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Aug 17, 2011           
Crisis: Will Rogers

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Here is a little more about the crisis, although in several ways it's not: It's about Will Rogers and the crisis of the 1930-ies.

Being Dutch, I had read some quotations by Will Rogers, that I liked, but didn't know anything about the man, other than that it had stuck in my mind that he was an American humorist who was partially Cherokee Indian, and had died before World War II.

I have no idea how and when I picked up those biographic details, but I was right, as you may verify in the Wikipedia entry

He died in 1935 in an airplane accident, and he was clearly a very smart man who to some extent posed as if he was much less smart and much more of a common man than he really was.

I wrote "to some extent" because all public appearance is posturing to an extent, usually based on what's real, but it gets edited for showing off in public. Rogers seems to have been uncommonly honest and he clearly was a natural,  and an original as well, but being myself from another country and another era I find him not easy to judge, except for his evident real smartness and wit.

Indeed, very few strike me that way, that is: in the way of being really smart and really witty, in an uncontrived spontaneous manner, for nearly all the wits I have seen and heard were witty from a capacious memory, but not from a natural brightness.

Then again, I did myself come to the sort of conclusion Will Rogers phrased in today's epigraph - I am taking comedians (George Carlin, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher) considerably more serious than politicians, because they strike me as being much smarter, much more honest, better informed, while they also make me laugh.

Will Rogers fits in that tradition of truly smart men trying to enlighten the people. In Will Rogers' case, the people he wanted to enlighten some by amusing them  decidedly were the common people rather than the intellectuals, whence his public persona.

Judge for yourself, for I put him in this series about the economical crisis for having publicly said things like this:

This is part of a radio speech about the crisis of the 1930ies. This was also filmed, and the whole speech, filmed and taped, is here:

There is considerably more by and about him on the internet, including some of the films he made, with and without sound, and I also found this, it seems from the 1950ies:

I liked this, and there is a part 2 as well, and there seems to be a part 3 I haven't found so far, but I realize this may look stuffy. If it does - and I don't say no: these were stuffy, restrained and artificial times - you should also realize that the text is a lot better than TV has offered since, apart from exceptions, which seem to be mostly on BBC 4, after 23.00 hrs, as far as I can tell, but then indeed I have no TV since 1970, since my intelligence isn't fit for its common offerings, and also I am blessed and cursed with a very good visual memory, alas without delete button:

There is only one thing that can kill the Movies, and that is education.

That was a Will Rogers quote, that also applies to TV, and to the decline of civilization of the last four decades. Here are two or three on the art of life:

We are all here for a spell; get all the good laughs you can.

Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.

Everything is funny as long as it is happening to Somebody Else.

As to civilization and its decline:

You can't say that civilization don't advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way.

As to the wisdom of governors and politicians, and the art of diplomacy:

Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.

There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.

Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock.

On the surprising ways of the world:

I never expected to see the day when girls would get sunburned in the places they do today.

On people:

You know everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.

Which surely is true, except that almost everybody has perfected this, mostly thanks to the standards of postmodern education, to an almost prodigious degree, while nearly all of the prodigiously ignorant believe they know best, mistaking their prejudices for sound common sense.

Anyway... I was pleasurably surprised by Will Rogers, and also like to mention, in connection with this saying of his (and he seemed to produce his witticism off the cuff):

When the Okies left Oklahoma and moved to California, they raised the average intelligence level in both states.

that this is quite possible, mathematically speaking, and is explained in the Will Rogers phenomenon, if you can't reason it out yourself. (Then again, there may be a hidden barb: Surely, if all the Okies are out of Oklahoma, the human intelligence level there is zero?)

In any case, it should also be true about psychiatrists and inmates of asylums: Lock up the shrinks, and average human intelligence grows everywhere! What miracles of human happiness and increases in general intelligence and human decency might be realized by some judiciously locking away of various flocks of shrinks!

See also

Have fun:

"The most wasted day is that in which we have not laughed" !
   -- Chamfort

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P.S. Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.
-- Aug 18, 2011: Corrected a few typos.

As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1.  Anthony Komaroff Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)
3.  Hillary Johnson The Why
4.  Consensus of M.D.s Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5.   Eleanor Stein Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)
6.  William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7.  Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8.  Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
 Maarten Maartensz
ME in Amsterdam - surviving in Amsterdam with ME (Dutch)
 Maarten Maartensz Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Short descriptions of the above:                

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:

7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.

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