Thursday, January 27, 2005

For the files. And again

It's an old problem, the problem of being an anti-intellectual: either shut up or admit defeat. But I'm not being so simple minded, and I'm not being anti-intellectual I'm criticizing a tendency among a certain group of people. Let's call that group: Those who take libertarian ideas seriously enough not to break out in laughter at the mention of the word.

I was unlucky enough to get a shard of steel in my eye twice in one year. Both times I went to NY Eye and Ear Hospital to have the splinters removed. The second time the procedure was performed by a resident under the supervision of an attending surgeon. The resident was a young and attractive woman, born in this country. The surgeon was an Eastern European immigrant.

The young woman was intelligent and professional, but emotionally sort of blank. She spoke without affect. She did what she needed to and then went to her supervisor to get him to sign off. He asked her if she was sure she'd removed everything. She seemed a little surprised at the question, and he decided to reexamine me himself. "It's his eye" he reminded her, and then explained that what she assumed to be a rust stain might still contain particles that could cause future damage. He repeated the procedure, and I went home.

I won't fall into the trap of saying simply that to the attending surgeon I was a person and that to the resident I was merely an idea (I'm sure someone here would try to catch me on that). But I will say that when he asked her that question I know he had felt an empathetic shiver for what might happen to me if she had been wrong.
How do you measure that shiver? How do you define its worth? How can it be taught?

Johnathan Goodwin mocked something as 'irrelevant' without first asking why anyone might consider it otherwise. He made an assumption based on what he thought was logical. He was arrogant, but his logic was wrong.

In other news: Philip Johnson was most well known for his social connections and his fascist sympathies. Less well known: he kept a very well-appointed dungeon.
I have friends with strange habits (like architecture).

For the first time in a long time, I'm almost enjoying my day job. If you work construction in the city, high-end work offers the best opportunity for something approaching pleasure. At the moment I'm on 2 jobs, one on 5th in the 90's and another a few blocks away on Park. If someone's spending $1,000,000 on 8 rooms, I'll guarantee something about it will be interesting, if only for the people building it.

1 comment:

  1. Medical residents are deliberately dehumanized, according to plan. They are also terrified, out of their depth, and overworked. So I wouldn't be completely sure that you are right in your judgement of her. The guy does seem to be genuinely cool, though

    John Emerson


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