I write so many things that I cannot polish and publish them all, so this place is a repository for random ramblings. Perhaps someday I will draw on some of them for finished products; but since many are timely or might otherwise never see the light of day, I feel it makes sense to put them here in case they might be of use to somebody else. (Not for plagiarizing, of course!) For a list of my publications, go to www.docsoc.com. Enjoy.
The Joke's on ...?
I've figured it out.
Donald Trump's campaign is a joke! I mean, we've always known it was a joke,
but now I think it may have been intended as a joke all along.
We've seen this before. There was Borat, that is, Sacha Baron
Cohen, who traveled America to interact with the natives in all their (our)
wackiness. He fed on gullibility, exactly as Trump is doing, getting people to
reveal not only their silliness but their darker sides.
Then there was Guy Grand, the protagonist of Terry Southern's
wickedly funny novel, The Magic Christian. Grand is wealthy beyond
belief and spends his time perpetrating outrageous spoofs on the unsuspecting
public. Sound familiar?
Donald Trump has skyrocketed to the lead in the Republican race
for the nomination for President of the United States by uttering empty policy
pronouncements and vacuous assurances, making hallucinatory factual assertions,
putting forward outrageous proposals, hurling insults, making faces, and all
around acting like a boor and a demagogue. Even his opponents, such as myself,
have been suckered into becoming scornful and indignant.
But now I realize this could only be the most colossal political
practical joke ever played on our shores. Donald Trump must be in cahoots with
the Onion or the Harvard Lampoon or Mad Magazine on the spoof scoop of the
Now that I’ve figured this out, I'm almost tempted to hope he wins
the nomination and the Presidency. His inaugural address could begin, "My
fellow Americans, I was just kidding!" And then he might roll out a
totally enlightened, liberal, compassionate plan of action for the nation,
having won his office by the only practicable means, namely, appealing to the
lowest common denominator. Does the end justify the means? In this dream of
mine, I guess it would.
Unless, that is, President Trump decides to continue playing his
joke on us for his whole term in office. After all, wouldn't it be an even
grander feat to fool us into reelecting
him on the basis of incoherent and/or awful policies actually enacted? Well,
no, not really; that was already done by President George W. Bush. So the
originality would have worn out by the time President Trump was elected the
So here's to Trump's Presidency! Either that, or a Tony.
by Joel Marks December 29, 2015 It’s nothing short of a miracle. Pressure points, aka trigger points – have you heard of them? I could not tell you what the underlying physiology is. But I learned about them in practice from a good friend of mine, who is a masseur and also the creator of a line of simple tools for self-massage. When a number of years ago I began noticing that sign of exceeding the normal lifespan of Homo erectus, namely, lower back pain, Allan gave me a squash ball to place between my back and the wall and then roll across. The aim was to discover a pressure point which was somehow responsible for the “referred pain” in my back. After some experimenting I found a spot on one side of my spine, seeming to be in a cord that ran up and down the side of my back parallel to the spine (there being another cord on the other side as well). How did I know it was “the” spot? Because it hurt sharply when the ball rolled over it. Lo and behold, after doing this for no
The other day an old friend told me of her regret about the decision she had made in her early life to go to graduate school A rather than graduate school B, because it may have shut off some career opportunities. Philosopher that I am, I immediately dismissed her concern by pointing out that her beloved daughter would not even exist had my friend made a different decision. My friend did not at first see the connection, so I explained that I was referring to the utter contingency of which sperm meets which egg; so the slightest alteration of prior conditions would mean a different person, or no person, would have been born. Although she then saw what I was getting at, this did not lift her regret. I chalked it up to the usual irrationality of nonphilosophers (which also includes all philosophers when they revert to being just plain people, which is really just about all of the time, even in their professional role). But some musing on another subject has now given me a differ
OK, this is not a new theory of the Trump Presidency. From the very first it was speculated that he had become an accidental president, never expecting to win and perhaps not even wanting to, but with some ulterior motive most likely linked to marketing the Trump brand in his future business dealings. Of course there were also darker murmurings (and indications) that he was a Manchurian candidate … perhaps even an unintentional and totally befuddled one more along the lines of Being There . But Trump’s behavior since losing the election to Biden has been (and continues to be as I write) so off the wall, so seemingly intended to make him look as bad and bonkers and just plain pathetic as possible, as to suggest, and indeed support another theory I myself (along with others, no doubt) had entertained from the very start, which is that he’s doing it just for a joke, just for the sport. Basically he wants to see just how far somebody can go in putting one over on people.