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There’s a cop story I must tell better that’s been up for a half dozen years here [@ K. ;not @ pKnatz] as a brief note in a biographical section. First I quote the note: then I’ll revise the file, editing and expanding the story.
The Middle English word for Sloth was acedia and it was redolent of connotations of spiritual sloth. I believe I was guilty of that sin on that Easter in church and on many occasions since.
Jacob Bronowski interpreted Hamlet’s abulia — his failure of volition (his failure to act on his revenge in this case) — as a characteristic of youth. For all his brilliant babble to himself, the prince made little sense to the court. Ah, but we know that he was still in school!
He may have been near thirty, but in the culture’s sense, he was still young, still without responsibility.
I was on the campus of the Columbia Law School in 1969 when a briefcase carrying law professor asked a young cop why Broadway was lined with empty Tactical Forces buses. “Are the tactical police here?” demanded the silver-templed professor. The cop still had the flushed face of a baby. “Naw,” he sneered, “it’s da marines, come to kill youse kids.” The cop had a baton and a gun. He was an adult. The professor had a briefcase and was standing on a campus. He was a kid.
My own babble, brilliant or otherwise, was also to myself. Some spilled over to my girl friend or to my mother. They made little of it.
My efforts with FLEX my sometime enslavement to my writing, and my wrestling this site into order are compensations, apologies for that acedia …
… And an attempt at compensation for my own abulia.
2004 05 14: Just had a thought: Dwight D. Eisenhower was made president of Columbia in the 1950s: preparing him to be president of US. My History of Schools offers an illustration or two of what kind of an intellectual he was. Nixon don’t forget was VICE-President to Eisenhower’s President. That was the 1950’s. Here this story, above, was the late 1960s, early ’70s. Nixon was now President of US. Point: Nixon was now President of Columbia as well!