We were in the middle of a book on tape, Margaret Atwood's dystopian story, A Handmaid's Tale, and I found a few sentences sticking out and reminding me of the need to understand the passivity or disengagement or fatalism of so much of the electorate. At one point the narrator explains a self-defeating attitude of one of the society's victims this way: "But people will do anything rather than admit that their lives have no meaning. No use, that is. No plot." At another moment, this bit: "There's hardly any point in my thinking, is there? I say. What I think doesn't matter. Which is the only reason he can tell me things." Also, this structural element in the voice of a different character: "Better never means better for everyone, he says. It always means worse, for some." We don't go in for structural analysis in this society, for the most part, though.#

I tried for some structural analysis at the end of this piece about veterans.#

Here is a thought experiment based on a true area news story. The other day the police turned up in big numbers when they had a report that a man was on a city street corner with a rifle. They found a white man was standing there in public with a rifle and a sign. The news report said that the police satisfied themselves that he was protesting peacefully and legally, and they left him there to hold his protest. That's the news story, and here's the thought experiment part: based on what we know of American life today, do we think there is a fair chance that things would have gone differently if the man had been black instead of white. If the answer is yes, that would be one good reason to say that there should be college classes on a thing called white privilege.#

© 2015 Ken Smith.
Last update: Sun, Jan 25, 2015 at 5:03 PM.
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