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This is a reply to Stephan's reply to yesterday's TOTD. I'm posting this as a new journal entry rather than as an addition to the existing thread on the very likely chance that I will need to edit it once I've posted it (something LiveJournal only allows for journal entries and not for replies).

Hey Stephan,

Thank you for the feedback, questions, and speculation. It facinates me to catch a glimpse of what this quote sparked in your brain. I certainly hadn't considered the racism interpretation.

I used just one quote yesterday because I was feeling rugged from the four bottles of wine that Lara and I had consumed the night before and from an inadequate night's sleep with the Bunny, AKA Emporer Logan. I got a late start and didn't feel like combing the writings of Dr. Bryan Wilson Key for an accompanying quote that would have made my intentions with this quote a bit clearer.

I don't have any insight into what Wendell Johnson might have had in mind when he penned these lines:

A rose by any other name
Would never, never smell the same
And cunning is the nose that knows
An onion that's been called a rose


I took the quote not from a book by Wendell Johnson, but from Cosmic Trigger, Volume 2 by Robert Anton Wilson. I could have used a RAW quote to accompany the Johnson quote, but I'd already taken one TOTD from Cosmic Trigger this week, and I didn't want to over-mine that source.

As I'm pretty sure you have detected, I have a few running agendas that I use the TOTD to flog over and over again. They all involve some aspect of conscious autonomy. Some of my agendas, like my opposition to the Drug War, are pretty straight forward. Yesterday's agenda runs to the more esoteric end of the specturum; i.e. e-prime. Here's a couple of pages from Cosmic Trigger to help put the Wendell Johnson quote in (a) context.











Thanks again, Stephan, for taking an interest.

Take care.

-KMO

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
saint_monkey
Sep. 7th, 2001 04:13 pm (UTC)
sorry. perhaps i am on the speed
i meant to cause no anxiety. i must say, that the quote simply made me think. (ironic, huh? Thought of the day and all.) When given time to think without much clarification, my thoughts will often turn to racism. (Simply my own paranoia you see.) Racism, and being aware of it, is one of my agendas, simply because i assumed that i was not racist for so long. Some painful lessons and corrections made it clear that I am still a racist person. So I try to be aware, just so i don't offend.

When i read the quote, I immediately thought of the concept of "passing," or the art of being seen as white when you are actually a light skinned negro. Silly, really, given outr current social state of harmony, but in the time between the two world wars we had a number of subtly racist programs within the country. even academics subscribed to some of the more calculated ones. during that time we saw the rise of the eugenics movement, which forwarded the ideas of social darwinism, and "retrograde selection." "Passing" was quite a concern, debated hotly by people on both sides of the fence. How were good people with the advancement of the species in mind to tell who was white and who was black with so much "miscegenation?"

Within the frame of the RAW writing, however, i can see how both the poem and the common interpretation of the original quote, (ie: "a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet,") are both simply addressing the simple lies of language, used to flatter the things we love more than explain thier true appearances. Old Bill Shakespeare said this as well. Perhaps I can "make amends..."

Sonnet 130
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks,
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound.
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.


(In a bit of cleansing synchronicity, portions of this sonnet are often used as evidence in support of a theory that Shakespeare took a young black woman as his mistress.)
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