where the writers are
Messing About With Books, with an Apology to the Water Rat

There is a bit early in "The Wind in the Willows" where Rat is telling Mole that "there is nothing--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.  Simply messing. . .messing--about--in--boats. . . ."  Substitute 'books' for 'boats' and you have my sentiments exactly.  The past several days, I've been messing around with my books.  The paperbacks are all sorted, organized, and alphabetized, and I've started on the hardbacks.  The floor of my bedroom is still not entirely clear, so I have to be careful when transferring books from one set of bookcases to the other, but it is starting to get done.  When my books are in order, my soul is at peace.  (Or at least mostly at peace.)  When I can go right in and find "Jane Eyre" for my annual fix, or head right to one shelf and find my entire collection of E. B. White's writing, life is better.  The world outside my door continues angry and chaotic, but I can find Jane Austen, so inside there is at least a modicum of peace.  It matters.  Every little bit of control I can get over my environment here helps me cope with the inchoate madness of the larger world.

And speaking of the madness of the larger world, I wanted to say a word on politicians and their code words:  Yesterday I had the chore of making sure my African American daughter understood that when Sarah Palin said that "he [Obama] doesn't see the world like you and I do," she meant like 'us white folks do.'  I hate having to translate coded white racism for my kids.  Years ago, during the campaign against illegal immigration, the campaign with the commercial that intoned "they keep coming" as it showed shadowy figures sneaking past a border patrol post, one of my MexicanEcuadoran-American nephews looked at me in horror and asked, "are they talking about ME?"  So much racism now is coded, coded so it can be denied by the speaker while still being understood by the target audience; those code words so often fly over the heads of younger folks while hitting exactly those they are aimed at.  And then when whatever targeted minority group objects, the target audience can feign dismay and repeat the mantra that 'they' are just paranoid and see problems where they just don't exist.  Readers, if you're out there, please make sure you know the code and can see it when it is used; it's easier to fight an opponent that is in plain sight.

I'm running behind this morning and only just have time for a shower before the babies arrive, so a short entry today.

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