Saturday, November 08, 2008

Words of Explanation


Well...I had a really nice Daily Show clip up (Stewart asking some questions of a Fox News anchor in view of the paradigm shift for Brand USA in the wake of the Obama victory. The dang thing got taken down. One tangent within the thread that followed seemed worth preserving. Ahna asked about the blog title and the Gibson quote, and I responded lengthily. Here tis:
ahna,

i am of course delighted that you asked. "Peer pressure is forever" is something I once heard (or read) Patty Smith say. I think she had in mind the blind conformity that sometimes gets hold of young people (stereotypically) and she was suggesting that this sad habit we have of surrendering our ability to see (or redemptively imagine) what's in front of us is a lifelong struggle. I thought it was funny and true and maybe a good title or banner to drape over the activity of this blog. The William Gibson quote is a wittily intended reminder that these are just thoughts and links asserted (I'd like to say whispered) amid the static and the noise. One reason I put it up there is to help people to receive what I post without going crazy in a "Oh! Right! So what you're REALLY SAYING is..." I suppose I'm trying to encourage people to add or respond to the drift I intend, ask questions about my drift that aren't accusations in disguise (which rhetorical questions almost always are), disagree as unheatedly as they can, OR take the time to cast a tiny bit of positive reinforcement my way. It's the blog which will pass (settle to the bottom of the sea), and I suppose I say as much to remind myself (and my kind readers) that the posts can serve the very big deal of helping them (as this collage and the collages of others often helps me) to go out and learn and gather and try to be good to people OR they (the posts) can just float on down to the bottom more or less harmlessly (i hope).
Ahna, my pal, thank you for occasioning this bit of self-reflection with the gift that is your insatiable curiosity. I believe you're helping me redeem the times.

best,

jdd

7 comments:

Ahna said...

David ~ Thanks for this great explanatory note. What you say, and the humility with which you say it, is a refreshing sound amidst all the resounding gongs and clanging cymbals. From one tiny little silt-generator to another (though much better) one -- keep up the nice work.

Kevin Barbieux said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin Barbieux said...

I see a boat carrying a variety of people. The boat has a hole in it, so the boat is sinking. The people are quietly desperate about the situation, each attempting to fix the boat, and failing. Yet at the back of the boat is one man with the knowledge needed to set things aright. But he is overcome with humbleness. So, instead of stepping forward to declare his knowledge, repairing the boat, and saving all souls numbered within, he only hints toward the others and hopes his drift will fit another's ear. Yet how does this benefit anyone if it does? Then two on the sinking boat are whispering to others, hoping for agreement from the reste, all the while the boat continues to sink.

What does this man fear? To be so bold and yet be wrong? To be wrong, and thus be counted as just another of the lost? Of the responsibility which comes with ability?

jdaviddark said...

Ahna,
Much thanks again. I bow to your superior silt-making voodoo.
Kevin,
I can't decide if this is a compliment or a rebuke or an admonition. I remain appreciative of the time you give my words, and I'll only throw in that whatever knowledge I'm bold enough to assume I have is made public (blog, books, articles, listening strangers and friends) just as soon as I have opportunity. Count me, in the meantime, among the well-meaning, believes-he's-being-somehow-redeemed-by-myriad-forms-of-human-kindness lost.

Mr Nobody said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mark said...

The man knows the water isn't deep and that there is actually no danger? He neglects to make any statements because he is open to any new technique that another passenger may craft? I don't know about the fear though... maybe because no one has bothered to consider the depth of the water?

Kevin Barbieux said...

wow - call me Mr Rambles.

I guess my comment was mostly a lament, sparked by your post. Makes me think of the ol' 'evil persists only because good men do nothing' thing. Makes me think about the Southern Baptist Convention, preaching poorly divined Gospel and yet achieving the largest of all Protestant denominations. How the SBC achieved this, not because of their collective "goodness" but, only because they are willing to make their voice heard - mostly in a vacuum - a vacuum that exists only because everyone else is so humble.

These fundamentalist evangelical commit acts of soul molestation unabated. And lost and fearful people give in to it only because they do not encounter a counter message.

Just imagine the "Christiandom" of the U.S. as being something other than it currently is - one where the majority of Christians understood Christianity more like David Dark does, as apposed to how Jerry Falwell did.

Imagine this country, this world, if CNN, ABC, FoxNews, etc., called upon the David Darks of the world for the Christian perspective, whenever a situation called for it.

Before Father Strobel, director of Room In The Inn winter shelter program for the homeless, came onto the scene, the press and other media always sought out Reverend Carl Resener, director of the fundy Rescue Mission, for information on homeless issues.

And yet, after several years of Father Strobel's efforts on the behalf of homeless people, with a variety of programs, the media still went exclusively to Resener for info on homeless related issues.

Father Strobel, being a "humble man" never sought out the press - heck, he even has a hard time raising money to keep his programs running. The rescue mission has an operating budget 5X that of Father Strobel's.

(I think it's obvious that I see Father Strobel as being the much better spokesperson for the homeless. And I often wonder how much better things would be in Nashville for the homeless if Father Strobel had the same budget.)

When I started to make my own connections to the press and media types, I always made certain to mention Father Strobel's efforts on behalf of the homeless. And as much as I made his name known, the press started to seek him out.

And I truly believe that, at least in Nashville, people have a better understanding of homeless issues, than they do in other cities, because the city now listens to Father Strobel.

Sometimes it's right to be humble - sometimes it's right to make a stand and take the stand.