jupe, tv and wendell berry’s heaven


Eileen wanted to watch the Republican debate on Thursday but couldn’t get it going online (I was in bed by then).  Yesterday morning I pulled it up on YouTube for her. Later she commented that she thought I had gone to work at the church to get away from it. There was some truth to that, but I’m also trying to get a bit ahead at work and had planned to take advantage of having a free Friday morning to choose the prelude and postlude for Aug 23. My morning was free since my sole organ student quit.

I did do some reading about the debate online and asked Eileen for her impressions. More and more I find that information presented to me in images on a screen is inadequate.

From Trump on Down, the Republicans Can’t Be Serious – The New York Times

I think Krugman’s take on this is pretty accurate. I bemoan the loss of the possibility of TV journalism. Last night, we were watching PBS Newshour. Judy Woodruff bristled when Mark Shields referred to her as an example of the liberal elite through the eyes of the brain dead conservatives. Good grief.

More and more I think Newshour lost the opportunity to restore some integrity and intelligence to TV reporting under the leadership of Woodruff and Gwen Ifill. Maybe these people represent as smart and as educated as public pundits get these days, but it’s a sad commentary from my point of view.

I tried to get Gwen Ifill’s Washington Week up on the computer before I went to bed so that Eileen could stream it.

Don Oberdorfer, 84, Top Diplomatic Reporter for Washington Post, Dies – The New

I mentioned this obit to Eileen (which I have recently linked in a blog) as an example of the previous possibility of having intelligent journalists functioning in our media. The obit describes him as “calm, knowledgeable, unbiased, armed with the right questions….” In other words everything TV journalists are not these days. Granted Oberdorfer was a print journalist and there are still some pretty good ones out there.

But as I watched the beginning of the GOP debates on YouTube, it struck me how much it functioned as spectacle emptied of content. The contestants were introduced much like super star football players. Oy vey.

Enough of that. I found myself deep into Wendell Berry’s poetry this morning. It’s a routine thing for me to read poetry in the morning.

Here are two passages that struck me.

” … when we choose
the way by which our only life
is lived, we choose and do not know
what we have chosen, for this is
the hearts choice, not  the mind’s;
to be true to the heart’s one choice
is the long labor of the mind.”

Wendell Berry, This Day p. 142

Pondering my life I often think about the choices I have made that have led me to this point. I have made some bad choices, but they were indeed dumb and made with the heart. Now I use my brains to track down my heart and understand it as much as I can leaving aside regret since I value my living and my loved ones so much.

On p. 292, Berry ponders the afterlife. “O saints, if I am eligible for this prayer…” he begins. Then goes on to describe a Heaven that would be enough for him. One where he can revisit his life, but “redeemed of our abuse of it and one another.”

“… It would be
the Heaven of knowing again. There is no marrying
in Heaven, and I submit; even so, I would like
to know my wife again, both of us young again,
and I remembering always how I loved her
when she was old. I would like to know
my children again, all my family, all my dear ones,
to see, to hear, to hold, more carefully
than before, to study them lingeringly as one
studies old verses, committing them to heart

“A painful Heaven this would be, for I would know
by it how far I have fallen short. I have not
paid enough attention, have not been grateful
enough.”  p.292-293

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