All the Better to see you with, my dear

Someone, somewhere, some time else.  Other people’s stories and pleasures, and other people’s triumphs and pain, I find infinitely more moving and attention-grabbing than my own.  All the action and decision-making, the  betrayals and gestures of profound affection happen over thereMilitary History magazine has had a pretty good track record when it comes to lifting my spirits or simply diverting my introspection from the self to people and events over there.  I went to the Starbux at the Avenue Forsyth today to do some reading.  Among the materials was the March 2010 issue of Military History.

The Letter from Military History opens with these lines:

When President Ronald Reagan repeated his favorite bit of wisdom, ‘Trust, but verify,’ he was quoting an old Russian aphorism also favored by Vladimir Lenin.  Reagan used the expression wryly as a sign of his skepticism when negotiating with Cold War counterparts.  The comment has a commonsense wisdom about it — Chicago humorist Finley Peter Dunne…coined a folksier version: ‘Trust everybody, but cut the cards.’  It is a cautionary note  that writers, editors and readers of history would do well to heed, especially when dealing with oral history.

In the context of the March issue, that Reagan quote is an introduction to an article about faking military enlistment and awarded medals.  With respect to engaging with one’s fellow man, how much might you insist on cutting the cards?  How easily or eagerly do you trust situations and people without verifying their deserving of your trust?  Are there certain circumstances in which you prefer not to trust without verifying, whereas, in other instances, you are perfectly willing to let whomever else cut the cards?

“Believe me, when I say you are the most mesmerizing creature I’ve ever had the pleasure to look upon” ?

“If only you would permit me, I would make you the happiest person in all the land”  ?

“Sign with us, and you’ll have yourself a guarantee to get into the pro’s”  ?

“Buy today and you’ll never go hungry again” ?

~!~

And as for the someone, somewhere, and sometime else, it refers to Mitch Lerner’s article about what happened to the USS Pueblo off the coast of North Korea back in 1968.  After I was done reading it, that which was gnawing at my psychological innards beforehand and rendering me highly irritable had dissipated.

It’s not a sudden appreciation for one’s own being or for the difference between over there and here.   It’s simply a relocation of cerebral energy.


3 thoughts on “All the Better to see you with, my dear

  1. sekanblogger

    A couple of things:
    I used to work for a DOD contractor.
    I have no love for the “military industrial complex”.
    Cut the cards? Nope. I like W.C. Fields comment. When playing poker, a guy asks him if this is a game of chance. He replies; “Not the way I play it.”

    And sports?
    Have you ever heard about the LSD no-no?

    http://kansasmediocrity.wordpress.com/2010/01/30/dock-ellis-and-the-lsd-no-no/

    And finally…..
    ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK
    KAAAAY YOUUUUUU!

    Reply
  2. sittingpugs Post author

    I have no love for the “military industrial complex”.
    Cut the cards? Nope. I like W.C. Fields comment. When playing poker, a guy asks him if this is a game of chance. He replies; “Not the way I play it.”

    Kind of confused on the first part. You have no love for the MIC, so then….

    We should all be like WC Fields then, eh? Always able to gain the upper hand no matter where the “control” lies? He and I share the same bday. Too bad I hadn’t read that line of his when it mattered.

    Reply

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