks to be very different from Justice Roberts. Both of them are obviously brilliant and capable of clear thinking. But Roberts is on record in his opinion on Shelby County V. Holder that things have changed so much that the old Voting Rights Act of 1965 provision of preclearance for changes in voting procedures were no longer needed.

This prompted Ginsburg’s famous quote in her dissent that ” t]hrowing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.” Both Ginsburg and Sotomayor’s subjective life experiences have exposed them to situations and enabled them to learn lessons that Roberts has not. My first reaction when this went down was that Roberts was living in a white person’s bubble. I would love to know what he thinks now that a deluge of changes in voting procedures quickly were adapted by southern States. Not to mention the many voting registration and procedural changes that have been made since 2020 in so many states.

Anyway, maybe you can see what I’m working on here. I’ll probably write more if my thinking and questioning gets any clearer.

poetry & bullying republican style

Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry: Harrison, Jim, Kooser, Ted:  9781556591877: Amazon.com: Books

I read Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser in its entirety yesterday. It’s a library book and is due soon. I sometimes use library due dates to spur myself on to finish a book. It’s short, only about 85 pages of skimpy little poems. According to the book jacket, the book grew out of a “correspondence comprised entirely of brief poems.” It also describes the poems themselves as “aphoristic” and “epigrammatic.” That’s a fair description.

After reading it, I copied several in my journal. Here are a few.

Lost: Ambition
Found: A good book,
an old sweater,
loose shoes.

In each of my cells Dad and Mom
are still doing their jobs. As always,
Dad says yes, Mom no. I split the difference
and feel deep sympathy for my children.

I have used up more than
20,000 days waiting to see
what the next would bring.

Come to think of it,
There’s no reason to decide
who you are.

That’s a smattering of what I put on paper.

Heather Cox Richardson and Joanne Freeman Show You How to Listen to  Podcasts - YouTube
Joanne Freedman & Heather Cox Richardson

I was listening to ‎Now & Then: The Rise of Bully Politics this morning. It’s a podcast by Heather Cox Richardson and Joanne Freedman, both historians. I was surprised that they traced the current state of bullying rhetoric to Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign.

Reagan kicked off his 1980 presidential campaign at the Neshoba County fair in Mississippi.

Ashton Pittman on Twitter: "THREAD: There is a persistent historical myth  that needs to be corrected. It's important. Contrary to popular myth  online, Ronald Reagan did not launch his 1980 campaign at
Do you see any black people?

This was the county where three civil rights organizers were murdered. The choice was intentional. Reagan spoke of “states rights” on the occasion. When Carter called him on this, Carter himself was accused of being “mean.” Richardson and Freedman see this as the beginning of the current tactic of bullying Republicans to paint themselves as victims not bullies.

Tellingly they cite Mitch McConnell’s recent accusation about Chuck Schumer’s speech on the floor of the House of Representatives describing the Republican tactic of threatening fiscal security by refusing to help raise the debt limit.

Sen. Chuck Schumer accepts short-term deal on debt ceiling

Here’s an Oct 9th Guardian article about this.

Richardson and Freeman do a good job describing and analyzing all of this. It’s worth a listen.

I learned that the idea that Vietnam vets were spat on by protestors when they returned from the war came from the Rambo movies. I knew it was spurious but didn’t realize that it actually came via the movies.

Work of the Week – Toru Takemitsu: Nostalghia - Schott Music (EN)
Tōru Takemitsu (1930-1996)

Finally, my morning listening also included showering to one of my favorite Takemitsu pieces.

If you don’t know it, I recommend it. It’s long but beautiful.