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Good Morning Nanty Glo!

       Friday, November 12 2004 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Portals of the mind

I had no idea when I began discussing "theoretical thought" that it would go on for weeks. And though it hasn't elicited a high volume of feedback, what has come in has shown glimmers of understanding, appreciation, and some impact on the thinking processes of those who've been paying attention. Thanks to all who've participated thus far. The series has gone on so long because once I got into it, I found it easy to ring additional changes on the theme. Writing that's "easy" is always delightful for one whose most strenuous effort in life is giving birth to thoughts on paper (or screen, as may be the case). And as usual, the one who has arrived at a point where he thinks he has something to teach has learned more than any of his students, most likely.

One loose end that has occurred to me is what I'll call "facile theoretical thinking," or "easy advanced thinking." The only way I can describe this phenomenon is to give an example. Since almost the dawn of the television age, no comedy program has endured and been replayed more endlessly than the Lucille Ball/Desi Arnez sitcom, "I Love Lucy." From the beginning, when I was in elementary school, it was one of my Mom's favorite shows; she never missed it, so I didn't often miss it either. Even when it was years past its first runs, it was fun to rewatch and it seemed to be on some channel every day, decade after decade. Then one day my brother Bob said, "What a waste of time." "What? Why do you say that?" "It's the same thing in every show." That was it. I had passed through a portal from which there was no return. I could never enjoy "I Love Lucy" again. It had been scrutinized and, in the light of sheer logic and truth, had been found wanting. If there's a lesson to be learned here, maybe it is, "find the Achilles Heel and strike there."

When we were teenagers, it seemed like the "cool" kids were the ones a year or two ahead of us who were "beyond" our level. If we younger ones enjoyed something, they looked down upon it. It wasn't cool; it was immature; it wasn't sophisticated or challenging. Maybe teenagers have always been like that (plays seem to forever depict them that way), or maybe it was a special trait of our generation. A review of the new movie about Peter Pan creator James M. Barrie mentioned something about this phenomenon that had eluded me till now. Peter Pan, the reviewer said to my surprise, is very much about sexuality. Wendy leaves the boys behind because, as her puberty sets in, "boys" are more interesting to her now as members of the opposite sex than as playmates. It's that great divide that separates children from adolescents.

And the crux of that great divide is the portal that those kids a year or two older have passed that their juniors haven't. It's sex, in a sense, but more to the point, it's becoming aware about sex that makes the "cool" kids no longer interested in child's play. Like realizing that "I Love Lucy" is always the same thing in slightly different "situations" (the reason, of course, they called it a "situation" comedy), realizing that romance, "the game of love" is more intriguing than cowboys and Indians...that realization is a portal, a passage in life, that can't be passed back in the opposite direction. Innocence lost is never regained.

Unless you're Michael Jackson.
Peter Pan.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

Signs of our times

On a septic tank truck in Oregon: "Yesterday's Meals on Wheels"

Sent by Trudy Myers  

Thought for today

The proper response to "Good morning" is not "Prove it!"

Anonymous  

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