For Me, It Started

WITH THE WHOLE John Lennon / Jesus controversy.* All of a sudden, it became clear that people who were famous for one kind of skill or expertise did not necessarily have the skill or brains to think their way out of a paper bag on other subjects. That artists especially are something in the way of idiots savante, barely able to change their socks when confronted with problems or situations outside of their specialties.

So, when Sir Paul McCartney mouths off on global warming, thank him for “I Will” and “Yesterday” — even “Lovely Linda” — and let it go.

* Note: I was all of — like — ten at the time, so it’s not like it was a terribly late realization, albeit not a very precocious one, either.

Now, you know… Some tumblefuck is going to come along and challenge my credentials. To which I can reply, I am not a specialist. I am a generalist.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

–Robert Heinlein
Time Enough for Love

(Not claiming all these skills, just admiring the ideal represented as something to strive for.) Not only that, but I got my schooling before the unionization of the public education establishment in this town. So our schools were only crippled by post-phonetic spelling, new math, social studies, and the rest of the panoply of progressivist indoctrination, but we were well-grounded in the classics and the sciences. My high-school diploma is probably superior to your baccalaureate degree in terms of the actual attainment it represents.

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