Bill, you have crafted the perfect post title. Please take you own advice — say nothing…at all
Nice and Kind
Random acts of niceness?
One of first posts I wrote for this blog is Nice People Explained — 22 months ago. It’s about a philosopher who is tut-tutted in many circles: Bertrand Russell. That particular essay introduced me to the very concept of what it means to be nice in polite society — a form of expedience that keeps the wheels of industry churning and chugging, becoming accustomed to certain niceties. Leo Tolstoy was ahead of his time and ours.
Yesterday I read great stuff on a great blog that I recommend to you. May I direct your attention to the eponymous ShelbyCourtland. Great and timely stuff there IMO. Coincidentally, some people would not think Shelby very nice. Speaking up for the exploited doesn’t get the job done. Well, that’s nice, BUT.
Well, there’s a wide chasm between nice and kind. Kurt Vonnegut did not say be nice, the word Kurt chose was “kind.” Many do not consider him a very nice person either. I once met an unkind person who had met Vonnegut once, and reported that he was not very nice.
You are wasting your time, my friend. By the way, have you ever heard the one about the nice nun who, let’s say ‘got the job done’ in certain elementary school classrooms of the 1950’s?
By “getting the job done” I think you mean training classroom bullies on the nicer points of humiliation? Yes. Thought very nice, very nice indeed.
Here’s my hypothesis: Nice people conform to the expectations imposed by authority to perpetuate the way it’s always been done and the ways that always work. They never rock boats or speak out of line. They don’t laugh at crap hounds like Jeff Sessions, lest they be likewise incarcerated. There’s nothing remotely fascist about that, is there? Boats are not for rocking — unless the boats are carrying refugees from profitable wars initiated by the nicest country on Earth. Endless war to stop all those wars that end inconveniently: for armament suppliers. Endless slaughter of fellow sentient beings in technologically advanced death camps — it’s what’s for dinner.
Perform random acts of kindness when they are totally unexpected. Do them often. Do them creatively, even playfully. Get off someone’s back?
Smart and Pleasant
I’m asking Elwood P. Dowd to take over here while I visit the restroom. Please be kind to Mr. Dowd, who knows both smart and pleasant:
“Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.”
Here is a clip from the 1950 version starring Jimmy Stewart featuring the snippet above.
My mother, in addition to always calling me Billy, used to say to me “If you don’t have anything…nice to say…”
Or was it “…good to say?” Well let’s find out what good old Google reports on good and nice:
- Hits for nice: About 793,000 results (0.93 seconds)
- Hits for good: About 220,000 results (0.46 seconds)
I understand that the shortest distance between two dots is another dot. So let us lose ourselves in aethereal clouds; particularly after sloughing through this dour post.
Hey, did you know that fog is a cloud resting on the ground? We live just south of Cincinnati, I once saw the tallest building in town pointing out above a wonderful white cloud one morning while driving to where ever the heck I was working at that time.
Thanks for reading.