Two rainy days. It's a light sprinkle at this moment. It comes and goes. An hour or so ago, I heard big thunder. I don't know that I've ever heard thunder in January. If I recall correctly, in the old way, you mark the date on the calendar when it thunders in February, and it will be the day in May of the last frost. We're not even half way into January yet, and it's thundering. My guess is that would indicate warm weather coming on sooner than usual. However, the weather patterns have changed so much over the last half century the old ways of weather prediction have changed. Fogs in August used to tell when it would snow in the winter. The woolyworm as prediction of winter I'm fairly certain came from outsiders. It is too uncertain and it is so obviously not a reliable prediction device that mountain people would never have gone by woolyworms. I asked old man Tom Pruitt about it when he was up in his 70s. He said, "Aint nothin to it." Even though I doubt significance now of thunders in February, it still got my attention hearing thunder in January, even before the middle of January. That is way off from the old pattern. I will happily welcome an early summer, though it bothers me to some extent imagining a long hot summer. When forest fires start, then it gets your attention. Since I've been in the mountains, the summer forest fires have been mostly localized the other side of the Parkway in national forest land. Helicopters carry big tarps full of water they pick up at farm lakes to dump on the fire. My apprehension is that as summers grow hotter, which they have steadily done throughout my time here, the fires will be crossing the Parkway. My house would burn to the ground before fire trucks arrived. The house is all wood sawmilled in the 1920s.
Too many people around me hesitate to mention anything about global warming, because republicans deny it. I don't care what they deny. That's their problem. I see it is an obvious fact from year to year. I understand the process of science well enough to tell the difference between somebody who knows what he's talking about and a politician whose allegiance is to oil corporations and the Bank, only. I don't care if they see financial advantage for themselves and deny the obvious for the sake of their own bank accounts. They can think whatever they think, which they do. I don't have to hold myself back from seeing the obvious, because the people in our government who hate the American people want us to believe what only half the population is dumb enough to believe, remembering half the people are below average, the bell curve. Because somebody tells me I'm not afraid enough of Satan, doesn't mean my knees will tremble when I hear the name Christendom has given the ego. I'm not afraid of ego. Ego is our ballast. It keeps us afloat. It needs controlling and training, requires attention, but not fear. We go from saying MINE to learning to share, to eventually learning altruism in some cases. The spiritual path amounts to awareness of the ego, learning to control it, which happens in varying degrees from individual to individual. Up to age 30 is the time of ego development, which is essential to living in this world. From there on, it's a matter of controlling and gradual diminishment of ego, by life experience if nothing else. We learn that my I and somebody else's I are both centers of the universe. We have 7 billion plus centers of the universe on earth. What does that do to me as center of the universe? Makes me one of many, and ultimately makes us all one.
I can't help it that some people believe so much in television they restrict themselves to language permissible on tv. Political correctness is nothing but censoring oneself and others by the television standard. It has nothing to do with decency or morality. PC amounts to boutique activism, a pretense, like being an actor. I don't provoke people who talk correctness, believing they mean well and aren't able to see themselves objectively. I observe PC in the coffee shop for the convenience of keeping the priestesses of television-speak out of my face. I don't need that badly to prove I'm a liberal. Sounding like television is not liberal. It's another form of parrotry. I figure if somebody believes they have the right to correct my speech according to television, I have the right to speak as I please. I grew up in "the land of the free" where "freedom of speech" was sacred. It's a hard adjustment to live in a world where adults want to be as conformist as in high school and want me to give up my freedom of speech to conform to their idea of being television. Like with global warming, my attitude is go ahead and restrict your own speech and everybody else's you're able to, but leave me out of it. That's when I drop the N-bomb, the F-bomb, the MF-bomb, and/or the GD-bomb as announcement that I am I, not a reflection of television. The very most vast majority of American population believes in television first. I live in a world of people who believe television. I don't. I don't want to correct them and don't want to be corrected. When I find somebody is committed to PC, they fade away before my eyes due to disappointment. Still, I don't really hold it against them, because this is television world I live in, and they're just doing what they believe they're supposed to do. I believe it is television that led us by the nose into police state and I am not denying my American freedom of speech for somebody who believes television is sacred. If you don't believe tv is sacred, stop watching it for a month.
PC is never an issue in the working class. In fact, it has become a department of working class (redneck) humor to break all the PC rules. In the company of my redneck friends much of my laughter when we're laughing at a particular incorrectness is about the cultural divide between working class and middle (management) class. Their management status when they move to the mountains is behind the middle-class belief they have to tell working class people how to act right. The attitude in the working class is you don't tell me what to do unless you're paying. Management class takes it for insolence. I have learned here that the middle class looks down on the working class the same as they look down on black people. They talk PC, but they don't act it out. I've told my friend Justin when he was regretting not having the chance to go to college that this is not a time for college. As economy gets worse, the middle class people here who don't know how to do anything but tell other people what to do will need your help. You know how to do things, like plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, roofing, cutting firewood, hunting. Everything he does, he does well. I tell him that he will be ok when times are tough, because he's good at doing practical things middle class people know nothing about. Like Justin knows everything that happens to the water when it goes down the drain in the kitchen sink. For a large number of the middle class people, the drain is the end of it. A problem I have with the working class is the disdain for education. A problem I have with middle class is the disdain for common sense. I believe both are essential. I realized when I finished college I'd lost my common sense. A large part of my motivation to live rurally by manual labor was to get my common sense back. To live with one foot in one world and one foot in the other can be incredibly confusing at times, but I couldn't live any other way. I like shifting back and forth from culture to culture. It provides a great deal of understanding of what it means to be a true human being. I don't know that I'm there yet, but like Pinocchio, I keep on a-keepin on.
sol lewitt himself