Oratund: obese rhetoric; fat, flabby, and meaningless oratory; a typical speech from the floor of Congress.
Iducation: psychological manipulation and socialization masquerading as a legitimate educational methodology.
Datadiddling: the selective use of lies, damned lies, and statistics; the conveniently ideological “factoids” of CNN and USA Today.
Emptyvee: the all too vacuous programming broadcast over television airwaves and cable networks these days.
Reagan and Wolfe
In one of my favorite airports in the world, Reagan National in Washington (where you can actually get away from the glare and the blare of those noxious televisions), I met one of my favorite authors in the world, Tom Wolfe. It was a propitious juxtaposition; altogether apt.
The airport, only recently redesigned, reflects the architectural vernacular of Western Christendom. It is visually spacious, well-lit, humanly-scaled, and classically symmetrical. It enjoys whimsically reminiscent nods to the great landmarks of public space—gallerias, train stations, concert halls, and piazzas. Yet it does all this with modern materials and modern sensibilities with modern ends in mind.
Likewise, the author has classic sensibilities, is a defender of traditional virtues, and cuts across the grain of transient fashions, fads, and fancies. But he does so in a scintillatingly fresh contemporary style. Indeed, his style is so markedly modern that he has been credited with ushering in a whole new prose methodology.
Reagan National exudes a sense of purpose and place. There is no mistaking its energy, power, and public-spiritedness. It could be nowhere else but the nation’s capital.
Likewise, Wolfe exudes a sense of purpose and place. Garbed in his trademark crisp white linen suit, Edwardian accessories, and southern gentlemanly details, his life embodies his worldview with a persnickety attentiveness. Even from a great distance, across the concourse, I knew that it could be no one but him.
My serendipitous meeting, in that place, with that man, reminded me once again how important it is for us to be intentional about matching external appearances and manifestations with internal intentions and commitments. The first lesson of wisdom is that there is no fruit without root. The second is that fruit cannot, must not, belie root.
In the world, forgiveness is the end of a process. In the Bible, it is the beginning of the process.
“All you need for a good education is a log with a good student on one end and a good teacher on the other end.” Mark Twain