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

Tom Strong

The link to Berlinski's review is broken.

Adam

As I mentioned to you once in an e-mail, I feel that these sorts of analyses ignore a very important sub-group--the cultural creatives. According to this alternative perspective, there are three major classes of people in the West--traditionalists, moderns (meaning secular types), and the cultural creatives. I think, over the long haul, both traditionalists and moderns will pass and that they are both currently in decline. Nowadays, traditionalists see problems in modernism and thus feel that traditionalism is on the rise, and vice versa. However, from these ashes, I think cultural creatives will help to craft a middle way between these two old paradigms.

The real problem is that cultural creatives don't know how numerous they really are and often feel that they are isolated "weirdos" when in fact they have more than sufficent numbers to bring forth a new cultural consensus and synthesis.

In many ways, that is what Ambivablog is all about. And there is a relation between the 45% of Americans who are moderates and the cultural creatives. The big guys just haven't noticed the up-and-comers yet.

amba

Oh, well, Adam, you know all this doom and gloom makes me deliriously happy. Because only now can something new happen. In that respect, I think it's a marvelous time to be alive.

michael reynolds

All these ideologies, even the various fundamentalisms, seem to me to be more grass roots, bottom up affairs, less clearly defined, less determined by authority figures. Christians define their religious beliefs for themselves, often, incidentally, professing beliefs that are heretical or certainly unorthodox. So I wonder if there isn't an element of cultural creativity lurking at the bottom of even evangelical Christianity. Everyone today is a free-lance theologian.

amba

Very cool, Michael. I think you've put your finger on something.

An older Evangelical friend once told me she'd decided there must be two hells, because she couldn't imagine the good non-born-again-Christian people she knew going to the lake-of-fire one.

I think of it as "the democratization of revelation."

Evangelicals feel authorized and safe (a key word if you believe in the deceptive Devil) as long as it's themes and text from Scripture they're riffing on, and as long as they don't take personal credit for the results but ascribe it all to God or the Holy Spirit. In this last I think they're quite right. I don't know how you feel as a writer, Michael, but I know I'm not doing it. I am the obstacle.

michael reynolds

I think people sometimes describe as "God" what I think of as a standard feature of the human mind: background thinking.

Generally if I have a problem - certainly a writing problem - I form it into a question and then pose that question to my subconscious or unconscious or deep dark 'Background Michael,' and wait. Sure enough, out will pop an answer. Eventually. It used to kind of surprise me when Background Michael would answer I question I'd forgotten I asked, but over time I came to rely on it.

I can see where religiously-inclined people might see God there. It is, after all, odd that some vaguely-sensed part of your brain should answer questions you were having trouble with yourself. But I am not tempted toward the religious explanation for this very excellent reason: sometimes Background Michael is an idiot. Mostly he's fairly astute but sometimes Background Michael goes off the rails and suddenly we find ourselves waking up in a whorehouse with a hangover and an empty wallet. (Figuratively.)

amba

Michael,

Whether you see the source of answers as "Background Michael" or as something less localized and more impersonal or universal is partly a question of whether you think your self is impermeably bounded by your skin and skull, and whether you completely equate your thoughts with your brain activity.

Even if you do, there's so much more going on within us than we're conscious of, or than we could possibly handle even if we were conscious of it, that it almost reaches that level of impersonality. Do you breathe or are you breathed? Do you think, or do you become conscious of thoughts that rise fully formed from a substance that, though within your own skull, is alien and infinitely superior to "you"?

You don't have to believe in an anthropomorphic God to find all this mysterious and even miraculous.

amba

Also, do you think there's only one Background Michael? Is the one that finishes your sentences the same one that bolts and runs away with you?

Tom Strong

I'm too computer-addled to really give this discussion much thought right now, but here's a link to more material on the subject.

Camassia

"An older Evangelical friend once told me she'd decided there must be two hells, because she couldn't imagine the good non-born-again-Christian people she knew going to the lake-of-fire one."

Isn't that otherwise known as Limbo? Everything old is new again, I guess.

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