Kucinich and Beowulf

Saturday, January 3rd, 2004

In a comment, Sarina Salemi had asked why Dennis Kucinich may be Beowulfian. In my estimation (and this is simply a guess really) and from taking some time over the last few months familiarizing myself with the Dem candidates for nomination–from Kerry’s tragic posture, to Lieberman’s desperation–I find that with Kucinich (perhaps the least nationally electable of people, which is probably a compliment) what you see, hear, and read is what you get.

I don’t agree with his all positions. But I get the impression that with this politician, you know what to agree or disagree with. This is fresh and rare.

For me, labels don’t matter, or platforms. It’s coherence and transparency that get’s me interested.


14 responses to “Kucinich and Beowulf”

  1. Randy says:

    Please research “Dennis the menance”, before backing such a looney toones candidate.
    I grew up in Ohio and witnessed this kooks single handed destruction of Cleveland, Ohio.
    The hate against Bush, drives a lot of people to lesser candidates, especially in this case.
    Please don’t vote.
    Thanks and happy new year!

  2. gibb says:

    “For me, labels don’t matter, or platforms.” —

    Have you checked out the other party candidates as well?

  3. ersinghaus says:

    This is exatly why labels are a disaster in politics. It is possible to disagree on rational grounds. It is, moreover, illogical to consider that support for one candidate means that others are hated.

  4. gibb says:

    Am very sorry to say that I missed the Democratic debate tonight because I haven’t watched much TV lately. Just caught the last couple of minutes and do not trust the media to tell me what happened–as you pointed out in a previous post.

  5. Rina says:

    So…what you’re saying is that coherence and transparency are Beowulfian qualities?That’s…very interesting. Especially because I don’t remember anything coherent or transparent about Beowulf. In fact, from what I remember, his genius was in how he embraced the chaos of his battles…not always very logical…as in when he fought the sea monsters. Kinda stupid in the real world, actually.Now if you want to talk about the illogic of Ks Department of Peace that’s a whole different story…especially if it’s not meant to be as transparent as it initially sounds.But Ks flip flop on abortion, as I recall, is not very coherent.I mean…to compromise is one thing but to flip and to flop always speaks volumes, I reckon.That’s actually the problem with all of the dem candidates except perhaps Sharpton (minus the Twanda Brawley incident).Kerry and Lieberman are an embarassment to anyone who has anything passed a short term memory. But who can forget…JFK is a Vietnam Veteran. Wasn’t he responsible for gunning down a whole village? Funny what guilt does to a man…Clark? Well…it’s too bad that the current trial at the Hague is no longer being broadcast internationally anymore.And poor Ho De…this one’s gotta apologize for one thing or another every other day.***shaking my head***I’ll tell ya…if I had a gun to my head and had to vote for one of the democratic candidates, I’d either vote for Sharpton or…I dunno, that bullet looks pretty good…

  6. ersinghaus says:

    Peace, Rina, peace.

  7. Rina says:

    Labels/ schmabels, Mr. Ersinghaus.Can you point to a time when politics wasn’t a dirty game? I mean, here on planet earth…Can you point to a time and a place where politics didn’t involve mudslinging, that didn’t involve a dictatorial situation?And even then, the dirt comes in the form of slaughtered carcasses of formerly human creatures…usually the smart ones, according to a Ukranian friend of mine. Some fine way to thin out the herd, huh?Ten-second soundbites work. When we get to heaven, perhaps we may be freed of them…but here on earth they are what they are.What shall we do? Pass a law to ban them? As we sit here, the loopholes in the campaign finance law are being exploited. But our freedom of speech has been chipped away at…lovely precedent.I actually find humor in that. But then again, I love the concept of a black market. There’s nothing that I need to buy from a black market and even still…it’s fine by me. Freedom is a funny thing.Back to labels/ schmabels…As I see it, there are two ways to determine the validity of a label…Is it sticking because it is a lie that has been repeated enough times to create the illusion of truth?Or does the track record of a particular man or woman validate the label?Ah…and therein lies the glitch that seperates the lambs from the lions.

  8. Rina says:

    Often, for undaunted courage, fate spares the man it has not already marked.Peace is not of this earth, Mr. Ersinghaus. Sadly, it is not of this earth. Blame it on Eden.

  9. gibb says:

    Rina, do you have a weblog or website?

  10. Rina says:

    Hi Susan. I do not.And the minute I put one up, I will never post to it.Strange, I know. But this is my nature.The only reason why I’ve stuck with this educational path is because there’s an incentive…someone’s got me by the proverbial testicles. Pardon the strange metaphor.

  11. Rina says:

    It’s the gods, actually. They’ve got me by the proverbial testicles.It’s like being stuck in an episode of Groundhog Day.I’ve been told that the only escape from this vicious cycle would be to complete my BA.For no reason really, a fairly worthless degree…even still, I must complete it.Then…who knows?…I can continue to wait tables through grad school!I love the service industry…it’s really quite delightful in a sick sort of way. To serve is a humbling experience.Yeah…The gods…they really DO kill us for sport!

  12. ersinghaus says:

    Rina,

    The goal to the application of Bacon’s idols to political discourse is not an idyllic system–that dream is Kafkaesque and Beowulf ultimately a ideal figure for the leader who is both warrior and sage–but the maintenance of a rational tone to those who work within it.

    In doing so we begin with what we know, not with what may make others look foolish, which is the role of political entertainment and horserace politics.

    This tone, this type of discourse, isn’t an ideal either. It happens all the time when people step back and listen.

    Also, of course labels are necessary: “orange” is a label. The problem is that in political discourse they rarely mean what they intend (right, this has never been new but this doesn’t negate our intellectual responsibility to seek precision). For example, we know for a fact that Republican no longer means “limited government.” And Democrat can mean just about anything one wants.

    We must live in this world. But how?

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

  13. Rina says:

    Greetings, Mr. E.I have to be quick about this…I have an exam this evening.I totally respect and even share your desire of an intellectual exchange of ideas when it comes to politics and the state of our beloved country.I completely understand your disdain of labels and gimicks and the three ring circus that politics always sinks to.I think that the call to public service should be fueled by a belief in something ‘greater than oneself.’Unfortunately (or Fortunately!), intellectuals don’t have a monopoly on the vote.The demographics of the voting public is convoluted and the American people are…busy. They wake up every morning and work hard to make a good life. And that’s burden enough.Politics, in the tactical sense, is a dirty business. Politicking is tedious, depressing…the world is dangerous, the economy is fragile. I think it’s very rare to find someone who understands the duty and privilege of “serving” despite the ugliness of the game.So, how do political figures reach the average voting public? Well, they do what works. Labels and gimicks are base but…they work.***doing the sign of the cross***And if we’re lucky, we get someone who’s willing to play the game but is noble at the same time.Back in the 90s, when the scales fell from my eyes, I was panicked, horrified, livid…the blatant polling, the focus groups…every time I heard the money line: “For the children!”…I could just chew glass.Now that the fog of battle has passed, I am resolved to embrace my opponent’s strategy…whoever my opponent may be. Battles come in all shapes, sizes and are fought on many fronts. The genius is found in the strategery.***wink and a smile***I have great respect for you, Mr. Ersinghaus so I’ve always really tried to debate you with thoughtful information rather than a clever little soundbite…although I do have one recollection of using a certain “label” in regards to the National Organization for Women and I take it back…the “label” not the meaning behind the label.But even still, there are certain people that I would break out in the Munster’s theme song when talking about Kerry…so, I’m not above fighting dirty once I’ve been provoked. For my own personal conscience, however, I prefer to give people enough information to encourage them to do their own digging around to either confirm or confront me on some bit of bait that I might have thrown their way. That is what worked with me…I was strategically pissed off just enough to check into the information that I had been presented with thinking that I would come back with a “Not True! Not True!” followed by a little ‘happy dance.’ But what I found was disturbing. And I think that some people are opened to being encouraged to open their minds but it is impossible to impose…and for the latter close minded people, I will pull out the big guns and refer to Howard Dean as “Nikita”…after the Soviet leader.I’ll do it if I have to, Man, I will.But I might also provoke that same person to look into Dean’s college transcript from Yale, that have just been made public, to check out the courses he took…***Cheshire Cat Smile***

  14. Rina says:

    One more thing.Sorry.As for Francis Bacon’s efforts to instill order and reason to debate…wasn’t he the same gentleman who came up with the scientific method?I love the scientic method. No scientist am I, but I conduct ‘experiments’ all the time.I think Bacon’s method of reasoning should be taught, I don’t really remember those essays from Brit Lit, I only remember the part about how reading makes a man full, conference makes him ready and writing makes him exact. How bad did I butcher that paraphrase? It’s a truth, I love the quest of finding truth. It’s really important to me. Why? I don’t know. It only comes in pieces, it takes time, and there seems to be very little satisfaction in knowing it. I think that’s why the gods keep it from us.Alas.Bacon’s idols and political debate…I just don’t think that people can be forced to reason. I don’t personally believe in cohersion. If I value my liberty, I must respect others’…even if I don’t agree with what they’ve chosen.Although you disagree, in a sense, I do believe that the application of Bacon’s idols to political debate is an ideal.I don’t know Kafka to compare Bacon to.For me, I have become much more partial to embracing the second law of thermodynamics which deals with chaos and life.In our Brit Lit classes…my most favorite works were the tales that sought to make meaning or put order to the chaos. And in the end…chaos wins.I embrace the general concepts of this second law of thermodynamics, it reminds me of the chaos theory: If a butterfly flaps its wings in Beijing…I think it requires a certain level of humor…it’s kind of like finding out that the joke’s on us.When entropy decreases, so does life.So, we might end up talking passed eachother here…but I thought I’d fill you in on where my mind is at.