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The Elements of Style

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A letter from E.B. White to J.G. Case, March 30, 1962:

Dear Jack:

The next grammar book I bring out I want to tell how to end a sentence with five prepositions. A father of a little boy goes upstairs after supper to read to his son, but he brings the wrong book. The boy says, ‘What did you bring that book that I don’t want to be read to out of up for?’

And how are YOU?

Yrs,

Andy

See Over and Out.

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lelandpaul
11 days ago
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I use this example all the time. For another great example of how it's perfectly fine and normal to strand prepositions, see "Up what are you throwing?!"
San Francisco, CA
satadru
11 days ago
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<3
New York, NY
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hannahdraper
12 days ago
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Twitch.
Washington, DC

I KNOW WHY YOU'RE SAD.

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On paper, Tuesday was a good day for Democrats. They took the House for the first time in eight years. Several important Governorships (in advance of post-Census 2020 redistricting battles) were won. Notably vile Republicans like Kris Kobach, Scott Walker, and Dana Rohrabacher lost. The high-visibility Senate races Democrats lost (Missouri, Tennessee) were pipe dreams anyway. You already knew that Florida sucks, hard. So you're not sad because "The Democrats did badly."

You're also not sad because Beto lost, or Andrew Gillum lost, or any other single candidate who got people excited this year fell short. They're gonna be fine. They will be back. You haven't seen the last of any of them. Winning a Senate race in Texas was never more than a long shot. Gillum had a realistic chance, but once again: It's Florida.

No, you're sad for the same reason you were so sad Wednesday morning after the 2016 Election. You're sad because the results confirm that half of the electorate – a group that includes family, neighbors, friends, random fellow citizens – looked at the last two years and declared this is pretty much what they want. You're sad because any Republican getting more than 1 vote in this election, let alone a majority of votes, forces us to recognize that a lot of this country is A-OK with undisguised white supremacy. You're sad because once again you have been slapped across the face with the reality that a lot of Americans are, at their core, a lost cause. Willfully ignorant. Unpersuadable. Terrible people. Assholes, even.

You were hoping that the whole country would somehow restore your faith in humanity and basic common decency by making a bold statement, trashing Republicans everywhere and across the board. You wanted some indication that if you campaigned hard enough, rednecks and white collar bloodless types alike could be made to see the light that perhaps the levers of power are not best entrusted to the absolute worst people that can be dredged up from Internet comment sections running on platforms of xenophobia, nihilism, and racism. In short, you wanted to see some evidence that corruption, venality, bigotry, and proud ignorance are deal-breakers for the vast majority of Americans.

And now you're sad because it's obvious that they aren't. Even where horrible Republicans like Walker or Kobach lost, they didn't lose by much.

So I get it. It's depressing. There's no amount of positives that can take away the nagging feeling that lots and lots of people in this country are just…garbage. They're garbage human beings just like the president they adore. These people are not one conversation, one fact-check, and one charismatic young Democratic candidate away from seeing the light. They're reactionary, mean, ignorant, uninteresting in becoming less ignorant, and vindictive. They hate you and they will vote for monsters to prove it.

Remember this feeling. Remember it every time someone tells you that the key to moving forward is to reach across the aisle, show the fine art of decorum in practice, and chat with right-wingers to find out what makes them tick. Remember the nagging sadness you feel looking at these almost entirely positive results; it will be your reminder that the only way to beat this thing is to outwork, outfight, and out-organize these people. They are not going to be won over and they will continue to prove that to you every chance they get.

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lelandpaul
69 days ago
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Oh, this is so hard for me. On the one hand, the piece is dead right: This is exactly what I'm feeling today.

On the other: I fundamentally believe people are redeemable and that we shouldn't write them off. (That's sort of core to Christianity...)

I don't know how to reconcile these two things.
San Francisco, CA
sirshannon
69 days ago
You can’t redeem the unwilling.
lelandpaul
67 days ago
But does that give you the right to stop giving them opportunities to redeem themselves?
sirshannon
65 days ago
Yes. You’re not powerful enough to stop someone from redeeming themselves any more than you are powerful enough to make them redeem themselves. As long as you’re not actively working to prevent them from doing the right thing, you’re good.
cjmcnamara
69 days ago
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gin and tacos absolutely spot on once again
popular
69 days ago
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zwol
69 days ago
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This seems like the right place to tell the story of the dude who drove me to the airport the other day. His other job, apparently, was owning a gun store, and when talking about guns his opinions were informed and reasonable , e.g. "banning bump stocks won't stop school shootings, but we should require gun owners to go through safety training and have proper gun safes," ok, I can see that. But then the conversation took a hard right turn into Fox News conspiracy land: all politicians are corrupt, Planned Parenthood spends 10x as much money on lobbying as the NRA, etc. etc. etc. and I just didn't know what to say.
Pittsburgh, PA
tdarby
69 days ago
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Yes.
Baltimore, MD
rocketo
69 days ago
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How many words fit on a sampler? I don’t want to get this as a tattoo.

“Remember this feeling. Remember it every time someone tells you that the key to moving forward is to reach across the aisle, show the fine art of decorum in practice, and chat with right-wingers to find out what makes them tick. Remember the nagging sadness you feel looking at these almost entirely positive results; it will be your reminder that the only way to beat this thing is to outwork, outfight, and out-organize these people. They are not going to be won over and they will continue to prove that to you every chance they get.”
seattle, wa
notadoctor
69 days ago
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“They are not going to be won over and they will continue to prove that to you every chance they get.”
Oakland, CA

"Folks, there’s nothing left from the Linguistics division. We lost all the indigenous..."

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“Folks, there’s nothing left from the Linguistics division. We lost all the indigenous languages collection: the recordings since 1958, the chants in all the languages for which there are no native speakers alive anymore, the Curt Niemuendaju archives: papers, photos, negatives, the original ethnic-historic-linguistic map localizing all the ethnic groups in Brazil, the only record that we had from 1945. The ethnological and archeological references of all ethnic groups in Brazil since the 16th century… An irreparable loss of our historic memory. It just hurts so much to see all in ashes.”

- Cira Gonda, translated by Diogo Almeida, about the fire at Brazil’s National Museum.  
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lelandpaul
134 days ago
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God damn it. This should be a day of mourning for all humanity.
San Francisco, CA
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JimB
130 days ago
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The managers who didn't create back ups off site are criminally negligent
fxer
133 days ago
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I wonder how much if any had been digitized
Bend, Oregon

Resistance is the Only Human Way to Live

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A temptation you face as a teacher when you talk about the stories of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the White Rose is that their stories can come across to students as legends of moral heroism, which can seem divorced from their quotidian lives. So I spend a lot of time talking about resistance as non-conformity.

I'm taking a cue here from William Stringfellow. In his book An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land, Stringfellow describes visiting with members of the various Nazi resistance movements after WW2. What Stringfellow discovered in their stories is how members of the resistance took enormous risks to do very small things, things that, realistically speaking, weren't going to do all that much to stop Hitler. Still, they took the risk. Here's Stringfellow describing this risk/reward imbalance:
[T]he Resistance, undertaken and sustained through the long years of the Nazi ascendancy in which most of Western Europe was conquered and occupied, consisted, day after day, of small efforts. Each one of these, if regarded in itself, seems far too weak, too temporary, too symbolic, too haphazard, too meek, too trivial to be efficacious against the oppressive, monolithic, pervasive presence which Nazism was, both physically and psychically, in the nations which had been defeated and seized. Realistically speaking, those who resisted Nazism did so in an atmosphere in which hope, in its ordinary connotations, had been annihilated. To calculate their actions--abetting escapes, circulating mimeographed news, hiding fugitives, obtaining money or needed documents, engaging in various forms of noncooperation with the occupying authorities or the quisling bureaucrats, wearing armbands, disrupting official communications--in terms of odds against the Nazi efficiency and power and violence and vindictiveness would seem to render their witness ridiculous. The risks for them of persecution, arrest, torture, confinement, death were so disproportionate to any concrete results that could practically be expected that most human beings would have despaired--and, one recalls, most did. Yet these persons persevered in their audacious, extemporaneous, fragile, puny, foolish Resistance.
So, why did they do it, given that the risks were so high and the possibility of success so small?  Here's Stringfellow's answer:
The answer to such questions is, I believe, that the act of resistance to the power of death incarnate in Nazism was the only means of retaining sanity and conscience. In the circumstances of the Nazi tyranny, resistance became the only human way to live. 
Resistance became the only human way to live. That's the message I'm preaching to my students.

In the imagination of the Bible, the world is ruled by the devil, who is described as the "god" and "prince" of this world (John 12.21; 2 Cor. 4.4). All around us, we see this force of dehumanization constantly at work.

Resistance, therefore, is refusing to be conformed to the dehumanizing pattern of this world (Rom. 12.2).

Resistance is non-conformity, rehumanization in the face of dehumanization.

Resistance is living in this world as a human being.
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lelandpaul
200 days ago
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San Francisco, CA
toddgrotenhuis
200 days ago
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Indianapolis
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Jordan Peterson Refuses to Use God’s Preferred Pronouns

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TORONTO, ON

Controversial University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson has been become infamous in his efforts to battle so-called “political correctness,” and has resolutely refused to use the preferred pronouns of many individuals, including, apparently, God.

“I’m sick and tired of God’s refusal to state a gender,” said Peterson. “All this ‘thee, thy, thou’ nonsense in the King James Bible is absolutely ridiculous. It’s unnatural.”

Peterson, a clinical psychologist by training, dogmatically believes in binary gender, including for the Christian deity.

“Either God’s a man or a woman. There’s no other way to look at it,” said Peterson. “I don’t need the PC police to tell me ‘Oh, God’s neither male nor female!’ Come on! Make a decision for once!”

Peterson says he will never give in to the Creator of the Universe’s decision to remain gender neutral and will spend the rest of his life trying to assign God a gender.

“Everyone must fit into my tiny little box,” said Peterson, “and God is no exception.”

After the news became public, Peterson received debate invitations from every theologian alive.

(photo credit: Adam Jacobs/CC)

The post Jordan Peterson Refuses to Use God’s Preferred Pronouns appeared first on The Daily Bonnet.

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toddgrotenhuis
221 days ago
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Indianapolis
lelandpaul
230 days ago
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San Francisco, CA
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It’s always a delight to see the jungle house on Church St.

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It’s always a delight to see the jungle house on Church St.

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lelandpaul
231 days ago
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I (tangentially) knew someone who lived here in high school!
San Francisco, CA
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