Let Us Now Praise “The Turtle”

Posted: October 4, 2013 in Uncategorized
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By Peter Stern, Philosophy Faculty

O Flaneur’s Turtle how do I love thee, let me count the ways–or rather, let me try, only try, unfortunately, to count the ways–so fecund are the ways and so paltry are my number crunching abilities, regardless of how assiduously I work to transform, like Cinderella, this wretched paltriness into a blessed abundance.

Turtle LoveConfined to exactitude’s absence, I must turn to Plan B and be satisfied with a mere approximation of the number of ways I love “The Turtle,” settling on the word “myriad” to give some hint of their plenitude. Myriad. Okay. So the ways are myriad, yet that still leaves unclear their quality, does it not?

Perhaps: so let me answer the quality question by stating categorically that, in my view, the quality of my love for the Flaneur knows no surcease. That’s because those myriad ways always connect to a deeply felt trust that the quality of the Flaneur and all its postings (which is what Mr. Michael Stelzer Jocks likes to call Flaneur submissions) reaches towards the heavens. And should they fall short of heaven and its perfection or a writer’s understanding or wish for perfection, they come sufficiently close that readers never need fear after reading a post, they’ll lack nourishment and arrive home hungry.

Nonetheless should you find shortcomings even contradictions in my writing or the writings of others, please consider, dear Flaneurite, you divine turtle dove, that those contradictions are the result, according to Mr. Walt Whitman, of the multitude of stuff we’ve somehow managed to create and the multitude of stuff we’ve become. Which has led me to conclude, finally, that if Walt Whitman wasn’t worried about contradictions, neither should we.

Moreover, by now out of grade school for years, it’s time to put away some of the admonitions of our childhood and realize that contradictions can be our friends. They needn’t spell disaster for both sides of the contradiction can prove to be correct. That’s part of the great lesson fecundity teaches us.

After all, can’t an evening breeze be both serene and disturbing? The chocolate be bittersweet? And a heavy Hollandaise enjoy a certain piquant and paradoxical lightness? Moreover, doesn’t our effort to describe the particulars of a specific situation often require us to conjure up from the deep numerous numbers of metaphors and similes rather than simply stringing together a list of single syllable qualities–hot, cold, blue, green, tall, short?

And, Flaneur’s Turtle, in addition to the above reasons for my love, I want to give you a few more. For instance, let me tell you how I love thee for persuading Paul Gaszak to eloquently defend group work against the slings and arrows of callow students complaining about a pedagogy which they don’t realize will enhance their lives and polish their future; and Michael to explain what books need to do to gain his affection, and how war most often erupts out of passions deeper and more complex than the love of lucre; and me to wax foolishly about Mr. Marc Trestman’s shortcomings before he’s directed so much as a single practice session with the Bears; and Jenny Jocks Stelzer to give us a taste and feel for her hip hop happiness; and Tricia Lunt to describe the mystical enjoyment of a single class or a single moment in that class where a lone student suddenly gets “it”; and Blake Whitmore to brilliantly explain why Breaking Bad ain’t bad–rather the reverse! It’s great, greater even than the Sopranos trumpeting their bric a brac brand of joy to the delight of millions of people over millions and millions of fast paced minutes.

True, this ain’t the New Yorker, or the Atlantic Monthly, or the Paris Review, but it ain’t beanbag, either. Through the Flaneur, we who have provided it bunches of posts have engaged full force that mysterious medium somewhere out there called cyber space and made it a home for our energies and hopes, our observations and insights, and our always admirable wish to enlighten, entertain, and share with fellow scribes and readers the ineffable delight we find in jointly producing the printed word.

  1. James Baltrum says:

    I am both shocked and offended that I did not get referenced in this great post! 🙂

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