Monthly Archives: December 2011

Igorance is not bliss

It’s a pity to be guilty of what I condemn, but just a few weeks after criticizing the “ignorance is bliss” stance of some people, particularly politicians, I find myself having done the same thing.

Let me explain.

I refer to the admiration Herman Cain received a few weeks ago by professing his ignorance of world affairs, matters that a prospective U.S. president ought to know something about. You may recall that Cain prided himself on his dearth of knowledge on geography, politics and history. And I quoted passages from Sam Cooke’s song, “Don’t Know Much About History,” trying to make the point that to many people, lack of knowledge is admirable.

Well, ignorance is not bliss. Really. Sure, it’s true that “what you don’t know won’t hurt you,” but the ignorance/bliss saying goes beyond that. Thomas Gray, an 18th-century English poet, wrote, “Where ignorance is bliss, / ‘Tis folly to be wise.” And that’s not quite the same as saying that being in the dark makes people happy. Continue reading

Overwhelmed by “stuff”

Like many people, we Trujillos have problems with “stuff.” Problems not as in “We can’t get enough stuff,” but as in, “We have simply too much stuff.”

Let me explain:

A trip to Samaritan House or Salvation Army is supposed to put our household on a diet: The intention is to take clean, usable stuff to either repository in order to 1) help someone else out, 2) help keep a few people employed and 2) help clear out our own place.

But when we return from these places with much more than we took, the “stuff” issue gets exacerbated. The same goes for this column: I have millions of ideas for each week (I’m approaching 500 columns, from May 2003, never having missed a week), and lots of submissions from readers. Sometimes it’s difficult to get to these contributions, and they accumulate like a lot of our “stuff.” Continue reading

Fighters followed a code

It’s a great feeling when someone I know says he remembers the people I wrote about in a previous column.

“You know this ‘Sopandas’ guy you mentioned? Well, he was my neighbor,” a childhood friend told me recently.

Indeed it is great for my column to have jogged a memory or two. But along with that is the inevitable question (often from a sibling, “Are you sure we grew up in the same household”). Somehow I believe I’m blessed with a keen memory of childhood events, thus my pre-occupation with things I did or were done to me in the ‘40s and ‘50s.

And there’s often a difference of opinion. I’m sure this has happened in many families, where one family member retells a humorous incident of yesteryear. But in doing so, she’s changed the names of the characters: Instead of Mom it was Dad; instead of Immaculate Conception School it was Vegas High or Town High.

Short of DNA evidence and film-type documentation, or the sworn testimony of six nuns, it’s hard to prove very much. Who’s to say my recollection of things isn’t as great as yours? Continue reading

“Don’t know much about . . . ”

A new movie — one I haven’t yet seen, but plan to — is titled “Anonymous.” The subject is about doubts that the works of William Shakespeare — the 37 plays, many sonnets and poems — were written by someone else.

Purposely, I haven’t delved into the reviews to avoid forming a strong premature opinion, but I will posit that those who say the man from Stratford-Upon-Avon was a fake, an imposter, generally aren’t literary types.

Few serious authors, writers, poets or critics have taken up the anti-Shakespeare banner. The most vocal folks who argue that someone else deserves the honors are housewives, lawyers, doctors and some plain folks. Mark Twain, by the way, refused to believe the Bard was legitimate.

Some people say Shakespeare could not have ventured into the realm of more educated, traveled writers, such as Sir Francis Bacon and Christopher Marlowe. Like some of today’s “birthers,” many critics consider Shakespeare’s place of birth as a benighted back-street slum through whose mired alleys trudged the lowest form of humanity that ever gibbered in the suburbs of Dogpatch. Continue reading