Friday, July 25, 2003

It takes me three attempts and three days to get more than a few sentences out that scan with some grace.
The Deep End and the Shallow End (cont.)
Education is another country.

It's a chicken and egg scenario. Which came first, the assumption of some people that it was their job to seek to understand and interpret the world, or the assumption of others that perhaps it wasn't theirs. I don't want to examine the innocence and ignorance of Jessica Lynch, as documented by the Iraqi doctors who cared for her, but I understand that it is in inverse proportion to the officiousness and arrogance of those who claim neither for themselves. Is it the anti-intellectualism of the general populace that marks the intellectualism of the few or the other way around?

Michael Berube, whom I've clashed with on politics and the war, has an interesting piece in the Nation this week on a new edition of Helen Keller's autobiography. Unfortunately it's not on the web. The article describes, among other things, the scandal of an early short story she wrote and published at the age of 12, that it was later discovered was plagiarized, but apparently from memory, and without her conscious awareness. Considering the previous assumptions of her incapacity, the result was a doubt that troubled others and haunted Keller herself. She was extremely well read, from The Bible to Homer, Moliere and Goethe. Fluent in Latin, Greek, French and German, she became a graduate of Radcliffe. But she referred to her work as a 'patchwork' and a 'Chinese puzzle' of references, and was afraid that her writing, and in a sense her mind itself, was not her own. Her early education had been made of prodigious acts of memory, so was she more than a language computer? The answer clearly is no, as Berube states, but the questions as to how she became herself are fascinating.

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