Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Don't We All Know Someone Like This?

From Crime & Punishment, Part Five, Chapter One:

[Luzhin] "I am not going on principle, not to take part in the revolting convention of memorial dinners, that's why! Though, of course, one might go to laugh at it.... I am sorry there won't be any priests at it. I should certainly go if there were."

[Pyotr Petrovitch] "Then you would sit down at another man's table and insult it and those who invited you. Eh?"

[Luzhin] "Certainly not insult, but protest. I should do it with a good object. I might indirectly assist the cause of enlightenment and propaganda. It's a duty of every man to work for enlightenment and propaganda and the more harshly, perhaps, the better. I might drop a seed, an idea.... And something might grow up from that seed. How should I be insulting them? They might be offended at first, but afterwards they'd see I'd done them a service."


BurgoFitzgerald said...

Yes, my students say this behaviour is "just keepin' it real." For example, on the first day of class in each new semester, a few will always announce to me (their professor whom they are meeting for the first time) and their fellow classmates (a group of strangers) that they are taking the class because they are being forced to by the mandatory requirement of the college, but they would like to go on record as saying the class is, "no offence" (their usual disclaimer) "f@#$%^ bull@#$%", a waste of valuable time, and nothing but a pure money grab by the college.

They claim that I should not be insulted by their words or behaviour; that they are merely going on record as voicing their beliefs and perhaps making the other students aware of the facts. They have also stated that they hope their comments will bring about change in the future.

They feel they should be applauded for being so candid and "keepin' it real."

Enbrethiliel said...



Darwin, what's the Dostoevskian rebuttal to those who are "just keepin' it real"?

Sir Bernard Woolley said...

The director Whit Stillman has a wonderful story about spending time in Mexico and what it taught him about such attitudes:

"I dropped out of college and went to Mexico, where I had relatives. It turned out to do the opposite of what it was supposed to do. It didn't make me a mushroom-dropping pothead; seeing another culture and the way the less affluent in that culture coped with life actually made me much more conventional. It made me more respectful of conventional people in the United States.

"The people we derided [at Harvard] were the Pine Manor girls who wore pink pastels and came in on Saturday nights sort of overdressed. The farm girls in Cuernavaca, Mexico, on Saturday night came in wearing the same colors. No politically correct Harvard person would sneer, because they're working class--and yet their aspirations were so similar to the aspirations of all the people we sneered at back in Cambridge. It makes you think about what it is you should really disrespect.

"I decided not to be disrespectful ipso facto of the bourgeoisie. The idea that the bourgeoisie is all bad is just not true. In the film of our culture, there are always these terrible upper-middle class people who are so snobbish. I think it's the absolute reverse. If there's any group that's a little bit kinder than other people it tends to be that group."

Anonymous said...

At least they're honest about it.

Anonymous said...

Re the Meijer store layout in "Turkish Delight," for which there is no comment link ... you can get a store map at the service desk. I miss Meijer.