EPISODE 178: Without Which Not

irvincobbThe social-media fracas concerning General Seminary in New York is revealing. It has shown how far ideology can go in conceptualizing one’s enemies. It’s kept me thinking about the French Revolution. Everybody got further and further (and further) extreme until even the most thorough “liberal” was branded a reactionary. Off with his head! And so it did. Get cut off, I mean.

Where I find hope is a no-brainer in my world, tho’ maybe a stretch in yours. I find hope in a story by Irvin S. Cobb, entitled “Ex-Fightin’ Billy”. Cobb, that old Kentuckian, portrays the passionate feelings existing within Confederate troopers in 1865 — “No Surrender!” — that impels a group of them to cross the Rio Grande into Mexico. They leave the USA forever. Or do they? In fact, a change takes place, a change of feeling. And in fact there’s a change of feeling on the other side, too. Something like a very real reconciliation-of-opposites is able to take place. It’s an amazing story.

Can estranged parties, from divorce to schism to drones, act on such a thing? Well, ‘Fightin’ Billy’ did, in the story. How he gets from ‘Fightin’ Billy’ to ‘Ex-Fightin’ Billy’ — it’s pretty powerful.

With an assist from Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys.

This podcast is dedicated to Scott Benhase.