Sunday, 5/11/14

    1. Richard Weaver strikes out
    2. The Late, Great Outliner Apps
    3. Make the web less creepy

1

Y’all may have noticed me going Ga-Ga over Richard Weaver of late. Well, he mercifully proved that he’s no infallible prophet in his lamentable chapter 6, The Spoiled-Child Psychology, where he makes a total muddle of things by reckless assertions in general and by trying implausibly to pin them particularly, if not uniquely, on “urban dwellers”:

No one can be excused for moral degradation, but we are tempted to say of the urban dweller, as of the heathen, that he never had an opportunity for salvation.

The spoiling of man seems always to begin when urban living predominates over rural. After man has left the countryside to shut himself up in vast piles of stone, after he has lost what Sir Thomas Browne called pudor rusticus, after he has come to depend on a complicated system of human exchange for his survival, he becomes forgetful of the overriding mystery of creation. Such is the normal condition of the déraciné. An artificial environment causes him to lose sight of the great system not subject to man’s control.

Since I was a bun in the oven when Weaver wrote, I cannot speak to how serious a problem a “spoiled-child psychology” was at that time. But I venture an informed guess, based on how he describes it, that there is no intrinsic connection between it and city dwelling. For most of this chapter, he makes observations that, insofar as they’re true at all, seem equally true of city, suburb and countryside – at least in our homogenized age, and since he was prophesying consequence of pernicious and entrenched ideas, that’s a failure:

No less than his ancestors, he finds himself up against toil and trouble. Since this was not nominated in the bond, he suspects evildoers and takes the childish course of blaming individuals for things inseparable from the human condition.

It is part of his desiccation to substitute for the primal feeling of relatedness a false self-sufficiency.

Wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute, pal! Didn’t you just say that city dwellers lose “pudor rusticus,” and come to depend on “a complicated system of human exchange for his survival”?! What’s with the “false self-sufficiency” charge?

[T]here are no goals of labor like those of the cathedral-builders.

Ah, yes! The magnificent cathedrals dotting the countryside! I remember them well! Along with the admirable pudor rusticus possessors who left the farm and rushed to the cities to build them.

[R]eligion emasculated, it has remained for medical science in our age to revive the ancient truth that labor is therapeutic.

We may feel satisfied to be damned for not producing great art or for not observing ceremony, but what if it is shown that addiction to comfort unfits us for survival?

This explains why religious nations have often achieved such lasting results; for whilst they were thinking only of the other world, they had found out the great secret of success in this.”

Naturally the idea of self-effacement will be absent from any philosophy which prescribes for a prosperous worldly career.

Here the conception of Plato—expressed certainly, too, by Christianity—of pursuing virtue until worldly consequence becomes a matter of indifference, stands in contrast.

I suppose the city has some characteristic temptations. But I’ve known too many taciturn or even sullen farmers to think that Thank God I’m a Country Boy is other than catchy twaddle.

I appreciate the Southern Agrarian ideal, but not demonizing cities.

2

“My name is Tipsy, and I’m Evernote junkie.”

That could be my introduction at Evernote Junkies Anonymous.

It must be an addictive personality. Before Evernote, I was a junkie of NoteBook, from Circus Ponies (Mac only) and before that Symantec’s GrandView (PC – and shamefully abandoned, since it was a great program), ECCO and a shareware outliner from Brown Bag Software, PC-Outline. All were much more linear and required more discipline than Evernote, which meant I captured less. I agree, by the way, with Faughnan, who opines that there was a golden age of the PC with works of fine craftsmanship, though I arrived too late to Mac to use MORE 3.1, his very, very favorite.

But if you’re a Mac person and think linearly or need to do outlines with really rich linkages, indexing, attachments and the like, I still recommend NoteBook, and it just released version 4.0.

3

I liked this Lawyerist blog a lot, and downloaded both Disconnect.me (for which I’ll pay something soon if it works out as desired) and Privacy Badger. Your mileage may vary, but it is a jungle out there: I visited Kickstarter and it looked (in Disconnect.me) as if 93-96 – no, make that 99 – other sites were watching me do it.

UPDATE: Amazon obviously was one of the sites watching me yesterday. My homepage has changed to show the sorts of things I was looking at, although it’s not offering me the version at Kickstarter (which is no surprise if you know Kickstarter).

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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.