Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."



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Comments

realpc

Our nature as social mammals dictates that we will follow leaders, most of them male.

And even those of us who are skeptical/cynical and don't experience hero-worship need leaders.

There are facts about life we might not like, but that doesn't stop them from being facts.

amba

Following a leader is fine; I don't hold with the anarchists there. Worshiping a leader, not so fine. I don't doubt we have this tendency in our psychology, but I think it's wise to fight it, not swooningly succumb to it.

Meade

Are people actually worshiping Obama? I realize many of his supporters seem to be enamored of him. But "worship?" I can't say I've seen that.

A lot of followers were enamored of Bill Clinton. JFK too. But worshiping as "infallible father figures" just didn't really happen. Did it?

Ron

It intrigues me the degree to which a political figure fulfills romantic or just plain emotional needs; how so? Why?

amba

Meade: sorry for the imprecise use of language. Would "hero-worship" make more sense?

PatHMV

Meade... nobody's actually "worshiping" him in the sense that they literally believe him to be a deity, but I do see a great deal of "worship" in the more colloquial sense. It's people who believe that all of politics are corrupt, and we are just in need of the one true savior of a politician, the man who will be incorruptible and will somehow magically fix everything they don't like about our society, the economy, or whatever.

It's largely the same crowd who feels the need to utterly demonize the politicians they don't agree with.

The danger is that, when the illusion pops, and they discover that the placed-on-a-pedestal politician is just another flawed human being like the rest of us, they become exceedingly cynical and lapse into serious apathy. In the meantime, unfortunately, there "worship" of the Hero enables him (or her) to do all sorts of things which, looked at in the abstract, would horrify the "worshiper."

For an example of the worship, look at all the people on the left who, after months of denouncing the FISA telecom immunity bill, pivoted their position on a dime to support their Hero's new, changed position. Many, of course, pointed out to their fellow lefties what was going on and spoke out against the bill and Obama's support for it, but mostly in the context of wailing against those who were supposedly like-minded who had meekly shifted mental gears on the policy just because Obama had.

Michael Reynolds

Someone let me know when uncritical adulation for Obama reaches anything like the level of same for Ronald Reagan.

Meade

I don't think it's even hero-worship. It's fantasy and infatuation mixed with some anger. Same as in 1992. It wasn't enough to get Bill Clinton elected then - Ross Perot was - and I will be surprised if it's enough to elect Obama now. Not saying it can't or won't happen but come November, moderate independent voters will tip it to McCain because Obama is too inexperienced, he's too far left, his positions and relationships are too vague, and - this is the clincher - under Obama, too many taxes will go up too much.

For working moderate independent middle Americans who are motivated to vote, higher taxes are unaffordable. Obama can come back with all his charm and charisma and try again in 8 or 10 years. Maybe we can afford him then. Right now, we have better ways to spend our earnings than to let the government spend it for us.

Meade

Interesting that the candidate who has actually done something heroic in his life eschews being hero-worshiped while the one who has never done anything more heroic than writing a couple of autobiographies is happy to bask in the glow of romanticized adoration and infatuation.

I suspect his more sober and sensible supporters (for example, Michael Reynolds) are beginning to feel a bit embarrassed by it. Predictably, by November, most of them will be so embarrassed that they will also move to Europe.

Donna B.

Meade, I hope you're right.

Michael, I missed out on the Reagan worship. It just didn't happen where I live. I always miss out on the fun stuff.

Meade

I'm not going to hero-worship him for it but this will help me buy the vehicle I want. So I might give him my vote and buy the car.

Clark

It's media hype.

Khaki Elephant

Someone let me know when uncritical adulation for Obama reaches anything like the level of same for Ronald Reagan.

You may recall that Reagan actually struggled when he first hit the national scene and only became a "heroic" figure after he had impacted the world stage in dramatic fashion (for good or ill).

Obama-worship is not rooted in action or accomplishment, but rather in little more than his beautifully written speeches and charismatic way of assuaging white guilt. Don't get me wrong, I like Frodo Baggins and Valentine Michael Smith, but it'll take more than scripted plots and on-paper character for them to gain my admiration. The same is true of Obama.

Outis

And even those of us who are skeptical/cynical and don't experience hero-worship need leaders.

I don't need a leader. But the rest of the rabble does, and since I refuse to do it I guess that means someone else must do so.

/ inflated ego

Maxwell James

Khaki, you might remember that Obama actually struggled when he first hit the national scene. And is, in fact, still struggling despite his current (and tiny) lead.

Reagan poster from 1980.

Obama poster from 2008.

I don't see a whole lot of difference.

Mom

The New Yorker profile of Obama is interesting because it presents a sort of coming of age saga of a politician. I don't want a hero for Pres. I don't want someone to worship. But after what whe have suffered for the past 8 years . . . Someone who knows HOW to think. We could all use a little of that: thinking for ourselves, even if it means "pivoting," "flip-flopping," or whatever you want to call it.
Mom

Outis

Well there is one HUGE difference between Reagan and Obama as objects of hero worship - the press. The press hated and despised Reagan and probably still does. The press loves Obama almost as much as it loves itself. Counterbalancing that, fortunately, is the fact that the press is now the most reviled and hated institution in the USA, below lawyers, pedophile priests and the creators of alcohol-free low-cal low-carb beer.

Donna B.

I think what the "press" thinks is probably bullshi*t. Am in the minority?

I dunno... I also think blacks and whites want the same thing -- a decent future for their children.

Pollyanna I am.

Peter Hoh

Amba, every leader and would-be leader should wear a lapel pin bearing those words.

Meade, McCain really lacks an understanding of economics if he thinks that his prize is going to lure some company into creating a better battery. The market will reward those who develop the breakthrough in battery technology.

And the prize also reflects a poor understanding of how technology develops. Most likely, there will be a series of small breakthroughs rather than one single, easily identified breakthrough. And progress is likely to be impeded if all the developers were to keep their findings secret from one another, in hopes of claiming the big prize for themselves.

Back to the main topic:

I'm sorry that the past 8 years of George W. Bush's leadership have caused such a hunger for a messiah-like political figure. Had I my way, it would be different. (If I had my way, McCain would have been elected in 2000.) I'd like to see Obama without the fawning crowds, but he's playing the hand he was dealt.

What I see is potential -- for both good and bad. Isn't that always the case with our system? There is institutional gravity in Washington, and a series of checks and balances, thanks to our constitution. We survived Nixon. We survived Carter. And we seem to be surviving the current administration.

As for swooning over a presidential candidate, the standard has already been set pretty high this year. K-Lo's swooning about Mitt Romney tops anything I've seen written about Obama.

I remember 1980. While I wasn't all that enamored of him, I know that many Americans were looking to Ronald Reagan to lead them out of the Carter years. But the better parallel for this election is 2000. The way that Obama is praised in some quarters reminds me of how Bush was regarded by some of his supporters in 2000.

Just as Bush looked into Putin's heart, many voters in 2000 were convinced that GWB was a fine Christian man, and as such, could do no wrong.

Danny

I'm surprised no one is mentioning the nauseating hero worshipping we had to endure of George W. until his incompetence and arrogance ended it for all but his most ardent followers.

I don't see people "worshipping" Obama either--but I do see many (including myself) being very hopeful, probably naively so. Maybe an extra dose of healthy cynicism would help us assuage the disappointments that are sure to come later.

Yes, everyone is flawed...but some people are sure more flawed than others, no?

Meade

"Maybe an extra dose of healthy cynicism would help us assuage the disappointments that are sure to come later."

The Timidity of Hope?

Meade

Peter: I'm sure you know the story of John Harrison.
From Wikipedia:

John Harrison (24 March 1693 – 24 March 1776) was an English clockmaker. He invented the marine chronometer, a long-sought and critically-needed key piece in solving the problem of accurately establishing the East-West position, or longitude, of a ship at sea, thus revolutionising and extending the possibility of safe long distance sea travel in the Age of Sail. The problem was considered so intractable that the British Parliament offered what was at the time a huge fortune for a solution, a prize of £20,000 (roughly £6 million or €7.7 million in 2007 terms).

RW Rogers


David Gergen: "I think it was the first — Barack Obama made the first mistake of his trip, in my judgment, in releasing a statement in which he said exactly what Maliki had said in those conversations. We have a long tradition in this country that we only have one president at a time. He's the commander in chief and the negotiator in chief. I cannot remember a campaign which a rival seeking the presidency has been in a position negotiating a war that's under way with another party outside the country. I think he leaves himself open to the charge tonight that he's meddling, that this is not his role, that he can be the critic, but he's not the negotiator. We have a president who does that. So, I think the underlying facts support him, but I think it would be a real mistake — and I think it was a mistake — to get into these conversations and let it be used politically."

CNN's Anderson Cooper: "That's interesting. Gloria, do you think this is the first mistake he made on this trip?"

Gloria Borger: "You know, it's very interesting, I do agree with David. And Candy, in her earlier piece, talked about walking the fine line between being this candidate and being presumptuous. And I think that he may just have crossed that, because, you know, it is a tradition. You don't talk about these private conversations. And it's not up to Barack Obama right now to negotiate troop withdrawals. It's up to Barack Obama to be on a fact-finding mission, which is indeed what he has said he was on."

-from CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360"
July 21, 2008

Andrea: Let me say something about his message management. He didn’t have reporters with him. He didn’t have a press pool. He didn’t do a press conference while he was on the ground either on Afghanistan or Iraq. What you’re seeing is not reporters brought in, you’re seeing selected pictures taken by the military, questioned by the military and what some would call fake interviews because they’re not interviews with a journalist so there’s a real press issue here. Politically it’s smart as can be, but we’ve not seen a Presidential candidate do this in my recollection ever before.

- Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC Hardball
July 21, 2008

Obama's Revenge: New Yorker Reporter Banned from Press Plane

-Rachel Sklar, Huffington Post
July 21, 2008


wj

It occurs to me that, for those of us old enough to remember, Carter showed the potential down-side of electing someone who knows how to think -- if he's light on how to make a hard decision. And the current President has showed the potential down-side of electing someone who is basically a frat-boy who spent his college years partying (and, in his case, hates making the effort of thinking).

So this election brings us someone who obviously knows how to think; but how is he on making hard decisions? And someone who looked at college as a time to party (to the extent that one could at the Naval Academy); but at least grew up some later in his career.

I can't say I'm delighted with either choice (although both parties could have done far, far worse in selecting a candidate IMHO). I guess that makes me part of Meade's independent voter group.

But "experience," as it seems to be usually construed, is not all that big a concern for me. And from what I've seen of Obama's actual positions on things, he's more liberal than McCain but far from being what I would call "far left". And as for taxes, I'm no more fond of them than anyone; but I'm even less fond of having wildly unbalanced budgets and inflation end up leaching away most of my savings, as is happening again now.

So, which way to go? Still making up my mind, but I sure wouldn't put money on my ending up going for McCain.

amba

Randy: thank you for those links. I find them creepy -- whether it's Obama acting like he's already president on sensitive national security issues, or 86ing the New Yorker reporter from his plane. Feh!

DensityDuck

"And the current President has showed the potential down-side of electing someone who is basically a frat-boy who spent his college years partying (and, in his case, hates making the effort of thinking)."

You know, people spent fifty years thinking that Eisenhower was a flake. And now everything's being declassified, and it turns out that he was pretty much right on, and the public just didn't have all the facts. And that's exactly what's going to happen with GWB. Historians of the 2060s will be talking about how he was the second coming of Abraham Lincoln; in the 3200s they'll compare him to Emperor Justinian.

Danny

Never. I bet you could declassify every document and report from the past eight years and future historians will still view Bush as one of the worst Presidents this country has ever seen.

Mr. President, I served with Dwight Eisenhower.
I knew Dwight Eisenhower.
Dwight Eisenhower was a friend of mine.
Mr. President, you're no Dwight Eisenhower.

RW Rogers

Our Presumptive President

has travelled to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia many times before. He lived in Asia. He bows to nobody in his understanding of this world.

-Susan Rice, Senior Foreign Policy Advisor, in Der Spiegel

Last December, The Times of London noted:

Fresh doubts over Barack Obama’s foreign policy credentials were expressed on both sides of the Atlantic last night, after it emerged that he had made only one brief official visit to London – and none elsewhere in Western Europe or Latin America....

Mr Obama had failed to convene a single policy meeting of the Senate European subcommittee, of which he is chairman....

Mr Obama’s advisers say that he has an “intuitive grasp” of world affairs because he spent part of his childhood abroad....[Obama left Indonesia almost 37 years ago at age 10.]

“The benefit of my life of having both lived overseas and travelled overseas is, I have a better sense of how they’re thinking and what their society is really like,” Mr Obama said last month....

Mr Obama’s visit to London in August 2005 was a one-day stopover....

Outis

Bush doesn't even make it to being one of the worst three Presidents of my lifetime. Johnson, Nixon and Carter were all clearly worse, and arguably Clinton and the first President Bush were.

Callimachus

Wow, I hate to admit this, but my reaction to the piece was, "Moorcock is still alive?" He writes unforgettable science fiction. Some of his stuff I read in the 1970s and haven't seen since and it's still vivid in my mind. But that doesn't mean I should accept on faith his word for anything more than any other intelligent person.

Which is sort of what he's saying.

wj

Outis, I would be fascinated to hear on what grounds you think that the first President Bush was arguably worse than the current one.

amba

Cal: I started out writing about Moorcock in the past tense -- then I Googled him! He ... has ... a ... blog!

Peter Hoh

Meade, the longitude story is an interesting one. With batteries, I suspect that we are past the point during which a single genius could tackle the problem, and I stand by my critique of McCain's big money prize.

Amba, the HuffPo piece has an update. The writer has changed the key word in the headline from "banned" to "excluded." The New Yorker reporter was among the 160 journalists who requested seats on Obama's plane but were not accommodated due to space constraints. Seems a lot less damning when the facts are presented that way.

Outis

I would be fascinated to hear on what grounds you think that the first President Bush was arguably worse than the current one.

It's arguable and I'm not even sure I believe it but here it is: Bush I committed one of the most colossal foreign policy blunders of the second half of the 20th Century.

When he DID have the troops and the international support he did NOT overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime. Had he done so and had he attempted to establish a decent regime in the Arab world at that time he could have set US foreign policy on an actual course post-Cold War.

Instead he backed off, and US foreign policy floundered over the next decade looking for a purpose. Like it or not US foreign policy HAS had a direction post-9/11. It would have been nice if we could have had strategic frame-work prior to 9/11. Bush I could be considered a failure because of lost opportunities.

(I thought that Bush I was blowing it at the time. I am one of only two people I know of that voted against Bush I in 1992 because I thought that he had done well on domestic policy and had completely screwed the pooch on foreign policy. Reader_Iam's husband is the only other person I've heard of who shared that opinion in 1992.)

Outis

Meade, the longitude story is an interesting one. With batteries, I suspect that we are past the point during which a single genius could tackle the problem, and I stand by my critique of McCain's big money prize.

Peter, the use of prizes seems to have worked well enough to creat private space flight. (See the X Prize.) THAT was a helluva lot more complicated than battery improvements, and has less immediate profit potential. NASA has started using similar prizes for other developmental purposes, including on several aspects for a potential space elevator.

Personally McCain's prize proposal is the first truly "outside the box" thinking I've heard from either candidate on any issue. Everything else has been rote statement of prior party-plank bullshit.

RW Rogers

In early 2007, our Presumptive President spent 1½ hours with former Netscape CEO Marc Andresson:

We then asked, well, what about foreign policy -- should we be concerned that you just don't have much experience there?

He said, directly, two things.

First, he said, I'm on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where I serve with a number of Senators who are widely regarded as leading experts on foreign policy -- and I can tell you that I know as much about foreign policy at this point as most of them.

Being a fan of blunt answers, I liked that one.

But then he made what I think is the really good point.

He said -- and I'm going to paraphrase a little here: think about who I am -- my father was Kenyan; I have close relatives in a small rural village in Kenya to this day; and I spent several years of my childhood living in Jakarta, Indonesia. Think about what it's going to mean in many parts of the world -- parts of the world that we really care about -- when I show up as the President of the United States. I'll be fundamentally changing the world's perception of what the United States is all about.

As the Times report linked above notes: anecdotes are circulating in Washington about how he has turned down requests from other visiting foreign dignitaries, such as an Italian opposition leader who was told that the senator was in “presidential mode” and only seeing leaders of countries.

Charlie (Colorado)

Someone let me know when uncritical adulation for Obama reaches anything like the level of same for Ronald Reagan.

It was around February as I recall.

RW Rogers

Our Presumptive President will be speaking in Berlin this week:

“It is not going to be a political speech,” said a senior foreign policy adviser, who spoke to reporters on background. “When the president of the United States goes and gives a speech, it is not a political speech or a political rally.

“But he is not president of the United States,” a reporter reminded the adviser.

Peter Hoh

I thought that HW Bush missed a chance to open the door to Cuba. Of course, Florida politics made that hard to do, but I believe that real presidential leadership may have pulled it off.

No mystery as to why we did not depose Saddam after chasing his troops out of Kuwait. We needed him to keep Iran in check. The mystery is why the State Department (under Howard Baker, iirc) did not give a clearer message to Saddam when he was threatening Kuwait.

wj

Bush I committed one of the most colossal foreign policy blunders of the second half of the 20th Century.

When he DID have the troops and the international support he did NOT overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime.

Assuming, for the sake of discussion, that it was a serious blunder, how is it worse than going off into Iraq instead of putting enough troops into Afghanistan to finish the job there? As a military decision about Afghanistan, it was bad. As a foreign policy decision, it was worse. It took the US from a position where almost the entire world was supporting us to one where huge chunks of the world, including lots of our long-time allies, were opposing us.

As for whether Bush I made a blunder at all, it might have been a lost opportunity. But even where we stopped, Saddam was left severely weakened, both as an external threat and for what he could do internally as well.

Now granted it was a severe error not to have supported the marsh Arabs when they believed we had promised to support them and rebelled. But that was later.

RW Rogers

Cuurent Headline at the Times of London website:

Obama tries to ease fears in Israel and West Bank: US President makes whirlwind visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories in attempt to reassure both sides of his position

Outis

I thought that HW Bush missed a chance to open the door to Cuba. Of course, Florida politics made that hard to do, but I believe that real presidential leadership may have pulled it off.

That would have never happened as long as Florida was in play in national elections.

Outis

Assuming, for the sake of discussion, that it was a serious blunder, how is it worse than going off into Iraq instead of putting enough troops into Afghanistan to finish the job there? As a military decision about Afghanistan, it was bad. As a foreign policy decision, it was worse. It took the US from a position where almost the entire world was supporting us to one where huge chunks of the world, including lots of our long-time allies, were opposing us.

Why do uyou assume we can "succeed" in Afghanistan? What do you consider success? We have removed the old regime and installed one more to our liking. We have done so with minimal loss of American lives. We have NOT been able to stop all violence in Afghanistan. Neither could the Soviets and they put WAY more troops into Afghanistan than we ever will. Afghanistan is as good now as it will ever get.

If you want Afghanistan to be better than it is now you will have to go to war with Pakistan. That will quickly result in the extremeist elements of the ISI taking over that country. Do you really want to go to war with Islamic extremists that have nuclear bombs?

As for our "great international support" after 9/11 - I never believed in it. On 9/12 I was being told by Australians and Canadians that we deserved what had happened to us and that they were quite happy about it. Do they represent all Canadians and Australians? No, but they represented a more sizable chunk than the Western media wanted to acknowledge.

Face it, we are currently the hegemon, and as such we are going to be despised no matter what we do. We did NOT have great support after 9/11. How much foreign MILITARY aid did we get in Afghanistan prior to invading Iraq? Not much. Pakistan allowed us to fly over their country because we threatened Musharrif directly. Some former Soviet Republics allowed us to us some of their territory in exchange for $$$$. Other NATO countries supplied a pentance of troops because that's all they had. Really, NATO has proven to be a total shame from the US perspective.

Our course of action should not be predicated on what would make "the world" like us. Fuck them. They do not have our interests at heart. Hell, they often don't even have their own interests at heart. If we had done what was popular we would have surrendered Western Europe to the Soviets between the 1960s and the 1980s. There were larger and more frequent demonstrations against the US back then than there have been now.

Outis

wj: But even where we stopped, Saddam was left severely weakened, both as an external threat and for what he could do internally as well.

Yeah, he was so weakened that he continued to slaughter his own people, and that a very large US military and international political effort was needed to contain him. Remember that al Qaeda listed our military bases in Saudi Arabia (needed to contain the "weak" Hussein) as a prime justification for their 9/11 attacks. No, we fucked up colossally the first time we invaded Iraq - we left the job half done. (LL Cool J would have NEVER made that mistake.)

Peter: No mystery as to why we did not depose Saddam after chasing his troops out of Kuwait. We needed him to keep Iran in check.

Peter, you and wj can argue about this. Was Saddam supposed to be a bulwark against Iran after the first US-Iraq war, or was he too weak to be an external threat? At least one of you is wrong.

reader_iam

I did not vote for Bush I in 1992 either. (I didn't vote for him in 1988, either, but that was a different time and situation). While I was opposed to the Gulf War prior to our entering into it, I also opposed our leaving when and as we did. (We ended up doing exactly what in the run-up to that war, I thought we would do, with the exact results over time. Which is a good part, though not the only part, of why I was opposed to our embarking upon the Gulf War: I was pretty sure we wouldn't stick out.)

My husband (not then, of course) also hated the breaking of the "no new taxes" pledge, Outis. I'm sure your impression is based directly on something I wrote, but I would be remiss in not clarifying that DH did have some issues with 41 on the domestic front.

reader_iam

To further clarify, both of supported the war in Afghanistan, though were pretty quickly disappointed in the less-than-thorough attention paid to it.

We both opposed the invasion of Iraq in the run up to the Iraq War, especially with regard to the "rush to war" aspect of the whole thing and due to concerns over what the long-term strategy and plan was. We both also opposed the calls to cut and run, for both short-term and long term reasons.

There you have it.

Outis

I more or less based my statements on conversations we've had. I didn't realize he had been disappointed by the "no new taxes" pledge breaking. I guess I really AM the only person in America not upset by that!

Peter Hoh

Outis, a weaked Saddam still helped keep Iran from getting stronger.

Outis

Peter, you are asserting something that can't be know. Was it Saddam's presence that kept Iran from getting stronger, or was it the big damned US military pressence that was needed to keep Saddam under watch that kept Iran from getting stronger? And for that matter, how are you judging the strength of Iran?

RW Rogers

Outis, there is a lot to be said for the world-wide belief that he still had access to biological weapons. As I am sure you recall, we later went to war over this mistaken belief, among others.

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