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"Online Ramblings"

Dr David, Editor / Publisher

Back when I was going to naturopathic medical school, 1979-1983, I hardly saw, let alone watched a television. Once during that era picking up a newspaper I read a word that I did not know. As best as I could figure, it seemed to be the plural form of "minisery," whatever that meant. Pause right here. Don't read ahead until you have tried to guess what the word was. Ready? Come on. It's not hard. I gave you two hints: it's on TV and seems to be the plural of "minisery." That's right, "miniseries."

A similar cultural disconnect happened to me today, [last] Sunday, here in San Miguel. I woke up late, having spent hours last night getting my quota of three articles ready to publish in today's magazine. Still, before too long I was back at the keyboard, opening an email I had just received. Its subject line read, "Online Ramblings:"

To Whom It May Concern:

Recently, I have been reading articles published by someone calling himself Dr. David. These incoherent articles illustrate incoherent thought on his part. One wonders why he doesn’t have an editor, not only correcting grammar and punctuation mistakes, but pointing out the total lack of planning, brevity, and logic. As Truman Capote would say, “That’s not writing. That’s typing.”

These posts have me questioning whether I want to visit Sam Miguel. If people there read this drivel weekly, what does that say about the community? This “Dr.” David displays a total lack of intellectual rigor. An open mind has to do with education and facts, not absurd hunches and ramblings on the part of someone who has the ego to believe that his opinions matter on any scale, local or global.

Please retain a professional editor to rein him in.

With concern,

LF

"Incoherent" twice, "total lack of planning, brevity, and logic," "drivel," "total lack of intellectual rigor," "absurd hunches and ramblings," opinions that do not "matter on any scale.'" That was quite a lot to take in before breakfast.

At the risk of rambling online, I am reminded of my first job ever. It was on the island of Nantucket, as a potwasher (one step below the dishwashers; as low as you go) in a fancy restaurant, The Harborview Inn. I was about to turn 17. In the kitchen there was a line of five chefs each clattering away busily. One of the wait-persons brought a plate of food back to one of the chefs telling him that the customer said it was too something-or-other. The clattering stopped for a few seconds as the other chefs paused over their pans watching for the response of the chef in question, who, without missing a beat, sneared, "What the hell does he know about food?" The clattering resumed.

Indeed, what the hell does LF know about writing? I've been publishing magazines and newspapers, with some consistency, for 45 years. The director of the San Miguel Writers' Conference, Susan Page, wrote me to say that she loved my piece Staying Healthy, Surviving the Virus. Given Susan Page's praise and LF's condemnation, I'll continue my clattering.

Then, word for word, LF makes more mistakes in her email then I did in my most recent article:

...I want to visit Sam Miguel...

Who is this "Sam Miguel" whom she is unsure she will visit? Seǹora Miguel's son Samuel? Judging by her grumpiness, I think it would be better for Sam if she didn't visit.

In my most recent article, the last straw for LF, the one that got her to vent her ire. I was writing about Socrates, both his and Mexico's attitudes towards death. It's hard to see how one could do that with "a total lack of intellectual rigor." The storyline, tying together rather nicely, deserves better than LF's critique of a "total lack of planning, brevity, and logic." You may not like what I am saying, but "incoherent" and "rambling"... really?

Closing LF's email, this morning I can't say that I forgot about it, but I did go on with my day, only now and again meditating a response.

If you will permit me the comparison, allow me to suggest that, like Socrates with his dialogues, in publishing my articles I am trying to give you something to think about.

I know that what with sheltering in place and all people are on edge. I know also that I am looking for trouble by pointing out certain simple mathematical realities. For instance, we can't know the death rate of the virus until serum antibody tests allow us to estimate how many people have been infected.

I admit that I am not much impressed with the medical system's response to the Corona Virus. Is anyone? (Sheltering in place is Public Health, not Medicine.) Still, I am glad that hospitals are there with potentially life saving medical interventions. Everyone agrees that medicine is better at emergency interventions than they are at treating the common cold or the flu, common or otherwise.

I am of the opinion that the solution for both of our medical crises, the Corona crisis and the pre-Corona crisis (remember the call for universal health-care?), is to adopt lifestyle habits that lessen our chances of getting sick in the first place. What's to argue about with that?

It wasn't the content of LF's email. It was her mean-spirited tone that bothered me; "total lack of" this, "total lack of" that. Like a grain of sand bothering an oyster, I kept working it around until I got my pearl. Here it is: like my ignorance of the cultural phenomenon of the miniseries years ago, here again today in my reaction to LF's email, I was demonstrating my ignorance of another cultural phenomenon, the Twitter-verse. i knkow very little about that world, but I do know that LF's vicious tone is the ugly way people on Twitter address those with whom they disagree. To quote my response to another piece of hate mail, received last week (see it at the end of last week's article A Matter of Life and Death):

Incivility is a greater, more immediate threat to the planet than are the Corona Virus and climate change taken together.

We look back at those "good citizens" saluting horrible authoritarians in Nazi Germany and elsewhere and consider ourselves to be above all that. But really, with this Corona Virus, haven't you imagined it all spinning out of control? The beast that LF releases is never very far below the surface. Civility is the basis of civilization. Now there's something to think about.

If you can't be nice, then be courteous. It's all we have between us and the jungle.

**************

Dr David a victim of the Hippie movement, is still trying to change the world. He and his merry band believe that with the new expanded Lokkal (on your computer screens soon) it just might happen.

events @ sanmiguelevents.com

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