I can't wait until the election is over, and all these calls stop . . . And no one knocks on my door. And the signs are taken out of everyone's yards. And I can walk into a coffee shop and not hear people making stupid political comments, and I don't have to walk out, biting my tongue . . .
Years ago I read an article in the New Yorker that said your peers influence how smart you become. I don't remember anything else about it. But I thought it was interesting. The idea that intelligence is contagious.
Evidently, the reverse is also true. One who looks at blondes, for example, becomes instantly dumber. Yep, it's happens. To men and women alike. Looking at a blonde is like having a nice drink. It relaxes the mind. Which reminds me of my college friend who used to say intelligence is vastly over-rated.
To amuse His Royal Majesty he will change water into wine. Frogs into footman. Beetles into bailiffs. And make a Minister
out of a rat. He bows, and daisies grow out of his finger-tips. And a talking bird sits on his shoulder.
Think up something else, demands His Royal Majesty. Think up a black star. So he thinks up a black star. Think up dry water. So he thinks up dry water. Think up a river bound with straw-bands. So he does.
Then along comes a student and asks: Think up sine alpha greater than one.
And Zito grows pale and sad: Terribly sorry. Sine is between plus one and minus one. Nothing you can do about that. And he leaves the great royal empire, quietly weaves his way through the throng of courtiers, to his home in a nutshell.
I'm off to Minneapolis to teach and read at the U of M with one of my favorite poets, Peter Johnson.
We'll be at the Weisman Art Museum, U of Minnesota, 333 East River Road at 7:30 on Tuesday night. We'll be speed-reading to get back in time for the debates. Literally, they say 30 minutes total for both of us, so if you're in the area, you can zip in and out, no problem.
Grist had an interesting article about the global warming crisis--why people don't get it. The problem with scientists--they are just too logical. Here's just a short quote from it . . .
Maybe we need some creative writers and thinkers to help us out with the rhetoric.
"Anyone who wants to understand -- and change -- the politics of global warming, must understand why the deniers, delayers, and inactivists are so persuasive in the public debate and why scientists and scientific-minded people are not. A key part of the answer, I believe, is that while science and logic are powerful systematic tools for understanding the world, they are no match in the public realm for the 25-century-old art of verbal persuasion: rhetoric.
Logic might be described as the art of influencing minds with the facts, whereas rhetoric is the art of influencing both the hearts and minds of listeners with the figures of speech. The figures are the catalog of the different, effective ways that we talk -- they include alliteration and other forms of repetition, metaphor, irony, and the like. The goal is to sound believable. As Aristotle wrote in Rhetoric, "aptness of language is one thing that makes people believe in the truth of your story."
Nin Andrews is the author of 5 full collections of poetry and 6 chapbooks. She is also the editor of a book of translations of the Belgian poet, Henri Michaux. Her literary comics are posted on Best American Poetry's Blog on Monday mornings.