Thursday, January 11, 2007

Why Start This Blog?

All sorts of events and experiences over the last six months have led me to start this blog, even though I am sadly neglecting my other blog (linked below), and I have PLENTY of other things to do. I can think of no better way to "kick off" a new blog than with the first installment on a meditation on what has started it.

I attend an annual conference on the philosophy of nursing in the Fall. It usually takes place at a university in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland, although it will take place in Boston in 2008. It is the high point of my year - I go to the conference instead of going on vacation. One of the things I enjoy most about it is my sense, upon landing in Midlands, Glasgow, Dublin or Heathrow, of being in what philosophers label a "near-by possible world;" a world much like my own but different in interesting (and possibly better) ways. I become so enchanted while there that I HATE to leave. The list of "enchantments" could fill a book, but here are some that come immediately to mind.
  • True public transportation exists.
  • Fish and chips shops.
  • There are (almost) no fundamentalist preachers on television predicting damnation for most of humanity, asking for money, and claiming that the world is 10,000 years old. Exception noted for the occasional Church of Scotland broadcast.
  • Pubs.
  • You can walk (almost) anywhere with out being murdered.
  • Fish and chips shops.
  • Buildings and seminar rooms named after people who HAVEN'T paid a fortune to some institution.
  • Beer that DOESN'T taste like water, even though it doesn't come from a "micro-brewery" and cost twice as much as a beer should cost.
  • Fish and chips shops.
  • A countryside as yet un-raped by "real estate developers."
  • Pubs.
  • People living a reasonable quality of life while consuming about 1/3 of the world's natural resources that Americans do.
  • Fish and chips shops.
  • A collective social conscience which provides universal healthcare ( I know the NIH sucks sometimes, but at least there IS one. But don't forget: George Bush assures us that America is the greatest nation in the world! Never mind the children whose eardrums burst because their parents have no money for antibiotics. Yes, it does happen in the land of the free and the home of the brave.)
  • Pubs.
  • Afternoon Tea.
  • Hotels where a "proper breakfast" is included in the rate.
  • Fish and chips shops.
  • People who, upon learning I am in their country to give a philosophy paper, ask "Are you a Don, then?" God, I LOVE that!
  • Pubs.
  • More interesting idioms. Compare and contrast: "cherry-picking the evidence for going to war (American)," versus "Sexing up the evidence for going to war (British)." No contest!
  • Better sex scandals. Compare and contrast: learning that some TV preacher is visiting a homosexual prostitute (American) versus learning that John Major (of all people!) is a total stud horse (British). No contest!
  • Pubs - where a visiting American can hear interesting idioms and learn about GREAT sex scandals.
Did I mention my fondness for Fish and Chips and Pubs?

My fellow Americans are asking: if you love it so much over there, why not just MOVE? Good question. The answers will be the subject of subsequent posts.



Rachel said...

Congratulations on starting a blog, especially a blog which is so positive about fish and chips! A great start for any writer, and fuel of England's finest since Raleigh discovered the potato.

Thanks for linking to my blog, and happy blogging!

Robert Newsom said...

Thanks for dropping in! It is an honor to receive a comment from one of London's most distinguished bloggers. America hasn't been so flattered since Dickens visited, or Kipling called on Mark Twain. "Kipling knew everything," said Twain, "and I knew the rest." I know how he feels.

I hope you will be able to find time to comment from time to time. I think your take on American foreign policy, and the unintended (?)effect it has on those of you who don't get a vote on the direction it takes, is unique and informative.

Rachel said...

Ah, thanks Robert. And thank you SO MUCH for your fantastically insightful, moving and brave comment on your blog.

I am humbled by how you have coped with what you went through, my hat goes off to you.

And if you are in London soon I would like to buy you a pint!

Robert Newsom said...

Wow! Would I ever love a pint in a real pub! My next regularly scheduled visit to the UK is to Dundee in September - I will be giving a philosophy paper there.

Still, I know I will find the way to London again one of these days. Meanwhile, I will continue to be an avid reader, and offer comments where I think I can add something useful to the discussion. Keep up with your excellent writing!

About Me

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Greensboro, North Carolina, United States
Writer, Adjunct Philosophy Professor, and Nurse. Formerly an Attorney. Political and Religious liberal (with a capital "L"). Gun lover (I AM American, after all is said and done). Dog lover.