Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sport and the random, accidental convergence

Theorists of the random, accidental convergence of guyfaces unanimously cite contact sport as a venue of substantially enhanced probability for a merger of such parts. Standing alone in a meadow in the rain, by contrast, is reckoned as a low-risk behaviour, especially if lightning is present. 

Prudence and calculation, though, have a way of invading our sampling base against the strict-est oversight of spurious rejection. Countless fel-lows have given every waking thought, for en-tire semesters, to devis-ing, strategising, chor-eographing, and scoring for 4 hands that poten-tially ostracising sur-

prise, the shining non sequitur, the impeccably hold-harmless, drop-dead, you'd-never-have-predicted-this-of-us-in-a-million-years alignment of their face with somebody else's of unshakeable irritation.

In statistics, as in headmastering, there is that shrewd school of thought which lets these things sort themselves out as the self-cancelling, larksome pratfalls they obviously, harmlessly are. 

Yet as the dispassionate mathematician the scholar has to be, we couldn't possibly entertain con-vergences skewed so broadly by permission, much less by intent. It may very well amuse the general run of mankind, to indulge that disposi-tion boasting of the name, tolerance, but if liberty's effect is to erode distinction, what's to grace our blondness, if not Alex Dunstan?

I hope it's plain enough, in this goofy sabbath jest, that what we're driving at it is that liberty isn't ever needed because distinctions don't exist; it's needed because they do; that tolerance of non-blonds may affect all it wants to grant them the stature of blonds, but that non-blonds will be just as happy to assert their own virtues. All of the oxygen of human right, that is, not some of it, not generic equivalents of it are literally of the most urgent moment for all because none are alike. And would anyone have it, any other way? Voltaire figured this out, and Shaw hammered it, leading famously to this aperçu of VS Pritchett, which I take to be an intimate admonition to the blog form in general, not to cast stones too far:

Shaw's letters must have been delightful to receive; unlike Voltaire, who was called a chaos of clear ideas, he was a chaos of clear arguments. They become monotonous .. The happy shock of the argument wears off. What really gets us is that the performer is at heart the industrious apprentice .. It is a moral story.

Victor Sawdon Pritchett
Lasting Impressions
  Essays 1961-1987
Random House, 1990

Alec Wilder
While We're Young, 1947©
Bill Evans, piano
National Public Radio, 1978©
The Jazz Alliance, 2002©


  1. Adroitly presented; once again proving yourself a virtuoso blog-schemer / choreographer on guybehaviour!

  2. I've been getting over some tiresome flu. I can recommend your readership over a nap! Still, as you might say, why choose?