Tuesday, May 5, 2009

RTT- To be or Not to Be and Other questions

It's Tuesday. You know the drill. Go to the Un Mom and see all the other random ramblings.

I just finished rereading David Brin's The Postman last night.  For those of you who have seen the Kevin Costner film loosely based on this book, hear me out.  The film is entertaining but fails to delve into the deeper philosophical underpinnings found in the book. And it also makes up shit out of whole cloth but we won't go there.  Don't get me wrong, I actually like the movie, but only because I hadn't read the book first.

Anyway, one of the things Brin talks about is the idea that our nation is what I call a collective imagining. This collective vision was fostered deliberately by people like Benjamin Franklin and George Washington during the founding of our country and still holds true today.  We are what we believe we are. And when we stray from that vision, it disturbs the collective mind. So when our leaders do things that deviate from that ideal, even if it takes us a while to realize it, we react.  In these troubling economic times, I've often thought that the real answer to our problems lies not so much in where we move the money but in our collective understanding of what's going on.  Modern economics on a global level is so complex that the average person has no idea what do to when things go wrong or even how they got there.  But the way out lies just as much in bail outs and market corrections as it does in our confidence that things will get better.  It's one of the reasons that economists track consumer confidence.  Our collective belief that our economy will survive is key to its actual survival.

On another philosophical front, Texas is beginning to look at new science textbooks for the 2011 adoption.  We've just finished writing our science curriculum and textbook publishers will use this as a guideline.  Why is this important?  Two reasons.  First, Texas is the second largest purchaser of school textbooks in the nation.  What we and California choose really define what the rest of the nation has available.  Second: our State Board of Education has a serious problem. It has way too many Creationists and they are insisting on including Intelligent Design in these textbooks and presenting Evolution as a theory.   If they succeed in this endeavor, it's possible that textbook publishers will decline to print anything for them, thus denying Texas children updated materials.  Of course, the publishers could cave (they've done it before) and the rest of the nation will have their science textbooks dumbed down.  Either way, it well and truly sucks. I can't believe this is even happening. Once again, I'm embarrassed to be from Texas.

I've been thinking lately about what I'd do if the idiots win and Texas secedes.  What will happen to the national big box stores like Home Depot and WalMart and Target when Texas becomes an independent nation?  And where in the world would we get the money to maintain the Interstate roads?  Would NASA leave? And could they take me with them?  I don't think I'd stay.  I know people are all wigged out about the swine flu but politicians talking about states rights scare me a lot more than a bug I know how to avoid.  Plus, since I was old enough to have lived through the last swine flu fiasco, I likely have some immunity.  Who'da thunk being alive in the 70s would be good for anything?  Certainly not me.  

Not that I really think that Texas will secede. But it would be a disaster of epic proportions.  Hopefully not the kind where only the cockroaches survive but epic nonetheless.

Have a Happy Cinco de Mayo.  Go eat some Tex-Mex in celebration. Or whatever passes as Mexican food in your neck of the woods.  Just a note: Taco Bell does not count. 


Gaston Studio said...

"Our collective belief that our economy will survive is key to its actual survival."

A very interesting concept and now I've got to download The Postman on my Kindle because I've never read it!

Dumbing down was never the way!!!

skyewriter said...

What makes this even sadder is that in thirty years if the coasts have disappeared and we never get snow in North America, textbooks won't likely mention that irreversible climate change was a "political" issue and not a scientific one late in the first decade of the 21st century.

That same lobby trying to get Creationism into school textbooks is trying to frame environmental issues in terms of politics and economics, instead of as the very survival of the human species. God isn't "God" if humans are running the show (as in free will). I'm just scratching my head at that one.

I haven't told you in a while, but I absolutely love your writing. I promise, I am going to get to that award soon...

A World Quite Mad said...

Texas ain't going to secede. Look at cowardly Perry, declaring a state of emergency so we're first in line for Tamiflu stockpiles and federal money. It's nothing more than political posturing.

And I got news for them. This Texas Liberal ain't leaving. They want their own country, I say let's take up donations for an island in the south Pacific and dump Perry and the rest of his little leeches there.

BTW, David Brin is one of the most awesome writers ever. I loved his book Glory Season and also liked Earth. In fact, when I read Earth that was the first time I'd ever heard of a thing called the "Internet". That was back in about 1992. LOL

His Uplift Trilogy is also good. I've read almost all his books, but Glory Season was by and far my favorite.

Keely said...

I want to read that book now. The movie was stupid but the IDEA was good.

Catering to the lowest common denominator never helps anybody. I hope they don't accomplish that.

And, if it makes you feel any better, Quebec has been trying to separate from the rest of Canada for YEARS and has never gone through with it. Someone is always the voice of reason.

I love your RTT posts!